Key storylines, broadcast information and players to watch for Sunday evening's rivalry match between the Sounders and Whitecaps at BC Place.
Sounders match day
Sounders (12-13-5) at Vancouver Whitecaps (9-14-8)
5 p.m. Sunday at BC Place
TV: Fox Sports 1. Radio: KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, El Rey 1360 AM
Life without Lodeiro: The Sounders will be without Nicolas Lodeiro for the first time in the Brian Schmetzer era, the Uruguayan attacking midfielder having picked up a one-game yellow card suspension on Wednesday against the Fire.
Seattle is already without another one of its Designated Players, Clint Dempsey, who will miss the rest of this MLS season while undergoing evaluations for an irregular heartbeat.
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“Losing Dempsey was critical,” Schmetzer said. “Losing Nico is the same type of deal.”
Expect Seattle to attempt to fill Lodeiro’s playmaking role by committee. Andreas Ivanschitz has played well lately and is tied for the team lead in assists after teeing up Chad Marshall against Chicago. The Sounders could also use a breakout game from Alvaro Fernandez, who has been mostly quiet since joining the team in the summer transfer window.
The captain returns: Brad Evans has missed Seattle’s last four games but is expected to return to action on Sunday. He will likely have to find a new position, Evans himself conceded, given how well Roman Torres has deputized at center back in his absence.
“Because the guys have played so well, I’ve got to potentially plug in somewhere in the midfield,” Evans said. “I think we’ll go over that (Saturday) or Sunday and see where I fit in with the team. If it’s off the bench, who knows. I just want to help the team anyway I can.”
Riding the wave: The Sounders entered the weekend in a playoff spot for the first time all season, but they needn’t look much further than the Portland team they left over into sixth place to see just how tenuous such standing can be.
“Everything we’ve done in the past two months can be taken away in the snap of a finger,” Evans said. “I think everybody realizes that. Just as fast as it can turn around one way, it can turn around the other way. We have to continue to ride the wave.”
Prediction: Sounders 1, Whitecaps 1.