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Whitecaps vs. Sounders, recap 2015: Chad Barrett brace leads the way

Sounders make easy work of once Supporters Shield-leading Vancouver.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

No Oba, no problem. Filling in for the injured Obafemi Martins, Chad Barrett scored a pair of goals to lead the Seattle Sounders to a dominating 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place on Saturday. The win gives the Sounders six points from their now-concluded three-game road trip and leaves them two points behind first-place FC Dallas with a game in hand.

Barrett got the Sounders off to a blazing start. In the 5th minute, Barrett got behind the Whitecaps defense off a nice over-the-top pass from Clint DempseyBarrett beat Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted to the ball and calming slid his shot into the wide open net.

Although the Whitecaps applied much pressure and had a couple good looks at goal over the next 10-15 minutes, the Sounders eventually settled down and started connecting passes. That eventually led to an impressive 25-pass buildup leading to Barrett's second goal. The final ball was delivered by Marco Pappa, who mimicked Dempsey's earlier assist to put Barrett into space. This time, Barrett beat Ousted to the far post with a well taken shot.

From there, the Sounders never looked back. The Whitecaps never were able to use their trademark speed to much effect and the Sounders continued to string passes together at a remarkable clip. They ended up with 56 percent possession after completing 85 percent of a season-high 613 passes.

Considering the Sounders have never won at BC Place in the MLS era -- their only win in Vancouver was at Empire Field -- it was a remarkably calm performance. At no point did the Sounders look out of sorts and the Whitecap bore only a passing resemblance to the team that entered the week leading the Supporters' Shield race.

Other observations

  • Yes, it's been beaten to death but it bears repeating again: There should be no more doubts about Brad Evans' ability to play a competent center back. To be fair, calling this a competent performance is horribly understated, as Evans was the best defensive player on the field. His ability to handle speedy players has been one of the continuing question marks and the Whitecaps are the kind of team that should have given him fits. But Evans was dominant, racking up 13 clearances and four interceptions while winning 80 percent of his tackles.
  • To whatever degree Sigi Schmid was out-coached by Gregg Berhalter a week ago, he was that much better than Carl Robinson this week. The Sounders seemed perfectly happy to let the Whitecaps get off to a fast start and caught them pushing too far up to get that first goal. Over the next 15 minutes or so, the Sounders basically let the Whitecaps punch themselves out. From the 21st minute on, the Sounders had 65 percent of the possession and just pinged the ball around the field. It was glorious.
  • Yes, the Whitecaps piled up 16 shots. Yes, that's a lot. Yes, this is becoming "a thing." But 10 of those shots were from outside the penalty area and only two of them came from someplace commonly referred to as "the danger zone" -- inside 18 yards and within the confines of the goal box. The Sounders are more than happy to let teams take speculative shots, it appears.
  • Marco Pappa and Clint Dempsey got assists to show for their work -- and they are tied for the league lead in assists -- but it was everything else they did that was so huge. They each completed 88 percent of their passes and they dominated the midfield, helping the Sounders keep the ball and taking the air out of the match. Check out this passing map:

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