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Seattle Sounders win it late against rivals Vancouver Whitecaps

Kelvin Leerdam scored the stoppage-time to lift the Sounders to a Cascadia Cup victory over the Whitecaps.

SEATTLE, Wa — Kelvin Leerdam scored deep into second-half stoppage time to lift the Seattle Sounders to a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps in the latest Cascadia Cup matchup between the rivals in front of an announced crowd of 44,489 at CenturyLink Field Saturday night. 

Due to international call-ups, both teams entered their second regular-season meeting severely depleted. The Sounders were without star striker Raúl Ruidíaz and midfielders Nico Lodeiro and Cristian Roldan, while the Whitecaps missed four Canadian national team players and forward Lass Bangoura. 

“It is very wrong, and I need to educate everyone about that, that we are playing league games while the Gold Cup is going on,” Vancouver coach Marc Dos Santos said. “It is actually very amateurish and we have to improve as a continent as a nation, both Canada and the US, that you are playing a competition during another competition, that is amateurish.”

It was a somewhat slow start, with both teams using the opening stage to get a feel for the game. Seattle had the first chance of the match, but Justin Dhillon missed the open goal from just five yards out.

Slowly, the Sounders took control. In the 22nd minute, 16-year-old Danny Leyva almost scored his goal, but his shot was blocked. One minute later, Dhillon had his next opportunity, but goalkeeper Zac MacMath saved his header. 

Vancouver struggled to get into this game. Two shots from outside the box, Yordy Reyna in the 23rd minute and Felipe in the 25th minute, as well as a free kick by Fredy Montero in the 45th, were the only shots in the direction of Stefan Frei’s goal in the first half. 

The teams came out firing in the second half and MacMath and Frei had to come up big on either end of the pitch to keep the game scoreless. 

“It was very equal in a back and forward game,” Dos Santos said. “We could have been better in creating some chances.”

In the 64th minute, the game had its first bit of controversy. Dhillon went one-v-one against MacMath and, after the keeper’s save, stepped on his foot. With MacMath down, Layva put the ball into the open net, but the goal was waved off after a lengthy Video Review. 

“I felt it right away,” MacMath said. “He kind of just kicked through the ball, I don’t think [Dhillon] meant to get anybody he stepped right on my foot. I went down, I thought the referee would have caught it right away, as he saw how much pain I was in.”

Jun 29, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Sounders fans march to the match before the start of a game against the Vancouver Whitecaps at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

“I’ll have to see multiple replays, I only saw the one on the scoreboard,” Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said. “I don’t even know if that is legal. You know referees have a tough job and sometimes something we think is a foul they see different.”

The Sounders dominated possession and had several more chances and found the deserved winner when a wide-open Leerdam beat MacMath with a low drive in the 96th minute.

“Fans go home happy, coaching staff, players, they all are going home happy,” Schmetzer said about the dramatic end to the game. “Buzzer-beaters in basketball, Hail Marys in football you know it is all the same, that is why sports is such great entertainment.”

Seattle Sounders (4-2-3-1)

Frei – B. Smith, Kim, Abdul-Salaam, Leerdam – Svensson, Leyva – Jones (Nouhou, 85′), Shipp, Wingo (Bwana, 80′) – Dhillon (Ocampo-Chavez, 90′)

Vancouver Whitecaps (4-3-1-2)

MacMath – Adnan, Rose, Godoy, Nerwinski – “PC” (Venuto, 70′), Erice, Felipe – In-Beom – Reyna, Montero (Bair, 90′)

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