The Seattle Sounders (5-9-5, 20 points) 2-0 win over Cascadia Rivals Vancouver Whitecaps (7-9–5, 26 points ) was definitely two steps in the right direction for a team hoping to make a late-season end run to the playoffs. The Sounders are 10th place in the 12 team Western Conference and more importantly are 10 points behind Real Salt Lake ( 9-9-3, 30 points) who hold the sixth and final Conference position.
The Sounders have fifteen games left to play in the dwindling season with eight of those remaining games are at home. Before Sundays win over the neighbors from the north the Sounders had a win, a tie, and a loss to show for their last three home games. To make matters worse the last time the Rave Green faithful was a disappointing June 9th 3-2 loss to the other Cascadia Rivals the Portland Timbers. The Sounders then hit the road for a three-game road trip and took a small step forward by returning home with a win and two draws to perk the interest of the Rave Green faithful who were still licking their wounds over the bitter loss to the Timbers.
On Saturday afternoon, 41,849 fans packed CenturyLink Field hoping to cheer on a Sounder team that looked like it was headed in the right direction. Nicolas Lodeiro’s second penalty conversation in two games gave the home side the dream start Sounder nation was craving for. Vancouver’s Doneil Henry was whistled for a handball inside the box and the Uruguayan wasted no time in giving the Sounders the 1-0 lead.
Cristian Roldan forced a Whitecaps turnover at midfield and fed fellow midfielder Victor Rodriguez who found a wide-open Lodeiro for scored his second goal of the game to give the Sounders a 2-0 lead after just 31minutes of play. The midfielder now has four goals in 2018, adding to his overall total of 19 strikes since joining the Rave Green midway through the 2016 campaign.
If the Sounders are going to be successful in their attempt to make the playoffs Lodeiro will have to play a major role head coach Brian Schmetzer said in his post-game interview.
“I think for the team, it’s always easier when Nico has a good game. He’s the guy who gives us the best chances to win the games with his through passes and the chances he brings. Said Schmetzer. ” I think it’s very important when he feels good, the whole team can follow his game and Nico played a good game, two goals, very good.
The win extends Seattle’s unbeaten streak to four matches (2-0-2), dating back to July 4 at Colorado.
- Nicolás Lodeiro scored his third and fourth goals of the season in the first half, extending his scoring streak to two matches after converting a penalty at Atlanta last weekend. Saturday marked the second multi-goal game for Lodeiro in MLS play, following a brace in a 3-0 win vs. Colorado on October 22, 2017.
- Víctor Rodríguez recorded an assist on Lodeiro’s second goal, his second of the season, but the Spaniard was subbed off near the end of the first half due to a hamstring injury.
- Stefan Frei made two saves and recorded his third shutout of the season on Saturday. His 62 career shutouts rank second among active MLS goalkeepers.
- Chad Marshall became the fourth player (and second field player) to pass the 34,000-minute mark in his MLS career in the 83rd minute of today’s match. The 15-year veteran and only three-time MLS Defender of the Year winner has 34,007 career minutes played in MLS regular-season action.
- After appearing as a substitute in Atlanta last Sunday, Gustav Svensson made his first start since May 13 vs. Portland for the Rave Green after returning from FIFA World Cup duty with Sweden.
- Kelvin Leerdam completed his full return from a hamstring strain, starting his first match since June 9 versus D.C. United and logging 85 minutes on Saturday. Leerdam previously appeared as a substitute in the 65th minute of play on July 15 at Atlanta United.