In Pictures: Vancouver head to Portland and snap 15-game streak in Cascadia Cup clash

The Portland Timbers’ 15-game streak is over. Of all the teams to end their unbeaten run, they would not have wanted it to be Cascadia rivals; Vancouver Whitecaps. But that’s the way it ended as the Whitecaps ran out 2-1 in what was a dramatic night at Providence Park.

Portland were awarded two penalties on the night but couldn’t keep their unbeaten run going. The result means they have been handed their first home loss of 2018. For the Whitecaps, it keeps their playoff push alive following a draw at New York City FC before Saturday’s game. They are now two points outside of the playoffs in the West.

The Whitecaps took the lead in the 14th minute, with Kei Kamara heading in from Kendall Waston’s pass to silence the home crowd. But Waston was then at fault as he brought down Diego Valeri in the box in the 40th minute, with the Timbers being awarded a spot-kick.

But Valeri missed the penalty, dragging his shot wide. And just moments later, the visitors doubled their lead. Brek Shea crossed in and Cristian Techera headed in Vancouver’s second, just a couple of minutes before half-time. The missed penalty and second Vancouver goal sucked the life out of Portland before the break.

The Timbers did come out fighting though and Valeri made up for his first-half penalty miss when he slotted in from the spot on 71 minutes. Portland pressed, looking for the equaliser to extend their unbeaten run to 16 but couldn’t find the goal. Vancouver held on, for what could prove to be three vital points come the end of the season.

Check out exclusive photos from Saturday’s Cascadia Cup clash below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer, Denise McCooey.

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Alphonso Davies to Bayern Munich ‘a done deal’ in record MLS transfer

The record-breaking transfer that will take Alphonso Davies to Bayern Munich is “a done deal” according to multiple sources. The deal for the 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecaps star will be the most expensive in MLS history.

Bayern will pay £11.5m for the Canadian winger, which could rise to £18m according to TSN’s Kristian Jack, but he adds that Davies will remain a Whitecaps player until the end of the 2018 MLS season. That would see Davies join up with his new teammates in Germany on January 1st 2019.

The transfer will make Davies Major League Soccer’s most expensive export. Jozy Altidore’s £6m move to Villarreal in 2008 has stood as the record transfer for ten years. The deal taking Alphonso Davies to Bayern is also worth more than the record sum of £11m Atlanta United paid for Ezequiel Barco ahead of this season.

Davies has taken MLS by storm since making his debut in July 2016, when he became the second-youngest player to play in the league at the age of 15, only behind Freddy Adu. He has gone on to make 54 MLS appearances for the Whitecaps, scoring three and assisting nine.

All three of those goals and eight of the nine assists have come this season, with the pacey winger looking sharper than ever. It’s no surprise Europe’s top clubs have been tracking his progress given how quickly he has developed in such a short space of time.

Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool were reportedly interested in signing him last season but didn’t make a formal offer due to work permit concerns. But Bayern have now swooped as they look to make an investment in the North American market. Reports also suggest they are hoping to add USMNT star Christian Pulisic from Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund.

Davies, who turns 18 in November, is expected to return to Vancouver Whitecaps training after the deal is completed. He missed the weekend loss to Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders, following permission from head coach Carl Robinson. He is averaging a goal or assist every 137 minutes this season so Vancouver will need his services while they still have them for the remainder of the season.

The Canadian winger was also named to the 2018 MLS All-Star team to face Juventus on August 1st, so he will still be expected to be available for the game.

Lodeiro inspires Sounders to beat Whitecaps as another late-summer playoff surge looms

Throughout their MLS history, the Seattle Sounders have made a trend of struggling in the early stages of the season before finding their stride in the Summer, much like they did in 2016 en route to winning MLS Cup. That Summer, Nico Lodeiro joined the club and, under then interim coach Brian Schmetzer, helped lead Seattle into playoff positions and ultimately was named the 2016 MLS Newcomer of the Year.

Fast forward two years later and the Sounders again find themselves in a hole, trying to continue their streak of making the playoffs every year of their MLS existence.

This time the hole is much deeper and the club has been devastated by injury all year but for possibly the first time this season the lofty expectations seem to be within reach.

The Sounders knocked off their Cascadia Cup rivals Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 on Saturday thanks to a brace from Lodiero and a confident performance from his teammates. Most excitingly we finally got a chance to see Raul Ruidiaz take the field in Rave Green and while it’s apparent that he is still learning how to play with his teammates he already looks dangerous in front of goal.

Ruidiaz’s debut would have been the biggest talking point this week if not for Lodeiro upstaging him with a masterful performance in midfield. Lodeiro’s passing was precise and incisive, constantly splitting defenders and finding open teammates. After opening the scoring from the penalty spot in the 4th minute of the match, Lodeiro doubled the lead in the 31st with a knuckling ball that completely fooled the Whitecaps’ keeper Stefan Marinovic. With the two-goal lead, Lodeiro seemed to really get into a groove and spent much of the second half terrorising defenders with his ball control and forcing Vancouver to foul him a match-high seven times.

