VANCOUVER, B.C. – The much-hyped Cascadia rivalry didn’t disappoint.
The Seattle Sounders rolled into Vancouver looking to take their regional cousins down a notch, and achieved that through a 90th minute goal from Fredy Montero which salvaged a 2-2 draw from what looked like a Whitecaps win only seven minutes previous.
The nature of the draw left a sour taste for the Whitecaps, who thought they’d won the match through a Camilo free kick. The Brazilian’s curling 83rd minute goal, which was intended to find a teammate, went through a crowd of players before settling in the corner of Bryan Meredith’s net.
Gershon Koffie is claiming the goal, and the club says the play will be reviewed.
“At the end, you are happy or sad, and today, after the 2-1 lead with 10 minutes from the end, we are more sad than happy,” defender Alain Rochat said following the match. “But, [the performance] is encouraging and we want to continue in this way.”
Fielding a starting lineup with a number of players who had yet to experience a Cascadia derby, including Darren Mattocks, Lee Young-Pyo, Martin Bonjour and Jun Marques Davidson, it didn’t take long for Vancouver to acclimatize, as Rochat was allowed to walk in from the left without any pressure from the Seattle backline to score the opener 12 minutes in.
“I was surprised myself to go through,” Rochat said. “I was looking for an option, but the way was open for me to go right to the goal, so I didn’t hesitate and had a good finish.
“I was looking for a partner free in the box, but when I saw I was free myself I thought, ‘let’s do it.’”
The match involved several on-field confrontations, perhaps highlighted by captain Jay DeMerit squaring up with Eddie Johnson at one point in the second half.
“This is what it’s all about,” DeMerit said. “I really enjoyed that tonight. From the atmosphere, to the battles, to the way it went. But, you can always enjoy those more because we had chances to finish off the game but we didn’t do that.”
The Sounders appeared to struggle with Mattocks’ pace and movement, but the second overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft couldn’t find the finish after having a number of quality chances.
“I had four or five opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net,” Mattocks said. “That’s the life of a striker. I think I did really well, but unfortunately I was unlucky on a couple of those opportunities I missed. But I just have to look forward and move on. The best strikers in the world miss chances and I just have to move forward from there.”
Vancouver now prepares for the second leg of the Canadian Championship final on Wednesday, as they travel to Toronto with the tie currently level on aggregate at 1-1.
“It’s definitely not all doom and gloom but I just want us to be making strides faster than we are,” Rennie said. “Today was a chance for us to make that stride, and Wednesday is as well. We need to let the disappointment of today burn enough that Wednesday gives us that feeling of winning.”