As one of the lucky ones who happened to travel to Vancouver for Saturday's Cascadia Cup game, I won't pretend to have the most nuanced view of the game. Soon enough, I'll have a full recounting of my experience, but for now I'll try to let the highlights and stats do the talking for the Seattle Sounders' 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Just going off what we have here, we can see it was a pretty hectic game. The two teams combined for 38 shots, 15 of which were on goal and three more of which hit the woodwork. Whitecaps coach Tom Soehn said this game could have been 8-8, and he's only mildly exagerating.
The Whitecaps had the early run of play, going up a goal on a play that seemed way offside live and the replays showed should have been waved off. Offside or not, it was just one of several instances of the Whitecaps creating chances by beating our backline which seemd a bit slow in the early going.
The game turned dramatically after Alvaro Fernandez drew a penalty when Jay DeMerit's wayward arm knocked down what would have been a sure goal. Whether or not it was intentional, that's a penalty in every league around the world. If anything, DeMerit was probably lucky not to receive a red card. After Brad Evans improved to 3-for-3 from the spot, the field was tilted toward the Sounders' advantage.
The Sounders nearly scored on a couple early second-half chances, with Lamar Neagle hitting the woodwork and Osvaldo Alonso nearly sneaking a well-taken volley past Joe Cannon.
Fredy Montero rendered those missed chances meaningless, though, with a pair of world-class goals. Montero, it should be pointed out, has scored four second-half away goals against Cascadia Cup rivals this year and has seven of his nine regular-season tallies away Century Link Field. He should have had at least one assist in this one, too, but Sammy Ochoa hit his header from a Montero free kick off the post.
Statistics aside, Montero has been an absolute monster for a few months now. It's probably too late for him to climb into the MVP conversation, but many more games like Saturday's and it's not out of the question. He was a truly dominant force this week and, for at least a day, made the absence of Mauro Rosales less noticeable.
|Goals by Period||
|VAN -- Camilo 9 (Davide Chiumiento 9, Peter Vagenas 1) 22|
|SEA -- Brad Evans 5 (PK) 32|
|SEA -- Fredy Montero 8 (unassisted) 63|
|SEA -- Fredy Montero 9 (unassisted) 67|
|Vancouver Whitecaps-- Joe Cannon, Jonathan Leathers (Jeb Brovsky 46), Jay DeMeric, Michael Boxall, Jordan Harvey, Davide Chiumiento, Gershon Koffie, Peter Vagenas, Camilo, Eric Hassli (Long Tan 81), Mustapha Jarju (Shea Salinas 58).
Substitutes Not Used: Philippe Davies, Greg Janicki, Omar Salgado, Jay Nolly.
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Mustapha Jarju 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Camilo 2); FOULS: 15 (Eric Hassli 5); OFFSIDES: 1 (Hassli 1); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Camilo 7); SAVES: 5 (Joe Cannon 5)
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Alvaro Fernandez (David Estrada 79, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle, Nate Jaqua (Sammy Ochoa 66), Fedy Montero.
Substitutes Not Used: Servando Carrasco, Mike Fucito, Patrick Ianni, Michael Tetteh, Josh Ford.
TOTAL SHOTS: 21 (Fredy Montero 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Fredy Montero 5); FOULS: 9 (Nate Jaqua 2, Fredy Montero 2, Jeff Parke 2); OFFSIDES: 1 (Fredy Montero 1); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Fredy Montero 4); SAVES: 6 (Kasey Keller 6)
|SEA -- Brad Evans (caution; dissent) 30|
|VAN -- Jay DeMerit (caution; hand) 32|
|VAN -- Eric Hassli (caution; reckless foul) 70|
|SEA -- Jeff Parke (caution; reckless foul) 37|
|Referee: Jair Maruffo|
|Referee's Assistants: Corey Rockwell, Frank Anderson|
|4th Official: Paul Ward|
|Time of Game: 1:50|
|Vancouver Whitecaps||Seattle Sounders FC|
|17||Attempts on Goal||21|
|7||Shots on Target||8|
|7||Shots off Target||8|
|9||Open Play Crosses||18|
|45%||Duels Won %||54%|
|71%||Passing Accuracy %||76%|
Sigi Schmid (head coach)
Thoughts on the match:
"It was a hard fought game. Vancouver played very well and came out with a lot of energy that definitely kept us back on our heels. It was definitely a hard fought game tonight. It wasn't simple and our hats off to Vancouver because I thought they played very well."
