MLS: Cascadia Cup clash ends in a tie

Vancouver Whitecaps

Vancouver Whitecaps forward Erik Hurtado.

Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps battled to 2-2 tie in an entertaining Cascadia Cup clash.

[Week 12 talking points]

Gershon Koffie and Erik Hurtado scored for the Whitecaps while Chad Barrett and Gonzalo Pineda put Seattle on the scoreboard. Vancouver scored two goals after falling behind in the 36 minute; however, a harsh penalty call ripped the three points away from the home team.

Koffie showed a bit of brilliance eight minutes into the game, dribbling the ball from his half to the top of Seattle’s box and cracking a shot off the crossbar. A minute later, Morales almost broke free inside the box, but Stefan Frei was there to relieve the pressure.

In the 10th minute Pineda found Martins with a pass over the top, but the Nigerian couldn’t keep his shot on frame. On a promising counter-attack in the 26th minute, Chad Barrett fired over the crossbar from long range.

Half an hour into the game, Matias Laba, Koffie and Pedro Morales dominated Osvaldo Alonso and Pineda in the midfield, but couldn’t create a clear-cut goal scoring chance for Hurtado. Both sides struggled to create a dangerous chance, but the Whitecaps youngsters looked sharper.

Barrett finally broke the deadlock in the 36th minute. The American, filling in for Lamar Neagle, rose above Nigel Reo-Coker in the box and headed in a Kenny Cooper cross for his second goal of the season.

Three minutes later, in-form Hurtado scored a fantastic solo goal. The young forward controlled the ball just outside the box, used his quick feet to beat Djimi Traore and Alonso, and fired a cracking shot over a helpless Frei.

Goal poacher turned playmaker, Obafemi Martins, was unable to be a creative force in the first half as he was shadowed by Laba.

In the second half, Hurtado continued to agitate Seattle’s defence, and he had a hand in Vancouver’s first substantial chance after the break. The American forward and Kekuta Manneh combined to find Koffie, who fired wide from distance.

After an uneventful 15 minutes, Manneh made a fantastic run in between Seattle’s center backs, and he received a pass from Sebastian Fernandez. However, the youngster couldn’t take advantage of a one-on-one with Frei.

Frei’s gaffe in the 67th minute handed Koffie a well-deserved goal. Seattle’s goalkeeper raced of his line in an attempt to save the ball from going out for a throw-in. His clearance landed on the midfielder’s chest and the Ghanaian guided an audacious 40 yard lob into an empty goal.

Hurtado continued to be a nuisance for Seattle, nearing doubling Vancouver’s lead. After a long clearance the 23-year-old overpowered two defenders, controlled the ball, created space, but his shot was blocked.

Nine minutes from time, Seattle’s substitute Cam Weaver won a controversial penalty. The forward lost an aerial battle to Jay Demerit, but the referee pointed to the spot. Pineda stepped up to take the penalty and buried it with a magnificent chip over David Ousted.

Martins almost completed the comeback in the 84th minute. The Nigerian forward received the ball on a fast break, drove into the box, fired a low shot, but was denied by the post.

At the other end, Morales came close to securing all three points with a blistering effort. The midfielder pounced on a chest down by Nicolas Mezquida but his first time shot drifted inches wide.

BC Place almost erupted when Koffie almost won the game. His stoppage time shot looked like it was headed for the back of the net, but Frei got a hand to it. The 22-year-old midfielder used a swift turn to lose his defender, held off Zach Scott and fired at goal from close range.

Koffie almost capped off his man of the match performance with a second goal. He unleashed a scorching strike from distance; however, Frei palmed it away from danger.

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