Sounders FC Secures Passage to Knockout Round of MLS Is Back Tournament with 3-0 Victory over Vancouver
Seattle Sounders FC teammates celebrate with Nico Lodeiro
(Seattle Sounders FC, Credit: Major League Soccer)
ORLANDO, FLA. - Facing a win-or-go-home scenario at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, Seattle Sounders FC (2-1-2, 8 points) earned its first win of the competition against Cascadia rival Vancouver Whitecaps FC (1-3-0, 3 points), punching the club's ticket to the Knockout Round. Goals were supplied from captain NicolÃ¡s Lodeiro, alongside forwards Jordan Morris and RaÃºl RuidÃaz. Combined with results elsewhere across the league, tonight's three points assure Seattle a spot in the competition's Knockout Round, either as the second-place team in Group B or as one of the top-four ranking third-place sides in the Group Stage, which ends Thursday, July 23. Having completed Group Stage play, Brian Schmetzer's side must wait for other teams do the same in their respective groups before learning its next opponent.
Morris got his side off to a good start early in the contest, hitting a shot inside Vancouver's area that deflected off defender Jasser Khmiri, leading to an 16th-minute penalty for Lodeiro. The Uruguayan slotted home the spot-kick calmly, good for his 27th regular season goal since joining the club midway through the 2016 season. The dynamic was reversed in the 34th minute, with Lodeiro reprising his traditional playmaking role, feeding an onrushing Morris. Bearing down on goal and riding a challenge from a Vancouver defender, the Mercer Island native slid a shot beneath the legs of Vancouver goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau. For Morris, the strike was his third of 2020 and 28th regular-season tally overall.
The Rave Green came out of blocks again quickly to start the second half, this time with Peruvian forward RaÃºl RuidÃaz finding the back of the net. Assisted by Morris and Handwalla Bwana, the goal was RuidÃaz's second of 2020. The third strike was enough to see the game out, with Seattle finishing as a 3-0 winner.
Following tonight's victory in the MLS is Back Tournament, Seattle has punched its ticket to the Knockout Round. Combined with results elsewhere across the league, tonight's three points assure Seattle a spot in the next phase of the competition, either as the second-place team in Group B or as one of the top-four ranking third-place sides in the Group Stage, which ends Thursday, July 23. Having completed Group Stage play, Brian Schmetzer's side must wait for other teams do the same in their respective groups before learning its next opponent.
Following San Jose's win over Chicago earlier this evening, Sounders FC can clinch second place in Group B if Fire FC draws or loses to Vancouver on Thursday. Should Chicago win, Seattle would advance as one of the top-four ranking third-place teams from the Group Stage, with potential third-place teams from Group A and Group E unable to top the Rave Green's four points and plus-two goal differential.
Sunday's win moves Seattle's record against Vancouver to 12-7-6 all-time in MLS regular season action, dating back to 2011. Sounders FC is unbeaten against Whitecaps FC in its past seven matches (5-0-2), with Vancouver last winning on April 14, 2017.
History between these two Cascadia rivals dates back to 1974 in the North American Soccer League, with the Rave Green now holding a 68-50-23 all-time record against their Canadian counterparts in all competitions across multiple leagues and eras.
With his 16th-minute penalty tonight, Nico Lodeiro earned his 27th regular-season goal in Rave Green. Since signing with the club in the 2016 summer transfer window, Lodeiro has notched 34 goals in both regular season and postseason play. With an assist tonight on the club's second goal, he also now has 49 regular-season assists (56 including the MLS Cup Playoffs).
Jordan Morris record a goal in the 34th minute tonight, and an assist on the club's third tally in the 51st minute. The Mercer Island native now has three goals and two assists in 2020, while also recording 33 goals and 17 assists (regular-season and MLS Cup Playoffs) since signing with the club as a Homegrown Player prior to the 2016 campaign.
Peruvian forward RaÃºl RuidÃaz bagged his second goal of 2020 tonight in the 51st minute of play. Since signing in the 2018 summer transfer window, RuidÃaz has been a constant for the Rave Green, bagging 30 goals in combined regular season and postseason action.
With his second shutout of the MLS is Back Tournament, goalkeeper Stefan Frei recorded his 78th regular season clean-sheet on Sunday night, fifth in MLS history. He is also Sounders FC's all-time leader with 59 shutouts for Seattle.
Earning a secondary assist on RuidÃaz's 51st-minute goal, winger Handwalla Bwana made an impact for the second time this week. On July 14 versus Chicago, Bwana scored his first goal of 2020. On Sunday night versus Vancouver, he earned his first start since September 7, 2019 versus Colorado. Bwana has 13 career starts under his belt now, notching four goals and three assists.
Defender Shane O'Neill made his third start of 2020 across all competitions since joining the Rave Green prior to this season, replacing Yeimar GÃ³mez Andrade, who was out for tonight's match with a hamstring strain. MATCH SUMMARY
Seattle Sounders FC 3 - Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0
Sunday, July 19, 2020
Venue: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistants: Jose Da Silva, Ian McKay
Fourth Official: Armando Villarreal
VAR: Timothy Ford
Attendance: Closed Door
Weather: 80 degrees and clear
SEA - NicolÃ¡s Lodeiro (penalty) 16'
SEA - Jordan Morris (NicolÃ¡s Lodeiro) 34'
SEA - RaÃºl RuidÃaz (Jordan Morris, Handwalla Bwana) 51'
VAN - Jasser Khmiri (caution) 16'
VAN - Yordy Reyna (caution) 30'
SEA - Kelvin Leerdam (caution) 40'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam (Alex Roldan 67'), Shane O'Neill, Xavier Arreaga (Jordy Delem 68'), Nouhou; Gustav Svensson (Josh Atencio 90'), Cristian Roldan, Handwalla Bwana (Shandon Hopeau 79'), NicolÃ¡s Lodeiro, Jordan Morris (Danny Leyva 79'); RaÃºl RuidÃaz
Substitutes not used: Trey Muse, Stefan Cleveland, Miguel Ibarra, Ethan Dobbelaere, Justin Dhillon
Total shots: 17 (Morris, 5)
Shots on goal: 7 (Three players, 2)
Fouls: 13 (Nouhou, 3)
Offside: 1 (Lodeiro, 1)
Corner-kicks: 8 (Lodeiro, 8)
Saves: 2 (Frei, 2)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC - Maxime Crepeau (Thomas Hasal 58'); Jake Nerwinski, Jasser Khmiri (Cristian Gutierrez 73'), Ranko Veselinovic, Ali Adnan (Derek Cornelius 73'); David Milinkovic (Theo Blair 55'), Leonard Owusu (Ryan Raposo 55'), Hwang In-Beom, Russell Teibert; Cristian Dajome, Yordy Reyna
Substitutes not used: Michael Baldisimo, Patrick Metcalfe, Simon Colyn, Damiano Pecile
Total shots: 8 (Reyna, 3)
Shots on goal: 2 (Milinkovic/Bair, 1)
Fouls: 7 (Reyna, 2)
Corner-kicks: 4 (In-Beom, 3)
Saves: 4 (Crepeau, 3)
Images from this story
Seattle Sounders FC teammates celebrate with Nico Lodeiro
(Major League Soccer)
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