VANCOUVER, B.C. – With a single result Saturday night, Sounders FC won the Cascadia Cup and climbed back into second place in the MLS Supporters Shield race.
Both achievements accompanied a 3-1 come-from-behind win over Vancouver in the final game at Empire Field before the Whitecaps move to their new home at remodeled BC Place.
“Vancouver’s not as bad a team as their record shows,” Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “They played some really good stuff today. A different day, it could’ve been a different result. I’m proud of the guys. ... 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.”
After the teams swapped first-half goals, the difference was a pair of Fredy Montero goals in a short span of the second half.
The first came in the 63rd minute, as Montero received the ball in the penalty area, faked right, then pulled the ball back left and fired a sizzler past goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
Four minutes later, Montero hit a shot from the top of the penalty area. This one was deflected by Vancouver defender Jay DeMerit, but the ball looped into the goal.
“The second one I have a little luck,” Montero said. “I shoot it, and I caught the defender with the ball on his feet and it was into the net.”
Those goals sent Montero past Alvaro Fernandez into the team lead with nine. But they accomplished far more than that.
With the result, the Sounders concluded their Cascadia Cup competition with eight points from four games. Behind them are Portland, with four points from three games, and Vancouver with one point from three games. The Timbers will visit the Whitecaps next weekend in what is now a battle for second place in the competition of Major League Soccer’s Northwest clubs.
After the final whistle, the Sounders received the Cup, paraded it to the corner where their supporters waited, and handed it to them.
“It’s just a great feeling being able to hold the Cup up in front of them and having them be so involved,” Schmid said. “I’m sure they’ll be quite a few – I don’t know what the top-of-the-line beverage is here in Vancouver – but I’m sure it will be filling the cup tonight.”
Seattle (15-6-9) also returned to second place in MLS, moving three points ahead of Real Salt Lake, which lost earlier in the day to D.C. United. RSL has one game in hand. Meanwhile, Los Angeles won and remains seven points ahead.
On Saturday, Vancouver (4-15-10) had the better chances early and broke through in the 22nd minute when Davide Chiumiento got past the Seattle defense, which seemed to be hoping for an offside call. Suddenly free in acres of space, Chiumiento carried down the right side, and when Keller slid his way, he passed to Camilo who finished into the open goal.
Seattle equalized in the 33rd minute on a penalty kick by Brad Evans. The kick followed a DeMerit hand ball in the box on a shot by Fernandez.
“It was an important time to get a goal,” Evans said. “… I 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, I’ve gone left.”
Once Seattle got its lead, Keller made it stand up, recording six saves on the night.
“He yells at us and screams at us, but we want nobody else behind us,” Evans said, “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.”
The Sounders will return to CONCACAF Champions League group play on Tuesday at Comunicaciones of Guatemala.
They will resume the MLS regular season Saturday at New England.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer