Report and Reaction: Pedro Morales double hits the spot for Whitecaps in Seattle

Report and Reaction: Pedro Morales double hits the spot for Whitecaps in Seattle

There’s nothing like a Cascadian derby in Seattle to light a fire in the belly of Vancouver Whitecaps and so it proved once more, with the ‘Caps earning their fourth straight MLS victory in Whiny City.

For Vancouver, it was their first win, and points, of the new season. For Seattle, they remain what they always have been and always will be – pointless.

Here’s our game recap and postgame reaction from both locker rooms.

REPORT:

We said heading into this one that someone’s ‘0’ would surely go and thankfully it was Vancouver Whitecaps, who lead the Cascadia Cup standings once again.

A pair of Pedro Morales penalties did the damage, countering a stunning Andreas Ivanschitz free kick that tied things up in the second half.

It was controversial, it was chippy, it was everything you wanted from a Cascadian derby apart from some fights on the pitch and a Seattle sending off or two. But most importantly it gave the Whitecaps the kickstart to their season that they were so dearly looking for.

Carl Robinson finally utilised the attacking options available to him and went with a two striker system, with Blas Perez getting his first start of the season up front alongside Octavio Rivero, in a new look 4-4-2 formation that proved to be effective more than perfect.

Both teams started lively, with Vancouver looking particularly dangerous to Seattle in the transition and that proved to be the Sounders downfall in the 9th minute when Christian Bolanos won a penalty in the 9th minute on a quick move forward.

Bolanos got on the end of a through ball from Perez and was felled by the air of smug self importance coming from the Sounders’ supporters section. Mark Geiger had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Morales grabbed his second penalty of the season to make it 1-0 ‘Caps.

The Costa Rican said after the match that he felt a touch and his momentum took him down. It does look more like he stubbed his foot in the turf, but hey, by any means necessary to get the job done.

Pedro Morales had a shot across goal go narrowly wide soon after, after getting on to a Perez knockdown, but Seattle stormed back and had a slew of chances to tie the game up without really troubling David Ousted or the ‘Caps goal.

Andreas Ivanschitz and Clint Dempsey were looking particularly lively, but it was Bolanos who brought a save out of Stefan Frei with a 35th minute shot.

The ‘Caps survived the Sounders pressure to go in at the half with the lead but you knew a second half onslaught was coming.

And it did. Chad Marshall had a half chance and the ‘Caps were continuing to give up stupid free kicks in dangerous positions, which eventually led to Seattle’s equaliser when Ivanschitz lasered home from the edge of the box seven minutes into the second half.

Game on and it felt like the home side were in the ascendency, but full credit to Vancouver who neither folded or bunkered.

With Seattle pressing, Vancouver were relying on their counter attack and it reaped full dividends in the 73rd minute when Morales sent a sublime ball forward to Perez and the AFTN columnist was cleaned out by Marshall, who got a foot on the ball but took out the man. Clear penalty.

Morales stepped up and, although Frei got a hand on it, the ‘Caps captain struck home what was to be the match winning goal.

Dempsey had a great chance to tie things up again with ten minutes remaining, hitting a cut back inches wide when he should have done better.

Substitute Cristian Techera should have added to the ‘Caps tally in stoppage time, curling a close range effort wide after a well worked short corner, but it wasn’t to matter and Vancouver held on for the crucial three points.

With the absence of four starters for next week’s home game against Houston, can Vancouver keep the urgency and the wins coming? Let’s hope so.

FINAL SCORE:Seattle Sounders 1 – 2 Vancouver Whitecaps

ATT: 40,012

SEATTLE: Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Zach Scott, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan, Andreas Ivanschitz (Aaron Kovar 88); Jordan Morris (Oalex Anderson 72), Nelson Valdez, Clint Dempsey [Subs Not Used: Tyler Miller, Dylan Remick, Nathan Sturgis, Tony Alafaro, Oneil Fisher]

VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Fraser Aird, Kendall Waston, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba, Pedro Morales (Masato Kudo 84), Christian Bolanos, Kekuta Manneh (Cristian Techera 83); Blas Perez, Octavio Rivero (Andrew Jacobson 78) [Subs Not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Sam Adekugbe, Cole Seiler, Nicolas Mezquida]

REACTION:

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

CARL ROBINSON

On getting the urgency he was looking for and first win of season:

“It was a better performance. This game is a process and if you put the right performances in, the results will come. I think we tripped ourselves up with mistakes in the first two games and we accepted that. Today was a team performance.”

