Categorized | MLS Match Reports

Sounders Shut Out Whitecaps

Posted on 19 August 2012 by Kyle Alm

Both sides in today’s match have had their share of disappointment over the last week. Sounders lost the US Open Cup in Kansas City in a controversial shootout and added a 2-1 defeat in San Jose before returning home to the friendly confines of CenturyLink field to face the Vancouver Whitecaps. Whitecaps have their own minor disappointment, losing at BC Place to FC Dallas 2-0, breaking a winning streak dating back to April 18th.

Both teams have changed the look of their lineups recently, addition of Christian Tiffert and the return of Michael Gspurning from injury have made positive impacts but not enough to win the US Open Cup last week, or to earn three points against MLS leading San Jose. Whitecaps have dramatically changed their personnel, shipping Eric Hassli to Toronto for first round draft pick and international player slot for 2013, and Sebastian Le Toux to New York Red Bulls and getting Dane Richards back in return. Vancouver seem poised to rebuild their team next season, but  having added Kenny Miller and Barry Robson, they are also very much in the MLS Playoff hunt for 2012. Jay DeMerit would not be available from concussion symptoms.

Sounders center backs Jeff Parke and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado had their hands full with supremely athletic forward Darren Mattocks and strike partner Camilo Sanvezzo. Parke and Hurtado were able to match their physicality to the athleticism of the Whitecaps strike duo and were able to limit their chances.

Carlyle Mitchell and Eddie Johnson were both the center of much speculation after some contact before a corner kick that started with a little light shoving to gain position. Johnson and Mitchell were jostling for position when Johnson struck Mitchell in the head, around the ear trying to separate himself from the Vancouver defender.

The first half was played on level, each team having an equal share of possession, but with Seattle creating more crosses, shots, and chances on frame. There were only 14 fouls called by referee Silviu Petrescu, but the first half was disjointed by stopped play for players being looked at for treatment.

Early in the second half Sounders created two excellent scoring opportunities on crosses but were unable to get a shot on frame. Osvaldo Alonso got a ball that sailed over Eddie Johnson and the defenders in the box, but put his shot directly into Carlyle Mitchell, and a minute later when Eddie Johnson found himself all alone at the top of the six yard box. Johnson put his volley wide after looking surprised that the ball reached him in such an opportune position.

61st minute Sigi Schmid made an uncharacteristic early substitution of Fredy Montero for Alex Caskey. It would only take 3 minutes for Montero to get on the score sheet on a cross from Mauro Rosales that was chested down by Jeff Parke, Montero received the ball near the 6 yard box and put it away cleanly. In a tribute to the recent perfect game by Mariners pitcher, Montero was “Felixing” after scoring.

Whitecaps had not created much offense on their own in the second half, their best opportunities coming off of miscues by Sounders. Michael Gspurning had not made a single save all match, although he was active in collecting the ball.

Vancouver were on the attack in the 81st minute and were quite unlucky to not get the equalizer when Darren Mattocks was called for a foul against Jeff Parke. Mattocks thought he had collected the ball cleanly and finished before Petrescu called him for the foul. It would have been Vancouver’s only shot on goal.

Sounders would put the match back out of reach in the 87th minute. die Johnson found a moment of redemption when he was delievered an absolute sitter from Brad Evans. Evans received a aerial ball from Alonso switching the field of play and played a square ball on the ground just in front of the 6-yard box. Both Evans and Alonso were credited with their second assists of the season.

Montero scored his seventh goal of the 2012 MLS season, he’s scored five of those as a substitute. Coach Schmid had this to say about using Montero as a sub, “Fredy missed practice Friday, it was an excused absence. We are not looking to turn [Montero] into a ‘super-sub.'” Schmid could not have been more plain, he wants Montero as a starter, and that any forward would respond in a similar fashion when their minutes are limited.

To Sliviu Petrescu’s credit, he kept the match from getting out of hand. There were several moments where players were being quite physical and aggressive during play, and several where it looked like players were ready to take matters into their own hands. He was quick to separate players who were having confrontations and only had to issue two cautions, both in the second half, one for Hurtado 58th minute and one for Koffie in second half stoppage time both for excessive fouls.

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