Sounders Insider

Derby week begins for Sounders and Whitecaps

There will be more -- trust me -- as we count down to the resumption of the Sounders-Whitecaps rivalry on Saturday at Qwest Field.

But here are some early opening words from Sounders coach Sigi Schmid:

On another rivalry week: “It’s the enthusiasm or the excitement that you realize you are playing somebody just down the road from you. […] It definitely has a long history, a long tradition to it. The Whitecaps, when you look at the NASL history, have a lot of great players that have played and passed through that system, and coaches as well. Bob Lenarduzzi being involved as the president of the club is someone who extends all the way back to that history. It’s a good thing. We haven’t talked about it a lot yet with the players, haven’t built them up as much. But for sure the guys who are from this area, who have played a lot with the Sounders, they have been through that Whitecaps-Sounders rivalry a bit and I know they are excited about it. We don’t talk about it yet but it will get there.”

On Vancouver's recent coaching change: “Obviously they have played two games since they made that coaching change now so this will be their third game. Maybe you have a little better idea but when they did make the coaching change Tom Soehn didn’t really have a chance to train with the team. The coaching change was made and then it was like two days later they were playing a game. This is going to be his first week to be able to train the team and really try to imprint how he wants to play upon the team. From that standpoint I’m sure it’s something that he is looking forward to and, again, the enthusiasm of the players is something that we have got to combat.”

And some basics from the club:

If entertaining a longtime guest is a good reason to get your house in order then Saturday night represents an excellent opportunity for Seattle Sounders FC. A neighbor who needs no introduction, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, comes to the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field for a 7:30 p.m. PT first kick as the Rave Green begin a stretch in which they play three of the next four at home.

The second Cascadia Cup contest of the 2011 campaign will be televised nationally by Fox Soccer and can be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM and La Gran D 99.3 FM.

Sounders FC (5-4-6, 21 points) return home following a fruitful pair matches on the road. They tore down the walls on Real Salt Lake's fortress, breaking the MLS record 29-game unbeaten streak, and last week earned their 10th away point with a scoreless draw at Chicago.

Still there's a burning desire to make sure visitors to Seattle never want to return, and the best way to do so is to make their stay here as unpleasant and unproductive as possible. In other words, it's time to start taking all the points between Brougham and King Street.

The Rave Green are 18-8-11 at home all-time but just 3-2-2 there as they approach the midway point of 2011. Typically, however, they find their best form as the good weather arrives, and the forecast for this weekend looks fine indeed.

Vancouver (1-6-7, 10 points) comes south across the border seeking its first victory since its inaugural match at home on March 19. Last week the Whitecaps made a coaching change before drawing at Chivas USA, 1-1, and losing at RSL, 2-0. They are 0-5-2 on the road.

Seattle's 21 points is tied for third overall in MLS and also third in the Western Conference. Vancouver is at the bottom of the West.

All told, Seattle and Vancouver sides have met 122 times-more than any other such inter-city series-since the original Sounders and Whitecaps came into the North American Soccer League in 1974. The brands and leagues may have changed from time to time yet the rivalry has always meant something special to the teams and their supporters. On September 24 the two will play again at Empire Field.

Sounders FC face another Canadian club next week, traveling to Toronto FC on June 18. After that it's the start of what could be several two-match weeks. Seattle hosts the New York Red Bulls on June 23 and the New England Revolution on June 26 before beginning defense of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Also within the next week are two home Reserve League games at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila. Sounders FC will face the Vancouver reserves on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. PT and the L.A. Galaxy reserves on Monday, June 13 at 11 a.m. Admission is free with donations accepted at the gate for the club's community partners.