Thanks to a Jordan Morris goal in the 91st minute, the Seattle Sounders did more to improve their playoff chances than their lifeless opponents from Vancouver. Despire a couple of nice gifts from the Whitecaps, the Sounders squandered many a chance throughout the match, and probably should have won by a much larger score.
Late Jordan Morris Goal Lifts Sounders Over Whitecaps
Clint Dempsey may have returned to training, but he was still out of the lineup. That left Jordan Morris as the lone man up top in Seattle’s 4-2-3-1:
Mears – Torres – Marshall – Jones
Alonso – Roldan
Fernandez – Lodeiro – Ivanschitz
Vancouver, meanwhile ran a basic 4-4-2 that struggled to get anything going:
Smith – Edgar – Waston – Harvey
Bolanos – Morales – Laba – Techera
Hurtado – Mezquida
Poor Seattle Finishing, Until Jordan Morris Dove In
Seattle’s inability to finish chances was front and center for much of the second half. While they only had two shots land on target, many of their 18 total shots were from threatening positions. A couple of mad scrambles in the box were horribly botched by the Sounders. Andreas Ivanschitz, in particular, was a sore spot. He was guilty of a lazy shot off a post with an open net that probably should have opened the scoring.
The Morris goal itself was from one of the more harmless looking chances of the game. Nicolas Lodeiro played a cross into a sea of Vancouver defenders. The Stanford product managed to dive through all of them to beat David Ousted to the ball before nodding it home.
Nicolas Lodeiro Still the Key
Two things have changed since the Seattle season began to turn itself around. The firing of Sigi Schmid may have gotten things started, but it was the return of Nicolas Lodeiro that has really been the most effective. Lodeiro picked up the assist on the winning goal toady. He was a key factor in maintaining possession throughout the match, as well. Although his shooting was a little awry, his precision crossing was enough for Seattle to get the win when they needed it the most.
Ineffective Counterattacking for Vancouver
Vancouver’s best chances of the day came on the counter attack. Christian Techera had the most threatening of them in the 13th minute. A long ball reached him and beat the Seattle back line, including goalkeeper Stefan Frei. The springy Seattle turf made the ball tough to control, however, and Frei was able to catch up and swat the ball away before Techera could knock it into the open net.
The strategy was far from effective, however. The chances never got any better after that first one. Of their eight shots, none of them found the target and none were looking like goals at any point.
The Sounders will take the three points. They are now three back of Portland (who are in action against Philadelphia right now) with a game in hand. The win also ends a three match run without a win. If Clint Dempsey can return soon with a clean bill of health and the same effectiveness we are used to, Seattle is more than capable of sneaking into the playoffs. They travel to Southern California next weekend for a Sunday tilt with LA Galaxy.
Vancouver has to be thinking their season is just about over. Last week’s win was their only one in their last eight tries, as well as the only match in which they have scored a goal in their last five. Things are looking bleak in Western Canada, and if they can’t figure out how to get some more consistent scoring, their season could very well end quite soon. They will try and kickstart a late surge next Saturday with a home match against Colorado Rapids.