REPORT (by Steve Pandher)
For the second straight match Vancouver Whitecaps gave up an early goal but this time there would be no comeback as Seattle Sounders held on comfortably for a 2-0 win at B.C. Place. All the scoring came in the first half as Chad Barrett scored a brace while the Sounders defence limited Vancouver’s chances, earning Stefan Frei a cleansheet.
The opening goal came in the fifth minute. Octavio Rivero's header found its way to Clint Dempsey who sent the ball over the backline allowing Barrett to beat the offside trap, take a touch into the box and finish past David Ousted to the far post to give the visitors the lead.
Pedro Morales almost responded two minutes later when he got around a couple of defenders and attempted a shot that forced Frei to tip it over the bar. Then it was Kendall Waston’s turn, as his header from a Morales free kick was caught by Frei, denying another chance to even the match.
Still inside 20 minutes, Kekuta Manneh had a chance from a tight angle with his shot skimming the crossbar and then moments later he set up Morales outside the box, with this attempt missing to the left of the net.
After being kept quiet for the majority of the half, Octavio Rivero had his first attempt on goal blocked.
The missed chances would prove to be costly as the 'Caps gave up another goal to Chad Barrett in the 38th minute and it was in a similar fashion to the opener. This time it was Marco Pappa who would provide the service into the left channel of the box and Barrett would take a first time shot to the far post to double Seattle’s lead.
Within the first five minutes after the break the Whitecaps had a chance to pull one back when Manneh sent in a cross to the far post and found Rivero, but his header was easily caught by Frei. The remainder of the second half saw a number chances by the 'Caps either missed or blocked with the best chance coming from second half sub Darwin Jones for the Sounders late on.
It was a frustrating game for the Whitecaps, especially for the attackers who were unable to find any space in the final third. Even when they got around the box the Seattle defenders negated chances by closing down quickly and blocking shots.
Defensively, the Whitecaps backline fell asleep a couple times and allowed the Sounders to capitalise on their few chances in the first half. Both goals saw the Sounder midfielders place the ball in a perfect spot allowing Barrett to make the most of his opportunities.
With the loss the Whitecaps have dropped from the top of the Western Conference into second, and are now only a point ahead of the Sounders with their rivals having played two less matches. However, before they get a chance to bounce back in MLS action and try to climb back to the top, Vancouver will travel to face FC Edmonton in the second leg of the Voyageurs Cup semi-final on Wednesday, where they'll need to put in a better performance than their last two matches to have any chance of advancing.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 0 - 2 Seattle Sounders
ATT: 21,000 (sell-out)
VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa-Modou Kah, Jordan Harvey; Matías Laba, Russell Teibert (Gershon Koffie 64); Cristian Techera (Darren Mattocks 61), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh (Kianz Froese 76); Octavio Rivero [substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Nicolás Mezquida, Tim Parker, Robert Earnshaw]
SEATTLE: Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Dylan Remick; Marco Pappa (Leonardo González 90+2), Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Lamar Neagle (Darwin Jones 85); Clint Dempsey, Chad Barrett (Andy Rose 72) [substitutes not used: Troy Perkins, Cristian Roldan, Zach Scott, Michael Azira]
On whether who scored first had the game:
"Yeah I think so. They're a good team. Supporters' Shield winners, we know that, good players. First goals change games. I couldn't fault the group, I really couldn't. The way that we played the first half especially. To go in two-nil down at half time was difficult to take. The first goal was probably going to be the deciding factor."
On whether the body language of Vancouver's players indicated they'd given up:
"I don't think that's a very fair assessment. When you're playing a very good team, and they are a very good team, the first goal changes the game. We were able to play through them in the first half. In the second half, when the dynamic of the game has changed, they have the ball, they keep the ball. They've got some very good, experienced players who know how to manage the game and slow it, and they did.
"When you're chasing, it becomes hard so naturally your body language changes because you're chasing. When you're winning the game, you don't feel you're chasing because you have the ball. When you're not, unfortunately you do."
On Robert Earnshaw [and why he wasn’t brought on]:
“Because it wasn’t a case of we had pinned them back. It was a case of the game was still wide open and I think he’s good in and around the box. If I want to put Earnshaw on and the result would’ve finished the same, I’m sure it might have been ‘Well, why didn’t you put Darren on,’ and those decisions you have to make as a manager and a coach. I just felt it was right.”
On Kendall Waston:
“The front two players for Seattle are fantastic players, and they’ve got good movement. We planned all week for Clint and [Obi], Obi didn’t play and Chad came in and credit to Chad, that’s two super finishes. The second one was a fantastic finish with his left foot. But, it’s not nice when you concede any goal and we knew that would be the case. They would get the chances down that channel and we worked on it, and unfortunately we didn’t execute it… 15 chances and we were able to score none today.”
