Report and Reaction: Gauld’s last gasp penalty sees Whitecaps stand tall and deliver valuable point in derby draw in Seattle

Report and Reaction: Gauld’s last gasp penalty sees Whitecaps stand tall and deliver valuable point in derby draw in Seattle

(Photo Credit: Mynor Campos)

Four weeks on from their last meeting, it felt like two very different teams meeting in Seattle as Vancouver Whitecaps headed down the I5 for another clash with the Sounders.

Since that 2-0 Whitecaps victory on April 20th, Vancouver haven’t won a match in MLS and had been kept off the scoreboard in their last three games. Seattle on the other hand had taken seven points, with two victories. And while the Sounders weren’t exactly looking like world beaters, they headed into this Cascadia Cup clash as the more in-form side.

When Jordan Morris fired them ahead nine minutes in, it felt like another tough night was in store for the Whitecaps, but in a match lacking a lot of real quality, the ultimate tale of the game lay in one handball decision not being given at one end and one being awarded at the other.

The latter fell to Vancouver and Ryan Gauld’s stoppage time penalty earned what could be a very valuable point for the visitors when everything shakes out come October.

Vanni Sartini made five changes to the team that started the midweek loss in Colorado, with one eye also on Tuesday’s Canadian Championship second leg against Cavalry.

After a couple of early half chances for both sides, Seattle got the early breakthrough in the 9th minute.

Yohei Takaoka did well to turn away a fierce Obed Vargas from a few yards out, after the ball fell to him when Ryan Raposo blocked a Joao Paulo shot, but the rebound fell to Morris, who easily tucked it away to put the home side up.

The Whitecaps had a chance for an immediate response when Brian White rose well to meet a Ryan Gauld corner, but Stefan Frei came up with the save.

The game fell into a far slower pace after the blistering start, and it was hard to work out just what Vancouver’s gameplan was as they didn’t seem to be looking for quick transition plays.

Chances were few and far between but Fafa Picault headed over a Gauld free kick in the 37th minute before White tried a scissor kick in stoppage time, when a simpler attempt felt the far better option.

Seattle made most of the running at the start of the second half, with Vancouver showing very little urgency or attacking threat.

Cristian Roldan rose to meet a corner in the 57th minute, but as the ball flew across the face of the ‘Caps goal, there were no Sounders to tuck the ball away for what would have been a killer second.

Yeimar blasted one over from just outside the box in the 69th minute, in a rare piece of goalmouth action.

The Whitecaps had a chance that came out of nowhere in the 73rd minute when substitute Sebastian Berhalter struck a fierce, low 20-yarder which Frei parried away.

Morris almost grabbed a second for Seattle with 10 minutes remaining when he rose to meet a cross but his header came of Javain Brown and behind for a corner. Replays showed it came of Brown’s elbow, but despite a quick video review, the decision to give a corner was upheld.

Pedro de la Vega then nearly got the Sounders’ second from the subsequent corner, but his header crashed off the crossbar and the danger was cleared.

Just as all Whitecaps hope seemed lost, they were given a lifeline with seconds of normal time remaining when Nouhou threw himself towards Berhalter’s shot with his arm raised in the box. No penalty was given on the field but after a video review, Vancouver had a last gasp penalty and Nouhou was sent off for a second yellow.

Gauld stepped up and expertly dispatched the spot kick five minutes into stoppage time and the ‘Caps had earned the unlikeliest of points.

There was still time for one last bit of drama as De la Vega crashed a shot off the near post in the 98th minute, with Takaoka a very lucky man not to have been caught sleeping.

But a point apiece it was to be and the Whitecaps will want to get back in their bus and up the road before they get accused of being Dick Turpin as that was highway robbery!

A very good, if undeserved, point in the end for Vancouver but this was a game that highlighted many of the concerns surrounding the team right now in terms of the lack of creativty, the issues with depth, and the over-reliance on certain players to continue to perform at the top levels week in, week out.

But the point steadies a wobbling Whitecaps ship and ends their goal drought at the 435 minute mark. The effort shown, especially on the defensive side, is certainly a positive to take out of the match, as is keeping the five point gap between themselves and the Sounders, but they will need to be a lot better and a lot more creative if they are to take on Messi and friends next weekend.

