Sounders find attacking spark in 3-0 win over Whitecaps

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The Seattle Sounders ended their five match winless streak on Wednesday night, knocking off Cascadia rivals Vancouver Whitecaps by a final score of 3-0. Going scoreless the last two matches, Seattle’s attack looked reenergized and refocused on a night where a win was imperative to their playoff hopes. From the start of the match the Sounders were on the offensive and creating dangerous chances.

Cristian Roldan nearly scored the opener in the 16th minute after a clever back heel from Clint Dempsey. Roldan then showed off his speed and footwork to get a shot on goal but the ball caught the far post and bounced out.

Victor Rodríguez opened the scoring for the Sounders in the 17th minute with a fantastic display of footwork to turn to goal and find a sliver of space between the defense for a shot to the bottom corner of the net. Gustav Svensson did well to win back the ball for Seattle and then pass to Nico Lodeiro who had the vision to pick out Rodríguez in a pack of defenders. Rodríguez danced past two defenders before hitting a left footed shot between another two Whitecaps and past a diving David Ousted.

While the Sounders had seemed to struggle in the final third the last few matches it was apparent early on that those woes were fading as they continued to find space and pick out dangerous passes in the first half.

Still though they struggled to find a second goal which left the door open for Vancouver as they continued to create counter-attacking opportunities and were very nearly rewarded for it in the 22nd minute.

Yordy Reyna earned Vancouver a free kick in the 36th minute, drawing a foul by Osvaldo Alonso about 30 yards from goal, giving former Sounder Fredy Montero a chance from a set piece. Montero struck his shot near perfectly over the wall and towards the top corner of the net but Stefan Frei made an incredible diving save to push the ball off the underside of the crossbar and then recover the rebound as it bounced a few feet in front of him.

“I’ve grown fond of using my left hand on that high left ball because… if I go with my right hand on that I simply don’t have the strength to keep that out,” said Frei after the match.

As the sides entered the locker room at halftime, Seattle felt unsatisfied with a 1-0 lead as coach Brian Schmetzer said after the match that the players all said that they needed to keep pushing and not let themselves become complacent with a one goal lead.

Seattle kept with that message in the second half as they began to stretch Vancouver defensively and use the space that opened up as the Whitecaps pushed for the equalizer. After an injury to Alonso late in the first half brought on Nouhou Tolo, Joevin Jones pushed up from defense to midfield and continuously terrorized the Vancouver defenders, ultimately creating Seattle’s second goal of the night in the 62nd minute.

The play started at midfield as Rodríguez gained possession with open space in front of him to run at the defense. Jones ahead of him forced Vancouver to backtrack, unable to commit to one man or the other. As one defender finally made a step towards the ball twenty yards out Rodríguez slipped a pass to Jones on the edge of the 18-yard-box, giving him time to survey the box for an open teammate. Dempsey, crashing the net, drew one defender to him leaving Lodeiro wide open at the opposite side of the box allowing Jones to give a pass to the open space in the center of the box for Lodeiro to smash home a second goal.

Just seven minutes later Seattle would get a third as Lodeiro made a run down the left sideline and received a pass into space from Dempsey to start the attack. From the side of the box Lodeiro made a pass into almost the exact same spot he had just scored from as this time it was Jones drawing defenders as he crashed the net leaving space for Dempsey to put his name on the score sheet and put the game out of reach.

The Sounders now travel to Philadelphia to take on the Union at Talen Energy Stadium Sunday, October 1st at 1 PM PT while the Whitecaps travel to Kansas City to face Sporting at Children’s Mercy Park Saturday, September 30th at 6 PM PT.

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