Seattle Sounders spoil Vancouver’s Cascadia party

May 18, 2015 at 10:41 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps | Leave a comment
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If you are a fan of the Vancouver Whitecaps, it was no fun last Saturday watching the Seattle Sounders dominate us on our own pitch. In recent memory we have had a lot of fun with the Seattle Sounders but it was their turn this time.

The Sounders played an intelligent away game, patiently soaking up pressure while taking advantage of two defensive errors and some poor goalkeeping to snatch a 2-0 win at BC Place.

Great march, but why not get in your seat on time?

Great march, but why not get in your seat on time?

Carl Robinson started with a strong defensive line up with Ousted in goal, Harvey and Beitashour on the flanks, and Waston and Kah in the middle. In midfield Teibert and Laba shielded the back four, while Manneh, Morales and Techera pressed forward in attacking midfield. Rivero was the sole striker.

Techera looked effective but one could not stop wondering what a fit Mauro Rosales could have done in his place against his old teammates.

Robinson chose to award Kekuta Manneh with the start after the little winger had terrorized the Sounders down the I-5 in the last few years. It turned out to be an error. Manneh ran out of ideas during the match and was easily contained by the Sounders defence, who had enough men back to put two on him whenever he got the ball. When he did get through, Manneh put poor crosses and passes to his teammates. In retrospect, Manneh should have been held in reserve and brought on as a substitute to shock Seattle when they were tired.

Seattle were happy to let striker Chad Barrett play alone up front while the illustrious Clint Dempsey played in a deep midfield role. The Teibert-Dempsey rematch did not materialize as Dempsey played so far back he rarely had anything to do with Teibert. Dempsey played very well in midfield, always having time on the ball and never looking flustered.

Our defence, which has been so solid this season, looked very ordinary in this match. An unfortunate aerial challenge by Rivero turned the ball over to Dempsey on the centre line. Dempsey took one touch and put a simple ball between Kah and Waston to a charging Chad Barrett, who had timed his run to perfection. Ousted hesitated and should have rushed out to challenge for the ball, as Barrett needed only one touch four yards into the 18 yard box to score on Ousted’s goal. Had Ousted challenged earlier he had a very good chance to meet with Barrett over the ball in the box for a 50/50 challenge he likely would have won. The Dane has been excellent this year but he took a few steps backward in this match.

Watson and Kah both looked slow and indecisive and seemed to lose track of who was supposed to be marking Barrett. Waston was slow in pursuit, and the Whitecaps were down 1-0 after five minutes.

The rest of the match was an exercise in frustration as Seattle played their advantage perfectly, biding their time soaking up the Whitecaps’ pressure. Once the Sounders managed to get possession, they made it very difficult for the Whitecaps to get the ball back. They patiently used all of the space on the pitch and stroked the ball around for extended periods of time while the Whitecaps stood back and watched.

The Sounders played an enormous number of passes before their second goal in the 38th minute. The Whitecaps sat back and watched as the Sounders lulled them to sleep with seemingly harmless passes around midfield. Marco Pappa, who was unmarked and had lots of room to work, spotted Barrett making a lightening forward run and passed a fantastic curling ball over Barrett’s left shoulder. Barrett cracked a volley with his left foot and beat Ousted, who was caught too far in his goal for the second time. Had Ousted come out further and challenged Barrett, he would have had a real chance to stop the shot. Waston was slow to react to Barrett’s run and put no real pressure on the shooter.

Our complicated captain Pedro Morales had a frustrating match. He lost the ball time and again, and only once did he look a threat to score when he forced Stephan Frei to make a save off of a tricky volley. Morales’s shooting was abysmal all night after this. While Morales seems able to finish difficult trick shots, he seems unable to accurately shoot the simplest of shots of off the ground. With the Sounders parking the bus 20 years out all night, the Whitecaps needed some accurate long range shooting, but no one was able to hit the net with any real effectiveness. The Whitecaps tried to tick-tack-toe it in the Sounders 18 yard box, but with all of the legs standing about it was impossible to get the ball through for a clean shot. Seattle keeper Frei has a relatively relaxed afternoon.

Seattle did what Toronto did on the season’s first match: they sat deep and forced the Whitecaps to try to pass the ball around them. Like the season’s first match, the Whitecaps were unable to do so.

Morales wasted virtually every corner kick he took, and one has to wonder why he is incapable of hitting Waston or Kah’s heads in front of goal. He overshot the whole team on two or three corner kicks which suited Seattle just fine.

I don’t think any of the Whitecaps could walk off of the pitch with their heads held high. Substitutes Koffie, Mattocks and Froese proved unable to change the match at all, and simply put in mediocre performances like the men they replaced.

Coach Robinson would have to admit he lost the battle of ideas with Seattle coach Sigi Schmidt. Schmidt had a good master plan, and put a big team of superb athletes on the pitch who made easy work of our team.

Even Seattle’s travelling fans out-performed those of the Whitecaps. The Sounders faithful were all in their seats twenty minutes before the match started while many Whitecaps fans (including the Southsiders) couldn’t be bothered to show up on time for kickoff.

It was a poor performance not only by the Vancouver Whitecaps, but by their supporters as well.

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