COQUITLAM, BC – It was a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon at Town Centre Park for what proved to be a heated affair, as Vancouver Whitecaps FC women (0W-3L-0D) were defeated 2-0 by Seattle Sounders Women (1W-0L-0D) in United Soccer Leagues (USL) W-League action. In keeping with the Cascadian rivalry, a strong showing of 1,465 fans were on hand to show their support for the ‘Caps, who are still chasing an elusive first win to the season. The fixture marked the 39th all-time meeting between Vancouver and Seattle, with both teams celebrating their 12th competitive season.
Opportunities abounded for both sides in the first half, but despite the quick pace of the back and forth match, the first 45 minutes proved fruitless. Seattle would get their first real chance at goal eight minutes in when central midfielder Veronica Perez managed an athletic diving header off a cross by striker Lyndsey Patterson. The ball appeared to be heading towards goal before Whitecaps FC left fullback Brittany Galindo managed to deflect it wide of the net at the last second. In what was typical of the back-and-forth throughout the match, Whitecaps FC were quick to respond only a minute later when central midfielder Mary Kate McLaughin was able to get past her marker to head a corner by Mele French with pace just beyond the far post.
‘Caps striker Jenna Richardson showed great vision at the 17 minute mark, cutting off a Seattle pass in central midfield and dribbling past a defender to rifle one off from the top of the 18-yard box, but the powerful shot sailed well high of goal. Not long after, Whitecaps FC appeared to have drawn first blood in the 23rd minute when centre back Shannon Woeller lobbed a ball into the box, which midfielder Nicole Setterlund neatly flicked on just over the head of Seattle goalkeeper Katie Hultin, but the play was called back for being offside.
The majority of the chances for the Sounders in the first half came from Seattle’s left flank, where striker Megan Manthey proved extremely hard to contain on the wing. Fortunately for Whitecaps FC, Woeller proved to be a stalwart at the back, with the Canadian international severly limiting Seattle’s chances from the middle of the pitch. The momentum and possession continued to shift like a pendulum, and despite the best efforts of both sides, the score remained 0-0 at halftime.
The second half got off with a bang and Manthey was finally able to find the opportunity she needed to propel the Sounders into the lead. Centre back Victoria Frederick provided service from the corner and Manthey threw herself at the cross, hip-checking it beyond the reach of ‘Caps goalkeeper Gurveen Clair and into the back of the net.
Eager to reciprocate, Whitecaps FC played impressively through the next 20 minutes. Midfielder Demi Stokes and French were threatening together and continued to piece together skillful combinations, but their final execution was not enough to get them on the scoreboard. With the match showing signs of slowing down, Seattle tallied a second goal in the 81st minute when Perez collected the ball and struck a hopeful shot from 36 yards out. While Clair was able to track the ball, it would take an awkward bounce a few yards in front of her and spin into the side meshing for the second Seattle goal of the day.
Refusing to give up, the ‘Caps best opportunity of the match would come late in the 86the minute when Richardson caught Hultin off her goal line and chipped her from the top corner of the 18-yard box. Hultin showed athleticism, as she hustled to get back and managed a finger-tip save to knock it barely wide of the gaping goal.
While disappointed with the loss, Whitecaps FC women’s head coach Jesse Symons was happy with the effort put forth by the team and has reason to be positive moving forward. “I think defensively, we were very good today,” he told whitecapsfc.com after the match. “We didn't really allow much at all. We controlled their very talented attacking players, and weren't stressed defensively for the majority of the game. It was a back-and-forth match and even though we probably had a bit more of the play, we weren't able to break down Seattle in the chances we created. Now we'll look to build on our attacking side of the game and find a way to put a goal or two past Colorado on Friday.”
The defeat leaves Vancouver still chasing their first points of the season, but the team still has plenty of time with a long road ahead to move upwards within the W-League Western Conference standings. Next on the docket for the ‘Caps women is another home match against Colorado Rapids Women, slated for this Friday night, June 1. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. PT at Exhibition Stadium in Chilliwack, BC. For schedule and ticket information, visit whitecapsfc.com or contact Hugh Hamilton at 778-330-1360.
47' - SEA - Megan Manthey (Victoria Frederick)
81’ - SEA - Veronica Perez
Shots: Vancouver 11 - Seattle 7
Saves: Vancouver 2 - Seattle 4
Fouls: Vancouver 11 - Seattle 17
Corners: Vancouver 2 - Seattle 5
Offsides: Vancouver 5 - Seattle 0
28’ - SEA – Lindsay Elston
82' - SEA – Lyndsey Patterson
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
30.Gurveen Clair; 28.Brittany Galindo (2.Taylor Patterson 74’), 23.Jennifer Jeffers, 33.Shannon Woeller, 4.Danielle Johnson; 22.Brandi Vega (21.Paige Adams 40’), 18.Nicole Setterlund (6.Jaclyn Sawicki 45’ (19.Molly Rouse 64’)), 16.Mary Kate McLaughlin, 8.Demi Stokes; 29.Mele French, 3.Jenna Richardson
Substitutes not used: 31.Alyssa Williamson, 20.Alison Fentor, 7.Brienna Shaw
Seattle Sounders Women
33.Katie Hultin; 4.Kate Deines, 28.Brooke Gilbert, 22.Victoria Frederick, 19.Annie Sittauer (25.Lindsay Johnson 63’); 9.Julia Roberts (27.Nicole Stanton 45’), 21.Lindsay Elston, 17.Veronica Perez, 10.Sophie Reiser (20.Ashley Willis 45’); 16.Lyndsey Patterson, 8.Megan Manthey (24.Kara Kuttler 74’)
Substitutes not used: 38.Megan Kufield