On how the team responded after Seattle equalized:

“Lots of character shown today. It’s not an easy place to come. We know we have to have a very good game against a very good team. We know they’re going to put you under pressure and they did that today. When they got the goal, it was a set piece and a fantastic finish on a free kick. But we showed character and we probably played our best little bit of football after they scored. That shows the team has character.”

On the difference this year in scoring on set pieces:

“I’ve got no idea, if I’m honest. I think we scored on five set pieces in the first four years of our MLS history so we’re doing something right. I really don’t care how we score – as long as we score I’ll take it.”

On what changed after Seattle scored:

“At halftime, I told them I didn’t want to sit back because they’ve got good players in key areas. If you sit back against a good team with good players, eventually they’re going to hurt you. I tried to stress that during the first 10 to 15 minutes of the second half to get after them. Good players sometimes don’t allow you to do that and they put us under pressure and probably got their just rewards in the free kick goal. But, as I said, we showed character afterwards. We wanted the ball. It’s easy to play when you’re winning, but coming off two defeats – silly defeats really – we showed a bit of grit and determination. They’re knackered a bit and they’ve got ice packs all over them, and that’s what you need to do in this game.”

On if he’s seen the two penalty kicks:

“No, I haven’t. I could sit here and say it’s two non-penalties or it’s two penalties – I don’t know. What did you see? [Reporter – The first one was a little bit shaky, the second one looked to be pretty fair.] Okay, the first one looked a little shaky and the second one was fair.”

On how he felt about playing two strikers tonight:

“I thought Blas Perez was one of the best players on the field. I thought he was excellent in his hold up play and brought leadership into the young team that we have. It was a different option and I’ll do that at different times this year. I don’t get caught up in formations [lists several]. It’s about players. We have players that are able to play in different formations in different games.”

On creating the situations against the Sounders’ backline:

“We know they have two excellent fullbacks who love to attack and want to get forward and will load you up with numbers because of their forward-thinking play, but it leaves the two centre backs a little bit isolated sometimes. That’s why I went with two forwards today to maybe catch them. You’ve got to be able to defend crosses with two centre backs in there as well as the fullbacks defending the back post very well. You’re going to come under a barrage of crosses because they’ve got good players here. But we held our nerve and that was the pleasing thing.”

On why playing on the road brings out the counterattack:

“I think it’s a little bit of everything, if I’m honest. Like you guys and ladies, you watch a lot of football and the team atop the Premier League in England at the moment is a counterattacking team. Are they the best team? Arguably they are because they’re the best team at putting the ball in the back of the net and have the most points. It’s finding the right rhythm with the different type of players we’ve got. We can play different ways and away from home is slightly different than playing at home, where we have crazy Canadian fans. It’s a different type of game. Teams can sit back at our place, but we’ve got to be better about breaking them down. Today the matchup was good for us, but we won’t get carried away – it’s only one game. It’s nice in a derby game – there’s lots of emotion in it, but it’s three points at the end of the day.”

On what it is that brings out the best in his team here in Seattle:

“You know what, I don’t know. Again, I’m sitting on the fence with a lot of these questions. But last year I think we came and got a good result, then Seattle comes to our place and slapped us twice so I don’t know what it is. One game at a time. We enjoy coming here. They have great fans. We’ve got our crew up in the top corner so it’s nice for them to make the journey home a lot sweeter with the three points.”

DAVID OUSTED

On getting the urgency he asked for:

“I asked for urgency and we showed that. We showed over 90 minutes how competitive we can be and then if we’re focused how tough of a team we are to play against. Now the next task is to get that urgency out every single game.”

