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Second Glance: Vancouver Whitecaps

The Sounders picked up a draw for the fourth time in their last seven matches against the Whitecaps on Saturday.

The Vancouver Whitecaps took a first-half lead on a penalty kick, but Seattle bounced back with two goals in the 81st and 84th minutes, only to have Eric Hassli ruin the night with a wonderstrike for the equalizer in a 2-2 draw.  Seattle is now 5-4-7 and stays in third in the MLS Western Conference with 22 points, a mark that would have them tied for the lead in the Eastern Conference.

Turning Point
Seattle was battling from behind from the 29th minute, when Hassli converted his penalty kick.  Try as they might, though, they were just spinning their wheels until Mauro Rosales put away his first goal as a Sounder in the 81st minute, knocking home a cross from Tyson Wahl that cleared the heads of Nate Jaqua and two Vancouver defenders at the near post.  The goal completely changed the coarse of the game as Seattle grasped the momentum from Vancouver, only to hand it right back when Hassli scored his game-tying goal in the 85th minute.

Osvaldo Alonso
made two glaring mistakes in the match that led to both Vancouver goals, picking up the foul that gave the Whitecaps the penalty in the first half and had the giveaway that Hassli converted for the equalizer.  However, he was still a defensive force in the middle of the field, stopping players dead in their tracks on countless occasions.  Add to that his first goal of the season on a left-footed strike from 20 yards away - the type of goal that could start a run of offensive output from Alonso and he was a surefire bet as the Man of the Match.
Mauro Rosales had the other goal for Seattle, but was so vital in several other offensive efforts for Seattle that it’s hard to ignore his contributions.  He frequently got the Sounders into dangerous positions and provided some well-timed runs when they seemed to need them.  This despite taking several Vancouver cleats to the ankles throughout the match, one of which got a yellow card for Alain Rochat.

What We Learned
The Game is 90 Minutes -
Of course we already know this, but we were certainly reminded by the excitement of the final 10 minutes on Saturday.  With three goals from the 81st minute on, it was a firm reminder that no lead is safe and that momentum can be easily turned if it’s taken for granted.
Big and Physical Reigns In MLS - This is another thing that we’ve seen before, but the point was driven home by the likes of Hassli and Jay DeMerit.  Size and strength are rewarded far beyond skill in Major League Soccer.

Next In Line
The Sounders have just one loss in their last seven matches, but have gotten only 10 points in that stretch.  They will look to improve on that mark at BMO Field against a Toronto FC side that is just 2-5-8 (14 points) on the season and seventh in the Eastern Conference.  The Sounders won the previous meeting 3-0 at Qwest Field on April 30, getting a goal from Alvaro Fernandez and two from Brad Evans.