VANCOUVER Whitecaps FC (6W-3L-7D) upended MLS-leading Seattle Sounders FC (11W-4L-2D) 1-0 in front of the eighth consecutive sellout of the 2014 season at BC Place.
With the win, the Blue and White remain unbeaten this year in Cascadia Cup derbies: sharing the points with Seattle 2-2 on May 24, before edging out Portland Timbers in a 4-3 thriller on June 1. The ‘Caps sit atop the Cascadia Cup standings with seven points from three matches.
A fluid and vastly entertaining first half epitomized by Sebastián Fernández’s bullet of a goal in the 12th minute, coupled with an organized and gritty defensive display in the second-half sent all 22,500 fans home happy.
Head coach Carl Robinson made three changes to his starting XI from the June 28 match at Colorado Rapids with Steven Beitashour, Gershon Koffie, and Kekuta Manneh replacing Nigel Reo-Coker, Russell Teibert, and Nicolás Mezquida.
For Beitashour, who had been away at the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Iran, it was his first start in a Whitecaps FC shirt in nearly two months.
The ‘Caps were positive with their decisiveness right from the get-go, feeding off an electric BC Place atmosphere.
Just a minute into the match, Fernández played Erik Hurtado in on goal. Sounders FC keerper Stefan Frei came rushing off his line to swipe the ball from Hurtado’s feet before the striker could get a shot off.
Five minutes later, Pedro Morales lifted one of his signature chipped through balls into the path of Manneh. However, Frei was alert once more, clearing the chance with a header into the direction of one of his defenders, this time.
The third chance of the match proved to be the charm for the ‘Caps.
The goal began with an industrious piece of work from Koffie to win the ball near the sideline. From there, the Ghanaian found the influential Morales, who passed it to Fernández. The Uruguayan midfielder took a touch, had a look up at goal, and blasted a laser beam into the top corner, giving the ‘Caps an early lead.
It was Fernández’s third goal for Whitecaps FC, since joining the club in the preseason.
Robinson’s side bookended the halftime whistle with two brilliant chances.
First Fernández dispossessed a Seattle player off of a Sounders FC corner. From deep inside his own half, Vancouver’s #7 carried the ball all the way inside Seattle’s third, before finding Hurtado, who in turn laid it off to an unmarked Morales on the right side of the box—the Chilean’s shot was parried away by Frei.
The ‘Caps continued the pressure coming out for the second half. Manneh used his blinding pace to run at Seattle’s backline, where he was tripped up by defender Zach Scott on the very edge of the 18-yard box. The ensuing Morales free kick was blocked by Seattle’s wall.
Seattle nearly equalized on 52 minutes.
A cross-field ball from Marco Pappa found Lamar Neagle on the left flank. Neagle decided to test Ousted from 20 yards out, but his right-footed strike went narrowly wide.
Hurtado and Morales telepathically combined on an additional chance to extend the Blue and White’s 1-0 advantage in minute 68.
The Chilean captain collected the ball near the middle of the pitch, following a courageous block from Jordan Harvey on a Kenny Cooper blast. Morales then sprung Hurtado through for his second one-on-one meeting with Frei on the evening—unfortunately the Oregon native wasn’t able to lift his attempted chip high enough to beat the Swiss keeper.
In the second minute of added time, Marco Pappa had one last chance to rescue a point for Seattle. The Guatemalan playmaker’s curling effort landed on top of David Ousted’s net, much to the dismay of the league leaders.
The Blue and White continue their mini home-stand next week, when they play host to Chivas USA on July 12. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT.
Stat of the Game:
Goalkeeper David Ousted made his 29th consecutive start with the club, which is the most on the team, recording his fourth clean sheet of the season.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Sebastián Fernández
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
12’ – VAN – Sebastián Fernández (Morales)
Shots: Seattle 14 – Vancouver 13
Shots on Goal: Seattle 2 – Vancouver 6
Saves: Seattle 5 – Vancouver 2
Fouls: Seattle 21 – Vancouver 12
Offsides: Seattle 1 – Vancouver 1
Corners: Seattle 3 – Vancouver 0
79’ – SEA – Chad Barrett
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 33.Steven Beitashour, 24.Carlyle Mitchell, 16.Johnny Leverón, 2.Jordan Harvey; 28.Gershon Koffie, 15.Matías Laba; 7.Sebastián Fernández (31.Russell Teibert 86’), 77.Pedro Morales (22.Christian Dean 90’+), 23.Kekuta Manneh (20.Nigel Reo-Coker 68’); 19.Erik Hurtado
Substitutes Not Used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 11.Darren Mattocks, 17.Omar Salgado, 29.Nicolás Mezquida
Seattle Sounders FC
1.Stefan Frei; 4.Jalil Anibaba, 14.Chad Marshall, 20.Zach Scott, 12.Leo Gonzalez (11.Aaron Kovar 86’); 27.Lamar Neagle (7.Tristan Bowen 55’), 3.Brad Evans, 42.Micheal Azira, 10.Marco Pappa; 33.Kenny Cooper (23.Cam Weaver 86’), 19.Chad Barrett
Substitutes Not Used
29.Josh Ford, 16.David Estrada,.Sean Okoli, 21.Fabio Pereira,