Seattle are the big favorites for Wednesday’s clash with Vancouver, but can the visitors pull off a major MLS surprise?
Who do Bettors Favor?
A check of the MLS markets at the best-rated online sportsbooks sites shows that bookmakers are going big on Seattle Sounders here. Seattle are the -165 favorite across the board, with Vancouver Whitecaps considered major underdogs on +440. But if you think the visitors can emerge from this tough assignment with a point, you can back the draw at +320.
|Seattle v Vancouver|
Seattle’s Slow Start
We have yet to see the best of the Seattle Sounders after 12 league matches, as they are off to their poorest start to a regular season since 2018, with only 16 points. That is perhaps understandable given that manager Brian Schmetzer has had to rearrange his lineup and adjust formations after their CONCACAF Champions League victory.
And there are signs that the Sounders are getting into gear now that they are free to focus solely on MLS. They have games in hand on the other teams in the Western Conference and have another four home games to come in June, so there’s a good chance for them to climb back to the top. And while they have conceded 16 goals already this season, nearly half as many as they conceded in the whole of the 2021 regular season, only five of those have come at home.
Vancouver Fighting Hard in MLS
Their style of play isn’t winning any admirers, but Vancouver head coach Vanni Sartini will not care as his team has extricated themselves from a tough spot at the bottom of the Western Conference, winning three of their last four MLS games.
They are a long way off qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2015, but they are at least back on track and at this stage of the season anything is possible. Still, it is worth noting that each of their last three winning goals has arrived via the penalty spot, including two game-winning spot-kicks in the final seconds of the game, most notably in a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake at the start of June.
MLS Betting Team News
Jordan Morris and Ruidiaz are tied for the lead in goals for Seattle, having each tallied three times in this domestic campaign, while Fredy Montero has found the back of the net on nine occasions in the Cascadia Cup for both the Sounders and his former club the Vancouver Whitecaps, so is likely to feature.
Alex Roldan and Nicholas Lodeiro came in for Kelyn Rowe and Jackson Ragen respectively in the game against Charlotte so may keep their place. Joao Paulo is still missing with an ACL injury.
Vancouver’s leading goalscorer Lucas Cavallini was in good form for Canada last week, scoring in a 4-0 win over Curacao, but whether he will be available for this game is unclear. Ranko Veselinovic and Ryan Gauld, who both scored in the last game against Real Salt Lake, could be in line for a start, along with major signing Andres Cubas, signed from Nimes in the French Ligue 2.
Still, Vancouver will be missing a few key players, including captain Russell Teibert, who has sustained an injury to his right eye, Cristian Dajome (hamstring injury) and Thomas Hasal (left hand problem).
Seattle Look a Solid Bet
Even though Seattle haven’t been at their best so far in MLS, there are positive signs, thanks largely to the return of a number of first-choice players. After missing the first four games of the regular season, Raul Rudiaz has had a big impact, scoring the game-winning goal in each of the Sounders’ past two wins to help them generate some momentum in the West.
There are also signs that they are getting back into the groove tactically. Some of their movement in recent games has been impressive, and they are starting to look like playoff contenders again.
Vancouver fans will be pleased with their team’s recent results, but there are clear problems, most notably in the central midfield areas, where the Whitecaps have been too easily dominated, putting their back line under intense pressure.
That helps to explain why they have been leaking so many goals – 24 so far – and is something that they will need to address if they want to entertain serious playoff ambitions.
On the plus side, they have a good record against some of the stronger teams in MLS, including wins over RSL and Dallas, and a creditable draw with NYCFC. But they don’t have a great record in Seattle, failing to win any of their last six games there. They haven’t won consecutive regular-season road games since 2018 and haven’t looked all that impressive away from home this time around either, so banking on Seattle’s attacking inventiveness looks the sensible option here.
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