2011 Sep 24

Sounders win Cascadia Cup in a thriller in Vancouver

Vancouver Whitecaps  1 - 3  Seattle Sounders FC
Empire Field, Vancouver, BC

22' VAN: Camilo 9 (Davide Chiumiento 9, Eric Hassli 2)
33' SEA: Brad Evans (PK)
64' SEA: Fredy Montero
67' SEA: Fredy Montero (Brad Evans)

Vancouver: Joe Cannon; Jonathan Leathers (Jeb Brovsky 46'), Jay DeMerit, Michael Boxall, Jordan Harvey; Gershon Koffie, Peter Vagenas, Davide Chiumiento, Camilo; Eric Hassli (Long Tan 81'), Mustapha Jarju (Shea Salinas 58').
Substitutes not used: Jay Nolly, Philippe Davies, Greg Janicki, Omar Salgado.

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez; Lamar Neagle, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez (David Estrada 79'); Nate Jaqua (Sammy Ochoa 66'), Fredy Montero.
Substitutes not used: Josh Ford, Patrick Ianni, Michael Tetteh, Servando Carrasco, Mike Fucito.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Seattle Sounders FC won the Cascadia Cup with a thrilling 3-1 win over the luckless Vancouver Whitecaps in the final match at Empire Field before moving to the newly remodeled stadium at BC Place. Camilo's first-half goal for the hosts was balanced by Brad Evans' penalty kick. Two wonderful strikes by Fredy Montero in the second half made the difference. Vancouver had several good chances in the second half but either Kasey Keller made a big save or the shooter missed the target.

The keepers were tested early. For Vancouver, Camilo sent a 30-yard free kick through the wall but it fizzled out by the time it reached Keller. For Seattle, Lamar Neagle's short square pass gave Evans a chot from the top of the arc, sent right to Joe Cannon.

Vancouver's early pressure had Seattle reeling. At 12' Camilo got free inside the penalty area to cross in front of Mustapha Jarju's near post run, but he missed wide of the near post from close to goal. On Vancouver's first corner kick at 19' Keller beat Michael Boxall in the air to punch the ball out of the penalty area, but it was played back in by ex-Sounder Peter Vagenas to Boxall, whose well-timed run put him wide open for a 7-yard shot. Keller collapsed to save it, and Jeff Parke cleared the rebound.

Meanwhile, all Seattle could manage was a 35-yard attempt by Montero that sailed yards high.

22' VAN: Camilo (Chiumiento, Hassli). Eric Hassli one-touched a pass ahead for Davide Chiumiento's timed run. He may have been a yard offside, but the flag stayed down. Chiumiento dropped a pass to the center for Camilo, who had run in unmarked. With Keller guarding the near post, Camilo had an easy finish to the far side. 1-0 Vancouver.

Three minutes later Camilo was sprung up the middle a step ahead of his marker for a chance at number two, but Keller came out to cut down the angle and Camilo's shot rolled a mm wide of the far post, seemingly touched wide by Keller although a goal kick was ruled.

33' SEA: Evans (PK). Osvaldo Alonso started a Seattle counterattack after a Vancouver turnover in the middle. Alonso passed ahead to Nate Jaqua, who played the ball to Montero's run up the left side. Montero got in for a shot from 10 yards on the left. Cannon made the block save, but the rebound went to Alvaro Fernandez off the other post. Fernandez shot on goal, but Jay DeMerit slid in and knocked the shot down with his arm. DeMerit was shown only a yellow card for the infraction. Evans put the penalty kick hard to the right side with Cannon going the wrong way. 1-1.

Close to intermission Chiumiento crossed to give Jarju yet another golden opportunity from ten yards, but he vollied his shot wide.

The second half opened wildly, with four good chances in the first five minutes. Seattle first, when Alonso's shot from the 18 was turned wide of the lower corner by Cannon. Then Vancouver when Jarju got in on the right and again missed the target badly. Then Seattle when Neagle's shot from 20 hit the crossbar hard and stayed in play. Then Jarju again, this time from Camilo's short pass for a 10-yard shot struck too softly and easily collected by Keller.

At 55' Vancouver dropped a short pass to Hassli at the penalty spot and he could see plenty of target at the lower right corner, but his shot was too soft, giving Keller time to get there for the stop.

