Report and Reaction: Seattle sound the death rattle on Vancouver’s playoff hopes

Report and Reaction: Seattle sound the death rattle on Vancouver’s playoff hopes

A massive error in the final minutes of the first half would prove to be the difference in Seattle’s 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place on Saturday night.

After about ten minutes of feeling each other out, it was the ‘Caps who came up with the first chance of the evening when Nicolas Mezquida was set up in the box with only the keeper to beat but his volley was sent high and wide of the net.

That set up the story of the night, as soon after the twenty minute mark the Sounders made good of their first clear chance when Raul Ruidiaz got in front of Kendall Waston to slot home a Kelvin Leerdam cross past Stefan Marinovic to get on the board.

The Whitecaps had chances to even the score, but the majority of them were snuffed out the edge of the box by the Sounders defence or derailed by poor decision making and finishing.

With less than five minutes to go in the half, the Sounders doubled their lead after Ruidiaz took advantage of a horrendous backpass by Brett Levis to round Marinovic and guide the ball over the line.

A devastating blow, and it would have been easy for the Whitecaps to let their heads drop, but they rallied and staged a frenetic ending to the half, and in the fourth minute of injury time they were able to pull one back when Kei Kamara headed in a corner to send them into the break with some hope.

They actually almost drew even a minute later when Christian Techera’s shot from in close was sent just wide of the goal.

Ten minutes after the break Kei Kamara came close to getting his brace hitting the post after being set up in the box from Davies.

Mezquida had another chance, just after the hour mark, from inside the box sending this one high and wide of the net, as the ‘Caps came close and pushed hard but were unable to force the leveller.

The home side looked dangerous for the remainder of the match but were held to half chances by the Sounders.

They came close in injury time as Jordan Mutch’s flick in the six yard area was sent inches wide, denying a dramatic ending to what had been an entertaining match.

That would be the ‘Caps final chance of the match, clearing the way for their Cascadian rivals to take the victory and the Cascadia Cup.

This match had a familiar story where Vancouver were unable to convert enough of their chances, despite creating enough (they outshot Seattle 21 to 7), and terrible individual errors led to both goals.

With the loss the ‘Caps remain in seventh spot, just outside the Western Conference playoffs. However they didn’t lose as much ground on two of the teams they are chasing, with Portland losing on the road to Houston and RSL surprisingly dropping points late at home to Minnesota.

Despite the help there is almost zero margin for error in the remaining games leading up to the playoffs. They will have to remain perfect at home in their remaining three matches with the first one coming next Sunday against FC Dallas.

The playoffs are already here.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – 2 Seattle Sounders

ATT: 27,863

VANCOUVER: Stefan Marinovic; Jake Nerwinski, Kendall Waston, Doneil Henry, Brett Levis (Brek Shea 53); Cristian Techera, Aly Ghazal (Jordon Mutch 70), Russell Teibert, Alphonso Davies; Nicolás Mezquida (Erik Hurtado 81), Kei Kamara [Substitutes not used: Brian Rowe, Sean Franklin, Efraín Juárez, Felipe]

SEATTLE: Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam (Will Bruin 78), Kim Kee-hee, Chad Marshall, Brad Smith; Gustav Svensson, Osvaldo Alonso; Cristian Roldan, Nicolás Lodeiro, Harry Shipp (Víctor Rodríguez 69); Raúl Ruidíaz (Jordy Delem 89) [Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Nouhou Tolo, Alex Roldan, Lamar Neagle]




On the match:

“I think sometimes in football you don’t get what you deserve, I thought that’s what I saw today, I thought we were the better team. I’m not avoiding the fact Seattle have got fantastic players and they punished us with two mistakes of ours early on. Yes, we got ourselves in a hole but we should have been ahead prior to that, we should have got back into the game but the boys kept going, the character was unbelievable and I don’t think we got anything out of the game. We should have won that game today and we lost it and we have to accept it and we will. It’s not great, it’s not ideal, it’s disappointing against a rival but I can’t ask them to do anything more other than put the ball in the back of the net and maybe not play square balls across the edge of the box.”

On mistakes in the match:

“The games are won in both boxes, that’s why the boys at the top are paid the big bucks, you hear that all the time. We got into some wonderful areas and our final pass was over-hit or under-hit or we made the wrong decision and that’s what happens. It doesn’t matter how much possession you have in the world, it’s what you do in both boxes. The first 20 minutes we didn’t do our details correctly, we lost our runner on the first goal which was a pullback and then the second goal we played a square goal to a top, top forward and he scored. We dug ourselves a hole last time we played Seattle and we’ve done it again and this time we weren’t able to get out.”

On Levis’ error:

“He doesn’t need [to explain it]. I just said to him there, as young players you’ll make mistakes and when you make mistakes it’s important you don’t go under. He had a little wobble but he didn’t go under which is really important. I’ll speak to him on Tuesday, maybe he didn’t see the player but when you’re a centre forward like Raul [Ruidiaz] who sniffs out every little square pass and every little opportunity to score, unfortunately Brett was the one who made the pass. He’ll make more of them as he goes along in his career.”

On not taking advantage of other teams slipping up and doing job themselves:

“Well prior to this game we took 14 out of 18 points, so the team was getting the job done. We weren’t clean enough in both boxes. We didn’t get the job today done based upon points. Performance-wise they were excellent. I won’t fault their performance. What you can fault me on is not getting any points today, and that’s where I’ll give Seattle credit. Find a way to win. That’s what I keep getting told, and credit to them that they’ve done that.”

