SEATTLE, WA – The “Group of Death” has claimed its casualties.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (CCL: 1W-1L-1D) will not advance to the knockout round of their first-ever CONCACAF Champions League campaign after falling 3-0 to Seattle Sounders FC (CCL: 2W-1L-1D) on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field.
The ‘Caps still have one more group stage match remaining on October 22 at Honduran side C.D. Olimpia. But it will be Seattle that goes through – regardless of the result in that game.
Seattle booked their quarter-final berth on Wednesday on the strength of a Lamar Neagle brace. Designated Player Nelson Valdez also had a big night, scoring a goal and adding two assists.
The Sounders conclude the group stage with seven points and a 2W-1L-1D record.
Though Whitecaps FC could still reach seven points with a win in Honduras, Seattle holds the tiebreaker (head-to-head) as a result of Wednesday’s result.
As was the case in last week’s Champions League win over C.D. Olimpia, Carl Robinson once again fielded a young group on Wednesday – not a big surprise considering the ‘Caps are in a race for the top spot in MLS. Robinson made 10 changes from the weekend and trotted out a starting lineup with an average age of just over 24 years old.
The young ‘Caps held their own early – thanks in large part to the tireless defensive work of midfielder Matias Laba, who made his second straight CCL start.
But Seattle’s experience began to take over.
The Sounders, who had just one player under the age of 27 in their starting lineup, scored twice within the span of seven minutes just after the half-hour mark.
First, Neagle tapped in a low cross from Chad Barrett in the 32nd minute. And then Valdez headed in a Marco Pappa free kick in the 39th.
Neagle added his second of the night two minutes into the second half. And although the ‘Caps got a late spark from substitute Kekuta Manneh, the result was never in question from there.
Whitecaps FC return to MLS action on Saturday against star-studded expansion side New York City FC (7 p.m. PT at BC Place – TSN and TSN 1410).
The ‘Caps are currently tied for the top spot in MLS.
Right back Steven Beitashour (left knee sprain), midfielder Pedro Morales (right hamstring strain) and striker Darren Mattocks (hip contusion) were all sidelined on Wednesday due to injury.
CCL GROUP F STANDINGS
|Seattle Sounders FC||7||4||2||1||1|
|Vancouver Whitecaps FC||4||3||1||1||1|