Cookie Consent by Free Privacy Policy Generator Skip to content

Sounders vs Whitecaps, recap: A season of woe

The Sounders fell 2-0 after two red cards against the visiting Whitecaps as their season gets further bogged down.

Last Updated
5 min read
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

SEATTLE – The Seattle Sounders hosted the Vancouver Whitecaps in their first Cascadia Cup match of the season. Things did not go well, as the Sounders fell 2-0 at home.

Having already lost Pedro de la Vega to yet another hamstring injury ahead of the game, adding his name back to the list of injuries, the Sounders apparently weren’t facing enough adversity for their own liking so Jackson Ragen had to be sent off minutes before the end of the first half. What was initially punished with a yellow became a straight ref following a nearly five-minute review for a push and step on Ryan Gauld. After Seattle went down to 10, Raúl Ruidíaz was subbed off to make room for Xavier Arreaga as the Sounders moved to shore up the defense.

Just before the hour mark, Vancouver opened the scoring as they capitalized on a giveaway from Yeimar at the top of the box. After passing the ball back and forth with Obed Vargas, Yeimar appeared to try to thread the needle and find a more advanced player in the midfield, but didn’t pick up a Vancouver player in the lane and played the ball right to him. Within seconds Ryan Gauld was putting the ball I the back of the net on an assist from Sam Adekugbe.

In the 71st Vancouver doubled their lead on yet another individual error from Seattle’s backline. This time it was substitute Xavier Arreaga who got caught trying to be cute inside the area, attempting to dribble out of pressure from three players but coughing the ball up on a big touch to Brian White, who smashes home. Three minutes later things went from very bad to extremely worse when Alex Roldan was shown a straight red card for a hard foul into the back of Ali Ahmed.

Seattle had their moments, including some good saves from Frei and a decent look for Josh Atencio, but once the first goal went in the team seemed to implode. Once they were trailing, it just never felt like the tide might turn as calamity stacked upon calamity as the team's Job-like march through the season continued.

Key moments

5 - Cristian Roldan takes a shot from a tight angle that Yohei Takaoka spills at the near post, but is able to keep out.

11 - Stefan Frei gets down to his left well to punch away a dangerous shot from Pedro Vite. The rebound falls right to Nouhou and the Sounders clear the ball.

23 - Albert Rusnák takes a shot from the top of the box that goes wide of the post after a cross from Cristian Roldan was blocked and fell to him.

43 - Red Card. Jackson Ragen is shown a red card after a lengthy review for a foul in which he stepped on Ryan Gauld’s leg. The Sounders will play down a man.

45+5 - Cristian Roldan is fouled at the edge of the box to set up a free kick. Rusnak sends it in and Morris heads it at the top of the six-yard box, but puts it wide.

58 - Goal Vancouver. Yeimar gives the ball away at the top of the box, Vancouver pass around to set up a shot from Gauld at the penalty spot. 1-0 Whitecaps

71 - Goal Vancouver. Xavier Arreaga just about asks to have the ball taken off of him as Brian White takes it off his foot and beats Frei. 2-0 Whitecaps

74 - Red Card. Alex Roldan is shown straight red for a foul into the back of Ali Ahmed, and the Sounders are down to nine.

79 - Frei comes up with a big save to deny Damir Kreilach at the doorstep, then Brian White is given a yellow card for a foul on Frei as he chased the rebound.

90+4 - Josh Atencio hits a volley from near the top of the box on a corner, but his effort is right down the center at the GK.

Quick thoughts

Seeing red: The Sounders have now been shown four red cards in their last seven regular-season home games. Maybe it’s not surprising, given how things have been going at home of late, that the team keeps finding themselves in these situations. Not to say that there’s much of a through line with all of these reds, but taken all together they do seem indicative of a team that is frequently desperate and stretching to make something happen. Once the first red came tonight, it seemed almost inevitable that another would come along. Notably, this is the first time Seattle have had two reds in a game since they hosted LAFC on April 28, 2019, when Cristian Roldan and Kelvin Leerdam were shown red in the 18th and 90th+5 minutes respectively.

Running out of time: The Sounders still sit 12th in the West, and could potentially drop another place if San Jose can get a result on the road against the LA Galaxy. Seattle are on 1-3-4, with six points through eight games and a tough road ahead of them. They have seven games in the next 28 days, with this coming week the only single-game week during that stretch. They’ll squeeze an East coast trip and a home U.S. Open Cup game against USL Championship side Louisville City FC in there, as well as a trip down to Portland and a reprise of tonight’s fixture back here on May 18. This stretch will tell us, for better or worse, who the Sounders are, and whether the guys we’ve been cheering for will still be around come the Summer. They could still turn this around, but they’ve got to show us some reason to believe that they will do that.

Get ready to learn rotation, buddy: Whether he likes it or not, Brian Schmetzer is probably going to have to use a lot more of his squad over this coming stretch of games than he has been. That should come in the form of more and earlier subs, but also some planned changes to the starting lineups. That rotation will start next week when Jackson Ragen and Alex Roldan are kept out of the squad due to their red cards (unless a card is rescinded for some reason). From there, I think we’re firmly in “no one’s position is guaranteed” territory, and with the number of games on the schedule in the next month we’ll need to see the depth fully be utilized if there is going to be any sort of freshness from game to game. Maybe that forced degree of adjustment will help to shake some broader changes out of the group.

Notable quote

Player spotlight

“Man of the Match” after games like this really doesn’t feel right. There’s no man of the match, but Stefan Frei continues to be the rock that the Sounders are built on. Maybe he could have done better on the two goals, but without him this could have been even worse.