Sounders take care of business in 2-0 win over Whitecaps

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.

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Sounders Nicolas Lodeiro gives the Sounders 1-0 lead. ( Sounders FC)

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.

New Designated Player signing  Raul Ruidíaz made his MLS debut in the 61st minute of play, entering as a substitute for fellow forward Will Bruin. The Peruvian nearly scored in the 70th minute when he got behind the defense on a through ball from Lodeiro, but his shot was denied by Marinović.
The Whitecaps played the last 13 minutes of the game with ten men after Efrain Juarez was given a yellow card in the 77th minute and received a game ejection for bumping referee Chris Penso while protesting the yellow card.
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Sounders Raul Ruidiaz looks for an oppoing against two Whitecap defenders. ( SoundersFC)

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.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 – Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0
Saturday, July 21, 2018
Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Referee: Christopher Penso
Assistants: Cameron Blanchard, Jeremy Hanson
Fourth Official: Farhad Dadkho
VAR: Allen Chapman
Attendance: 41,849
Weather: 70 degrees and sunny
SEA – Nicolás Lodeiro (PK) 5′
SEA – Nicolás Lodeiro (Victor Rodríguez) 31′
VAN – Doniel Henry (caution) 16′
SEA  Nouhou (caution) 17′
VAN  Kendall Waston (caution) 63′
VAN  Kei Kamara (caution) 74′
VAN  Efrain Juarez (caution) 77′
VAN – Efrain Juarez (ejection) 77′
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam (Jordy Delem 85′), Kim Kee-hee, Chad Marshall, Nouhou; Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan, Harry Shipp, Nicolás Lodeiro – captain, Victor Rodríguez (Osvaldo Alonso 45’+2′); Will Bruin (Raúl Ruidíaz 61′)
Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Clint Dempsey, Román Torres, Waylon Francis
Total shots: 14 (Lodeiro, 5)
Shots on goal: 3 (Lodeiro, 2)
Fouls: 17 (Six players, 2)
Offside: 1 (Lodeiro, 1)
Corner-kicks: 6 (Lodeiro, 6)
Saves: 2 (Frei, 2)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC – Stefan Marinović; Doneil Henry, Kendall Waston – captain, Marcel de Jong, Jake Nerwinski; Efrain Juarez, Felipe Martins, Cristian Techera (Nicolas Mezquida 59′), Yordy Reyna (Aly Ghazal 81′); Jordon Mutch (Russell Teibert 70′), Kei Kamara
Substitutes not used: Brian Rowe, Sean Franklin, Anthony Blondell, Brek Shea
Total shots: 8 (Mezquida, 2)
Shots on goal: 2 (Kamara/Techera, 1)
Fouls: 18 (Henry/Juarez, 3)
Offside: 0
Corner-kicks: 3 (Felipe, 2)
Saves: 1 (Marinovic, 1)

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