Playing in the final match of the preseason Cascadia Summit, Vancouver Whitecaps FC held on to defeat Seattle Sounders FC 3-2 at Starfire Sports Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Early first-half goals by youngsters Omar Salgado and Russell Teibert set Teitur Thordarson's side on course for victory over their Pacific Northwest rivals. Brazilian trialist Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo struck Vancouver's winner early in the second half. Sounders FC replied through Roger Levesque and substitute Miguel Montano.
"I thought we played well today, and with a starting line-up that only had two players that have played in MLS before as well," Thordarson said after the match. "They had mistakes for the goals we scored, but we also made mistakes on their goals, so it was a bit even in that regard. I'm delighted we scored some goals today because we have created chances in games this preseason, but not always managed to score."
After playing Portland Timbers to a 1-1 draw on Saturday, Thordarson played some of his younger players against the Summit hosts, while his counterpart Sigi Schmid also played a number of reserve players for Sounders FC.
Though the crowd was predominantly cheering for the Emerald City outfit, it was the Whitecaps FC fans that were in delight on six minutes, as top MLS SuperDraft pick Salgado gave Vancouver the lead. The USA U-20 international took advantage of a mistake by Sounders FC centre back Taylor Graham when he claimed possession before finishing past Seattle goalkeeper Terry Boss.
It was a fine start for the Canadian visitors, and six minutes later, the 'Caps doubled their lead in very fortunate circumstances. Sanvezzo played a fine through ball to Teibert on the left. The Canadian youth international took possession before making his way down the left flank and hitting a dipping shot. Boss failed to deal with Teibert's shot, as the ball slipped through his hands before finding back of the net for 2-0.
It was as fine a start as the 'Caps could have asked for, but they were soon having to deal with a response from Sounders FC. On 20 minutes, Erik Friberg's free kick allowed defender Zach Scott to put a header straight at Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Jay Nolly before the rebound was cleared for a corner. Three minutes later, Nolly did well to stop Levesque at the far post after Friberg's shot flashed across the face of the Vancouver goal. At the other end, Whitecaps FC created more chances through centre back Greg Janicki on 24 minutes, while Sanvezzo had two good opportunities around the half-hour mark.
Any thoughts that this Interstate 5 showdown was comfortably in Vancouver's hands were ended just before halftime, as Levesque converted from close range for Sounders FC. The Seattle striker took advantage of a battle in the Whitecaps FC box following a Friberg corner to cut the 'Caps lead to 2-1 at halftime.
Thordarson started the second half by changing Nolly for Joe Cannon in goal, then seeing his side restore their two-goal advantage on 47 minutes. Nizar Khalfan's through ball to Salgado allowed the young striker to lift the ball over the onrushing Boss and towards an empty net. Patrick Ianni's attemped clearance only found Sanvezzo, who duly struck home to make it 3-1 to the 'Caps.
There was again an immediate response from the home side, with Ianni hammering a shot off the Vancouver crossbar on 53 minutes, while substitute Montano's first bit of action after coming on for O'Brian White was to force a save from Cannon with his low shot on 62 minutes. Five minutes later, Cannon made an outstanding save to deny Scott's bouncing header from finding the back of the net.
Seattle kept pushing, and after both clubs had made a number of changes, Sounders FC set up an exciting finish to Sunday's game with their second goal on 77 minutes. Levesque took a neatly played give-and-go on the right flank before hitting a low cross that Montano redirected home at the far post to make it 3-2 to Vancouver.
It left the young 'Caps side needing put up a brave rearguard action versus Seattle's late pressure, with Sounders FC fans willing the home side on to an equalizing goal in the dying stages. They had their chances through a David Estrada header over the crossbar from an Osvaldo Alonso free kick on 79 minutes, while Montano shot wide at close range five minutes later.
Though six minutes of time added on were played, Whitecaps FC held out for a preseason win, with 'MLS First Kick' versus Canadian arch-rivals Toronto FC just two weeks away for the Blue and White. Next Saturday, Thordarson's side will play their final match of preseason when they host MLS Cup holders Colorado Rapids in a closed-door contest at Empire Field. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. PT.
6’ – VAN - Omar Salgado (Nizar Khalfan)
12’ – VAN - Russell Teibert (Camilo Sanvezzo)
45’ – SEA – Roger Levesque (Patrick Ianni, Zach Scott)
47’ – VAN - Camilo Sanvezzo (Omar Salgado)
77’ – SEA – Montano (Roger Levesque, David Estrada)
Shots: Vancouver 9 - Seattle 17
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 6 – Seattle 7
Saves: Vancouver 5 – Seattle 3
Fouls: Vancouver 14 – Seattle 8
Corners: Vancouver 1 - Seattle 13
Offsides: Vancouver 4 – Seattle 1
10’ – SEA - Taylor Graham
18’ – VAN - Nizar Khalfan
81’ – VAN – Joe Cannon
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18.Jay Nolly (1.Joe Cannon 45’); 3.Bilal Duckett, 33.Michael Boxall, 14.Greg Janicki, 8.Wes Knight (25.Jonathan Leathers 62); 31.Russell Teibert (12.Jeb Brovsky 83’), 27.Alexandre Morfaw (7.Terry Dunfield 64’), 28.Gershon Koffie, 16.Nizar Khalfan (39.Cornelius Stewart 62’); 17.Omar Salgado (9.Atiba Harris 87’), 37.Camilo Sanvezzo (23.Long Tan 66’)
Seattle Sounders FC
28.Terry Boss; 5.Tyson Wahl, 4.Patrick Ianni, 26.Taylor Graham (16.David Estrada 45’), 20.Zach Scott; 14.Michael Tetteh (11.Steve Zakuani 76’), 8.Erik Friberg (6.Osvaldo Alonso 64’), 23.Servando Carrasco, 24.Roger Levesque; 2.Mike Fucito (27.Lamar Neagle 40’),13.O’Brian White (32.Miguel Montano 61’)