It was the Whitecaps who were pressing early for the first goal as there were a number of chances in the first ten minutes. They almost broke through in the second minute when Erik Hurtado was sent in the on the keeper but Stefan Frei charged out to grab the ball.
The Caps were finally able to break their goalless streak in the 12th minute when Sebastian Fernandez scored his third of the season to give the home side the lead. After some nice buildup Pedro Morales found the Uruguayan cutting into the middle of the pitch and after taking a touch Fernandez blasted the ball into the top right hand corner beating a diving Frei.
There were chances for the Caps to double their lead but they were not able to make that final ball count. Both Manneh and Hurtado had chances but their shots from wide angles were easily stopped by Seattle’s keeper.
There was a period near the end of the first half when the Sounders controlled the flow of play and dominated possession. However while they caused Vancouver’s backline to bend,, there was no breakthrough for the visitors as the Caps held on to the one goal lead at halftime.
Coming out of the break it was Manneh who made a nice run at Seattle and was brought down just at the edge of the box. Unfortunately the subsequent free kick by Morales was ineffective as it hit the edge of the wall set up by the Sounders.
The Sounders continued to press for the equalizer and came close on a number of occasions. Just after the hour mark second half sub Tristan Bowen had his shot earmarked for the far post but a diving David Ousted kept him off the scoresheet.
With about twenty minutes to go the Caps had a glorious chance to extend their lead when Morales sent Hurtado in alone on goal. Unfortunately the sophomore was unable to score when he miss hit his attempted chip into the hands of Frei.
The Sounders made attempts in the closing minutes but Johnny Leveron came up big with a couple of big blocks. In added time, Marco Pappa made an attempt from distance but his shot sailed just over the bar as the Caps were able to secure the their first win after the World Cup break.
It was their dominance in the midfield that was their main strength as the trio of Morales, Laba and Koffie controlled the flow of the match and broke up any threats from the Sounders. Both Leveron and Mitchell were able to handle the physical strike force of Cooper and Barrett limiting the duo to only one shot on target.
If there was one cause for concern it would be in the attack as there were a number of chances for them to extend their advantage. While both Manneh and Hurtado made some electrifying runs into the box there were there too many missed chances as they didn’t use their teammates in the final third effectively.
With the win the Caps hold on to fifth place in the Western Conference while still holding games in hand against the teams above. They also take over the lead in the Cascadian standings as they attempt to hold on to the Cascadia Cup for another season.
The Whitecaps return to B.C. Place next Saturday as they take on another Western Conference opponent Chivas USA.
Final Score: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 - 0 Seattle Sounders
Att: 22,500 sell-out (8th consecutive sell-out this season)
David Ousted; Steve Beitashour, Carlyle Mitchell, Johnny Leveron, Jordan Harvey; Gershon Koffie, Matías Laba, Sebastian Fernandez (Russell Teibert 86), Pedro Morales (Christian Dean 90+3), Kekuta Manneh (Nigel Reo-Coker 68); Erik Hurtado [subs not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Nicolas Mezquida, Darren Mattocks, Omar Salgado]
Stefan Frei; Jalil Anibaba, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez (Aaron Kovar 86); Marco Pappa, Michael Azira, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle (Tristan Bowen 55); Chad Barrett, Kenny Cooper (Cam Weaver 74) [subs not used: Josh Ford, Fabio Pereira, Sean Okoli, David Estrada]
*** Post game reaction to follow ***