Highlights: Whitecaps FC 2 - 0 Seattle Sounders
VANCOUVER, BC - In front of a season-high crowd of 22,500 at BC Place, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8W-5L-5D) earned their first Cascadia victory and kept their home undefeated streak alive with a 2-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC (7W-6L-3D) on Saturday.
A first half goal from Kenny Miller and a second half tally from substitute Darren Mattocks provided the scoring, while an outstanding effort from Brad Knighton in net kept the 'Caps second clean sheet in three matches.
Head coach Martin Rennie made two changes from the side that played at Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday. Young-Pyo Lee returned to right back, allowing Nigel Reo-Coker to return to his familiar position in central midfield after playing the past two matches on the backline. Joining him in midfield was Gershon Koffie, who was making his first start since May 29 against Montreal, and his first MLS start since May 18 versus Portland. Coming out for Koffie and Lee were Matt Watson and Daigo Kobayashi.
With the 3-2 loss from less than a month ago still fresh on their minds, the ‘Caps got off to a dream start. Feeding off the electric atmosphere of the crowd, Vancouver opened the scoring on four minutes as Miller collected an inviting through ball from Corey Hertzog to get behind Seattle’s backline. The Scotsman then cut back past Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and curled a lovely finish into the bottom right corner. It was his sixth goal in his ninth start.
10 minutes later, the sequence of the opening goal was inverted as Miller played a clever ball into Hertzog at the top of the box, but his low shot was parried by Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning
On 22 minutes, Brad Knighton made his first of five magnificent saves in the first half. Sounders striker Eddie Johnson touched the ball past Jordan Harvey before firing a line drive from point blank range, but Knighton was there to make the near post save. On the ensuing corner kick swung in by Lamar Neagle, Knighton denied Seattle’s Zach Scott's close-range attempt on goal with a terrific one-handed palm save.
Seattle had another pair of chances to equalize denied by Knighton on 26 minutes. Obafemi Martins played Johnson in on goal all alone, but the 'Caps 'keeper came off his line quickly to make a huge stop, then got back to his feet to kick away a rebound attempt from Martins.
In the 33rd minute, Seattle was threatening again. Brad Evans crossed in a low ball destined for Martins, but Brad Rusin did brilliantly to make a sliding clearance before it could reach him.
After a very exciting first half, fans were treated to a second 45 minutes of entertainment.
Seattle came dangerously close to equalizing in the 56th minute when an attempted cross by Neagle deflected off of Rusin and off the near post before going out of play.
On 75 minutes, Martins received a ball in the heart of Vancouver’s box from Shalrie Joseph, flicked it unconventionally towards the net, only to see his effort land on top of the net.
A minute later Darren Mattocks subbed on for Camilo, and the Jamaican would make an immediate impact. On 79 minutes, a long goal kick from Knighton was flicked forward by Koffie. Mattocks then chased it down and delicately tapped the ball behind Gspurning to give his team a two-goal cushion with minimal time remaining. The assist was the first of Knighton's career.
Mattocks came awfully close to scoring again in the 81st minute. He raced past Seattle’s right back, turned Scott inside-out, and fired a shot into the hands of Gspurning.
The two electric plays from Mattocks had the sell-out crowd at BC Place chanting his name.
In the end, the 'Caps held firm to earn an important victory. With the win, the Blue and White remain undefeated at home in all competitions this year, 7W-0L-4D, and are 6W-0L-4D in MLS play. Vancouver now have 29 points from 18 matches, which sees them back in fourth place in the Western Conference table, five points above seventh place Seattle.
In terms of the Cascadia Cup standings, Vancouver and Seattle are now tied at the top of the table with four points each. The two clubs will resume their Interstate 5 rivalry when the ‘Caps visit Seattle for the rubber match on October 9.
Next up for the ‘Caps is another opportunity to extend their home dominance when they host Chicago Fire next Sunday, July 14. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Brad Knighton
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
4' - VAN - Kenny Miller (Corey Hertzog)
79' - VAN - Darren Mattocks (Gershon Koffie, Brad Knighton)
Shots: Vancouver 13 - Seattle 16
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 4 - Seattle 7
Saves: Vancouver 7 - Seattle 2
Fouls: Vancouver 11- Seattle 9
Offsides: Vancouver 4 - Seattle 2
Corners: Vancouver 4 - Seattle 2
61' - SEA - Lamar Neagle
90' - SEA - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18. Brad Knighton; 12.Y.P. Lee, 3.Brad Rusin, 16.Johnny Leveron, 2. Jordan Harvey; 13. Nigel Reo-Coker, 27. Jun Marques Davidson, 28. Gershon Koffie; 26. Corey Hertzog (14. Daigo Kobayashi 64'), 7.Camilo Sanvezzo (11.Darren Mattocks 76'), 9.Kenny Miller (C) (8. Matt Watson 90')
Substitutes not used: 1.Joe Cannon, 23.Kekuta Manneh, 29. Tommy Heinemann, 32.Greg Klazura
Seattle Sounders FC
1. Michael Gspurning; 20. Zach Scott, 34. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, 12 Leonardo Gonzalez (2. DeAndre Yedlin 79'); Brad Evans (C), Servando Carrasco, 21. Shalrie Joseph, 27 Lamar Neagle (10. Mauro Rosales 72'); 9. Obafemi Martins. 7. Eddie Johnson.
Substitutes not used: 24. Marcus Hahnemann, 2. Patrick Ianni, 8. Marc Burch, 16. David Estrada, 25. Andy Rose