SEATTLE: The season came to a close for Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Thursday evening, as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders FC.
Clint Dempsey scored a pair of second-half goals to give the Sounders the victory in the decisive leg of the Western Conference Semifinal at CenturyLink Field. The win books Seattle a spot in the Western Conference Championship after the two sides played to a scoreless draw in the first leg at BC Place last Sunday.
The loss concludes a historic year for Whitecaps FC that started with a semifinal finish at the CONCACAF Champions League, and saw them man the top spot in the Western Conference for majority of the final five weeks of the regular season.
It was another tightly-played fixture between the Cascadian rivals.
An eventful first half saw a video review of a play between defenders Jake Nerwinski and Nouhou Tolo around the ‘Caps 18-yard box, with referee Baldomero Toledo ruling that the no-call on a penalty stood. However, the play cost the ‘Caps Nerwinski, as their starting right back had to be helped off the pitch in the 36th minute with a left hamstring strain.
The ‘Caps stood their ground initially, but the Sounders would eventually capitalize.
Dempsey, who missed wide on the Sounders’ best chance in the opening half, would be right on target in the 56th minute. The American international fired from the top of the box, converting off some one-touch passing between a number of Sounders attackers, after a fine run from Cristian Roldan along the left side.
Seattle’s star striker put the match away in the 88th minute. Dempsey scored the insurance goal with a flying right-footed volley, finishing off a well-placed Víctor Rodríguez cross for the final tally, 2-0.
The Sounders now await the winner of the semifinal series between Portland Timbers and Houston Dynamo. Portland and Houston enter Sunday’s decisive leg at Providence Park tied in aggregate after a scoreless first leg last Monday.
ADDITIONAL NOTES: Jordan Harvey, who subbed on to replace Nerwinski, made his 200th appearance in a Whitecaps FC uniform… Alphonso Davies made his MLS Cup Playoffs debut as a second-half substitute. He celebrated his 17th birthday on Thursday.
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
56′ – SEA – Clint Dempsey (Harry Shipp, Will Bruin)
88′ – SEA – Clint Dempsey (Víctor Rodríguez, Nicolás Lodeiro)
Possession: Seattle 53.3% – Vancouver 46.7%
Shots: Seattle 20 – Vancouver 7
Shots on Goal: Seattle 5 – Vancouver 1
Saves: Seattle 1 – Vancouver 3
Fouls: Seattle 7 – Vancouver 15
Offsides: Seattle 0 – Vancouver 1
Corners: Seattle 24 – Vancouver 10
9′ – SEA – Nicolás Lodeiro
38′ – VAN – Cristian Techera
49′ – VAN – Fredy Montero
58′ – SEA – Nosa Igiebor
68′ – SEA – Román Torres
82′ – VAN – Kendall Waston
Seattle Sounders FC
24.Stefan Frei; 18.Kelvin Leerdam, 29.Román Torres, 14.Chad Marshall, 5.Nouhou Tolo; 7.Cristian Roldan, 10.Nicolás Lodeiro ©; 19.Harry Shipp (8.Víctor Rodríguez 67′), 2.Clint Dempsey, 33.Joevin Jones (4.Gustav Svensson 60′); 17.Will Bruin (27.Lamar Neagle 90’+1′)
Substitutes not used
1.Tyler Miller, 15.Tony Alfaro, 21.Jordy Delem, 23.Henry Wingo
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
24.Stefan Marinovic; 28.Jake Nerwinski (2.Jordan Harvey 36′), 4.Kendall Waston ©, 26.Tim Parker, 17.Marcel de Jong (20.Brek Shea 80′); 66.Aly Ghazal, 50.Nosa Igiebor; 13.Cristian Techera (67.Alphonso Davies 64′), 29.Yordy Reyna, 7.Christian Bolaños; 12.Fredy Montero
Substitutes not used
1.David Ousted, 11.Nicolás Mezquida, 16.Tony Tchani, 23.Bernie Ibini