The Sounders head north to take on their Cascadia Cup rivals in Vancouver tomorrow. How will they fare against a very familiar face?
The Sounders travel north of the border to take on their Canadian rivals in Vancouver tomorrow. The key to defeating former Seattle forward Fredy Montero and the Whitecaps will come down to containing Vancouver captain Alphonso Davies and pushing him to the outside where he’s vulnerable.
The Sounders will try again to make runs up the sidelines offensively against the Vancouver defense, which is coming off a 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake in a blizzard and a loss to Tigres UANL in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals.
Vancouver has an impressive home win over the LA Galaxy, beating them 4-2 at home two weeks ago. The Whitecaps use aggressive fullbacks Sheanon Williams and Jordan Harvey to support their counterattacks and keep their three offensive midfielders in their 4-2-3-1 formation, Cristian Techera, Christian Bolaños, and Alphonso, playing off of each other in the middle of the field. Keeping Davies out of his comfort zone in the middle will be a key defensive tactic Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer will employ to avoid danger.
As long as the Sounders prevent Davies from making inside runs on the attacking third, especially when his fellow center midfielders have the ball, they should contain the Vancouver attack on normal runs of play.
However, Vancouver lives and dies offensively on the counterattack. They were successful at home against L.A. by pouncing on the Galaxy defense off of long balls from their defensive third. Clamping down and not allowing Whitecaps to make runs onto long balls will be another key to stymieing Vancouver’s offense.
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Another storyline for the Sounders beyond stopping Davies and the deadly Vancouver counterattack is of course Fredy Montero. It’s hard to believe, but Montero is still the Sounders all-time goalscorer and even when Clint Dempsey or Jordan Morris pass him in the team record books, he’ll still have the honor of scoring the Sounders’ first MLS goal. Beyond the numbers, Montero helped build the rabid fanbase that the MLS version of the Sounders now enjoy. He’s a three-time MLS All-Star, Newcomer of the Year winner in 2009, and he helped Seattle win three straight US Open Cup titles.
Montero bolted Seattle in 2013 for the Columbian club Millanrios, then to the Portuguese side Sporting CP in 2014. He’s currently on a one-year loan from the Chinese club Tianjin Teda to return to MLS and play for fierce Seattle rival Vancouver. The move drew the ire of veteran Sounder Brad Evans, who tweeted this last month:
The replies to fans are priceless, too. Montero will take the field against his former team tomorrow at BC Place at 7pm tomorrow. Catch the game on Q13FOX.