The tide then seemed to shift in Seattle's favor. At 56' Jaqua won a ball sent to the front line and worked a give and go with Fernandez to earn a header that went inches wide of the lower near corner. Montero took a 25-yard free kick (we've seen him bury those before) but floated it well over the bar.

63' SEA: Montero. Montero's service into the penalty area was cleared out by DeMerit, but it fell in front of Montero in open space. Montero was double-teamed and instead of shooting with his right foot he played the ball behind his left foot, then struck a left-footed shot that curled into the top left corner. We should see the shot as a goal of the week candidate. 2-1 Seattle.

67' SEA: Montero (Evans). Leo Gonzalez made a good run forward with the ball from his own half, then sent a square pass to Evans in the middle. Evans sent a short pass ahead to Montero, who worked for a chance from just above the arc. His shot deflected off DeMerit's ankle, adding to the top spin and sending the ball looping down into the top right corner over a helpless Cannon. 3-1 Seattle.

From this point, Vancouver pressured Seattle's goal but the leaders' defense held well. A promising chance came when substitute Shea Salinas worked the ball in front of goal, fighting off challenges from two defenders, the cross going to Camilo, but Zach Scott slid in to block the shot. Salinas soon had another chance, firing a hard, low shot from the top corner of the penalty area, and Keller blocked it with another fine save. From a long cross, Hassli had a shot from close and hit it it to the wrong side of the near post. Salinas took another fine shot from the right and just missed the far post with Keller flying at it.

Vancouver earned a free kick from the left edge of the penalty area at 77' after Jeff Parke's tactical foul there. Chiumiento took it and shot a yard over the top far corner. Next he corkscrewed a 25-yard shot on goal, and Keller knocked it away with one hand.

The Whitecaps ran out of steam at about 80 minutes, so their fans created a racket by stomping on the aluminum bleachers all around the pitch in an attempt to get some adrenaline flowing.

But the only chances left were Seattle's. From Montero's free kick, substitute Sammy Ochoa, playing in his first MLS match, was free to head a shot hard off the near post. At 89' Montero served Neagle in on goal for a chance, and he hit the near post hard, his second of the match off the woodwork. The ball stayed in play and Alonso's shot was deflected wide by a defender. Off the corner kick play, substitute David Estrada got a shot and missed.

Shortly after the match a fans from the Portland Timbers (previous holders) and the Whitecaps presented the Cascadia Cup to Sounders fans on one side of the pitch, while the Whitecaps shot off fireworks on the other side to celebrate the end of their run at Empire Field.

Vancouver will host Portland in a final Cascadia Cup match, but neither side can catch Seattle's eight points from two home draws and two road wins. All four of Seattle's Cascadia Cup matches brought joy to the traveling fans.

          VAN  SEA
Shots:     17   21
Saves:      5    6
Corners:    7    5
Fouls:     15    9
Offsides:   1    1

31' SEA: Evans cautioned for dissent over a throw-in direction
32' VAN: Demerit cautioned for handling a shot by Fernandez
70' VAN: Hassli cautioned for a reckless foul
77' SEA: Parke cautioned for a tactical foul just outside the penalty area

Referees: Jair Marrufo; Corey Rockwell, Frank Anderson; Paul Ward

Attendance: 21,000

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

Opening statement: "It was a hard-fought game. I thought Vancouver played very well, came out and played with a lot of energy, definitely kept us back on our heels, created some good chances and got on top. After that I thought we caught a little bit of a better rhythm. In the last 20 minutes of the first half I thought we started to find our game a little bit and then in the second half I thought we found our game a little bit more. It was definitely a hard-fought game tonight, it wasn't simple, and hats off to Vancouver. I thought they played very well."

On Montero's two-goal performance: "The first goal I thought was a good goal. I thought he was going to shoot it before he cut it back, but then he cut it back and hit it -- little bit similar to the goal he got against Salt Lake, but the ball wasn't in the air, with sort of the way he wiggled through there. Second one was a good look, it was a good time to hit the ball. It was fortunate a little bit with the deflection, but he did well with it. Goal-scorers get streaky and he's been good the last six to seven games. He's come through and a scored a lot of goals. He's a special player and makes special plays. Tonight he did that."

