Whitecaps trying to chase down a playoff berth

The Vancouver Whitecaps host the Western Conference-rival Seattle Sounders on Sunday in a match that could have significant implications on the MLS playoff picture.

Vancouver entered the weekend eighth in the West, six points behind Seattle and the top six playoff-qualifying spots. The Whitecaps still have a chance of making the playoffs, with nine points left to play for, despite winning only once in their last 11 matches.

The Sounders, who have won two of their last five matches on the road, have won three consecutive matches, including a 1-0 win over Chicago last week. They're at 41 points with the chance to move up to fifth in the West.

“It's very important to me and my players and the club that we try and get the better of them,” Vancouver coach Carl Robinson said of the team's regional rival. “Obviously those organizations will be saying the same. I'm sure there'll be blood, sweat, and thunder come Sunday. Which is what we all want to see — plus some goals.”

Seattle will be without its top player, attacker Nicolas Lodeiro, who has five assists and three goals in his 10 regular-season appearances since he was signed by the Sounders. He won't be in the lineup due to caution accumulation. Seattle will again be without forward Clint Dempsey because of an irregular heartbeat.

A key matchup will be Vancouver defenseman Tim Parker lining up against Seattle forward Jordan Morris, who has three goals in his last three games and 12 goals on the season.

This is the third and final regular season meeting between Vancouver and Seattle. The teams are split with one win each. The Whitecaps won the first match 2-1 thanks to a pair of Pedro Morales penalty kicks, but Seattle responded with a 1-0 victory last month, dealing a blow to Vancouver's playoff hopes in the process.