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Sounders vs. Whitecaps 2016, Recap: Seattle win defined by penalties and cards

Sounders eliminated Vancouver from the MLS Cup Playoffs with 2-1 win. Seattle now in 5th.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Schmetzer’s Rave Green Army is on quite a roll. The Seattle Sounders won their third game in nine days, fourth straight and for the seventh time in their past 10, topping the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 on Sunday. The run of form has allowed the Sounders to move up from ninth to fifth, and just one point behind fourth-place Real Salt Lake.

The Sounders came to British Columbia on Sunday with a relatively significantly lineup than they would have liked, thanks to Nicolas Lodeiro’s suspension and a late injury scratch for Andreas Ivanschitz. Erik Friberg and Herculez Gomez came in for the duo, respectively. The most significant loss for the Whitecaps in this match was Kendall Waston, who was suspended after being sent off against the Colorado Rapids.

Vancouver started on the front foot early, with Chad Marshall and Roman Torres clearing and heading the ball away multiple times within the first few minutes. The Sounders were forced into making an unfortunate substitute early, as Flaco Fernandez had to leave due to injury in the 10th minute; he was replaced by Oniel Fisher, which pushed Joevin Jones up to the left wing.

Pedro Morales nearly produced a huge goal for Vancouver, but his long shot sailed just wide of Stefan Frei’s goal after bouncing off the post after 18 minutes. The Whitecaps came close again just minutes after, as the Whitecaps almost caught Frei off his line, but the final ball was just wide. Seattle nearly had some chances after a spell of attacks from the left flank, but the Whitecaps earned a penalty after Fisher was judged to have brought Alphonso Davies down near the goal line. Morales finished the penalty as Frei went the wrong way and the Whitecaps went up 1-0 after 25 minutes.

Davies almost found another after he juked Fisher in the box, but his shot was right at Frei. Seattle earned a dangerous free kick through Fisher, but with no Ivanschitz to take the free kick, the chance was mostly wasted. In the 39th minute, Jones put in a great cross into the center of the box for Ozzie, who fired it past Ousted to put Seattle on the board. Vancouver came close to getting another in the final minutes of the half, but Jordan Harvey’s shot was awkward and cleared by Seattle’s defense.

The second half started strongly for the home side, who had a dangerous free kick in the first couple minutes after Fisher made a silly foul and earned a yellow card. The resulting kick ended in a tight save over the bar by Frei, giving the Whitecaps a corner that they failed to do anything with. Vancouver followed with a solid spell of possession, but they soon found themselves down to 10 men in the 54th minute after Morales elbowed Cristian Roldan in the face. Jordan Morris nearly found the net after latching onto a pass from Alonso and getting himself into the box and against the goalkeeper, but his shot was pushed wide by Ousted.

Thanks to an earlier yellow card and general poor play (unless there was an injury that wasn’t obvious), substitute Fisher found himself substituted back out for Brad Evans in the 65th minute. Evans made himself known quickly as he earned a penalty kick for Seattle by crossing the ball into the box and hitting the hand of defender Jordan Harvey. The captain took and converted the penalty to put his team up 2-1 in the 81st. Evans barely had time to celebrate, however, as he also saw the match’s second red card in the 84th for an attempted headbutt in the opposition box. The Sounders managed to see the match out without incident, taking a precious three points back to Seattle.

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