Kah double turns I5 nightmare into sweet dreamAugust 3, 2015 at 10:26 pm | Posted in Games In My Travels, Whitecaps season 2015 | 1 Comment
Tags: Cascadia Cup, Clint Dempsey, Pa Modou Kah, Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps, Vancouver Whitecaps 3 Seattle Sounders 0
I made up a group of four in a car heading down to Seattle for a crucial Cascadia Cup match. If the Sounders won the match it would mean passing the Cup over to them for 2015. I must admit I had my doubts heading down there; Seattle have always been a Major League Soccer powerhouse and more than 50,000 fans had bought tickets to the match. Reports had 1,000 Vancouver Whitecaps fans going down the I5 to Seattle.
We left Vancouver on a very hot Saturday morning at about 9:00AM. We arrived in Seattle at 3:15. We waited two hours to get to the border and got sent inside for another hour so our English companion could get checked out by secondary inspection. The other three of us had to accompany him to corroborate.
Traffic was awful on the way down and I promised myself to take the train next time. The train takes four hours; you can save yourself two hours on busy holiday weekend at the border.
What made matters worse was that my tickets were deep in Seattle fan territory, directly opposite from where the official Whitecaps section was. The last time I was in Seattle we lost 2-0 with Barry Robson serving a ban. We had won two games since in Seattle 4-1 and 1-0 and I thought it was too much to expect a win. I thought about the possibility of a 0-0 draw, but then saw that the Sounders were starting two strikers, Dempsey and Barrett. The Sounders’ form had been very poor recently and they were looking to reverse the trend in front of their massive home support.
Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson had lost Mauro Rosales to a mild groin injury and Nico Mezquida was expected to start in the number 10 role. He did, with Octavio Riveiro playing as sole striker. Kekuta Manneh played on the left flank, Chrisian Techera on the right. In defensive midfield were Mati Laba and Gershon Koffie who protected a back four of Jordan Harvey, Kendall Waston, Pa Modou Kah and Steven Beitashour. The towering and in-form David Ousted started in goal.
The Sounders were terrible in this match right from the start. I have never seen such a bad performance by Seattle players, who all seemed glued to the plastic playing surface. Clint Dempsey, the Sounders star striker, played his usual moody and lazy match with the occasional flash of quality.
The Whitecaps looked lively and in control right from the start, playing smart possession football. The diamond of Riveiro, Manneh, Mezquida and Techera moved the ball around with comparative ease, drawing some early fouls from the Sounders who were struggling with the Whitecaps’ fluid movement.
Christian Techera was fouled deep into Sounders territory to the right of their goal early on. Mezquida crossed the ball off of the free kick into Waston who deflected his near post header across the goal. The ball hit a Seattle defender and bounced in front of the net for Pa Modou Kah to slam home with a first time volley. Kah looked like a seasoned striker swinging his leg around to hit the ball just in front of the penalty spot. Stefan Frei in Seattle’s goal had no chance and didn’t bother to dive. It was 1-0 Whitecaps after 5 minutes of play. Whitecaps fans could not have hoped for a better start, and the travelling fans were loudly going bonkers off in the distance from where I was.
Techera and Mezquida put Riveiro through for a chance ten minutes later but the Uruguayan slid his low shot well wide. This was to be another barren match for Riveiro in goals, but his play holding the ball up in possession for our team was magnificent. Riveiro put fullback Harvey through alone on the left flank five minutes from half; Harvey elected to shoot from a steep angle and hit the post with a thundering shot over Frei’s head.
Seattle started to force matters late in the half and looked to have a goal when a close range effort was defeated by a desperate foot save from Ousted. The Whitecaps narrowly escaped and went into the locker room with their narrow advantage.
The Whitecaps earned a corner kick early in the first half and confounded a static Seattle defence with another Pa Modou Kah goal. Techera played a short corner to Manneh who took advantage of the time given by a lazy and disorganized Seattle defence to give the ball back to Techera at the top corner of the box. Techera shot a low drive towards the net which Kah back-heeled home.
Incredibly, Pa Modou Kah, who had not come close to scoring all year, had scored two and we were up 2-0 in Century Link Field after 48 minutes.
I thought Ousted in our goal would be laid siege to for the rest of the match, but a poor Seattle team could not move the ball up the field, and only Dempsey managed a shot which Ousted caught with little effort.
The Whitecaps were greedy with the ball and kept possession for long periods as a lazy Sounders team sat back and watched for the most part.
Nico Mezquida rang a free kick off of the goal post when the third man in the wall, (AKA Clint Dempsey) got out of the way for fear of getting hit by the ball. Mezquida gave way to Pedro Morales in the 72 minute. Morales strolled about the pitch for a few minutes before making it 3-0 with a brilliant free kick. Seattle set up a 3 man wall and again it was Dempsey who got out of the way of the ball, letting it through for a goal. I would imagine the Sounders will want some of their designated player money back from Dempsey after that shameful display.
After it was 3-0 the Sounders were well beaten and I have to say I admired the Seattle fans who continued to chant and sing for their team right until the final whistle.
It was a hard journey out but now I have lived the dream of seeing the Whitecaps beat the Sounders in their own stadium. The day started at 7 AM and ended at 2 AM, but was it worth it? You bet it was. I will brag about being there when the Whitecaps beat Seattle in their own park 3-0 whenever I get the chance.
I imagine Pa Modou Kah will also brag about this game in which he scored two goals in a great victory in front of 50,000 hostile fans. No Whitecaps fan who saw it will forget that performance and surely Kah’s name now passes into Whitecaps legend.
The Whitecaps set up this Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions league match in Vancouver by taking a group photo in Century Link Field after the match, which incensed the Sounders. The Whitecaps first ever Champions league match could be a very tasty match indeed.