A game that started off slowly then picked up speed in the second half, saw the Vancouver Whitecaps come out as 2-1 victors over their Cascadian rivals, the Seattle Sounders. At the heart of the story was Fredy Montero, a former Sounders hero who now plies his trade with the Whitecaps, who ended up determining the match with his goals.
Dempsey's audacious attempt the best of the first half
The Sounders started off the stronger of the two sides as Joevin Jones got forward often on the left hand side to try and find the right pass for his teammates inside the box. His first cross of the game in the third minute, was parried away by Vancouver's goalkeeper David Ousted straight to the feet of the other Sounders' fullback, Oneil Fisher. The right back aimed towards goal but the Whitecaps defense had recovered and blocked his shot before kicking it away from their goal. The highlight of the first half was an unbelievable effort by Clint Dempsey eight minutes into the match. Harry Shipp passed the ball to Dempsey in midfield and the forward charged forward before attempting an audacious chip from at least 40 yards out. The ball went over Ousted's head and cannoned off the crossbar, preventing Dempsey from opening the scoring early on in the game.
After that, the Whitecaps found their groove and apart from some scrambling in their own penalty area in the 32nd minute that first Marshall and then Dempsey almost profited from, they were the team creating the better chances. Cristian Techera's delivery from the flanks was outstanding all game long and on two occasions, found Christian Bolaños in the box to try an effort on goal. Both times, the Costa Rican was wayward with his accuracy and could not find the back of the net. The last real chance of the half came when some good build up play found Montero in the box. The Colombian turned and tried to curl his effort into the far corner but it went wide of the goal.
Montero breaks the deadlock with some instinctual finishing
The second half started the same as the first with Seattle on top. In the 52nd minute, Fisher got to the byline and cut the ball back to an open Dempsey inside the Whitecaps area. Dempsey fired low and well towards the far corner but Ousted's outstretched hand prevented the goal. The rebound then fell to Nicolás Lodeiro who directed the ball on target only for Kendall Waston to put his body on the line and block the shot.
Montero then stepped up into the spotlight and gave the Whitecaps the lead in the 65th minute. Techera again found some space to put in a great cross from the right which Seattle's Gustav Svensson mistimed as he attempted to head the ball away. Montero had sneaked in behind the defender and was on hand to glance the ball out of the reach of Stefan Frei and into the goal.
With the game continuing to be played in midfield, it wasn't until the 80th minute when Montero struck again to make it 2-0 to the Whitecaps. Bolaños sent in a corner kick which Waston met and headed towards goal. Montero lost his marker, substitute Henry Wingo, and redirected Waston's effort into the goal from close range.
Even though they were 2-0 down, Seattle did not stop pushing for at least a draw. Dempsey was again foiled by the post in the 86th minute as his long-range effort bounced off the post and out for a goal-kick. In the 89th minute, Wingo made up for his error when he put in a good ball for another substitute, Will Bruin, to slam home at the neat post and put Seattle within one of the Whitecaps.
Seattle continued to bombard the Whitecaps' penalty area and almost found the equalizing goal right at the death when a long throw caused all sorts of problems for Ousted, who flapped at the ball. The ball landed at the feet of Svensson who blasted the ball towards the goal only for Tim Parker to make a game-saving, goal line clearance off the line. The final whistle then blew and Vancouver celebrated a tough but well-earned victory against the Sounders for their second win of the 2017 Major League Soccer season.