On how they managed to win the match:
"We caught a little rhythm and I thought we were better in the last 20 minutes of the first half. We started to find our game and in the second half we found our game a little more early on."
On the atmosphere:
"The atmosphere was great. I think we had more than our allotted 500 fans here. The Sounder fans were great with their support and it was a great feeling to be able to hold the cup up in front of them. I'm not sure what the favourite top of the line beverage is here in Vancouver but I'm sure it will be filling the cup tonight."
On the crowd:
"It seemed like half the stadium was our fans so it was awesome to see that wherever we go we get support and for us to with the Cascadia Cup here is special. This is a great result for us and it's our first trophy of the year."
"Vancouver started great and we knew it was a team you couldn't underestimate. We've all talked about it this whole week; it's not a team that plays like they're in last place. Vancouver is a team that plays great football."
"This was a very important game for us. We are happy with the result, we got the trophy and I'm looking forward to the playoffs."
Thoughts on the match:
"Vancouver is not as bad of a team as their record shows. They played some really good soccer today and a different day could have been a different result."
"Vancouver created plenty of chances and, if it was a different day the result could have been different. We made some key tackles, they missed some chances, I made a couple of saves and then you hit then with two quick goals in the second half and stuff happens."
"We knew we were in for a difficult game today and they proved that in the first 20 minutes. If some of our guys didn't know they were in a game, they sure found out quickly."
On winning the Cascadia Cup:
"We came back, got a couple of goals and hung on at the end. It's a good day for all the Seattle fans that travelled to Vancouver."
On how they won the match:
"It's always important that when you go a goal down that you get that goal back as soon as possible. We've had our difficulties putting away penalties this year so it was nice to see Brad slot that goal in."
Tom Soehn (head coach)
Thoughts on the match:
"We're very disappointed. I said before the game, this is more than just a game. There was so much at stake with the rivalry with Seattle. We wanted to send out fans something special and we just slipped today, especially because of the opportunities there was for us in the game".
"We started the game out well, but we didn't hold the ball up well enough. Both guys had opportunities and you expect those guys to finish those. After half, Eric did a much better job holding the ball up."
On the penalty:
"Jay was protecting himself, it hit him in the arm, they are called sometimes and sometimes they are not, but the ref called it so it was a PK".
On the quality of his team's finishing:
"The game could have been 8-8, and that's not what you want in a derby match like that. You want to have a game that is shored up defensively. We didn't want to open up and that's exactly what we did.
Thoughts on the match:
"To start the way we did and let that flip....the inconsistently we have been showing all season and we thought coming into it that we wanted more and we didn't get it."
On bad luck during the match on first and third goals:
"It's always disappointing when a ball deflects off your foot, and then when you get a hand ball, but sometimes those are things that you can't control."
On the crowd:
"It was great. I don't mind opposition fans. I think it creates a better atmosphere all around. Seattle has great fans, no bones about it. Every fan can look to create the energy and passion from them, it's fantastic. But I thought our fans gave the same tonight. We created our own atmosphere to counteract them. I haven't heard that much noise coming from the stadium all season."
On why they were beaten:
"I think mainly it comes from game management. Just the recognition to know when to see out a half, when to start well, when we need energy, when we need to slow it down, we haven't been able to figure that out this season. We had to do a lot of last ditch defending, and it looks good from a fans perspective, but that isn't the way soccer is meant to be played. Nobody said this season was going to be easy but its game like this where you have to look at yourself hard, so we need to continue to work".
"Games are won and lost in the penalty box. We had clear cut chances that we failed to convert, they had half chances that they converted. That's the difference from a team that is at the top of the table and a team that is at the bottom. I don't have answers; all I know to do is just continue to fight. We have to fight."