It was a case of too much Le Toux too soon for the Vancouver Whitecaps at Swangard Stadium on Friday night.
Sebastien Le Toux, the Seattle Sounders' flashy French midfielder and reigning USL-1 MVP, set up Josh Gardener's third-minute, far-post rocket, then -- just four minutes later -- broke in alone and beat a helpless Srdjan Djekanovic along the ground to bury the home side early.
It was a horrific start for a Whitecaps side that has been surprisingly sound defensively given all the preseason hype about their attacking intentions.
Coming into the game, which the Sounders went on to win 2-0, Vancouver (3-2-1) had allowed just one goal in five games with Djekanovic posting all four shutouts.
He couldn't be blamed on the goals. It was mostly a case of Vancouver trying to press the issue from the opening kick off and getting burned by a well-organized Sounders squad that was virtually identical to the one that claimed the USL-1 crown last season.
The Whitecaps initially cried offsides on the second goal, but head coach Teitur Thordarson said post-game that it was too tough to tell from the replay.
Even after that disputed play, the Whitecaps seemed generally discombobulated for the rest of the half.
Seattle managed to break in alone again in minute 17 when another counterattack sprung forward Roger Levesque. He was deemed offside, which might have been a makeup call.
Defender Diaz Kambere had the Whitecaps' hardest shot of the night, but it came on Djekanovic when he volleyed a Le Toux cross on his own goal in the 23rd minute.
Forward Eddy Sebrango remains the only Whitecap to score in league play this season as he owns all three of their goals -- something that is starting to become disturbing. Sebrango headed Martin Nash's cross wide in minute 66 for Vancouver's best chance of the second half, but Sounders keeper Chris Eylander didn't have to work too hard on the night.
Newcomer Chris Pozniak, a Canadian international who was waived by Chivas USA of Major League Soccer earlier this month, made his debut when he subbed in at the 60-minute mark. He played in midfield, sending Steve Kindel back to outside left defence.
Vancouver was missing defenders Takashi Hirano (knee) and Jeff Clarke (thigh) to injury.
Seattle (3-1-3), which makes the move to Major League Soccer next season, is now unbeaten in five games.
Vancouver doesn't have much time to think about this one, although the defeat will make for a long night. The Whitecaps were hopping on a bus right after the game for the seven-hour drive to take on the Portland Timbers (3-0-4).
The Whitecaps beat the Timbers 4-0 in a preseason game.
© The Vancouver Province 2008