On the improvement in the defence:

“It was solid tonight. The four guys in front of me did extremely well. We showed why last year we were one of the best defences in the league. The first two games were a little bit of a transition period for us. Hopefully now we’re back to being solid and then with performances like tonight, hopefully we’ll get more wins.”

“The four guys in front of me did what I expected them to do. They defended with everything. they blocked shots, they got in good positions and they got clearances on it. That’s what we need to do, especially coming in to a tough place like this and playing, but also in every game moving forward.”

On why Vancouver thrive in Seattle:

“It’s a fantastic place to play and it’s a tough place to play. You get into a big crowd and they get the Sounders fired up and we just enjoy playing down here. It’s a place where you know you need to be one hundred percent focused if you want to come in and win and luckily we’ve been good at doing that.”

On the atmosphere for this one:

“It was like a derby game should be. It was tense, there were a lot of tackles, a lot of good play and good goals, which is what you want out of a Cascadia Cup rivalry.”

On the intensity of the match:

“In a rival game there will always be a few more yellows. That’s just the intensity in the games. You don’t want to let anybody past. You want to maybe tackle them a little bit harder than normal.”

What did he see of Ivanschitz’s free kick:

“I saw it went into the back of the net and that’s about it. That’s just a great goal. I’ll look at it and see if there was anything I could do different but once in a while you’ve got to tip your hat to a guy that hits it like that and say if that’s what it takes to score against us, then ok.”

Thoughts on the two penalties:

“The first penalty he runs him down. Bola’s in front of the guy and then the guy runs into him and nicks him, so I don’t see any problem with that one. The second one, he gets under Blas and cuts him down. I can’t from my end of it see if he gets some of the ball, but it’s the referees decision that that’s going to be a penalty and luckily Pedro converted both of them.”

PEDRO MORALES

On the game and win:

“It’s always tough when you play against Seattle here. I’m very happy for the team and for the fans that came from Vancouver.”

On the play of Blas Perez:

“Blas is very important. Other players are the same, but for this game sometimes you need players to keep the ball and take time when you have the ball.”

On playing with two strikers:

“Maybe if we lost today would you say it’s important to play two forwards, I don’t know. When you play with two forwards it’s more pleasure for the fans and less chance for [Osvaldo] Alonso to keep the ball sometimes.”

CHRISTIAN BOLANOS

On playing his first Cascadian derby:

“It was fun because we won the game. I’m very happy. We played very well today and we deserved to win.”

On the penalty he won:

“I just felt the touch from the defender and I cannot stop, so I just fell. The rules here in MLS, I don’t know, I can’t say anything because they’ve changed a little bit about football. Sometimes I feel a kick but if I go down, the referee thinks I try to make a joke of him, so maybe I can take a yellow card, so I don’t want to [go down] when I feel a touch because maybe I get into trouble. That’s the because the rules here change football. Everywhere you play normal, you feel something and the referee give foul. Here you have to think if you go down, maybe he saw the video after the game, like in the first game I get suspension. I cannot say anything about the rules here. It’s strange for me because I am new here, a new player, I don’t know.”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS

SIGI SCHMID

On the result:

“Not pleased with the result. I thought we controlled the majority of game. I thought we were the team that was on the attack the most.”

On his side’s run of three defeats:

“At some point you need to get results. At some point you need those results to add to your confidence and your belief in what you’re doing. Hopefully at some point too, the little errors and breaks that went against us tonight … unbelievable.”

On the pressure those defeats bring:

“It’s a results-oriented business. I know that as well as anybody,” Schmid said. “At the end of the day, we’ve got to start getting some results or quite a few of us could be looking for new jobs.”

On his team’s performances in their three losses so far:

“It’s not like I can say that the other team is steamrolling us, I think what we’re trying to do is good. I can’t walk into that locker room and say, ‘You guys didn’t put an effort in.’ I can’t walk into that locker room and say, ‘You guys didn’t control the pace of the game,’ because that would be lying to them.”

On the lack of Seattle goals this season:

“That final execution just isn’t there right now. The imagination in the final third still needs to get better.”