With more time together Lodiero and Ruidiaz have the potential to unlock the Sounders attack as they learn each other’s habits and tendencies. Ruidiaz’s pace will help to stretch opposing defenses and open space for other attackers and should Lodiero continue his form from Saturday he’ll be an integral part of maximizing the danger that Ruidiaz creates.

As Seattle now prepares to head to Avaya Stadium in San Jose to face the cellar dwelling Earthquakes, they’ll also be looking to build upon only their third shutout of the season and first in a winning effort. Now just 10 points out of the playoffs and with games in hand, the Sounders will be desperate to get their first win at Avaya and continue their climb from the bottom of the Western Conference.

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Radio Cascadia Episode 150: Oddities

MLSGB has joined up with the Radio Cascadia podcast for the 2018 season, giving our readers the chance to catch up on all the latest news from the Pacific Northwest, where MLS clubs Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps look to continue to dominate the Western Conference. 

Radio Cascadia is a weekly podcast and is an authoritative steward of the Cascadian perspective, representing the most passionate, unified and unique fan bases in the country. Their passion is well justified, not only by the clubs’ nearly fifty years of shared history but also thanks to rampant success in the MLS era.


Vancouver’s 2-0 win over RSL last Friday night relieved pressure on Carl Robinson and gave the crew an interesting lineup to dissect in the headline segment of Ep. 150. How will they hold up at counter-oriented Minnesota this Saturday?

Ed Pham and Tenzin Choephel pick lineups and results for a well-rested Portland team facing a road match up with the Earthquakes this week. Can Gio buck Timbers’ historical struggles in San Jose and make it nine points from their last nine?

The gang saves the painful stuff for last in Ep. 150, recounting the opening of Banc of California Stadium and Seattle’s 1-0 loss to hosts LAFC. Ari Liljenwall gives his take on the newest stadium in the league and Sounders’ performance in the last-minute loss. Can Seattle bounce back this weekend? It’s not an easy test with the Columbus Crew visiting town.

The results have been mixed but we can genuinely make the case that all three of our clubs are going in the right direction! Silver linings, only on Radio Cascadia.

Playlist:

00:00 – Whitecaps earn much-needed victory over RSL, look to make Cascadia 3 for 3 against Minnesota United in 2018

16:30 – Timbers ride two game winning streak down to San Jose, will they grab a third on the trot?

31:20 – Heartbreak in LA for Sounders, tricky home tie with Columbus awaits next

In pictures: Whitecaps snap losing streak to pick up much-needed home win over Real Salt Lake

Vancouver Whitecaps picked up a much-needed win on Friday night, beating Real Salt Lake 2-0 at BC Place Stadium to end a three-game losing streak. The Whitecaps had now won at home since opening day so the fans inside BC Place will have been delighted to see their team march to three points.

Real Salt Lake will be frustrated not to have scored for the second consecutive road game. They have now lost three-straight away games and have one point from a possible 12 on the road in 2018.

The game had to wait until the 75th minute for the opening goal and it didn’t come without drama. Cristian Techera scored from the penalty spot to give Vancouver the lead after Nick Besler brought down Nicolas Mezquida. But Techera celebrated by taking his jersey off, earning himself a second yellow card as a result, and was sent off before the game restarted. Techera had been booked just minutes before the penalty incident, so his moment of madness in the celebrations cost him.

Fortunately it didn’t cost the Whitecaps. They added a second goal a couple of minutes after Techera saw red, with Alphonso Davies making a trademark run down the left before putting it on a plate for Anthony Blondell. Davies only played 28 minutes but made a difference to the hosts attacking intensity and got a deserved assist.

Check out exclusive photos from Friday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Simon Fearn.

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Radio Cascadia Episode 149: Good news, bad news

MLSGB has joined up with the Radio Cascadia podcast for the 2018 season, giving our readers the chance to catch up on all the latest news from the Pacific Northwest, where MLS clubs Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps look to continue to dominate the Western Conference. 

Radio Cascadia is a weekly podcast and is an authoritative steward of the Cascadian perspective, representing the most passionate, unified and unique fan bases in the country. Their passion is well justified, not only by the clubs’ nearly fifty years of shared history but also thanks to rampant success in the MLS era.


Seattle Times writer Geoff Baker calls in to discuss his new book: 100 Things Sounders Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die is an extensive review of Sounders history and culture from the 1970’s to the present. An impressive diversity of topics are featured, ranging from stories told by NASL-era legends to candid and fair analysis of the club’s highs and lows in MLS. Even the most attentive members of the fan base will find fascinating moments from the club’s past unknown to them prior. The work presents the most honest and refreshing assessment of Seattle’s first decade in MLS available in print. Check it out here.

Portland’s 3-0 win over league leaders NYCFC headlines our Cascadia coverage this week as the crew analyses how the Timbers pulled off the big victory. Interviews with former Timber Rodney Wallace and centerback Liam Ridgewell from the locker room follow.

