Seattle Sounders FC got the one result they couldn’t afford Friday night, suffering a 1-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps at CenturyLink Field.
The result keeps the Cascadia Cup in Vancouver and keeps the Sounders even with the Los Angeles Galaxy in the points race for the Supporters’ Shield and top seeding in the Western Conference.
Neither team could get regular rhythm through most of the first half. More time was spent in the Sounders’ attacking end, but Vancouver had a few dangerous counters.
One of those finally paid off in the 45th minute, when Vancouver forward Kekuta Manneh found acres of open space down the left side. He was deep into the penalty area before Seattle defenders closed in. Goalkeeper Stefan Frei managed to get a piece of Manneh’s shot, but it continued into the back of the net.
The Sounders (19-10-3) failed to find the equalizer over the final 45 minutes and were shut out for the first time since Aug. 2.
The Whitecaps (11-8-3) took the season series against Seattle 2-0-1. That also allowed Vancouver to become the first team to retain the Cascadia Cup, going 3-2-1 to finish ahead of Seattle 2-2-2 and Portland 2-3-1.
In the league race, Los Angeles will make up its game in hand Sunday at FC Dallas. After that, the Sounders and Galaxy will settle things head to head. The clubs’ will conclude their regular season with home and road games against each other. That showdown pair of games opens Oct. 19 at L.A. and resolves Oct. 25 at CenturyLink Field, which once again will be opened to its full capacity.
The full stadium was open Friday, and a crowd of 55,765 was announced.
Before the match the Sounders continued their 40th-anniversary celebration with an alumni game and pregame introductions of some of those who have played for the club since its creation in 1974 in the North American Soccer League.Attendance:
60' Vancouver up 1-0. And not one of those games where Sounders seem much on verge of something. Just not finding way through Whitecaps yet.
Second half: ... has begun. Manneh out for Whitecaps.
Halftime: Vancouver 1, Sounders 0. Halftime: Goals 1-0 VAN; shots 5-4 VAN; on target 2-1 VAN; corners 4-2 SEA: possession 57.6% SEA.
45' Vancouver goal. Manneh on breakaway with no one in same area code. Frei gets a piece, but it goes into net. Whitecaps, 1-0.
First 30 minutes: Feeling out, mostly. No real chances.
First kick: Has been struck. Sounders in rave/blue, whitecaps in navy/navy.
Lineups: For Seattle: Frei; Evans, Marshall, Anibaba, Gonzalez; Neagle, Alonso, Azira, Pappa; Dempsey, Martins. Reserves: Hahnemann, Cooper, Barrett, Rose, Pineda, Scott, Traore.
For Vancouver: 1.Ousted, 2.Harvey, 4.Waston, 15.Laba, 19.Hurtado, 23.Manneh, 30.Rosales, 31.Teibert, 33.Beitashour, 40.O’Brien, 77.Morales. Reserves: 70.Tornaghi, 3.Adekugbe, 8.Ballouchy, 16.Leverón, 27.Sampson, 29.Mezquida, 38.Froese
Pregame: CenturyLink Field is fully open today for the Sounders' second-to-last home match of the season, a date with the Vancouver Whitecaps of double importance to both teams.
A win or draw by the Sounders brings the Cascadia Cup back to Seattle while also moving the Sounders back alone atop the Major League Soccer standings.
A win by the Whitecaps allows them to retain the Cascadia Cup and to move back ahead of Portland for the fifth and final playoff position in the Western Conference.
We'll have this blog open before, during and after the match, and will have additional updates and comments on Twitter @donruiztnt. Coverage on NBCSN will begin at 7 p.m., with actual first kick scheduled for 7:23. The game also will be heard on the usual radio outlets.