Photo by Jane Gershovich
By JASON MITCHELL
SEATTLE – A depleted Seattle Sounders’ side rode some unfamiliar names to a big Cascadia Cup victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.
Servando Carrasco scored his first career goal and the almost forgotten Andy Rose added both an assist and a goal on the way to a 3-2 comeback victory in front of 53,679 at CenturyLink Field, the largest crowd in MLS this season.
While lesser-known players keyed the victory, it was a name becoming more and more familiar that scored the game-winning goal: Lamar Neagle.
With the game tied 2-2 in the 81st minute, Rose fed Obafemi Martins a through-ball behind the defense. Martins took a touch deep into Vancouver’s penalty area and fed Neagle as he charged the net. The Federal Way native needed only one touch to beat goalkeeper Brad Knighton and put the Sounders up for good.
It was a hard-earned comeback for a team missing Eddie Johnson, Brad Evans, and Mario Martinez to international duty, Steve Zakuani and Osvaldo Alonso to injury, and Shalrie Joseph to suspension.
Despite employing its 13th lineup in 13 matches, Seattle (6-4-3, 21 points) opened the scoring in just the ninth minute. With the home team already off to a promising start, Rose found a pocket along the back line and took a well-weighted through-ball from Neagle to get behind the defense. The sparsely-used midfielder took one dribble and fired a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Brad Knighton.
“It was good to see Andy get back off the schneid a little bit,” said head coach Sigi Schmid. “It hasn’t been the best of seasons for him so far, so it was good to see him get that goal.”
Vancouver (4-5-4, 16 points) replied before the Sounders’ faithful were even done celebrating.
In the 10th minute, Russell Tiebert sent in a cross from the endline to the top of the six-yard box. Camilo Sanvezzo’s snap header easily beat goalkeeper Michael Gspurning to even the score at 1-1.
“I think maybe the guys just relaxed for an instant and thought this could be an easy one,” said Schimid. “They’re never easy.”
Tiebert and Camilo weren’t done.
In the 26th minute, the pair struck again, this time with Tiebert unleashing a free kick from almost 40 yards out that found Camilo diving between two defenders to send a powerful header into the back of the net.
“There’s lots of things to build on from this game,” said Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie. “Obviously Camilo’s goals and Russell’s assists. Camilo also had a fantastic free kick that was rebounded that we really had a good chance to make that 3-1. At that point it would have been hard for them to get back.”
Trailing 2-1 at the half, the Sounders unleashed a torrent of attacks on Vancouver after the break, putting the Whitecaps’ defense under relentless pressure.
That pressure finally broke Vancouver in the 69th minute, when referee Hilario Grajeda called a penalty on defender Greg Klazura for taking down Lamar Neagle from behind in the penalty area.
Minutes earlier Grajeda awarded a free kick to the Sounders a yard outside of the penalty area. Replays seemed to show a Whitecaps defender tackled Obafemi Martins just inside the area.
“It was Wal-Mart day today so it was 2-for-1,” Schmid quipped after the match. “Two fouls in the box and you get one penalty.”
Midfielder Servando Carrasco buried the ensuing penalty kick to even the score at 2-2 with 20 minutes to play. It was the 2011 draft pick’s first career goal.
Neagle’s goal 11 minutes later capped the scoring and put the match away for the home side.
The loss leaves the Whitecaps winless in Cascadia Cup competition since entering MLS.
The Whitecaps lost defender Andy O’Brien to injury in the 62nd minute, and Rennie blamed much of the loss on that injury.
“I felt we were really comfortable in the game and doing pretty well,” Rennie said, “but the turning point was losing Andy O’Brien. When we lost him the game opened up.”
Rennie’s goalkeeper agreed.
“It is disappointing,” Knighton said. “We were in total control of the game looking to get our first win against a Cascadia team, but then Andy unfortunately goes down with a hamstring issue. That kind of took the wind out of our sails a bit and the game seemed to turn very quickly. It was just a bit unfortunate.”
The victory gives Seattle six wins in its last eight matches, cementing a return to form following a collapse out of the gate to open the season.
Looking forward, the Sounders are off until traveling to Utah to face Real Salt Lake (7-5-4) June 22, while Vancouver hosts the New England Revolution (5-4-5) on Saturday.
Here are the match highlights: