Nicolas Lodeiro scored twice before halftime for his third and fourth goals of the season, and the Seattle Sounders defeated Cascadia Cup rivals Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-0, on Saturday afternoon to boost their dwindling playoff hopes.
Facing a Whitecaps side without Alphonso Davies on the 18-man roster, Lodeiro seized upon the visitors' mistakes. Doneil Henry's handball in the area resulted in his opener from the penalty spot. Goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic badly misplayed his second goal from distance with a dive that at first suggested the shot had been deflected.
This ball was yards away from a Vancouver defender. Just totally caught Marinović going the wrong way. pic.twitter.com/DETQwt8EDP— Sounders Matchday (@LIVESounders) July 21, 2018
Vancouver eventually finished with 10 men after Efrain Juarez was sent off for making contact with referee Chris Penso during an argument.
- THE BIG PICTURE: This was an absolute must-win for Seattle if they are to mount a late charge back toward the playoff places. The Sounders began the weekend 11 points beneath the playoff line with only 16 matches remaining. As for Vancouver, if rumors of Davies heading to Europe are true, the 'Caps need to avoid these kinds of self-inflicted wounds.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The highest quality first-half opportunity in open play actually belonged to Vancouver, but Henry couldn't direct his header on frame after an initial header by Kendall Waston. Had he converted, the match might've looked much different heading into the second half.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Lodeiro's brace was his second in league play, after he hit the net twice in a 3-0 win against Colorado on the final day of the 2017 season. He also scored twice in Seattle's 3-0 victory over FC Dallas in Leg 1 of the 2016 Western Conference semifinals.