What'd you think of the atmosphere and what was it like to hold that trophy up in front of your fans?: "Atmosphere was great. I think we had more than our allotted 500 here. I thought the Sounders fans were great in terms of their support. It was a great feeling being able to hold the Cup up in front of them and having them be so involved. I don't know what the top-of-the-line favorite beverage is here in Vancouver, but I'm sure it'll be filling the Cup tonight."

On Keller's six-save performance: "Huge. He came up big, made the big save early on that really kept us in the game when they broke through. I didn't think there was much he could do about the goal. Kasey's so clean. He holds onto things, things that other goalkeepers sometimes bobble or give up a little bit of a rebound and give up a little encouragement or life to the opponent. Kasey doesn't do that. He was big. He came up big for us tonight, again."

On getting rare success at the PK spot: "Every time Brad Evans is on the field we generally score our penalties. I think he's 3 for 3 now. Brad makes up his mind, he hits it hard and hits it well. It's important. If we could've had those other (ones) back that we missed, we'd be sitting here with a few more points. But overall we take what we give. It was a deserved penalty and he finished it well."

On tying quickly after giving up the lead: "Hugely important. It was off a good combination and a good play. Obviously Cannon came up with the save, he blocked it there and it floated out to Flaco. He hit a good shot and then the hand-ball occurred. To equalize before halftime is important. I think this is the fifth time we've come back from a goal down. That shows a lot belief within the group and a lot of internal fortitude."

Did the CCL game Tuesday affect lineup decisions?: "We're trying to take them one game at a time. There was certain talk on the bench of, 'Let's take this guy out and rest. And let's rest this guy,' and my feeling was let's get tonight's win and then we'll start worrying about Tuesday in about 10 minutes. Obviously we have some tired bodies. We're hoping a couple guys who are back in Seattle and injured, like Erik Friberg and maybe Roger Levesque will be able to go by the time we get to Guatemala. Obviously Fucito we held out tonight. He's very close to being 100-percent again. Having those available gives us a little more choice, but the guys are going to have to suck it up for Tuesday because we want to get a result in Guatemala to advance."

On guys like Jaqua, Estrada, Ochoa getting time: "Obviously the opportunities get created because there are some injuries but they earned it. I thought Jaqua had a difficult first 20 minutes. After that I thought he caught more of the rhythm of the game and did a better job of holding it up for us there. Estrada did what I needed him to do, provide some energy out there. I thought Sammy Ochoa came in and did well in terms of holding the ball up. He was unlucky not to get his first goal tonight and that's what we want from him and what we expect from him. We're a team ... and everybody's got to contribute at different moments."

Brad Evans

On the win: "It was huge. At the end of the game seeing at least half the stadium was our fans -- that was awesome to see. Wherever we go, we get support. For us to win it here is special. We'd like to lock it down a little bit earlier, but it's a great result for us. First trophy of the year."

On your goal: "It was an important time to get a goal. It was obviously a hand-ball and could've been a red card, too. It's a goal-saving tackle with his hand and the ball's going into the back of the net. Just went bottom right. I saw Joe go to the sideline before; I think he was asking which way I go. I've gone right and I've gone left. I just stuck with the way I always go and I was fortunate that it went in the back of the net."

On Vancouver: "They started great. We knew it was a team that you can't underestimate. We talked about it this whole week, that it's not a team that plays like they're in last place. It's a team that plays great football, it's an attacking style. Then when we saw they were going to start Jarju up front then it was like, 'OK, they're going to throw everything they can at us in the beginning and get us on the ropes,' which they did. We had a little bit of trouble with what they were throwing forward. They were finding too much space. Once we sorted that out after the goal, we had numerous amount of chances before the half. If we put a couple of those away it goes a different way, but Fredy had two good strikes and puts it away."

On Keller: "He yells at us and screams at us, but we want nobody else behind us because when the game asks for that one or two saves to keep us in it, he's come up huge on so many occasions. That's what he does. We can shore up things a little bit better at the end of games. It seems like towards the end of some games this year we've kind of almost (given) it away a little bit. We've got to find a way to keep the ball in the 90th minute, get the corners, play it out of bounds, waste time -- we've got to do a better job of that and put ourselves in a better position."

On Montero: "(He's) a streaky player and when he does catch fire it's like he can score three or four goals a game no problem, and you saw that tonight. We had so many good chances. He loves scoring goals. It's his favorite thing in the world and you see how he reacts to any goal, whether it's a deflection or a tap in, it's the same reaction after every goal. That's what goal-scorers do. That's why he's here ... and he's getting hot at the right time."

