Four things we learned from 2-0 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps

The Whitecaps were able to get their first MLS Cascadia win when they topped the Sounders 2-0.

For the first time in the club’s Major League Soccer history, Sounders FC is left to ponder a loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Now 3-1-3 against their northern rivals, Seattle dropped a 2-0 result at BC Place on Saturday and have plenty to learn from the defeat.

Here are some of those things learned from the match.

Quality over quantity

It seems to go against convention, but Sounders FC was much better in many facets of the game on Saturday in a 2-0 defeat than they were on Wednesday when they topped D.C. United 2-0 at CenturyLink Field. One area where the play was noticeably better was in the attack, where Seattle put seven shots on goal and it took a Herculean effort from Brad Knighton to keep Sounders FC from running away with the victory. Among them, Eddie Johnson, Lamar Neagle and Obafemi Martins combined for 12 of Seattle’s 17 shots, putting five of those shots on goal. The only thing absent from the equation was the finishing.

“I thought we had some good combination play up front, I thought we put ourselves in some very dangerous spots,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “The quality of our crossing still needs to be better, I think there were some good situations we put ourselves in and that’s something we’ve got to get back to as well.”

Stick to your instincts

Schmid has picked up a lot of things along the path of 400 matches in his coaching career, but he went solidly against one of them on Saturday night, inserting DeAndre Yedlin for Leo Gonzalez in the 79th minute. Moments after the change, which also moved Zach Scott from right back to left back, Darren Mattocks battled for the ball and scored off of a goal kick that pinballed through the midfield and to him for the scoring chance.

“One of my beliefs is that you don’t change your back four in a tight game,” he said. “I went against my own principle and we took a goal right away from that so I’ve got to stick with my principles.”

‘Caps dig the long ball

Just as Seattle’s attacking players hold a speed advantage over the Vancouver defense, the Whitecaps FC attackers have speed on their side as well. Sounders FC knew that going into the match, but were still victimized by that speed on two occasions. First, Kenny Miller opened scoring in the fourth minute by darting behind the defense on a ball from Corey Hertzog, then Mattocks used his speed and strength to get the shot away on the second goal in the 79th minute.

“With their team, they have very good players and players that have played at the highest level. At the end of the day, it’ll be those two long balls that stick out,” said midfielder Brad Evans, who served as captain on the night. “Do we have to be a little more cautious and let them build? I don’t think we want to let them build because their players are so skilled in the midfield and they caught us twice so that’s the price that we pay.”

Wherever you may go

On each road trip, Sounders FC can count on seeing their supporters in large numbers in the stands. On Saturday, they were a significant presence at BC Place. Though the stadium was packed with a season-high crowd of 22,500, the traveling crew from Seattle was often the most vocal in the stadium. When the team reached the border on their return trip to Seattle, they encountered four of the buses filled with supporters going through customs. As the players filed out of the building toward their own bus, they were greeted by the cheering horde from the last of the buses, singing to the team and slapping high-fives. It was a small thing, but certainly lifted the spirits of the bus, as they now turn their attention to their next match on Saturday in San Jose against the Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium – another venue that regularly sees large crowds of away support when Seattle is in town.

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