On Seattle’s defending:
“That’s credit to them. Whenever you lose you get back to basics and we’ll have to do that. They deserved the victory today. Even though we played well.”
Thoughts on if this game is a step back:
“I wouldn’t stay a step back, you’ve got to take these on the chin now and again. You’ve got to have disappointment then to have an excitement and elation. Today’s a disappointment for us. Because it is our rivals, but make no doubt about it, we know they’re a good team. Whether they’re second, third, fourth, wherever in the table, they are going to be there or thereabouts at the end of the year. We have to make sure we are. So, we just have to rebound because we’re going to lose games this year. The good teams are able to bounce back.”
On the three matches lost at home and their performance at home:
“We’ve lost a game of football today. It’s unfortunate we’ve lost three games at home. We’ve got to make sure we don’t lose at home. And we did today so I’ll take responsibility for that. We need to do better. Myself included.”
On Russell Teibert being taken off [and was it because of Wednesday’s match]:
“No. I thought he was dead on his feet. He was playing very well. He was excellent in possession of the ball. I just asked him how much energy he had and he just seemed a little bit tired compared to the levels that he had so it was just Koffie thirty minute fresh legs. That was the only reason.”
On Cristian Techera being ‘out-muscled’:
“If you look at the size of him, he’s not going to change overnight. He needs to think with his head and I think he got some great positions today and caused Seattle a lot of problems without the final execution. And that was throughout the team, a lot of the guys got into some good areas and we didn’t execute.”
On Mauro Rosales’ recovery:
“It would have been a massive risk to play him. I don’t take massive risks as you know. So he’ll probably be good to go next week. Maybe Wednesday, but we’ll see how he trains on Monday.”
On Sam Adekugbe’s injury:
“Sam will be a few weeks. It’s not as originally bad as first feared, which is good. That’s why he has a smile on his face, but he’ll be a few weeks.”
Thoughts on disappointing loss:
“Yes, definitely, it’s disappointing especially being at home and against Cascadia rivals. We started off strong but giving that goal just deflated us, deflated the crowd, you could tell. We couldn’t rebound from it.”
Thoughts on three losses at home:
“It’s not a trend we want to continue. When we come home, we want to play in front of our crowd. They are so supportive, so loud and they get behind us. We have to give them something to cheer for and that early goal didn’t give them something to get on their feet for.”
Thoughts on being 2-0 down at halftime and having to fight back from there:
“Yes, it’s tough. They are a smart team, they are mature, they are old, they have been around the block a few times so they know how to keep the ball and make us chase and tire us out. You’re just chasing empty grass around, chasing the ball and never getting anything on it. We’re down two-nothing and you have to chase. You can’t just sit back. Otherwise, they are going to waste all the time in the world. It’s one of those things, it’s a tough situation to be in. We would like to not go down in the first place so we don’t have to worry about that but sometimes things happen and they get lucky breaks where they get one half-chance and one goal and we’re going to have to do a better job coming back.”
On Sounders' strengths:
”They’ve been there. They are a veteran team. They’ve got good players in every spot from goalkeeper to their forwards. They were Supporters’ Shield winners last season for a reason. They got their squad back. We started off strong. I think we had it but to give up a too easy of a goal is deflating so we can’t do that. We have to be smarter and sharper at home and even on the road. We can’t do that again.”
On avoiding complacency and continuing to work:
“We know we’ve got a good team but we want to get to a great team. In order to get there, we have to get the stuff out. So we can’t come in thinking we know this is going to be easy. We know it’s going to be tough. We have to continue to work and improve. We have to see those two goals as perfect examples on not being complacent and letting something like that easy go in.”
Thoughts on the match:
“It was very disappointing. I thought other than maybe the first 30 minutes, they were the better team. We lacked a little bit of fire and unfortunately they deserved to win today.”
On what he could have done better on the two Sounders goals:
“I just saw it again and my first step will always be forward to see if I can get there. In that situation, my decision is that I can’t get there – if I get to him in a 50-50 ball and I have to clip him then I’m off. I looked at it again and I stand by my decision. I’ll go look at it again and see if I can learn something but all in all, it’s a split-second decision and I don’t think I could have done anything differently. The second one, I’m a little bit more inclined to say that on a good day, I get there. He gets in behind and takes it first time. A good volley into the side-netting but I think, looking at my position there, I’m more inclined to say that that’s a save from me on a good day.”
