A first-half brace by Raul Ruidiaz gave Seattle Sounders FC just enough cushion against an all-they-could-handle Vancouver Whitecaps FC, for a 2-1 Cascadia Cup-clinching win Saturday night at BC Place. It was their ninth straight win, and 12th straight result in a string that dates back to July 4.
It looked like Nicolas Mezquida would open the scoring for the home team in the 11th minute, but he missed on a golden opportunity, and Ruidiaz struck in the 21st minute to break the deadlock. While Ruidiaz was denied a brace thanks to a Stefan Marinovic save in the 32nd minute, he got it in the 42nd minute, played in toward goal via an errant pass by Whitecaps defender Brett Levis.
Vancouver would get on the scoreboard during a lengthy first-half stoppage time, created in part by video review of Osvaldo Alonso's foot-on-ankle tackle of Alphonso Davies. Kei Kamara headed home a corner kick to close the gap, and led a valiant second half charge with several near-misses, including a 55th-minute volley that kissed the post. Yet, the high-energy match finished, surprisingly, with no second-half goals.
- 21' – SEA – Raul Ruidiaz | WATCH
- 42' – SEA – Raul Ruidiaz | WATCH
- 45' + 4' – VAN – Kei Kamara | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Let us marvel: The Sounders last lost on June 30, only having won three of 15 matches at that point. Now, they're in the conversation for having one of the all-time longest MLS win streaks, and they're in fifth place in the West with a chance to still move up into a hosting position. The Whitecaps remain 7th in the West, with the definite possibility that the Decision Day matchup between Vancouver and Portland could be for the West's final playoff spot.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Kamara's goal was a game-on moment, setting up for a second half that was captivating and looked like it either had an equalizer or a dagger in it.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Though Alonso deserves mention for gutty, sometimes nasty defense, Ruidiaz is proving to be the Sounders' 2018 version of Nicolas Lodeiro — a mid-season pickup who brings the mojo needed to pull out of a serious swoon.