Man of the Match:
Seattle’s Eddie Johnson, with 8 goals in last 10 matches, is playing with supreme confidence these days. He continually worked into good spots Saturday and made one quality run after another. Johnson couldn’t quite find goal through most of the match but deserved that 88th minute insurance goal.
Packaged for take-away:
- Seattle opened up additional seating, so the crowd of 55,718 at CenturyLink is more evidence of how the important MLS games in Seattle draw just as well the showy and costly friendlies.
- Fredy Montero started on the bench for this one – and more on that down below. In the middle for Seattle, Osvaldo Alonso sat behind Christian Tiffert, with sometimes-central man Brad Evans deployed right.
- Due to Barry Robson’s suspension (announced late Saturday), the Whitecaps came out in a different look, pairing Kenny Miller and Darren Mattocks as forwards in a 4-4-2 rather than in manager Martin Rennie’s preferred 4-2-3-1.
- About Barry Robson’s suspension: we’ll have more on that one later. Long story short, the league should not be announcing suspensions four hours before a contest.
- Vancouver walked off the field in their previous outing frustrated with all the fouls called, hollering about “disjointed” play and such. And fair enough. Except that they do foul a lot in certain positions. Especially Gershon Koffie. And so did Seattle on Saturday. Foul a lot, that is. Especially Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. So what is a referee supposed to do? Referee Silviu Petrescu attempted to “let them play,” as they say. Result: Even more fouling, which creates a different kind of disjointed play.
- By the second half, with Hurtado having been cautioned early and Koffie having been warned time and again, the teams stopped fouling as much and the match was subsequently more open.
- Seattle outside backs Adam Johansson and Leo Gonzalez enjoyed strong afternoons. Hurtado struggled at times (once again) but did enough to keep Vancouver from ever getting a shot on target.
- The Sounders were uncharacteristically sloppy moving the ball out of the back, providing the visitors with half chances here or there that mostly weren’t coming otherwise.
- Miller dropped deeper than Mattocks in the midfield for Vancouver, attempting to connect with the pair behind him. He did get on the ball to play Mattocks in a few times. (Mattocks’ speed and the Sounders’ own imprecise work with the ball in the back accounted for most of the visitors’ offense.) The connections were sometimes stretched, though, between Miller and his midfielders. The visitors missed Robson’s possession and his drive through the midfield.
- Montero came in with 30 minutes remaining, replacing Alex Caskey. The rearrangement went like this: Evans remained out wide, but switched sides to the left. Mauro Rosales, who started as a second forward behind Eddie Johnson, moved to the right, where he likes to play anyway.
- Obviously, Montero could prefer to start. But he’s so doggone effective off the bench. The young Colombian needed fewer than five minutes to score Saturday.
- Horrible, awful, disorganized defending on Vancouver’s part on Montero’s goal. Montero simply drifted out of the crowd on a free kick from about 40 yards. He collected a second ball unmarked and was able to score from close range; Miller was the nearest Whitecap. Clearly, Vancouver desperately misses Jay DeMerit’s experience and ability to organize in the back.