Vancouver Sun

Whitecaps lose bat­tle of pos­ses­sion — and third game in a row

- J. J. ADAMS jadams@post­media.com

The Seattle Sounders fi­nally beat their Cas­ca­dia ri­vals from Port­land.

João Paulo's goal a minute into the sec­ond half spring­boarded the Sounders' 3-1 win over the “Port­land” Whitecaps at Cen­tu­ryLink Field in Seattle on Satur­day night.

The Sounders (8-3-3), who lost twice to the Port­land Tim­bers this past month, dom­i­nated Satur­day's game from start to fin­ish and so­lid­i­fied their hold on top spot in the Western Con­fer­ence.

The Port­land-based Whitecaps (5-10-0) — they'll be based out of the City of Roses for the re­main­der of the sea­son — lost their third straight game by a cu­mu­la­tive 10-1 tally.

Here's what we learned …

FIRST BLOOD

For the Whitecaps to have a chance, they have to be the ones to draw first blood.

In the first 50 games un­der Marc Dos San­tos, the Caps are 1-19-3 when the op­po­si­tion scores first. Satur­day's loss was No. 20.

Paulo's goal opened the flood­gates, pre­cip­i­tat­ing an own goal off the knee of Érik Godoy, and a Raúl Ruidíaz header off a cor­ner kick.

An ex­tremely du­bi­ous penalty kick called on Yeimar Gómez — re­plays showed Lu­cas Cavallini shov­ing him in the back be­fore the Whitecaps striker went to ground in the box — led to a Fredy Mon­tero goal in the 65th minute. But any thoughts of a come­back were blown up by a red card to Janio Bikel in the 68th, leav­ing the Caps down a man.

EL TANQUE HAS THROWN A TREAD

Through the game's first 50 minutes, the Caps had just 30 per cent of pos­ses­sion but had the best scor­ing chance of the game, when an Ali Ad­nan cross whipped to Cavallini went off his knee and forced a point-blank re­ac­tion save from Ste­fan Frei. It was one of just three shots from the Caps; the Sounders had 22.

The frus­tra­tion from Cavallini was ob­vi­ous, and it bled into his game, as a rash chal­lenge in the 52nd minute means he'll miss next week's game due to yel­low card ac­cu­mu­la­tion.

His 19 touches were the fewest among Caps starters, and the team's most ex­pen­sive ac­qui­si­tion in his­tory re­mains rooted on two goals.

Dos San­tos said be­fore the game he was do­ing his best to pro­tect his star's volatile psy­che.

“We try to help him. We try to help him be con­fi­dent, we try to help him stay away from maybe ex­ter­nal noise around him. The big­gest pres­sures that come into a player's life is the ex­ter­nal pres­sure; what peo­ple say, what peo­ple think,” he said.

“He should have had more than two goals this year al­ready. He could have eas­ily had four or five al­ready — I'm not say­ing 10 … ( but) Cava has goals in him. I'm sure he's very hard on him­self with the op­por­tu­ni­ties missed. Play­ers go through, es­pe­cially for­wards, they go through mo­ments that are very grey and dif­fi­cult, but it doesn't rain all the time.

“Some­times the sun comes out and some­times the player sees pos­i­tive things go­ing to­wards them.”

WHAT'S AHEAD

The mys­ti­fy­ing San Jose Earthquake­s will be the Caps' next op­po­nents, as Van­cou­ver trav­els to Avaya Sta­dium for a Wed­nes­day night tilt.

The Quakes (3-6-5) suf­fered through a hor­ri­ble eight-game win­less streak that saw them outscored 28-7, but snapped that skid with a 2-1 away vic­tory at LAFC last week.

On Satur­day, they faced the L.A. Galaxy, with the chance to jump above the Caps in the stand­ings.

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