(Rick Morrison. See Rick's gallery here.)
The Vancouver Whitecaps scored three straight goals in the second half to beat the Seattle Sounders 3-2 on Saturday night at Starfire Sports Stadium.
With the loss the Sounders finish the 2008 USL-1 season with a 10-10-10 record. The ten wins is the fewest regular season wins ever for any club called "Sounders," dating back to 1974.
The Sounders finish sixth in the USL table and will play Montreal Impact in the first round of the playoffs, which begin on Friday at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
The night was a disappointment to a packed house and to the Sounders players, who stood at midfield afterwards sort of looking at the ground or off into space. The USL Sounders have played their last regular season match. It is almost over, and the script being written is not to the liking of this cast of characters.
The defense of the 2007 Commissioner's Cup (best regular season record) had long since gone by the wayside. Puerto Rico has claimed the 2008 version.The Cascadia Cup is the latest to fall out of reach. The Whitecaps win the cup going away with 13 points to Seattle's 8.
Still left is a chance to redeem a lost year by making a run in the playoffs. More than merely a run, though, Seattle would need to go all the way and repeat as league champions to erase the mediocre regular season, the derby loss and the second straight loss in the US Open Cup Quarterfinals.
It seems unlikely at this point, with the Sounders' form writing losing chapters.
The 2008 Sounders have rarely come together as a team on the pitch, seldom found the right mixture and the final pieces of the puzzle. They've been out hustled on many occasions, out played and out coached at home and away. This group of players remain a talented bunch who peaked as a unit in 2007 and have relapsed in 2008. Injuries have played their role, and it was no different tonight with Taylor Graham sitting out in central defense.
A shame it came down to a few moments of weak defending and plenty of missed offensive chances, but the night was a capsule of the whole season in that way.
Bookend goals by Sebastien Le Toux and Kevin Sakuda simply were not enough to offset the Whitecaps second-half rally.
Seattle leaves the Cascadia Cup derby behind having won it twice. Vancouver have now won it three times.
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