Seattle Sounders 2, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0 | MLS Cup Playoffs Recap
The Western Conference Semifinals series between the Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps FC played out how many rivalry matches go. Tight and tense with little to separate the two teams. The difference between them came from a moment of brilliance that ended with a perfectly-placed shot from a legend.
After a listless 0-0 draw in Leg 1, Seattle were able to advance to the Western Conference Championship after Clint Dempsey placed a 56th-minute shot into the side netting. The goal came soon after a first half that saw the Sounders outshoot Vancouver 9-2 and a start to the second half where the Sounders took four more shots. Dempsey added a second in the 88th minute to seal the victory after Victor Rodriguez found him at the back post off a short corner. The former US national team was playing in his first Audi MLS Cup Playoff match in almost two years.
With the win, the Sounders advance to the next round and await either the Portland Timbers or Houston Dynamo. A Portland win means they will start the series at home while a Houston win would put them on the road to start the Western Conference Championship.
- A MOMENT OF CLASS: The series did not provide much excitement in terms of scoring opportunities but one moment of class lifted the Sounders to the Conference Championship. Five different Sounders helped in the buildup to the opener with Dempsey placing his shot perfectly in the side netting.
- ‘CAPS LUCKY TO BE IN IT?: Sounders fans would argue that they should have had a penalty kick in the first half after Jake Nerwinski and Nouhou Tolo got into a tussle around Vancouver’s defensive 18-yard box. Nerwinski grabbed Tolo’s shirt outside the box and then tried to make a play on the ball as he moved into the box. No call was made and after Video Review, referee Baldomero Toledo stuck with his decision not to give Seattle a chance from the spot.
- NOT ENOUGH ATTACK: With Vancouver exiting the playoffs, the question has to be asked whether head coach Carl Robinson had the right strategy in the series. It was clear that his team had a very defensive approach in both legs and pushed few players forward into the attack. Not getting a goal, or even a shot on goal, at home proved to be crucial in the end.
- SEA: Western Conference Championship - Tues. November 21 vs. Houston (10pm ET | FS1, FOX Deportes | TSN, TVA Sports)
- VAN: End of season