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Sounders at Whitecaps, recap: Back on top

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With a 2-0 win over the Whitecaps the Sounders are back in the playoffs and back on top of the Western Conference.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Sounders put an end to their three-game winless run with a 2-0 victory away over the Vancouver Whitecaps in Portland. The first half was pretty tough sledding as the Sounders struggled to break down Vancouver’s defensive posture. They kept the Whitecaps from registering a single shot, and avoided any real danger from the limited counter-attacks that they faced, and as the half wore on Seattle started to create more chances. Four of Seattle’s six shots in the first half came in the final 15 minutes, with all four being taken from inside Vancouver’s penalty area, but they still went into halftime with zeros on the board.

The second half was much more lively with plenty of action through the first 10 minutes, capped off by Nouhou and Raúl Ruidíaz connecting on the opening goal for the Sounders. The linesman initially flagged Ruidíaz as offside, but referee Fotis Bazakos got some help from his friends upstairs, took a look at the play on the pitch-side monitor, and judged Ruidíaz to have been behind the ball on the cross. With a 1-0 lead, the side wasted no time in doubling their advantage. Yeimar Gómez Andrade hit a ball over the entirety of the Whitecaps defense for Ruidíaz to run onto; Ruidíaz got to the end line and spun his defender as he turned into the box and found Nico Lodeiro, who sent the ball into the far side of the goal to make it 2-0.

With the win tonight, Seattle clinched their place in the MLS playoffs for the 12th consecutive time. The team will be back in action on Sunday, November 1, when they travel to face the Colorado Rapids at 6:00 PM.

Key moments

8’ — A clever exchange between Lodeiro and Morris allows them to work the ball dangerously into the box, but no real chance comes from it.

17’ — João Paulo picks up a loose ball outside the box and unleashes a shot that unfortunately finds a Whitecaps player instead of the goal. Half-hearted shouts for a handball follow, but play continues.

44’ — Ruidíaz nearly beats Bush with a from the far post off of a corner, but his header just doesn’t have enough on it and the ‘keeper reels it in.

54 — Nouhou hits a great ball across to Ruidíaz who slams it home. After a trip to the monitor an offside call is reversed, and the goal is rightly awarded to give the Sounders the lead. 1-0

60’ — Ruidíaz leaves a defender in his dust as he Tokyo Drifts his way around him and into the area before setting Lodeiro up for a beautiful finish to stretch the lead. 2-0

85’ — Arreaga gets away with a potentially dangerous play as he clears out a player inside the penalty area, but gets a touch to the ball first and it’s ruled a corner kick.

Quick thoughts

Shining stars: For the eighth time in 2020 the Seattle Sounders had all three of their Designated Players on the field to start the game, as Raúl Ruidíaz returned from quarantine. They earned their sixth win in such games, having only lost twice, and out-scoring opponents by 22-6 when all three of João Paulo, Lodeiro and Ruidíaz are in the XI. Ruidíaz and Lodeiro combined for two goals and an assist against Vancouver, and all three showed the quality that we all count on from them.

Guess who’s back: Ruidíaz wasn’t the only player returning to the lineup against Vancouver. Xavier Arreaga and Gustav Svensson, the other two players called up by their national teams during the recent international window, both made their first appearances since completing their mandatory quarantines, and were inserted directly into the lineup. All three players went the distance, and played significant roles in earning a victory. As a bonus, Joevin Jones subbed in as he comes back from an injury suffered at Providence Park over a month ago.

No goals allowed: This marked Seattle’s sixth clean sheet of the season, and the second against Vancouver. Stefan Frei wasn’t put under much pressure by Vancouver, as he recorded zero saves, largely because of the work done by the defense in front of him. The defense combined for two blocked shots, 10 interceptions, 13 clearances and 21 recoveries as they worked to stifle the Whitecaps attack and clean up any messes.

Did you see that?!?

Whichever way it goes, the Lodeiro-Ruidíaz connection is always a delight.

He said what?!?

One stat to tell the tale

6-2-0, +16 — When all three of Seattle’s DPs start in 2020, the team has 6 wins, 2 losses, and zero draws with a +16 goal difference.

Poll

Man of the Match

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Raul Ruidiaz
    (415 votes)
  • 3%
    Nico Lodeiro
    (18 votes)
  • 1%
    Yeimar Gomez Andrade
    (7 votes)
  • 20%
    Nouhou
    (115 votes)
555 votes total Vote Now