Sounders claim Cascadia Cup with 3-0 win at BC Place
VANCOUVER, BC – (club release) Goals from Andreas Ivanschitz, Gonzalo Pineda and Obafemi Martins secured a critical 3-0 road victory for Seattle Sounders FC (14-13-3, 45 points) at BC Place on Saturday afternoon against Western Conference-leading Vancouver Whitecaps FC (15-10-3, 48 points). With the win, Seattle claims its first Cascadia Cup title since 2011, and moves back into sole possession of the fourth MLS Cup Playoffs position in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Sporting Kansas City and just two points behind FC Dallas and LA Galaxy. In addition to seizing its first piece of hardware in 2015, Sounders FC brings the Cascadia Cup to Seattle for the fourth time, ending Vancouver’s two-year hold on the regional trophy.
After a scoreless 44 minutes of play, including a number of saves from Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei to thwart Vancouver’s attacking raids, Sounders FC found the lead through Austrian international Andreas Ivanschitz just before the stroke of halftime. Making his first start for the Rave Green since arriving in Seattle during the Summer Transfer Window, Ivanschitz received a lofted through ball from Obafemi Martins on the left wing, taking a single touch to settle the ball before burying a shot past Vancouver netminder David Ousted.
Midfielder Gonzalo Pineda doubled the lead for Seattle in the 71st minute, receiving a pass from Clint Dempsey before banging a shot off of Ousted’s far post and into the net to make the score 2-0. The strike is Pineda’s first for Sounders FC since August 10, 2014 against the Houston Dynamo. The Mexican international has four career MLS goals, including two tallies against Whitecaps FC. He previously scored a penalty in a 2-2 draw at BC Place on May 24, 2014.
Obafemi Martins sealed the victory for the Rave Green in the 87th minute with his team-leading 13th goal of the season. After rookie Cristian Roldan played Clint Dempsey down the right flank, Dempsey carried the ball and a Vancouver defender into the box before sliding a pass Martins, who sat unmarked just in front of the penalty spot. The Nigerian striker rocketed his first-time shot into the back of the net for a 3-0 lead, marking Martins’ fourth straight match with a goal.
Frei finished with eight saves en route to his career-high 10th shutout of the season. Tonight also marked the first multi-assist match of the season for Dempsey, who paces the club with nine, while Roldan recorded the first assist of his MLS career.
Sounders FC and Vancouver turn around and face one another in just four days, this time in Group Stage play of the 2015-2016 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday, September 23 at CenturyLink Field (7:00 p.m. PT / FOX Sports, KIRO Radio 97.3 FM). A Seattle win would send the Rave Green through to next year’s Knockout Round as Group F champion. Sigi Schmid’s side then heads back on the road to conclude a three-match MLS road swing at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, September 27 (2:00 p.m. PT / ESPN, El Rey 1360 AM). Next weekend’s match has significant postseason implications, as Sounders FC currently holds a one-point advantage over Sporting in the race for the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs.
VAN – Russell Teibert (caution) 22′ SEA – Brad Evans (caution) 24′ VAN – Jordan Smith (caution) 63′ VAN – Kendall Waston (caution) 81′
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Oniel Fisher; Brad Evans – captain (Cristian Roldan 74′), Osvaldo Alonso (Leo Gonzalez 85′), Gonzalo Pineda, Andreas Ivanschitz (Nelson Valdez 65′); Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins
Substitutes not used: Troy Perkins, Jimmy Ockford, Marco Pappa, Chad Barrett
Total shots: 7 (7 players tied at 1)
Shots on goal: 5 (5 players tied at 1)
Fouls: 9 (Scott/Martins, 2)
Offside: 1 (Dempsey, 1)
Corner-kicks: 3 (Ivanschitz, 3)
Saves: 7 (Frei, 7)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC – David Ousted; Jordan Smith, Kendall Waston, Pa Modou Kah, Jordan Harvey (Sam Adekugbe 89′); Gershon Koffie (Kianz Froese 89′), Russell Teibert, Cristian Techera, Mauro Rosales (Nicolás Mezquida 74′), Kekuta Manneh ;Octavio Rivero
Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Tim Parker, Deybi Flores, Robert Earnshaw
Total shots: 14 (Techera/Rivero, 4)
Shots on goal: 7 (3 players tied at 2)
Fouls: 4 (Waston, 3)
Offside: 1 (Manneh, 1)
Corner-kicks: 3 (Techera, 2)
Saves: 2 (Ousted, 2)
Sounders FC improves its record to 14-13-3 in the 2015 MLS regular season. At 45 points, the Rave Green remain in sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference. Seattle currently holds a five-point lead above the postseason cutoff line with the San Jose Earthquakes maintaining seventh place in the conference at 40 points.
With today’s result, Sounders FC claimed its first Cascadia Cup since 2011 and ended Vancouver’s two-year hold on the regional trophy. It is the second time as an MLS club and the fourth instance all-time that Sounders FC has won the Cascadia Cup (2006, 2007 and 2011).
Saturday’s match was the third and final meeting between the two sides in MLS play this season, with Seattle coming out on top at 2-1-0. Sounders FC is now 5-5-4 all-time against Whitecaps FC in league action, including a 3-2-3 mark at Vancouver.
In his first start as a Sounder, midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz scored his first career MLS goal in the 45th minute. Three of Seattle’s summer signings – Ivanschitz, Nelson Valdez and Román Torres – recorded a goal or an assist in their first MLS start.
Midfielder Gonzalo Pineda scored his fourth career MLS goal, including the first of the 2015 season, to extend Seattle’s lead to 2-0. It was the first time Pineda has scored from the run of play after converting three penalty kick goals in 2014. Two of Pineda’s four goals have occurred at BC Place, after he scored his first career MLS goal in a 2-2 draw in Vancouver on May 24, 2014.
Stefan Frei made eight saves and recorded his career-best 10th shutout of the season. The Swiss netminder currently ranks second in MLS with 100 saves, just eight saves shy of his career-high set in 2010 with Toronto FC.
Obafemi Martins extended his goal streak to four consecutive matches, and the striker now has six goals in six matches since returning from an adductor injury on August 16. Sounders FC is now 28-1-1 all-time when Martins scores a goal.
Clint Dempsey recorded a pair of assists, giving him a team-leading nine on the season, one shy of his career-high set a year ago. It marked the first multi-assist match of the season for Dempsey, who has now recorded a goal or assist in 11 of his 16 appearances in 2015.
Forward Nelson Valdez earned his first career MLS assist with a back-heel flick to Dempsey, helping to set up Pineda’s goal in the 71st minute. The Paraguayan Designated Player came on for Ivanschitz in the 65th minute, and now has one goal and one assist in six appearances.
Cristian Roldan earned his first career assist on Martins’ goal after coming on for Brad Evans in the 74th minute.
Sounders FC improved to 10-0-0 when leading at halftime – the best mark in MLS this season.
The two sides will compete in their fifth match across all competitions on Wednesday, September 23 at CenturyLink Field in Group Stage of the 2015-2016 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. With a win, Sounders FC would advance to the Knockout Round for the third time in club history.