On message to the team for these last six matches:

“Play like that. Play like that and we’ll be fine. We’ve got a couple of home games, a couple of away games. [Other] results went for us in a certain way. We can control what we can control, and that’s our games. I don’t really care about teams, I really don’t. If we get our job done, and we get enough points to get into the playoffs, we deserve to be there. If we don’t, we don’t. That’s all I can control.”


On how he’s feeling:

“Upset, because we wanted to win, needed to win. But football is like this, and now we just have six more games that hopefully we can try to do everything possible to get in the playoffs.”

On what it will take in the final six games:

“The only thing that matters is that we can run, we can play good or whatever, but at the end what matters is that we need to win, and at the end to get in the playoffs. That is the most important thing here.”

On how hard it will be to get in the playoffs:

“It’s always going to be hard, it’s never going to be easy.”

On what head coach Carl Robinson said about the performance:

“He told us he felt proud. We fight until the end, we never give up. We want to get in the playoffs because of the coaches. They have given us all the tools during the week to have all the information possible to play against Seattle or any other teams. Since we are with them they have given us great things, so hopefully we can get in the playoffs for them.”


On how he’s feeling:

“I did an interview right after the game, and I said that I felt that I had to be brutally honest. You want to be as upbeat as you can. But this is sports, and this is one of those times where you feel almost sick to your stomach from the result, because you put so much into it, and we created so many chances. It comes down to both boxes, and I know we’ve said that a couple times this year. But we can’t come out of this game and say we deserved or were expected to win when we aren’t clinical enough in the final third with the amount of chances we have, and we make a few mistakes at the back that cost us two goals. Seattle’s a quality team and if you really want to come out of the game and say you deserve to win, you’ve got to make sure you take care of business in both boxes.”

On other results going in their favour, but relying on other results:

“I think you could spin it like that and say you can’t rely on the table, and you’ve got to take care of business yourself. And you’re right, you’re right in what you’re saying. But that being said, we can’t look at this game and say we give up. We’ve got six games left and we’re right in contention. We move past this game, and we thank the rest of the teams for taking care of the table for us this weekend. But if we want the table to take care of us the rest of this season, that’s not going to be possible. We need to take care of business, especially at home. And I called this game a championship game. I can’t even put into words the magnitude of the next game here against one of the best teams in the league.”



On an emotional match versus Whitecaps:

“It is Kick Childhood Cancer Month and there are lots of other people that struggles with stuff that keeps us grounded, people that have issues in their lives that are way more challenging than what we face out there. So, what I thought of the match is that it was a playoff atmosphere match. There were two teams desperate for a win. I think Vancouver had some chances; we were living dangerously at the end when they could have tied it up. That is a good team. I thought we were deserved winners. At the end of the day, they came on and took it to us in certain parts of the match, so, all in all, it was an exciting Cascadia clash.”

On Vancouver’s goal:

“[We have to] try not to give away too many corner kicks. It is as simple as that. We just need to be a little bit more careful, I would say, making sure our clearances are up the field instead of out of bounds. They are obviously a very dangerous team with Kamara, Waston, Ghazal and all the guys that they have. It was a quality goal, credit to him.”

On dealing with Kamara in the second half:

“We needed to actually do a better job. Look, if he is going to win some balls, we need to clean up a little bit the space right in front of him. Pitch our wide guys in, making sure Ozzie and Gustav were not pulled too high up the field. I think that was the source of some of their attacks, so, on that, we made a couple of adjustments at halftime and tried to figure that out.”


On his goals:

“It’s beautiful I’ve been waiting for this a long time, but the most important is the three points for the team.”

On the second goal:

“In reality that was Nico’s [Lodeiro’s] pressure, the pressure he was putting on him. It was key for the game.”

On nine straight wins:

“The truth is I’m really surprised by all this. The effort is more than just a group, we’re a family and that is why everything is coming out excellent.”

On his physical condition:

“I feel very good physically and I think I’m getting better since I got to MLS.”


On the win:

“We came up here to get the points. We didn’t play our best game, but like I say, tomorrow in the papers it’s going to be like, we win the game and that’s the only thing that matters for us right now. We’ve got to make the playoffs and we come here and we got the three points.”

On halftime changes:

“They are very dangerous players. They have fast play in the front, they press us, they counterattack. We play good defence and we win the game, that’s all that matters for us.”

On the winning streak:

“We have to keep working and keep playing like that. Now we go home and on Wednesday night play like a final and keep going.”

On Whitecaps corners:

“They are really tall guys, dangerous players but, like I said, we came here to get three points. It wasn’t our best game but we did it, we got the three points.”

Authored by: Steve Pandher

AFTN Soccer Show co-host and Senior Writer

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Anonymous at 05:17

    Rusty sounding like a Capitain already. Good lad.

  2. Vinnyd1 at 08:47

    Shocking performance from a team playing at home needing to win. Playing a rookie left back an a unfit out of form center back in a must win confirms to me Robinson gotta go. Sounders go and get a inform young dp from Peru and what happens 5 goals in 5 games
    And they are playoff bound again.

  3. Anonymous at 12:53

    Waston needs to hit the road. Sorry, but he’s not that good. He’s tall and scores set piece goals. It ends there. He makes dumb mistakes in the box and takes unnecessary fouls in the box.

    Last weeks podcast you guys were saying how he wants to test Europe, but I can’t see him landing in any quality league.

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