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