Vancouver Whitecaps FC (11W-10L-7D) fell to a 2-1 defeat against Seattle Sounders FC (13W-9L-5D), watched by an MLS franchise record-breaking crowd of 27,863 at BC Place on a rainy Saturday night.
This Cascadia derby was played with playoff intensity, but Whitecaps FC could not continue their six-game unbeaten run, while the Sounders extended a record breaking winning streak to nine matches.
Despite Kei Kamara’s 12th goal of the season, a brace from Raúl Ruidíaz was enough to give Sounders FC three points and leave Vancouver continuing to fight to get above the playoff line with six matches remaining.
The ‘Caps started the brighter team and nearly made it 1-0 early on when Kei Kamara’s deft knockdown found Nicolas Mezquida one-on-one with the keeper, but his shot went agonisingly wide.
But it was Seattle who opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Kelvin Leerdam and Cristian Roldan combined to set up Peruvian Raúl Ruidíaz. An overlap on the ‘Caps left hand-side allowed Ruidíaz to get in front and slide it home to make it 1-0, to the delight of over 500 travelling Sounders fans.
Whitecaps FC looked the better side throughout the first half but Seattle clinically doubled their lead in the 42nd minute. A mistake at the back played Ruidíaz in, who rounded Stefan Marinovic to score his second goal of the night.
However, Vancouver got themselves back in the game just before halftime. A corner whipped in from the left-hand side from Mezquida was met by the leaping Kei Kamara to rally the BC Place faithful and give the ‘Caps momentum heading into the second half.
The ‘Caps continued to apply the pressure after the break. Kamara nearly levelled the game when his left-foot strike cannoned off the post before Mezquida had another driven shot tipped over the bar.
The ‘Caps pressed in search of an equalizer and Jordan Mutch, who was making his first appearance since sustaining an injury against Seattle on July 21, nearly was the provider. His delicate backheel inched past the post right at the end but Seattle, who boast the best defensive record in MLS, held on to seal victory and the 2018 Cascadia Cup.
The ‘Caps are back in action on Sunday, September 23 when they face FC Dallas. Kickoff is 4 p.m.