Pedro Morales

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MLS Snapshot: Vancouver Whitecaps 1-2 Seattle Sounders (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): It’s always sweet to knock off one of your bitter rivals, but keeping them out of the playoffs takes things to a different level. The Vancouver Whitecaps were officially eliminated from the postseason on Sunday night following their defeat against the Seattle Sounders. While the play on the field was overshadowed at times by strange actions from two of the game’s goalscorers, the match was everything you’d want from the Cascadia foes. Even without Clint Dempsey and Nicolas Lodeiro, the Sounders moved one step closer to clinching a playoff spot in the Western Conference, leaping to fifth place.

[ MORE: Which USMNT players have most at stake in friendlies? ]

Three four moments that mattered

25′ – Morales converts from the PK spot — It was brilliant play from Alphonso Davies to earn the penalty kick. From there, Pedro Morales knew exactly what to do.

39′ — Alonso pulls the Sounders level before halftime — Even without Clint Dempsey and Nicolas Lodeiro, the Sounders are moving the ball just fine.

53′ — Whitecaps go down a man — It was uncalled for and more importantly Morales likely cost the Whitecaps a spot in the postseason.

81′ — Evans seals the deal for the visitors — Brad Evans was all over the field on Sunday night. His reward: smashing home this penalty and knocking the Whitecaps out of the playoffs. 

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Man of the match: Osvaldo Alonso

Goalscorers: Pedro Morales (25′), Osvaldo Alonso (39′), Brad Evans (81′)

MLS Snapshot: Toronto FC 3-4 Vancouver Whitecaps (video)

AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck
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The game in 100 words (or less): Oh, hello, Toronto FC. No, not the imposter that’s been body-snatching you the first two months of the season, but the real you. In Saturday night’s 4-3 home loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps, you confounded in so many ways — the league-leading defense (seven goals conceded in nine games) was nowhere to be found, and not even the heroics of the magical Sebastian Giovinco could save you. Giovinco’s two-goal, one-assist performance was brilliant and memorable in all its glory, but ultimately went to waste. In the process, the 29-year-old became the fastest player in MLS history to reach 50 goals and assists combined (43 games). Kekuta Manneh just about matched Giovinco’s brilliance on the night, scoring a pair of goals of his own. The victory sees the Whitecaps (20 points) climb all the way up to third in the Western Conference, while TFC (14 points) holds tight in third in the Eastern Conference.

[ MORE: Previewing the weekend in MLS ]

Three moments that mattered

12′ — Manneh with the trip and the goal — Note to TFC (and anyone else listening): Don’t pass the ball to Manneh in this part of the field. Well taken by the 21-year-old (yup).

18′ — Bolaños puts the rebound back for 2-0 — Manneh nearly bagged his brace on another breakaway, but Clint Irwin made the initial. If only it hadn’t fallen right to Christian Bolaños…

37′ — Giovinco’s pristine first touch sets him up for 2-1 — It’s time to make Giovinco go back to Europe. It’s no longer fair for everyone else. (WATCH HERE)

66′ — Bradley plays Giovinco through for the equalizer — This is Michael Bradley at his absolute best, charging forward with a full head of steam. This is Giovinco making scoring goals look like child’s play (again).

70′ — Manneh slices and dices before making it 3-2 — So much is expected of Manneh because he’s capable of things like this.

72′ — Pedro Morales hits it far post to make it 4-2 — It was at this point TFC’s will to live was sucked from their bodies. A goal they would hugely regret conceding.

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Man of the match: Kekuta Manneh

Goalscorers: Manneh (12′), Bolaños (18′), Giovinco (37′, 66′), Manneh (70′), Morales (72′), Moor (80′)

MLS Snapshot: Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 Houston Dynamo (video)

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): After tallying an astonishing 11 goals in three games, the Houston Dynamo found themselves puzzled on Saturday night. Pedro Morales’ lone goal of the evening for Vancouver afforded the Whitecaps the opening that they needed, and then the team’s defense did the rest. Both goalkeepers were forced into five saves in the match, but it was Whitecaps goalie David Ousted that stood on his head at times to preserve the shutout. With the victory, Vancouver jumps to fourth place in the Western Conference, while Houston, losers of two straight, sits seventh in the West.