On lessons learned from Sounders defence:
“I think we need to put a bit more tempo to it. Like you say, they are a very experienced team and they did really well slowing the game down, keeping the ball and whenever the ball went out, they took their time as they are supposed to do. Whenever we get on the ball, I think we need to try to speed it up. Speedier passes going forward. It’s harder for the guys though I saw they did really well closing them down. Whenever we got in their box they had a lot of people in there around the ball.”
On defending Chad Barrett:
“We knew that their two front guys was going to do that. Whether it was Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey or Martins and Barrett, we knew that one of them was going in behind. So it wasn’t a surprise. Unfortunately, he got in twice and finished it twice. We’ll take a look at that and become better in those situations.”
On performance at home so far in the season:
“I feel like we’re trying to make this our fortress. We’re trying to make this a tough place to play. We haven’t found that consistency at home. We really want to put on a performance and put on a show for the fans. We need to find that balance and we need to look at how we can get better.”
Thoughts on the match:
“We are pleased. We are pleased with the result. I thought the team played very well tactically. We learned from last week as well and put those lessons into effect. I thought we did a good job of shutting down the balls over the top. I thought we shut down Rivero fairly well and I thought we had Morales in check for most of the game also. We had some timely finishing from Chad.”
On Chad Barrett:
“Chad’s a forward, he’s scored goals in this league before. He is part of our team, he is a good player and scored goals for us last year. We talked about it, I said ‘hey here’s your chance, you’ve got to make use of your opportunity, concentrate, focus on the game.’ I tried to keep him in between the two centre backs and look for those little gaps when they popped up and he finished both his chances really well.”
On Brad Evans:
“I thought Brad was good. I thought the whole defence was good. Tyrone Mears has been solid on the outside. He’s got a tough day with guarding Manneh and I thought he did a good job with him. Remick did well and Ozzie [Alonso] sitting in that gap in front of them makes us a much more solid team defensively. I know we gave away more shots, but so many of their shots were from distance, they were not very troublesome. It’s good for the stats but they weren’t dangerous.”
On frustrating Whitecaps on defence:
“We talked about dropping our line. We talked about establishing our line of confrontation a bit further back. We know they like to get the ball to Morales and stretch the team by having Manneh and Techera run behind the defence. We want to take that space away from them and I thought we did that very well.”
On Darwin Jones’ first appearance:
“He did well. We thought at the very end that his speed could present a problem. He had a good opportunity there on goal. If he hits it a little more far post maybe he sneaks it past him. For his first experience, I’m sure he was a bit nervous but we felt it was the right time to bring him in.”
On whether this was a statement win for Seattle:
“It’s early in the season but we wanted to let people know that we are still here. We haven’t disappeared. I know Dallas and Vancouver have been on top of the table pretty much from the beginning of the season. But we wanted to let people know the road still goes through Seattle.”
On Chad Marshall:
“Chad certainly helped us. He solidifies our backline. His defending is an important part of our team. More than anything we asked Chad to change his game. Chad was never a guy who wanted to play possession. I thought he did a great job at it today. He is getting more and more comfortable. He is a good passer of the ball. Sometimes he doesn’t want it but he is a good passer. Obviously his leadership, his ability to win headers, the one block that he made. I forgot who dribbled across and he came sliding out to block that shot, that was a big play.”
On getting a clean sheet:
“It meant a lot. Three out of our back four are new guys. Remick didn’t play that much last year. Tyrone’s a new guy, we shifted Brad Evans position and I think those guys are really starting to gel and understand each other.”
On Obafemi Martins' injury:
“We’ll see. We are hoping he will be able to train next week and we will make a decision as we come into the weekend.”
Thoughts on the game:
“Great. This was probably our best performance overall just because we were very efficient and in control offensively and defensively. So at all times our possession was on spot. The way we took care of our chances was clinical. It was a pleasure to watch it from the back and at no point was there panic from any of us and that is against a really good team. They like to go a million miles an hour and they usually have that energy to do that for 90 minutes, but when you see some of their guys being dead tired at the end of the game, that means great possession against a team that usually runs you into the ground.”
On Barrett scoring two goals:
“Clinical. Sometimes it might be tough when you’re on the bench and not seeing the field too much. I think we all believe we are one big unit. And we all have to keep working hard in training and make sure we are ready when we are called upon. He took his chances well today and we needed it.”
On position change and playing in the back:
“With that position you kind of look back at games as a learning experience. San Jose was a big one where maybe I got too complacent. Last week I think I got a little too complacent as well. I watched some tape this week. We said there is no pressure on the ball, let’s trap and we absorbed pressure better like that and play out the back. They are all learning experiences and I am trying not to get ahead of myself.”
On two goals by Barrett:
“It’s awesome. It’s so important and that’s about building a deep team. As we step into Champions League and Open Cup this year, it is what we need to capture multiple trophies.”