TUKWILA — There’s nothing like returning to play with a Cascadia rivalry matchup.

At least the Sounders hope that’s the case when they host Vancouver (5-7-2) on Tuesday at Lumen Field. The match was originally scheduled for April 30, but MLS accommodated Seattle to help the club focus on its ultimately successful CONCACAF Champions League run.

Now the Cascadia match kicks off a four-game homestand that the Sounders (5-6-1) need just about as much as the week off from training earlier this month as part of the FIFA international break. League standings will likely change more than the region’s spring weather, but Seattle is two points below the Western Conference playoff line, and the Sounders need to get back in the postseason picture as they’ve been since 2016.

Utilize the comforts of home to collect wins and the Sounders could be back in that position by July.

“If we truly want to make a push toward better positioning for the playoffs, then it needs to happen at home first and foremost,” Sounders keeper Stefan Frei said. “I’m not saying we need to get every single point on the table, but we need to look like we deserve every point. … We need to show that we’re wanting to take all of the points that we can and put us in really good position to do so.”

Here are some things to watch as the Sounders resume MLS competition:


Don’t pressure the internationals

One of the best attributes of U.S. international Cristian Roldan is that he goes all out whether it’s an MLS All-Star Game or league championship match. Not to say the others aren’t the same way, but it’s most noticeable with Roldan.

The Sounders, however, need to continue to demonstrate they can get positive results no matter the lineup or who’s making the plays. Tuesday will be one of those opportunities as Roldan, countryman Jordan Morris, midfielder Albert Rusnak (Slovakia) and Nouhou (Cameroon) aren’t expected to play due to international duty.

Morris and Roldan have a CONCACAF Nations League match Tuesday against El Salvador. Rusnak and Nouhou could be on the bench, but are doubtful to play because of the long flights to Seattle.

Nouhou is also dealing with an incident where Yaounde International Airport footage posted to YouTube shows the left back shoving and knocking the hat off a security agent late Friday. Nouhou issued an apology in his native French that read, in part, “I did not have sufficient control over my emotions. I ask forgiveness. I bitterly regret that this unfortunate incident occurred, and I offer my sincere and heartfelt apologies once again to the agent at Yaounde International Airport and all of his colleagues.”

Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said he saw the clip and plans to discuss the situation with Nouhou when he returns.

Rusnak was key in helping Seattle quickly adjust to playing without midfielder Joao Paulo, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in May. The Slovakian playmaker has started 10 of his 12 league appearances this season.


The positive is midfielder Nico Lodeiro and striker Raul Ruidiaz are rested and available along with a now healthy left back in Jimmy Medranda, and center back Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador) is available because he didn’t play in his national team’s final match.

Ruidiaz has scored in three of his past four MLS matches.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how the team comes out and performs,” said Schmetzer, whose Sounders will face a Vancouver side that’s unbeaten in five of its past six MLS matches. “The trainings have been OK, but let’s see how the game manifests itself.”

Keep it consistent

When it comes to quality — no matter the lineup — the Sounders defense is the perfect example of consistency. Seattle is among the league’s best in only conceding 16 goals in MLS matches.

Injuries, suspensions and call-ups forced Schmetzer to start unproven center back Jackson Ragen and shift midfielder Kelyn Rowe to fullback at times. Both helped hold the line through all competitions.

Schmetzer said Monday after training the team will be without center back Yeimar Gomez Andrade due to a right hamstring injury. It was described as precautionary after a set of MRIs didn’t show anything alarming.


Yeimar missed six matches earlier this season due to a high-ankle sprain.

“Kelyn is making a really good case for being the new Brad Evans, slotting in at every single position and doing so exceptionally well,” Frei said. “The proof in being able to do that is whether you can find consistency, especially in the back, finding confidence even when you have to move pieces around. For the most part I feel very confident with the guys that we have even when we had to move things around. That’s a good sign.”

The Sounders will also be without backup keeper Stefan Cleveland due to a laceration that needed 14 stitches around his left eye socket and cheek. The injury happened during training on a move to make a save, which he did despite the collision.

Worst snub ever?

Ruidiaz loves his country and publicly stated his want to be on Peru’s national team. How he was snubbed for the team’s loser-out World Cup qualifier match Tuesday against Australia is a mystery.

Peru lost 5-4 on penalties after a goalless draw. There’s no question to anyone who’s watched Ruidiaz play lately that he could’ve made a difference.

He could make it more obvious as the MLS season progresses. While the Sounders defense is stingy, the offense is among the league’s worst with 15 goals.

Ruidiaz and Morris are tied with three goals apiece to lead eight Sounders players to net goals in MLS games this season. It’s a good start, but more goals are needed from Ruidiaz, who was in the running for the league’s Golden Boot last year.