The chances were there. The goals were not.
Despite tying a season-high with 16 shots — including nine from inside the penalty area — the Seattle Sounders were shut out for the third time in their past five games, falling to the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 on Saturday. It was the first time the Sounders had ever lost to their Canadian rivals in MLS play.
“That’s a heartbreaking feeling,” Sounders midfielder Shalrie Joseph told reporters. “We didn’t get the result that I think we deserved. We definitely played better than we have in the last couple of games. We created chances, we got our creative guys on the ball, got enough chances but we just weren’t able to finish.”
A big part of the Sounders’ problem was the play of Whitecaps goalkeeper Brad Knighton, who set a career high with seven saves. Knighton was tested early and often, but came up big each time.
The 28-year-old’s best moments came in the first half. He first stopped Eddie Johnson from close range in the 22nd minute, turning away an attempt at the near post. He denied Johnson again in the 27th minute, coming way off his line to cut off the angle and then stopping Obafemi Martins’ attempt off the rebound with a kick save.
Knighton also made a somewhat acrobatic save in the 23rd minute, grabbing an awkwardly spinning Zach Scott attempt from just a couple yards out just before the ball could cross the goal line.
“We had opportunities, we should have finished some of those opportunities,” Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said. “Knighton came up with some big saves in goal to keep them in it. I’m not displeased with what we created or how we played.”
As good as Knighton was, the Sounders acknowledged some wastefulness. Of the nine attempts from inside the penalty area, only four required saves and Knighton only had to make one stop from close range in the second half.
Lamar Neagle, for instance, had two open looks inside the penalty area but hit both over the crossbar.
“[Knighton] did a good job, but we still had way too many chances to not score one goal,” Neagle said. “He came out and pressured us at the right times, but still — I had two chances and I should have both of them scored.”