Given that, here are some club-provided notes looking ahead to their 2 p.m. Saturday match at Vancouver:
Seattle Sounders FC heads north of the border this weekend for the club's first Cascadia fixture of the 2012 campaign. The Rave Green take on the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday afternoon at BC Place. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. PT.
Saturday's match will be televised live on KONG 6/16 with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller on the call, and can also be seen in Spanish on KOMO2. The match can be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM and in Spanish on La Gran D 99.3 FM.
The stretch of five games in 15 days ended last Saturday with the second loss of the season, 1-nil to MLS-leaders Real Salt Lake. Seattle (7-2-1, 22 points) had matched a club record with five straight wins and now sits third in the West with games in hand.
With 22 points through its first 10 matches, Sounders FC continues to lead the league in points per match (2.2), and is one of just three teams with only two losses.
The congested schedule has brought contributions from veterans to rookies and newcomers. Fredy Montero led the team with a brace in a 2-0 win at Dallas last week, scoring (three) or assisting (one) in three straight matches. The youth has also made an impact as Andy Rose started three consecutive games last week, and teenager Cordell Cato made his MLS debut with the winning assist in Texas.
Seattle's defense has continued to lead the league, allowing three fewer goals than any other team. Sounders FC is yet to allow multiple goals in a game and the 0.40 goals against average is comfortably best in MLS.
The pace slightly slows this week as Sounders FC has six days between matches to prepare to defend the Cascadia Cup. Seattle won both road matches against Vancouver and Portland last season, becoming the holders of the inaugural Cascadia Cup in the MLS era. The Rave Green will look to Montero to lead the charge as he scored a brace in each Cascadia road fixture last season. Sounders FC hopes to extend its MLS-best eight game (7-0-1) road unbeaten streak against a revived Whitecaps (5-3-2, 17 points) squad that currently sits fourth in the West and seventh overall. Vancouver had a three-match winning streak snapped last weekend with a 4-1 loss to New England. Seattle won the lone road match at Vancouver in 2011, and is undefeated against Cascadia rivals (2-0-2).
All told, Seattle and Vancouver sides have met 125 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.
The busiest month in club history will conclude with two more MLS matches, including a home contest with the Columbus Crew on Wednesday, May 23 and a road match at Chivas USA on Saturday, May 26.
An additional game will be added at the end of the month as Sounders FC will begin its run to a fourth straight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The opponent and location of the third-round fixture are yet to be determined.
Tickets to home MLS matches are available through www.SoundersFC.com, all Ticketmaster Outlets, CenturyLink Field Box Office or by calling 877-MLS-GOAL.
Vancouver Rivalry Dates to 1974Saturday will mark the 119th meeting between Seattle and Vancouver teams in league or cup play since the Sounders and Whitecaps first collided on June 9, 1974 at the old Empire Stadium in a North American Soccer League match.
Following the demise of the Sounders in 1983, a new club comprised almost entirely of homegrown players, FC Seattle made its debut on June 10, 1984 at Memorial Stadium against the Whitecaps-one of four matches versus NASL teams in a challenge series. FC Seattle earned a 2-2 draw in the first match with Vancouver and scored its first victory against the 'Caps, 2-1, on August 4 at B.C. Place.
After the NASL folded Vancouver also formed a club around its plentiful native talent. The 86ers began play in the Canadian Soccer League in 1987, and faced FC Seattle in seven friendlies beginning that season through 1990.
The rivalry was renewed in 1994 when the Sounders joined the 86ers in the A-League. Vancouver adopted the Whitecaps brand once again beginning in 2001, and soon after supporters groups from Seattle, Portland and Vancouver founded the Cascadia Cup, a three-way competition to determine Pacific Northwest supremacy amongst the Sounders, Timbers and Whitecaps.
Seattle vs. Vancouver Series 1974-83: NASL - Sounders 13 wins; Whitecaps 17 wins; 1 draw
1984: Friendlies - FC Seattle 1 win; Whitecaps 0 wins; 1 draw
1987-90: WSL/Friendlies - FC Seattle 3 wins; 86ers 3 wins; 0 draws
1994-08: USL-1 - Sounders 43 wins; 86ers/Whitecaps 25 wins; 16 draws
2011-present: MLS - Sounders 1 win; Whitecaps 0 wins; 1 draw
Totals: 125 matches played - Seattle 61 wins, Vancouver 45 wins; 19 draws
Saturday marks Seattle's first match at BC Place as a MLS franchise. On June 20, 1983, a crowd of 60,342 - a Pacific Northwest record attendance for soccer - packed BC Place for the first sporting event, Vancouver's 2-1 victory over Seattle. Nearly 20 years later, on July 28, 2002, the first event at Qwest Field drew a USL-1 record 25,515 for the Sounders' 4-1 win over the Caps.
Hinton in the MixSounders FC broadcast analyst Alan Hinton has been on both sides of the Seattle-Vancouver rivalry, both in the NASL and A-League days. In 1978 during his final season as a player (and his first year as an assistant coach), Hinton established a league record with 30 assists and scored his penultimate goal in a win over Seattle.
In 1980, Hinton became head coach of the Sounders, leading them to a NASL-record 25 wins that season, the Trans-Atlantic Cup title in 1981 and a Soccer Bowl appearance in 1982. Two years later Hinton took over as head coach in Vancouver and his Whitecaps played the first game against FC Seattle.
King of CascadiaThe Cascadia Cup-holders will once again look to Fredy Montero to keep Seattle atop the Pacific Northwest. Montero netted a brace in both away Cascadia fixtures last season, and he assisted on the first goal of the Cascadia rivalry in MLS play (May 14). In Vancouver, Montero scored a Goal of the Year candidate, and added another tally four minutes later to secure the 3-1 win. At Portland, Montero twice brought Seattle level before Osvaldo Alonso converted the winning penalty kick.