Fredy Montero

On the win: "It's very important for us. We did a great job out there. We feel happy about that. We got the trophy, one more, and ... I'm looking forward to the playoffs."

On the first goal: "Nate Jaqua was fighting (for the ball) and I got the rebound. I faked one time and shot with my left foot to the far post. Fortunately for me that was a great goal."

And the second?: "The second one I had a little luck because I shot and I touched the defender with the ball and it was in the net."

How special it is to score against a rival?: "Very, very special. I feel very good for those people who come from Seattle to Vancouver to support us. I just want to say thanks to the fans for their support. We look forward to battle for them every single game out there."

Kasey Keller

On the game: "We go a goal down -- we went a goal down in Portland -- and then the team showed a lot of resolve that when we do go a goal down there's no panic. We know we've been able to come back in games. Sure the third goal had a huge amount of luck on it, but it's hard because Vancouver's not as bad a team as their record shows. They played some really good stuff today. A different day it could've been a different result. I'm proud of the guys, like I said, we came back we got the couple goals and we hung on there at the end. A good day for all the Seattle fans who traveled up; it'll be a nice border crossing either tonight or tomorrow."

On equalizing before halftime: "Yeah, that's always important. It's always great when you go a goal down that you can get that goal back as soon as possible. Maybe it took 10-15 minutes, but we've had out difficulties putting away penalties this season so it was nice to see Brad slot that home."

On Vancouver: "They created plenty. Like I said on a different day we could've been on the end of the number, but we made some tackles, they missed some chances, I made a couple saves, then you hit them with two quick goals in the second half. Like I said, one extremely fortunate, but the first one was a great finish by Fredy. Just a group of guys keeping the ball in their half and stuff happens. Vancouver's a better team and have played better than their results have showed and we knew we were in for a difficult game today and they obviously proved that the first 20 minutes. If some of our guys didn't know they were in a game, they sure found out quickly."

On the fans: "Fantastic support (from those) who came up all throughout the stadium. Obviously you had the one big section, but just like in Portland, you had pockets of Seattle fans everywhere. It shows a lot of credit. The rivalry is huge for MLS. This is great for soccer in America and I'm just so proud that I've been able to be a part of it at this stage of my career."

Vancouver Whitecaps

Tom Soehn - Head Coach

Thoughts on the match: "We're very disappointed. I said before the game, this is more than just a game. There was so much at stake with the rivalry with Seattle. We wanted to send out fans something special and we just slipped today, especially because of the opportunities there was for us in the game."

On strikers: "We started the game out well, but we didn't hold the ball up well enough. Both guys had opportunities and you expect those guys to finish those. After half, Eric did a much better job holding the ball up."

On the penalty: "Jay was protecting himself, it hit him in the arm, they are called sometimes and sometimes they are not, but the ref called it so it was a PK."

On the quality of his team's finishing: "The game could have been 8-8, and that's not what you want in a derby match like that. You want to have a game that is shored up defensively. We didn't want to open up and that's exactly what we did."

Jay Demerit

Thoughts on the match: "To start the way we did and let that flip ... the inconsistently we have been showing all season and we thought coming into it that we wanted more and we didn't get it."

On bad luck during the match on first and third goals: "It's always disappointing when a ball deflects off your foot, and then when you get a hand ball, but sometimes those are things that you can't control."

On the crowd: "It was great. I don't mind opposition fans. I think it creates a better atmosphere all around. Seattle has great fans, no bones about it. Every fan can look to create the energy and passion from them, it's fantastic. But I thought our fans gave the same tonight. We created our own atmosphere to counteract them. I haven't heard that much noise coming from the stadium all season."

On why they were beaten: "I think mainly it comes from game management. Just the recognition to know when to see out a half, when to start well, when we need energy, when we need to slow it down, we haven't been able to figure that out this season. We had to do a lot of last ditch defending, and it looks good from a fans perspective, but that isn't the way soccer is meant to be played. Nobody said this season was going to be easy but its game like this where you have to look at yourself hard, so we need to continue to work".

Peter Vagenas

On the match: "Games are won and lost in the penalty box. We had clear cut chances that we failed to convert, they had half chances that they converted. That's the difference from a team that is at the top of the table and a team that is at the bottom. I don't have answers; all I know to do is just continue to fight. We have to fight."