Highlights: Whitecaps FC 0 - 0 Seattle Sounders
VANCOUVER, BC - In the final regular season clash between these two Cascadia Cup rivals, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10W-12L-9D) were held to a goalless draw by Interstate 5 rivals Seattle Sounders FC (13W-7L-10D) on Saturday evening.
In what was another pulsating Pacific Northwest derby clash, Whitecaps FC were left frustrated to only take a point after creating numerous chances against the Rave Green, especially in the second half. The entertainment of the contest could be seen in the number of shots taken by both clubs, with Vancouver outshooting Seattle 16 to 13.
Though they were a threat at times, Seattle will feel fortunate to come away with a second consecutive draw from downtown Vancouver, with the result also enough to secure Sounders FC’s berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs for a fourth straight year.
The weekend result keeps Whitecaps FC in the fifth and final postseason spot in the MLS Western Conference standings - two points ahead of sixth-place FC Dallas - who drew 3-3 at top MLS club San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.
Playing in their third kit of Arbutus brown for the third and final time this season, Rennie changed his formation to 4-4-2 and made three changes, as centre back Andy O’Brien, midfielder John Thorrington, and striker Kenny Miller came into his starting XI.
The first half had all the hallmarks of a fierce derby battle, as some robust challenges were committed by both sides. What was disappointing for Whitecaps FC was to see Thorrington and striker Darren Mattocks forced off before the break with left and right hamstring strains, respectively.
Seattle are lauded in MLS for the flow and potency of their attack. On Saturday, the visitors created chances in the first quarter of an hour through Osvaldo Alonso and Brad Evans, who just missed connecting with Mauro Rosales’ cross from the left on the break.
It was not until after the half-hour mark that Whitecaps FC really tested their foes from The Emerald City. Gershon Koffie missed the target with a couple of strikes, while the speedy Mattocks got in behind the Seattle backline on two occasions.
The second occasion proved a key moment on 38 minutes. The young Jamaican international went down in the Seattle box while challenging for the ball with Sounders FC centre back Jeff Parke. Despite huge calls from the ‘Caps faithful for a penalty, none was awarded by match referee Silviu Petrescu. Moments later, Mattocks came off injured for Camilo Sanvezzo.
With the match still in the balance, Whitecaps FC looked the side more likely to score after the halftime break. Camilo made his presence felt soon after the restart, while Koffie and substitute Matt Watson were wide of the mark with long-range efforts.
On 48 minutes, Alain Rochat - who looked solid again as a holding midfielder – tested Gspurning with a long-distance pile driver that the Austrian international blocked away and into the path of Camilo. The Brazilian, however, was only able to turn the rebound into a half chance.
Another positive sign from Saturday’s match was the way Vancouver contained Seattle’s dangerous attack. Eddie Johnson had a couple of chances, while Young-Pyo Lee had to clear Parke’s redirection of Christian Tiffert’s corner off the goalline on 79 minutes. Substitute Steve Zakuani forced a fine save from Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Brad Knighton with a deflected shot on 89 minutes. It earned the shot-stopper his first clean sheet with the Blue and White.
With the game there for the taking, Whitecaps FC created more chances. Watson and Miller had goal-bound shots blocked away for Vancouver corners, while in the three minutes of stoppage time, captain Jay DeMerit struck a shot straight at Gspurning before Camilo left ‘Caps fans in agony when he missed the target with the last kick of the match. The South American got on the end of Miller’s flick from a Barry Robson cross and struck his shot just wide of the far post.
The final whistle meant Whitecaps FC’s winless streak extended to seven matches, with Vancouver still searching for a first MLS victory over their arch-rivals from The Emerald City. Whitecaps FC will have a short turnaround, as they host Western Conference rivals Chivas USA at BC Place on Wednesday night.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Gershon Koffie
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Shots: Vancouver 16 – Seattle 13
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 3 – Seattle 4
Saves: Vancouver 3 - Seattle 3
Fouls: Vancouver 11 – Seattle 17
Offsides: Vancouver 3 – Seattle 1
Corners: Vancouver 9 – Seattle 3
49' - VAN - Jordan Harvey
55' - SEA - Jeff Parke
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18.Brad Knighton; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 40.Andy O'Brien, 6.Jay DeMerit, 3.Jordan Harvey; 28.Gershon Koffie, 4.Alain Rochat, 14.Barry Robson, 11.John Thorrington (16.Matt Watson 17'); 22.Darren Mattocks (37.Camilo Sanvezzo 42'), 7.Kenny Miller
Substitutes not used: 1.Joe Cannon, 9.Atiba Harris, 15.Martin Bonjour, 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 31.Russell Teibert
Seattle Sounders FC
1.Michael Gspurning; 5.Adam Johansson, 31.Jeff Parke, 34.Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, 12.Leo Gonzalez; 10.Mauro Rosales (11.Steve Zakuani 70'), 6.Osvaldo Alonso, 13.Christian Tiffert, 3.Brad Evans (25.Andy Rose 74'); 17.Fredy Montero, 7.Eddie Johnson
Substitutes not used: 33.Andrew Weber, 8.Marc Burch, 15.Mario Martinez, 20.Zach Scott, 26.Sammy Ochoa