John Atkinson, special to The Sun
The Vancouver Whitecaps women's season came to a disappointing end when they were edged out of the W-League Final Four by a 67th-minute goal from Chalise Baysa in a hard-fought Western Conference play-off final against local rivals Seattle.
The Sounders dominated the opening period at Swangard Stadium and Vancouver had Erin McNulty to thank for keeping their scoresheet clean early on, the goalkeeper diving acrobatically to her left to tip a goal-bound Annie Schefter shot around the post.
However, the Whitecaps were able to soak up the pressure and it was they who had the ball in the back of the net in the 28th minute. Lexi Marton's effort was disallowed, though, after Chelsea Stang was penalised for an obstruction in the preceeding play.
Vancouver began much brighter after the break and Monica Lamfeist wasted a golden opportunity to fire her team ahead with a clumsy first touch, following a perfect cross from Karla Schacher just past the hour mark.
The Whitecaps were made to rue that miss when Baysa hooked in Shannon Lovejoy's flick-on to give Seattle the lead, after the home defence had failed to deal with a corner.
Head coach Bob Birarda threw on key forward Tiffeny Milbrett - on the substitutes bench because of a back injury - with 13 minutes to go in a bid to spark a turnaround and her impact was instant. Katrin Schmidt's cross was headed against the post by Schacher and the ball broke to Milbrett, whose shot was saved by Sounders' keeper Jessica Salvi.
Schacher then had another chance to be a hero following Lamfeist's fine throughball, but her prod past the onrushing Salvi from the left side of the penalty box rolled agonizingly the wrong side of the post.
© Vancouver Sun