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Sounders vs. Whitecaps, recap: Breaking the bunker

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Sounders out shoot the Whitecaps 22-3 and maintain first in the West.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

With a little better finishing, the Seattle Sounders probably could have put up another seven-spot. Instead, they’ll have to settle for their seventh multi-goal victory of the season, beating the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 on Saturday.

João Paulo and Raúl Ruidíaz goals were supplemented by an own-goal, while the only one the Sounders allowed was a highly questionable penalty. The Sounders finished with nearly 70% of the possession and out shot the Whitecaps 22-3, failing to convert some of their best chances.

Key moments

8’ — Ali Adnan found Lucas Cavallini streaking into the box, but Stefan Frei was able to make a save on the the close-range shot was saved with his trailing foot.

26’ — Nicolas Lodeiro put in a wonderful free kick that found Raúl Ruidíaz. His open header went just wide.

34’ — Lodeiro found Jordan Morris at the back post, but his header went just wide.

45+1 — João Paulo set up Lodeiro for a volley from about 20 yards out on a corner kick. Lodeiro made solid contact but Meredith was able to make the diving save.

46’ — João Paulo collected a poor clearance attempt about 25 yards out, took one touch to settle it and then ripped a shot that beat Meredith inside the far post. The sequence started with Leerdam passing to Cristian Roldan, who worked himself free before putting in a dangerous cross. Despite a couple Sounders nearly getting on the end of it, ... It was João Paulo’s second goal of the season and he now has scored or assisted in four of his past five matches. 1-0

53’ — Roldan was involved in another a goal a few minutes later when his cross toward Ruidiaz hit off defender Erik Godoy and into the net. 2-0

59’ — The Sounders quickly added a third goal when Ruidíaz found himself all alone in front of goal off cross from Lodeiro corner kick that appeared to deflect off Morris’ back. 3-0

62’ — Referee Timothy Ford inexplicably attempted to flip the match on its head by not only awarding a very questionable penalty but also showing Yeimar Goméz Andrade a red card, presumably for DOGSO. VAR sensibly demanded a second look. Despite Cavallini seeming to initiate contact outside the box, Ford apparently determined that Goméz Andrade’s trailing foot caused the attacker to fall and awarded the penalty while changing the red card to a yellow. Fredy Montero then converted the penalty. 3-1

68’ — Janio Bikel was shown a red card after missing a tackle and effectively stomping on Gustav Svensson’s stomach.

72’ — Goméz Andrade badly mishit an attempted volley, but it went right to Lodeiro who was unmarked about 10 yards out. His attempt went well over the bar.

79’ — Morris fought off a defender to win a ball in the box, but his attempt went wide.

85’ — Morris again found himself with a golden chance. Alex Roldan found him open at the back post, but Morris was unable to keep his off-balance header on frame.

87’ — Cristian Roldan broke in on goal after a nice pass from Morris, only for Meredith to stop his left-footed shot.

Quick thoughts

Frustrated at only scoring three: It’s hard to complain about a 3-1 win, but the Sounders have raised expectations at this point and definitely felt like they could have scored a few more. Morris, in particular, had several good looks only to come away empty. Four of Morris’ five shots came from 12 yards out or closer, including one on a breakaway. The most frustrating miss, though, belonged to Lodeiro who managed to get set up for a virtual gimme off Goméz Andrade’s scuffed shot only to shoot high.

Breaking the bunker: Those complaints likely undersell how dominant the Sounders were in this one. They out shot the Whitecaps 22-3 — one of the most lopsided shot discrepencies in team history — and the 69.8% possession was a season best. Unlike previous games where they had dominated possession and were forced to lump in crosses, the Sounders were able to find their breakthrough goal early enough not to cause too much stress.

Sent off in style: With at least two — and likely three — starters missing the next five games, the Sounders needed to make the most of this opportunity. Nothing about how they’re playing suggests they’ll need it, but they’ve got a 10-point cushion on the ninth-place team — and could finish the week leading the Western Conference by three points with a game in hand. Even if disaster strikes over the next month, they’re in fine shape.

That penalty...: Again, the Sounders won 3-1 so I don’t want to make too much of negativity, but ... come on. I have to assume that VAR was asking Ford to overturn both aspects of the call — the penalty and the red — but he seemingly was too embarrassed to do it. Instead, he insisted that Goméz Andrade’s trailing foot somehow justified the penalty. I have no idea how he decided the yellow was justified. I hope PRO has something to say about it.

Did you see that?!?

He said what?!?

“I’m very happy. If your team scores three goals — our goal-difference is pretty good — you’re going to win a lot of gamess. We put them under pressure, we put them under duress. I’m very pleased.” - Schmetzer

Stat of the game

+19 — The Sounders improved their goal-difference to +19. If they were to maintain that over a full season, it would be +46, or just two shy the the record LAFC set last year.

Poll

Man of the Match

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    João Paul
    (545 votes)
  • 7%
    Yeimar Gómez Andrade
    (46 votes)
  • 1%
    Jordan Morris
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    Raul Ruidiaz
    (10 votes)
608 votes total Vote Now