Third Time is Not The Charm… Whitecaps Fall to Sounders 2-0

by Kevin Nesgoda


Image via MLS

Image via MLS

It was a short rest for the Whitecaps as they faced  Western Conference leaders, the Seattle Sounders last night. This match came after just 3 days of rest from their previous win against San Jose Earthquakes. The Whitecaps made wholesale changes to their lineup after Saturday, fielding a club MLS record seven Canadians in their starting XI. Let’s get into the rest of the match!

Lineups:

Vancouver Whitecaps: 3-4-3

Plenty of notes for the starting XI today!:

  • Second match in 4 days

  • An MLS record 7 Canadians in the starting XI

  • Formation Change to a defensive 3-4-3 (more like a 5-4-1)

  • Only 3 players from Saturday’s win in starting XI. Bush, Bikel, and Vanko

  • Club set record for most appearances played by Canadians in a single season (137)

Seattle Sounders: 4-2-3-1

Match Stats

VWFC Man of the Match: Derek Cornelius

Referee: Fotis Bazakos

Scoring Summary

54′ – SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (assisted by Nouhou Tolo)

60′ – SEA – Nicolás Lodeiro (assisted by Raúl Ruidíaz)

Statistics

Possession: VAN 31.9% – SEA 68.1%

Shots: VAN 4 – SEA 11

Shots on Goal: VAN 0 – SEA 4

Saves: VAN 2 – SEA 0

Fouls: VAN 12 – SEA 6

Offsides: VAN 0 – SEA 3

Corners: VAN 4 – SEA 3

Cautions

62′ – VAN – Lucas Cavallini (yellow)

84′ – VAN – Cristian Dájome (yellow)

90′ – VAN – Derek Cornelius (yellow)

Match Review

A pair of second half goals sealed the deal as a tired out Whitecaps lose to the Seattle Sounders 2-0. DP striker Ruidiaz’s heroics for the Sounders take them back to the top of the West. To be 100% honest, the result was expected. The Sounders are arguably the best team in  the league. Even with us being on a good run of form, this was always going to be a tough match. With the loss, the Whitecaps were unable to climb up the table, staying put at seventh place and above the barely playoff line with two matches remaining. One against Portland and the other against LA Galaxy.


Image via Sounders FC twitter

Image via Sounders FC twitter

The first half started off fairly evenly as both teams almost seemed to want to play for a draw. The Whitecaps stayed defensively sound all half and did not let the Sounders through. Vanko and Cornellius shut everything down on that right hand side. There were a few times where Andy Rose was exposed by potential league MVP, Jordan Morris, on the left. On the other side of the ball, the Sounders seemed to be testing us to see how we would press and how we would react without the ball. Mostly playing out of the back and keeping possession. Ultimately, both sides stayed complacent as the half ended 0-0. 

The second half was a different story. After the break, the Sounders came out ready for a result. They  pressed the Whitecaps until they found the net not even 10 minutes into the half. 

Although initially ruled offside by the assistant referee, the Sounders struck in the 54th minute as Nouhou spun a deep cross into the box that Ruidíaz smashed into the back of the net. After some VAR review, the center referee ruled it onside making 1-0 for the Sounders. Seattle was able to put up one final goal as Yeimar sent a long ball down the middle of the pitch to find Ruidíaz in the box, where the Peruvian cut back a pass to the middle of the box where none other than Nicolás Lodeiro finished into the net in the 60th minute. 

The Whitecaps could not get anything going for them offensively after that. The Sounders bunkered down and did not allow anything to come through. This was even after MDS brought in our star front 3 of Dajome, Fredy, and Cava all at once. None of the subs had much impact on the match as the final score was 2-0 in favor of the visiting Sounders. 

Post Match Thoughts

The first half was probably the best defensive half of football I have seen the Whitecaps play in a while. Especially considering their opponent and their front 4. Things just seemed to be clicking tactically. On paper it started out with a typical 3-4-3, but then in transitions back, it would seemingly turn into a 5-4-1. I know it’s not the prettiest way to play, but hey, it worked for a half. 

Derek Cornellius and Vanko played their hearts out and left it all on the pitch. I have been sceptical on Vanko most of the season, but since we’ve signed him permanently, he’s easily been one of the better defenders. Both players are super young, so I know they can only get better. I still think Godoy and Vanko are our best CB pairing going forward, but in the eventuality that we lose Godoy, DC can easily slot right in. 

Second half was another story… The team looked like it had lost a bit of their shape. They tried to press too much and got caught in the counter press that the Sounders are so good at. It makes sense why we came out like that at the start. We initially were playing for the draw, but there were opportunities to go for the goal. The battle was lost in the midfield. That was evident in the stat line and heat map below.


This is the heat map for the Whitecaps

This is the heat map for the Whitecaps


This is for the Sounders

This is for the Sounders



whoscoredratings2.png

While I love Baldisimo, he is not a defensive midfielder. Maybe he would have been better suited for the wingback role, switching with Bikel.

The kids did alright. This was a learning match for most of them and I couldn’t be more happy with the result. 

Baldisimo balled out today. While DC was MOTM for the Whitecaps, I thought Baldi deserved a shout as well. He kept possession so well and picked passes like it was nothing. He looked like he belonged on that pitch. He has been fighting for a starting spot, and I feel that he is so close to getting it. MDS should look into finding a way to get him into the team. He deserves it. 

He even got a new fan! Kristian Jack of TSN had nothing but praise for the young Canadian. We’ve all been fans of the kid all season, but it’s still good to see him finally get some more recognition. 

The Whitecaps will be staying in Portland for their final two games of the regular season. Although this time around, they will be serving as the away side in another Cascadia clash with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. Catch the match live on Sunday, November 1 at 7:00 p.m. PT on TSN and ESPN+

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