September 14, 2018 / 7:51 PM / a month ago

Streaking Sounders, Whitecaps set for pivotal clash

The Sounders (12-9-5, 41 points) have won a post-shootout-era record eight straight games heading into Saturday’s tilt against the Whitecaps (11-9-7, 40 points) in Vancouver. However, Seattle is clinging to a Western Conference playoff berth — just one point ahead of Vancouver.

“Any other team that had won eight straight would probably jump up to the top of the table, but we’re not there,” Sounders forward Will Bruin told reporters. “So, we look at it like it’s a great streak and we want to keep it going. We’re not content.”

With their 3-1 win over Kansas City on Sept. 1, the Sounders became the first team to post eight straight wins since the Los Angeles Galaxy won 12 straight games in 1996, when shootouts were still used to decide regular-season games. Shootouts ended in 1999, when the league began to allow ties.

With draws included, the Sounders have gone 11 games without a loss (9-0-2). The Whitecaps also have a nice little streak of their own going. They are unbeaten in their past six games (4-0-2). Vancouver’s last loss was on July 21 — a 2-0 defeat at Seattle.

The Sounders have not dropped a game since June 30 against Portland.

“(We are) two teams that are playing at a pretty high level,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer told reporters. “It should be a very exciting match.”

Vancouver could be a major spoiler for a second time this season after halting the Portland Timbers’ unbeaten string at 15 games. But the Whitecaps, who have not scored a goal in their past four meetings with Seattle, are portraying themselves as underdogs.

“You could say it’s that David versus Goliath story right now, because ... we know how good of a team they are, and they’re on one of the best runs in MLS history,” Caps midfielder Russell Teibert told reporters.

The Whitecaps will try to excel without speedy winger Yordy Reyna, who has two goals and six assists in his last four starts. He will serve a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation.

As a result, midfielder Nicolas Mezquida could play more of an offensive role. Mezquida hopes to shine in the so-called rivalry game.

“It’s different,” he told reporters. “In the morning when I wake up to play against Portland, or Seattle, it smells different — it smells special.”

—Field Level Media

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