VANCOUVER, B.C. – It is not always the team with the most chances that wins, but the team that takes the most advantage of those chances.
On Saturday at BC Place, that was the case for Sounders FC as it outplayed Whitecaps FC for the majority of the match. It outshot, outpassed and outpossessed Vancouver, but Whitecaps FC got an early first-half goal and a late second-half goal to sink Seattle 2-0 for its first win the MLS era of the Cascadia Cup.
While Seattle got the better of the offensive play, it ran into a hot goalkeeper, as Brad Knighton finished the night with seven saves to keep Sounders FC off the board.
“Soccer’s a funny game. I didn’t think we played the game real well on Wednesday night (against DC United) and we won the game 2-0,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “Tonight I thought we played really well, especially through the first 60 minutes. We gave up a goal early. We had opportunities and we should have finished some of those opportunities.”
In the fourth minute, Corey Hertzog lofted the ball over the top and Miller ran on it up the left side. He cut back to his right foot to elude Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, then turned a shot inside the far post past a diving Michael Gspurning for the 1-0 lead.
From the rest of the half, Seattle battled to get an equalizer and Vancouver goalkeeper Knighton prevented that with five first-half saves.
Some good ball movement in the 22nd minute ended with the ball at the feet of Eddie Johnson, but his shot from nine yards out on the right side was cut away by Knighton for a corner. On the ensuing corner kick, Lamar Neagle found Zach Scott on a near-post run and after his initial header was blocked he hit a left-footed volley that was again knocked down by Knighton.
In the 26th minute, Shalrie Joseph led Johnson on a run up the middle and Knighton blocked his effort with a foot-save and followed that up with another sprawling stop on the put back by Obafemi Martins.
“He did a good job, but we had way too many chances to not have one goal,” Neagle said of Knighton. “He did well. He had a good game and came out and pressured us at the right times. But still, I had two chances that I should have definitely scored.”
That control of dangerous possession continued into the second half and Joseph forced Knighton into another save in the 67th minute, hitting a right-footed half-volley through traffic to Knighton’s right, but the Vancouver keeper dove for the stop.
It looked like Sounders FC would find its equalizer, but then, completely against the run of play, Darren Mattocks made it 2-0 in the 79th minute. Knighton sent a long goal kick up the field for Vancouver and Gershon Koffie nodded it forward. Mattocks then touched it forward and fought off Djimi Traore before lifting a left-footed floater over the reach of Gspurning to put Seattle behind 2-0 and that’s how the match would finish.
“I’m not displeased with what we created and how we played. Our finishing needed to be a bit sharper, then we don’t make the goalkeeper look that good,” Schmid said. “Even at 2-0 we felt capable of coming back. All good things come to an end and obviously it came to an end today.”
Both teams are now 1-1-1 in Cascadia Cup standings while the Portland Timbers are 0-0-2.
The loss drops Seattle to 7-6-3. They will face the San Jose Earthquakes on July 13 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Sounders FC – None.
Whitecaps FC – Kenny Miller (Corey Hertzog) 4; Darren Mattocks (Gershon Koffie, Brad Knigthon) 79.
Sounders FC – Lamar Neagle (caution) 61; Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution) 90.
Whitecaps FC – None.
Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning, Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez (DeAndre Yedlin 79), Brad Evans, Servando Carrasco, Shalrie Joseph, Lamar Neagle (Mauro Rosales 72), Eddie Johnson, Obafemi Martins.
Whitecaps FC – Brad Knighton, YP Lee, Brad Rusin, Johnny Leveron, Jordan Harvey, Nigel Reo-Coker, Jun Marques Davidson, Gershon Koffie, Corey Hertzog (Daigo Kobayashi 64), Camilo Sanvezzo (Darren Mattocks 76), Kenny Miller (Matt Watson 94+).