FINAL SCORE: Seattle Sounders 1 – 1 Vancouver Whitecaps

ATT: 30,102

9’ – SEA – Jordan Morris
90’+4 – VAN – Ryan Gauld (penalty kick)

Possession: SEA 51.9% – VAN 48.1%
Shots: SEA 13 – VAN 8
Shots on Goal: SEA 2 – VAN 5
Saves: SEA 4 – VAN 1
Fouls: SEA 14 – VAN 12
Offsides: SEA 0 – VAN 1
Corners: SEA 5 – VAN 3

36’ – SEA – Obed Vargas
43’ – SEA – João Paulo
77’ – VAN – Mathías Laborda
89’ – SEA – Nouhou
90’+4 – SEA – Nouhou

90’+4 – SEA – Nouhou

SEATTLE: Stefan Frei; Alex Roldan, Yéimar Gomez Andrade, Jackson Ragen, Nouhou; Cristian Roldan, João Paulo (Pedro de la Vega 76’), Obed Vargas, Albert Rusnák (Reed Baker-Whiting 88’), Jordan Morris; Raúl Ruidíaz (Danny Musovski 88’) [Substitutes not used: Andrew Thomas, Paul Rothrock, Jon Bell, Cody Baker, Danny Leyva, Dylan Thomas]

VANCOUVER: Yohei Takaoka; Javain Brown, Mathías Laborda, Tristan Blackmon; Alessandro Schöpf (Levonte Johnson 76’), Andrés Cubas (Sebastian Berhalter 54’), Pedro Vite, Ryan Raposo (Ali Ahmed 65’); Fafà Picault, Brian White, Ryan Gauld [Substitutes not used: Isaac Boehmer, Ranko Veselinović, Belal Halbouni, Ralph Priso, Luís Martins, Guiseppe Bovalina]




On his team’s performance across both halves:

“I think we did well, to be honest. I think the first half we played well, we conceded a goal in kind of an unlucky way, with their cross and they put a lot of players up and the deflection went in their favour. But, you know, there’s also the other team. Then, I think we played a very good first half, playing better than them and having the chance to tie immediately with Brian [White] with the header, and then pushing, pushing, pushing. We were a little bit too frantic with the ball and in the final third, and that’s the reason we created a lot of threat in my opinion, but not a lot of chances. The second half actually, in terms of quality of play, was a little less. I think we felt that we were a little tired but I’m very proud of the fact that we stayed in the game for the entire duration, we didn’t concede chances… but again we didn’t have many chances. We were a little bit too slow moving the ball from left to right and right to left… but I think that the tie is fair for what we did in the first half, and in the second half the effort made us deserve the tie. But we could have done better, offensively, for sure in the second half.”

What his team need to do better in the attack ahead of a busy schedule next week:

“Two things. The first thing is that I think we were too hasty [today]. A lot of the time we were trying to receive the ball behind the line, and we had space to go at them and we wanted to play that final pass immediately, or the short pass immediately, so that’s the first thing. The second thing is the occupation. Today, I think the wide players, they have to be very wide when we have the ball but when we are in the final third, the opposite side, say we are playing on the right side, the left side player needs to attack.  I think we were unable to do that run, probably because we are playing back-to-back-to-back and it’s very demanding to do it every time. But that’s what we need to do better, we need to occupy more the box.”


On the boost his goal and this point will give for the team moving forward:

“It’s been a tough run of games so far the past ten days or so, and we’ve still got quite a few Saturday-Wednesday games left so, it’s important to try and get as many points as we can. Obviously off the back of two poor results and three games without scoring, it’s nice to get a point on the board and get a goal and hopefully we can look forward from here.”

On becoming the first player to register 30+ goals and 30+ assists in the MLS era for Whitecaps:

“It’s nice, obviously. When I came in, I was told to try and bring final product at the end of the pitch and to help with that many goal involvements, is quite a nice feeling. Hopefully I can add quite a few more in the next few years.”



On if he saw the handball that wasn’t called:

“No, I didn’t, I’m 100 yards away from that one. The other one too, I can’t really see it. It looks like, for me, the fact that [Nouhou] blocks the shot, I’m happy with the effort and diffusing a very dangerous situation then [the referee’s] obviously look at it. I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know.”


On how he looks at the game:

“I think we missed a good opportunity to win this game. But I think even [LA Galaxy] missing some key players, they are still a good roster, good team. But I think we need to look at us and try to improve. The reality is we need to be better.”


On his overall thoughts of the game:

“I felt like it was a decent performance. I think that we needed to do a better job of closing out the game with the ball, be a little more dangerous when we are up 1-0 instead of conceding possession and conceding crosses. That’s what at the end of the day resulted in the [penalty], a silly foul. We are trying to make up for it. It’s unfortunate but it’s the reality. It’s a 1-1 game, we split the points, and we don’t move in the standings and so it definitely feels like a loss.”


On if there was any added pressure for his return due to the team’s form:

“We had a good game today. We did a good job in general during the game. Of course, it’s unlucky that we weren’t able to get the result at the end and we didn’t get the win. It was just a last-minute play that happened. I don’t feel that it was extra pressure, it was more just that particular play that happened at the end, it’s not that we felt any additional pressure.”

Authored by: Michael McColl

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