Sounders forge scoreless tie vs. Whitecaps, clinch playoff berth

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Vancouver, BC, Canada (4E Sports) – The Seattle Sounders and the Vancouver Whitecaps both accomplished respective goals despite ending their Cascadia Cup rivalry to a scoreless draw Saturday at sold-out BC Place.

The Sounders (13-7-10) clinched their fourth straight playoff berth after gaining 49 points in the Western Conference behind goalkeeper Michael Gspurning’s sixth shutout of the season.

For their part, the Whitecaps (10-12-9) extended their winless streak to seven games but gained a point from the draw to grab a two-marker lead over closest pursuer FC Dallas for the last berth playoff berth.

“It’s been too long,” Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit said. “If we do try to stay positive, it’s about that clean sheet and that comes from the 11. It’s not just us four at the back, it’s a team effort.

The two teams both came close to winning late in the game with Vancouver substitute Camilo nearly hitting the back of the net on a diagonal strike.

Seattle’s Jeff Parke almost broke the tie with 10 minutes left to play but was denied by Whitecaps defender Lee Young-Pyo.

The Sounders dominated the first half, holding possession of the ball for nearly 57 percent of the time.

Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso had the first real scoring opportunity of the game, firing a low, hard shot wide to the left of Whitecaps goalkeeper Brad Knighton but failed to find its mark.

Three minutes later, Seattle was on the attack once again with Mauro Rosales crossing to Brad Evan, whose kick was well off the target.

In the 30th minute, Vancouver midfielder Gershon Koffie eluded a pair of Sounders at midfield before sliding the ball towards forward Darren Mattocks but he was thwarted by Parke’s sliding tackle.

Vancouver suffered a crucial blow to its campaign before the first half ended when both John Thorrington and Mattocks went down with hamstring injuries and were replaced by Matt Watson and Camilo, respectively.

Following the match, Mattocks has ruled himself out of Wednesday’s clash against Chivas USA at BC Place.

“Hopefully the week goes well,” Mattocks said. “Probably I’ll be out for Wednesday’s game, but there’s plenty of time for the 21st.”

The Sounders will play another regional rival when they host the Portland Timbers on October 7 at CenturyLink Field for the right to hoist the Cascadia Cup.

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