[ MORE: MLS Snapshot: New York City FC 1-1 New England Revolution (video) ]

3 moments that mattered

21′ — Anibaba drags down Kudo after Vancouver cross — Anibaba’s careless challenge created the lone goal of the night (below), but the question remains: was the referee’s decision correct? Kekuta Manneh’s cross was too strong for Whitecaps teammate Masato Kudo to get on the end of it, even if Anibaba hadn’t tripped the Japanese forward. Certainly a tough decision to make in the run of play.

23′ — Morales opens scoring for Whitecaps on PK — Joe Willis didn’t stand a chance in goal for Houston. Morales placed the ball perfectly in the left corner, following Willis’ dive to the opposite side.

30′ — Miranda smashes shot off bar, Dynamo count blessings  — Andrew Wenger’s perfectly-timed cross found Miranda, but the spectacular effort by the Argentine hit the crossbar. Ousted, who had himself a great night on his own, was certainly thankful for the assistance from the post.

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Man of the match: David Ousted

Goalscorers: Pedro Morales (23′ PK)

MLS Snapshot: Seattle Sounders 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps (video)

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): The good news: The Vancouver Whitecaps are no longer point-less on the still-young 2016 MLS season. The great news: their first points and win of the season came at the expense of and keeps their Cascadia rivals, the Seattle Sounders, winless and point-less on the (again, still-young) season. The overriding them of Saturday night’s clash at CenturyLink is unquestionably the refereeing decisions of — are you surprised? — Mark Geiger. Two penalties awarded to the Whitecaps: one wrongly, one rightly. The fact that the phantom call came less than 10 minutes into the game is the real shame, considering how it so obviously changed the game state. Through three games, the Sounders have scored just twice (once from open play), and look a shell of the side that previously boasted the dynamic duo of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. It’s not time to panic in the Emerald City just yet, but… it’s not exactly far away either.

[ MORE:Previewing the rest of MLS Week 3 ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Bolaños trips in the box, PK given, Morales converts — Christian Bolaños wasn’t touched by Joevin Jones as the Costa Rican tripped himself up inside the penalty area, but referee Geiger awarded the penalty anyway, and Pedro Morales converted.

52′ — Ivanschitz hammers a free kick for 1-1 — Andreas Ivanschitz absolute thumped this free kick, leaving David Ousted with precisely no chance of scrambling all the way across his goal and getting anything behind it.

73′ — Marshall takes down Perez, OK given, Morales converts — Fun fact: you can actually touch the ball in a challenge and still commit a foul if you wipe an opposing player out, whether doing so before or after getting the ball. That’s what Chad Marshall did to Blas Perez, and Geiger rightly (this time) awarded the ‘Caps a penalty.

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Man of the match: Mark Geiger

Goalscorers: Morales (10′ – PK, 74′ – PK), Ivanschitz (52′)

MLS Snapshot: Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps (video)

AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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The game in 100 words (or less): Sporting Kansas City out-played, out-manned and out-classed the Vancouver Whitecaps at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday, in the form of a more-comfortable-than-the-score-lets-on 2-1 victory, making the former one of just two teams (so far – Montreal Impact) with six points from their first two games of the 2016 MLS season. Dom Dwyer’s first-half brace, coupled with Jordan Smith’s first-half stoppage-time red card, was all Sporting KC would need for their second victory in as many weeks. Pedro Morales pulled the visitors to within a goal with a 70th-minute penalty kick, but nothing more was doing for the visitors. Despite Peter Vermes’ assertion that he wants his team to peak and reach optimal fitness during the summer months, a 2-0-0 start — against a pair of formidable Western Conference foes, no less — is a better start to 2016 than anyone could have hoped.

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of Week 2 ]

Three moments that mattered

5′ — Dwyer fires SKC into the lead from waaayyy downtown — Turnovers inside your defensive half are bad. They’re even worse when Dom Dwyer is feeling himself from the opening whistle, decides to have a go from 25 yards out and bangs one in off the underside of the crossbar.

41′ — Dwyer doubles the lead after some beautiful build-up — Graham Zusi’s cross-field ball cut the Whitecaps defense to pieces, but there was still a lot of work to be done on Chance Myers’ first-time cross to the back post. It was on target, making the finish oh so easy for Dwyer’s second of the night.

45+1′ — Smith hacks down Zusi, sees red — There is no place in the game for tackles like this. MLS has just about reached its annual “why in the world would you think you can do that?” challenges.

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Man of the match: Dom Dwyer

Goalscorers: Dwyer (5, 41′), Morales (70′ – PK)