VANCOUVER, B.C. — All the Vancouver Whitecaps needed was 12 minutes on Saturday to muster all the offense they would need in a 1-0 win against Sounders FC.
For the Sounders, it was their first loss since May 11, a stretch of seven matches. The team had gone 4-0-1 in MLS games during that stretch, including a 2-2 tie at Vancouver on May 24 in the teams’ previous matchup. Seattle had also won two U.S. Open Cup games during that time.
With the win, in front of 22,500 at BC Place, the Whitecaps maintained their top spot in the 2014 Cascadia Cup standings with seven points and a 2-0-1 record. Seattle remains second with two points and an 0-1-2 mark.
Vancouver (6-3-7) established the pace early. In the 12th minute, Pedro Morales sent a cross to the middle of the field, where Sebastian Fernandez sent the ball flying into the back of the net from about 30 yards out.
Seattle (11-4-2) struggled with maintaining possession after Vancouver set a frenetic pace with its young front line. The Whitecaps put pressure on the ball early, as the Sounders were missing striker Obafemi Martins (hamstring) and midfielders Gonzalo Pineda and Osvaldo Alonso (yellow card accumulation).
Although the Sounders got stronger with the ball after settling in, Vancouver still came out of the first half having won more than 58 percent of the duels.
Seattle rebounded from early possession struggles, but still had trouble finding any legitimate scoring chances. Four of the Whitecaps’ eight shots in the first half were on target, while Seattle had one of seven on target. Erik Hurtado led the way for Vancouver with three shot attempts. Kenny Cooper and Marco Pappa each had two for Seattle in that period.
The Sounders are back in action on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. for the first of two matches in five days against the Portland Timbers. Wednesday will be the teams’ U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match, with Sunday’s 7 p.m. showdown an MLS match. Both will be played in Seattle.