On Clint Dempsey’s late miss:

“We had a great run by Joevin [Jones]. He made a cut back to Clint, he’s got an open net and that’s one that he doesn’t miss, usually.”

On the performance of Mark Geiger:

“That’s for PRO to analyze his performance. They don’t really care what I think.”

On Vancouver’s penalties:

“I’m not sure about the PKs because I haven’t seen the replays yet. But I’ve seen guys trip themselves in the box before. So I know it can be done. It seems like right now, we’re not catching a break in any way, shape or form.”

ZACH SCOTT

On playing well but coming away with a 2-0 loss:

“That’s just the story of our season so far. 0-3 isn’t an impossible hole to climb out of. It’s definitely not one you want to be in, but ­­you want to be in a situation where at least you know you are playing good soccer. The calls always even out as the season goes on. We have all seen it happen before. Eventually we’ll start to get some of those calls. As long as we stick to it, I think everybody, for the most part, is positive. I think the coaches have been doing a good job and players are working their tails off. We just aren’t getting the results that we want, but we are creating chances and playing good soccer so we’ll keep at it.”

On the battle with Vancouver forward, Blas Perez:

“Yeah, I don’t know if you want to hear what I have to say about Perez. I’ll probably get fined. If there are two things I do before my career is over, it’s make sure he never scores another goal and beat Portland one more time.”

On why he protested the second penalty call awarded to Vancouver:

“All I saw, and I was pretty close, I saw [Chad Marshall] poke the ball away and Perez leaned into him the entire time. The first one, I couldn’t tell you. At this point you have to do a little soul searching and try to figure out ‘are you doing enough to help the team win games,’ and from a personal standpoint, I have to do better. Maybe I should have shifted over to help those two guys so they didn’t feel like they had to go to ground at that time. Distribution out of the back, I could have done better with that today. I think everyone is thinking that same thing: “What could I have done to help the team pull out at least one win of these last three.”

CRISTIAN ROLDAN

Overall thoughts on the game:

“I think the game got a little bit complicated for us just because of those two penalties. I thought we played well as a group, collectively, and I thought we created a lot of chances. We just need to be a little bit better in the final third to give our defense a little more leeway and less pressure.”

On playing well but still being winless:

“It’s difficult. I think a lot of luck has gone the other way. It’s a one-way street at this point, but we just have to keep working hard and things will go our way. A couple calls went the other way, I haven’t seen the replay, but they definitely affected the game. You know, they might have been penalties, but they might not have been.”

STEFAN FREI

Overall thoughts on Sounders defensive performance:

“I thought we played well. They are a very offensive-minded team and they have tons of good playmakers. They are very creative up top, a lot of pace. They tried to find that gap in behind a couple times but I thought we took care of that, the space behind us, and like I said, there wasn’t too much there so it’s frustrating to still give up two goals.“

On performance of referee:

“They are big calls. Obviously he made them, but that’s it. It’s difficult, don’t get me wrong, but he has one viewpoint and maybe he can ask his Assistant Referees what they see or he may not, but that’s it. He doesn’t get the benefit of the replay, but they are big calls. I thought going up for high balls, there’s a lot of bumps where they didn’t even go up for the ball and kept bumping our players and on and on, but I think at some point you just have to get ahold of the game. My personal opinion is that they got more calls than we did. But again, at the end, we’re at home and we can’t really leave it up to that and we have to get a W.”

On second penalty awarded to Vancouver:

“From my viewpoint, I can see Chad and he clearly gets the ball. Obviously there’s going to be contact when both guys are going for a ball. I don’t know what he saw from his viewpoint. Obviously he saw the other contact and didn’t see the touch from Chad. Like I said, he made the call and it’s a big decision and we paid for it.”

There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Chris Corrigan at 22:21

    Love Zach Scott’s comment about Perez. And that friends, si why you want him on this team and not on any team we would play against.

  2. Aaron Campbell at 15:07

    Perez was brought in to make a difference and he did that on spades. Time for the supporters in Vancouver to back every player int the team, no matter what name is in the back of the kit.

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