Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Seattle Sounders FC will be hoping to clinch a postseason berth on Wednesday when the club welcomes Vancouver Whitecaps FC to CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders enter the contest in second place in the Western Conference on 51 points, needing a victory over the 'Caps to seal a place in the MLS Cup playoffs for the fifth-straight year. Seattle also could clinch if the San Jose Earthquakes fail to take points off of the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday.
But in order to get a win against Vancouver, the Sounders will need to turn out a better performance than they did at Dick's Sporting Goods Park against the Rapids on Saturday.
Colorado dominated from the opening whistle and went on to stick four first- half goals past Michael Gspruning en route to a 5-1 drubbing.
"You've got to be awake right from the beginning of the game. Colorado did a good job of taking advantage of that, but you can't give up a goal in the first 30 seconds of the game," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told the club's official website. "At the end of the day we have to learn that thats not good enough. You can't walk on the field and assume that you're going to be in the game. You have to be in the game mentally right from the beginning of the game."
Seattle will be buoyed by returning to its home turf, where it has posted a 10-1-4 record this term. The club's last home loss came in the form of a 1-0 result against the Montreal Impact on March 2, Seattle's opening match of the season.
The 'Caps have only managed a 3-8-4 record away from home, but their backs are against the wall in their postseason chase.
Vancouver comes into the contest in seventh place in the West on 42 points with only three matches remaining.
The club earned a point in dramatic fashion at BC Place on Sunday as Camilo Sanvezzo scored twice in the span of two minutes to hand the club a 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers. The Whitecaps nearly stole all three points late in the affair, but a string of heroic saves from Donovan Ricketts kept the home side at bay.
"Credit to their 'keeper for making two world-class saves; credit to our guys for coming back and showing character," Whitecaps defender Jay DeMerit said after the match. "Even from going down today, we were able to do it again. Camilo again shows his class, and why he was on the All-Star team.
"Overall, it was a very exciting game for everyone involved, but we only got one point which means the next three games are critical - they're all must- wins."
Sneaking into the postseason would be a tall order for the 'Caps, but head coach Martin Rennie insists that his team is up to the task.
"Playing like that, it can be done," Rennie said after the draw with Portland. "What a threat we were, with (Darren) Mattocks, Camilo (Sanvezzo), Kekuta (Manneh) and at times with Daigo (Kobayashi), what a threat. I think if we get those kind of players on the field and if we get Russell (Teibert) probably doing what he was doing a little bit earlier in the game, then we have a fantastic chance to do that.
"It's obviously a big ask, but we want to make sure now we focus on Wednesday."