Sounders-Whitecaps FC Preview

The Seattle Sounders have a chance to clinch a playoff berth at

the expense of one of their rivals, but won’t have a record-setting

player in the lineup during that attempt.

Midfielder Mauro Rosales will sit out the Sounders’ visit to the

last-place Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.

Seattle (14-6-9) has already set franchise records with 51

points and 46 goals this season, and tied its record for wins with

a 3-0 home victory over D.C. United last Saturday.

Alvaro Fernandez scored twice and Rosales had a pair of assists

to give him a franchise-record 12, surpassing Fredy Montero’s mark

of 10 from last season.

In the 89th minute, though, Rosales tore the MCL in his right

knee while being fouled by United defender Daniel Woolard. The

midfielder, who had four goals and nine assists in his last 11

league matches, is expected to miss two to four weeks.

“I was really frustrated about this,” Rosales said. “Nothing to

lose, nothing to win and I get hurt.”

His teammates will try to overcome his absence by winning the

final game at Empire Field – Vancouver moves into the renovated BC

Place on Oct. 2 – and securing the franchise’s third MLS postseason

appearance in as many years in the league. The Sounders need a win

or draw against Vancouver or two of the following events to occur:

a Houston tie or loss, a Colorado loss or a Portland loss.

After finishing with a 2-all draw in Seattle on June 11,

Vancouver (4-14-10) has a chance to close out its temporary home by

staying alive for the Cascadia Cup, a round-robin competition among

the Whitecaps, Sounders and Portland.

Seattle would clinch the Cup with a victory Saturday, but

Vancouver can still win it by beating the Sounders and knocking off

the Timbers in the first game at its new home.

“As we move on to the end of the season, we need to look at this

Cascadia Cup as the last goal of the season,” captain Jay DeMerit

told the league’s website. “We’ve fallen short on some of our main

goals this season, so to look to this as an inspiration to finish

the season in the right way is what we’ll look to do.”

Vancouver enters this game following a 3-0 defeat at Los Angeles

that concluded a two-game winless road stretch. The Whitecaps,

though, have won their past two games at home.

If Eric Hassli can break his scoring drought, they might have a

chance at another. The forward is among the league’s leading goal

scorers with 10, but hasn’t found the net in five consecutive

games.

Hassli scored twice in the first match against the Sounders,

including the tying goal in the 85th minute on a highlight-reel

shot. Rosales had the first of his team’s goals in the 81st and

Osvaldo Alonso gave the Sounders a short-lived lead three minutes

later.