The Vancouver Whitecaps finally snapped a 5 game losing steak with a 2-2 draw away to the Seattle Sounders. The Whitecaps looked surprisingly good and some players showed some moments of individual brilliance but it was clear that the Sounders were the better organized team.
Before the first hydration break the Whitecaps looked surprisingly good. They had some success advancing the ball into the final 3rd off quick transition plays and dragging Seattle defenders around with player rotations. The left sided trio of Gutiérrez, Teibert, and Caicedo had particular success breaking up the field. But you got the sense Seattle was still in first gear. A lot of Vancouver attacks featured a quick break up field before a player got stuck and ultimately played the ball back. In contrast Seattle’s attacks looked more incisive and they looked dangerous from set pieces. This probably explains why Seattle was leading the xG battle even though Vancouver had more shots.
In the 40th minute the sense that Seattle was kind of playing with their food proved to be 100% correct. The Sounders played a quick passing move that sliced the Whitecaps open and ended with Raul Ruidiaz scored a very easy goal.
The Whitecaps almost snatched an equalizer when Deiber Caicedo took the ball off a Seattle defender and was in alone but Stefan Cleveland did very well to deny him. The half finished with the Sounders up 1-0. The trend of Vancouver having more shots but Seattle creating the better quality of chance held.
The Whitecaps stunned the Sounders with an early goal to start the second half. A beautiful long ball by Caio Alexandre was touched beyond the onrushing keeper and then finished by Cristian Dájome to tie the game 1-1.
Then to the shock of everyone, perhaps even themselves, they took the lead. Cristian Dájome whipped in a cross and Lucas Cavallini headed the ball into his own foot (perhaps by way of his arm) and it dribbled slowly over the goal line.
After the Whitecaps goal Seattle, unsurprisingly held most of the possession. They did not really create many chances until the 65th minute when Maxime Crepeau made a point blank save on Raul Ruidiaz and Fredy Montero fluffed the rebound wide.
With the match being played in the middle of a heatwave, concerns began to mount that Marc Dos Santos was not going to his bench.
How has MDS not made a sub yet given the heat?— (@GlassCityFC) June 27, 2021
There's not amount of posting we can do to prevent the inevitable.— Caleb Wilkins (@wilkins_caleb24) June 27, 2021
And like clockwork, Sounders substitute Jimmy Medranda blasted home an equalizer in the second phase of a corner.
Dos Santos’ reticence to go to his bench caused some further problems when both Michael Baldisimo and Russel Teibert went down with injuries, briefly leaving the ‘Caps with only 9 players on the field.
As the game wound down the Whitecaps showed almost no interest in attacking Seattle’s goal. If we go back to our old friend the xG timeline we can see that after Vancouver’s goal they almost stopped attacking entirely.
However, to their credit, we can also see that they severely limited the quality of Seattle’s shots.
The match finished in a 2-2 draw. In general you have to say that’s a pretty good result on the road against the league leaders. But you can’t shake the feeling that if the ‘Caps were a little bit more organized and managed the game just a little bit better the could have snatched a win. The Whitecaps players showed some individual moments of brilliance. Alexandre’s pass over the top and Dájome’s cross were sublime bits of skill. But Seattle showed their qualities as a team with much more incisive attacks that looked like some forethought went in to them. At time of publication Vancouver remains in 12th in the Western conference with 8 points from 10 games.