The game in 100 words (or
less more): It’s time, once again, to devote this space to what we’ll lovingly call MLS’s “playoff predicament problem.” Ahem. Here goes: Single-elimination, please. After a mostly brilliant knockout round earlier this week, Sunday’s very first conference semifinal (first leg) brought all the momentum and excitement to a screeching halt — you know, like driving a car into a six-foot thick retaining wall at 80 mph. The Seattle Sounders were only interested in playing for a 0-0 draw before heading home for the second leg, while the Vancouver Whitecaps were only willing to attack if/when Seattle opened themselves up, counter to their entire gameplan. Combine those ingredients, and what do you have? Just the sixth shot on goal-less half of soccer in MLS 2017, during the business end of the league’s season. A truly anemic 0-0 draw, which featured just 12 shots in total (one on target) The reason MLS hasn’t already switched to single-elimination throughout the playoffs? It’ll cost a handful of owners an extra home game, and the accompanying revenue. In truth, every one of the 27,837 fans in attendance at BC Place will go home tonight wishing they’d stayed home and saved their hard-earned money instead. The second leg will be played at CenturyLink Field on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET)
[ MORE: Previewing all four conference semifinals ]
Three moments that mattered
30′ — Shea whiffs at the back post, Sounders get off lucky — It was a nothing ball into the box, but Seattle seemed intent on it resulting in a chance for the Whitecaps. Fortunately for the defending champs, it fell to Brek Shea.
36′ — Waston clears the ball off his own crossbar — So, this probably wasn’t exactly what Kendall Waston had in mind when he made contact with Joevin Jones’ cross, but all’s well that ends well.
48′ — Marshall’s header easily collected by Marinovic — This was as close as anyone would come to (intentionally) scoring.
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Man of the match: Kendall Waston