Seattle Sounders – Vancouver Whitecaps: Leerdam Saves The Day In Close MLS Encounter (1-0)
Eight minutes of stoppage time came to the Seattle Sounders’ rescue, as Kelvin Leerdam seized the opportunity to get his side back to winning ways after a four game winless streak in the MLS. The decisive strike came as the ultimate sigh of relief, in a game which remained uncertain until the very end despite the home side’s efforts.
Tactical analysis and match report by Kareem Bianchi.
The Seattle Sounders’ title hopes collided with international football’s demands for players, affecting recent performances and dragging coach Brian Schmetzer’s team downhill after a positive start to the season. Confined in a four game winless streak, the Sounders were steered away from the top places, yet not all was lost. Given the circumstances, any result other than a victory probably would have ensured that the remaining hopes of participating in a title would be postponed. A win on the other hand, whilst still keeping the Sounders eight points behind first place Los Angeles, handed them the opportunity to overtake other competitors, holding up to three games in hand, a consequence of the difficult puzzle that is called MLS fixturing.
Known as draw specialists, the Whitecaps were looking to continue their undefeated streak, strengthened over the span of six games by cynically collecting five draws. Thus, despite a harmless appearance at first sight (Vancouver sit in eighteenth place), they posed another hurdle Seattle would have to overcome.
Vancouver takes early initiative
The Vancouver Whitecaps started the game on the front foot, circulating the ball calmly to open gateways in order to play the ball forward. In the Whitecaps’ 4-3-1-2 shape, especially offensive midfielder Hwang In-Beom played . . .