Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Leonard Owusu reacts after missing a shot on goal as Seattle Sounders defender Shane O’Neill, left, watches during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Sunday, July 19, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Leonard Owusu reacts after missing a shot on goal as Seattle Sounders defender Shane O’Neill, left, watches during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Sunday, July 19, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Seattle Sounders blank Whitecaps 3-0 at MLS is Back Tournament

MLS champs cruise past depleted Vancouver squad

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The MLS champion Seattle Sounders blanked the depleted Vancouver Whitecaps 3-0 Sunday night to climb out of a hole at the MLS is Back Tournament.

Nicolas Lodeiro, Jordan Morris and Raul Ruidiaz scored for Seattle, which leapfrogged Chicago to move into second place in Group B with its first win in three games at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex.

The Whitecaps, winless in two tournament outings and missing a chunk of their lineup, are still mathematically alive. But they need to beat Chicago by at least three goals in the final Group B game Thursday morning to have a chance of progressing as one of the four best third-place finishers.

Rubbing salt in the wound, the Whitecaps lost goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau to injury after his hand came out the worst in a 54th-minute collision with Seattle’s Handwalla Bwana.

Third-stringer Thomas Hasal, a 21-year-old Canadian youth international from Saskatoon, came on to make his MLS debut and was quickly called to action with back-to-back saves.

Backup ‘keeper Bryan Meredith left the team last week after the death of his mother Beth.

San Jose, helped by substitute Chris Wondolowski’s 161st career goal, defeated Chicago 2-0 earlier in the evening to win Group B with an unassailable seven points. The Quakes will play one of the third-place teams in the round of 16.

The San Jose win kept Vancouver’s slim hopes alive. A victory Sunday and the Whitecaps could have eliminated Seattle, which had one point from its first two games.

Chicago, meanwhile, needs to beat Vancouver to finish runner-up in the group. A draw or loss will keep the Sounders in second.

Columbus, Orlando, Philadelphia and Portland have also already qualified for the round of 16.

The Sounders opened the scoring in the 16th minute via Lodeiro from the penalty spot after a Morris shot hit centre back Jasser Khmiri’s arm. It didn’t seem like the Tunisian defender could have done much about the contact but his arm was not tight to his body.

Morris made it 2-0 in the 34th minute after Vancouver lost possession at midfield. Lodeiro found Morris, who outpaced fullback Jake Nerwinski and poked the ball past Crepeau.

Ruidiaz added to the lead in the 51st minute, capitalizing on some woeful Vancouver defending off a corner.

Vancouver had no answer for Morris, whose runs repeatedly carved open the Whitecaps defence. And it offered little on offence, managing just one shot on target in each half.

Missing eight players for a variety of reasons, Vancouver fielded the same lineup as last time out in a 4-3 loss to San Jose. Coach Marc Dos Santos switched to a 4-4-2 formation from 4-3-3, however.

Morris, Bwana and Shane O’Neill came into the Seattle starting 11, which featured seven starters from the 2019 MLS Cup final win over Toronto.

It was 28 C at the 7:30 p.m. PT kickoff.

READ MORE: Whitecaps fall 4-3 to San Jose Earthquakes

Vancouver’s defence wobbled early but a third-minute Seattle goal was negated for offside. The Sounders came close again in the seventh minute with Crepeau stopping a Morris shot and Nerwinski throwing his body in front of the follow-up shot.

An unmarked Leo Owusu had a glorious chance for Vancouver in the 12th minute off an Ali Adnan free kick but his header went wide.

Defender Cristian Gutierrez made his Whitecaps debut off the bench in the second half.

Vancouver was the last team to see action at the tournament. A late arrival, its start was further delayed by the withdrawal of FC Dallas, its first opponent, due to a rash of COVID-19 positive tests.

A young Vancouver side led San Jose 2-0 and 3-1 but coughed up three late goals, losing on a 98th-minute strike by ex-Whitecap Shea Salinas.

Seattle tied San Jose 0-0 before losing 2-1 to Chicago.

The Whitecaps roster was depleted to start with, given forwards Lucas Cavallini, Fredy Montero and Tosaint Ricketts, defender Andy Rose and defender/midfielder Georges Mukumbilwa stayed home for personal or medical reasons.

The exodus has continued.

Defenders Janio Bikel (adductor strain) and Erik Godoy (quadricep strain) were injured in training. Bikel is gone for the tournament while Godoy was unavailable for Sunday’s game.

With group games at the tournament counting in the regular-season standings, Seattle improved to 2-1-2 while Vancouver slipped to 1-3-0.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

MLSsoccer

Just Posted

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district teachers’ union, and its counterparts from Mount Arrowsmith district, seek stricter COVID-19 rules. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith teachers’ union asks for stricter COVID-19 measures

Teachers ask for vaccine, more online learning, mask mandate for primary students

Some Saanich firefighters have expressed concerns about first responders in the Island Health Region not being prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as an outbreak at a fire station would make service delivery a challenge. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich firefighters not prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine despite working on frontlines

Saanich members express frustration, department calls on Island Health to take action

A total of 10 flight exposures have affected the Victoria International Airport in April so far, making it the highest monthly total since the start of the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hits record-breaking number of monthly COVID-19 flight exposures

As of April 21, 10 flight exposures reported for the month

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of UVic varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

Victoria’s economy is expected to bounce back fairly easily, according to a new report from BMO Capital Markets released April 15. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria in good position to bounce back post-pandemic, says BMO

City’s smaller size, lower COVID-19 caseload and diverse industry base bode well

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich calls for non-police security for mental health patients at hospitals

Saanich police spent nearly 1,200 hours waiting with patients at hospitals in 2020

The Esquimalt Fire Department was called to a residence on Glengarry Place Tuesday afternoon for a fire that has displaced two families. There were no injuries and damage is being assessed. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt fire displaces two families

Fire damage at residence on Glengarry Place still being assessed

Janitors at Uptown Shopping Centre voted to strike April 20, citing increased risk from the pandemic, minimum wage pay and no paid sick days. (Black Press Media file photo)
Janitors at Uptown Shopping Centre in Saanich vote to strike

Workers say they’re working in high-risk conditions with near-minimum wage pay

Someone used this counterfeit $50 to pay for items at the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store in downtown Duncan in April 2021. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan businesses warned of counterfeit cash

Fake $50 passed at Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

Canadian driver Paul Tracy pulls out of the pits during the morning session at the Molson Indy in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, July 26, 2003 (CP/Richard Lam)
Vancouver is considering hosting a Formula E race using electric cars

The race would be part of a three-day event focused on climate and sustainability

Chart from the April 20 B.C. budget shows sharp dip in real estate sales early in the COVID-19 pandemic and the even steeper climb since late 2020. (B.C. government)
Hot B.C. housing market drives property transfer tax gains

B.C. budget boosts tobacco, sweet drinks, carbon taxes

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read