A long run of mix-and-match lineups seemed to catch up to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday as they fell to the Vancouver Whitecaps, 1-0, before a sellout crowd of 22,500 at B.C. Place.
The Sounders went into the match without five regular starters. Forward Obafemi Martins did not travel due to a hamstring injury. Forward Clint Dempsey and right back DeAndre Yedlin had not yet joined the club after their World Cup duty with the U.S. national team. And midfielders Osvaldo Alonso and Gonzalo Pineda were out due to yellow-card accumulation.
Reserve goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann also did not travel due to a hamstring injury.
The Whitecaps controlled the early minutes, mostly with their speed. But they broke into the lead with power, when Sebastien Fernandez launched a shot from about 28 yards, and goalkeeper Stefan Frei hardly had time to turn his head and watch it go into the top right corner.
That quickly ended the Whitecaps’ run of being shut out in back-to-back games. And it turned out to be the only goal Vancouver (6-3-7) needed.
When Schmid went to his bench he turned to veteran Cam Weaver, rookie Aaron Kovar, and Tristan Bowen in his club debut. But the Sounders couldn’t get onto the scoreboard.
Seattle remains atop MLS even as its record fell to 11-4-2. However, the Whitecaps extended their lead in the Cascadia Cup competition, moving to 2-0-1, while Seattle fell to 0-1-2 and Portland remained at 0-1-1.
The Sounders return to action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, meeting the Portland Timbers in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila.
Seattle returns to MLS and Cascadia Cup action at 7 p.m. July 13 when the Timbers visits fully opened CenturyLink Field.55'
Second half: ... is under way. No personnel changes, despite Sigi apparent halftime interview unhappiness with Cooper and Neagle.
Halftime: Vancouver, 1-0. Shots 8-7 VAN; on target 4-1 VAN; corners 2-0 SEA; fouls 9-5 SEA; possession 50-50.
12' GOAL Whitecaps. Fernandez rocket from distance. Vancouver, 1-0.
First kick: We're under way. Sounders in rave/rave; Whitecaps in blue/blue.
Lineups: The Sounders have confirmed that goals co-leader and assists leader Obafemi Martins did not travel due to a hamstring injury. Usual No. 2 keeper Marcus Hahnemann also was left home with hamstring strain. Both injuries called minor and their absence precautionary.
Here's the Sounders starters: Sounders starters: Frei; D Anibaba, Marshall, Scott, Gonzalez; M Neagle, Azira, Evans, Pappa; F Barrett, Cooper. Sounders reserves: Ford, Estrada, Weaver, Bowen, Okoli, Pereira, Kovar.
Here are Whitecaps starters: GK Ousted; D Beitashour, Mitchell, Leveron, Harvey; M Fernandez, Koffie, Laba; Manneh; F Morales, Hurtado. Reserves: Tornaghi, Mattocks, Salgado, Reo-Coker, Dean, Mezquida, Teibert.
Pregame: It's already been a great day of soccer, and there could be more ahead at 7 p.m. when the Sounders meet the Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS, Western Conference and Cascadia Cup action.
The game will be showed on JOEtv, heard on the usual radio outlets, and blogged here. There also will more more updates and comments on Twitter @donruiztnt.
I'll be back with lineups or whatever news pops up first.