Almost 56,000 fans in Seattle watched as the Cascadia Cup’s fate was sealed; It will spend another year in Vancouver.
Kekuta Manneh’s 45th minute goal stood up for the visitors in a chippy affair that referee Jair Marrufo struggled to control. The match marked the first time the Sounders lost at home in front of a crowd of more than 50,000 fans, falling to 9W-1L-1T in such contests.
The Whitecaps needed a win for a number of reasons, but most importantly their race for the final playoff spot. Vancouver entered the night two points back of Portland for the fifth spot in the East.
Seattle not only loses their chance at regaining the Cup, but no longer control of their fate in the race for the Supporters Shield. L.A. plays FC Dallas this weekend with a chance to move ahead by three points.
The chances were few and far between during the first half, as Seattle’s crowd was the clear highlight. Their loud cheers accentuated the rare bursts into Vancouver’s tight defensive shape.
But it was a Whitecaps counter that did the trick just before halftime. An injured Kekuta Manneh latched onto a sensational ball from Pedro Morales, took a few touches and buried it past Stefan Frei. Watch the goal here.
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Manneh left the game with a quad contusion, and international duty allowed Cuban-born 18-year-old Kianz Froese to earn his MLS debut in the 46th minute.
Erik Hurtado nearly made it 2-0 after the break when Morales sprung him down the right, but Frei kicked a hard shot away.
Clint Dempsey was in a bad mood, and could’ve easily seen a second yellow multiple times. He clapped in the face of head referee Marrufo at one point, and took turns hitting the turf and hitting out at Whitecaps for much of the evening.
And a late Dempsey foul that sent Caps keeper David Ousted to the turf had Russell Teibert trying to get at the USMNT star. Marrufo had lost a bit of control, and plenty of stoppage time was in store.
Stoppage saw a free kick that bounced between heads in the box before Kendall Waston cleared it away. Waston was perhaps the Man of the Match as Seattle could not find a way past the big Costa Rican.
Seattle Sounders: Frei, Evans, C Marshall, Anibaba (Rose, 82′), Gonzalez, Neagle, Alonso, Azira (Pineda, 66′), Pappa (Barrett, 62′), Dempsey, Martins
Vancouver Whitecaps: Ousted, Harvey, Waston, Laba, Hurtado, Manneh (Froese, 46′), Rosales (Ballouchy, 71′), Teibert, Beitashour, O’Brien, Morales (Mezquida, 81′)
Goal: Manneh (45′)