Sounders finally picked up a first victory of the MLS season, winning 3-1 against Minnesota United. Ari Liljenwall of MLSsoccer.com and John Marshall of MLSGB give their takes on Svensson’s rocket, a couple of questionable subs, and Alex Roldan’s solid performance. The group takes picks for Sunday’s road match at LAFC after a quick postgame exclusive with the Seattle University product.

Like the episode title says, last week featured some good results and some… well, terrible results. The crew tries to make sense of 9-man Vancouver’s 6-0 thrashing at Sporting KC and questions if they’ll be able to recover mentally in time for Friday’s home test against Real Salt Lake.

Playlist:

00:00 – Introduction & Geoff Baker on 100 Things Sounders Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

22:55 – Timbers topple league leaders 3-0

37:15 – Sounders pick up first league win, LAFC away awaits

57:15 – Whitecaps struggle in SKC, need result on Friday

In pictures: Vancouver Whitecaps 0-2 LAFC – Visitors end Whitecaps’ 11-game home streak

The Vancouver Whitecaps saw their 11-game unbeaten run at BC Place come to an end on Friday night as LAFC snapped a two-game losing streak, winning 2-0 thanks to goals from Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi. Vancouver have now lost back-to-back MLS games for the first time in over a year.

LAFC forward Marcos Urena assisted both goals, further highlighting how important he is to the expansion side. Vela and Rossi might be making headlines, but Urena is a vital threat in his own right.

Vancouver will be disappointed not to have found the net for the second-straight home game. They remain second after Friday’s result, but LAFC are just a point behind and have played two games fewer.

Bob Bradley’s men have one more away game – a trip to Montreal next week – before they make their long-anticipated home debut at Banc of California Stadium.

Check out exclusive photos from Friday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer, Simon Fearn.

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Radio Cascadia Episode 147: A tough week on the road as the Timbers prepare for 2018 home opener

MLSGB has joined up with the Radio Cascadia podcast for the 2018 season, giving our readers the chance to catch up on all the latest news from the Pacific Northwest, where MLS clubs Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps look to continue to dominate the Western Conference. 

Radio Cascadia is a weekly podcast and is an authoritative steward of the Cascadian perspective, representing the most passionate, unified and unique fan bases in the country. Their passion is well justified, not only by the clubs’ nearly fifty years of shared history but also thanks to rampant success in the MLS era.


The crew shakes off a rough weekend of road results and look forward to the region’s last home opener of 2018 in Ep.147. 

The Whitecaps’ coverage this week focuses assessing individual performances in the loss at Real Salt Lake. Despite the setback, there’s optimism about Friday’s big home match with LAFC. The Whitecaps have the chance to make things right on both sides of the ball in their first outing against the new expansion side, will they get it done?

Ari Liljenwall of MLSsoccer.com updates us on the injury situation in Seattle and projects a lineup for Sounders’ match at Sporting KC on Sunday. It’s a really difficult test for a squad that’s in a tough spot to begin with — does Ari think Seattle will grab a first positive league result of the year?

Ed Pham and Tenzin Choephel dissect Portland’s demoralizing 3-2 loss in Orlando, with frustration about officiating, substitutions and missed chances all coming to the surface. We try to set the disappointment aside quickly just as the Timbers will have to on account of Saturday’s home opener against Minnesota United — what does Portland look like at home under Giovanni Savarese, and can he pick up his first MLS victory as manager?

Playlist:

00:00 – Whitecaps fall flat at RSL; LAFC match represents big opportunity on both ends of the field

16:00 – Ari Liljenwall: Is a first positive league result of 2018 possible for Sounders in Kansas City?

38:15 – “Holy Toledo!” and other observations from Portland’s trip to Orlando; Home opener preview

Radio Cascadia Episode 145: Portland finally get a point on the board, Vancouver struggle against the Galaxy

MLSGB has joined up with the Radio Cascadia podcast for the 2018 season, giving our readers the chance to catch up on all the latest news from the Pacific Northwest, where MLS clubs Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps look to continue to dominate the Western Conference. 

Radio Cascadia is a weekly podcast and is an authoritative steward of the Cascadian perspective, representing the most passionate, unified and unique fan bases in the country. Their passion is well justified, not only by the clubs’ nearly fifty years of shared history but also thanks to rampant success in the MLS era.


Well, that was technically an unbeaten weekend for our Cascadian sides — it just didn’t feel like it! 

Ed Pham and Tenzin Choephel rate Portland’s performance as they took a first-ever point under new boss Gio Savarese with a 1-1 draw in Dallas. Between a fresh formation, Blanco’s sweet finish and a silly red card, there’s plenty to go over before taking a look at Timbers’ chances in their road contest with the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

Andrew and Steven describe a hellish drive to Vancouver for Whitecaps’ 0-0 draw with LA Galaxy before giving their take on why the hosts couldn’t find a winner. Michael McColl of AFTN calls in to do the same and assesses Carl Robinson’s response as well. Will bunker-ball get it done in Columbus this weekend? We round out our Whitecaps coverage with predictions for their tough task in Ohio. 

Ari Liljenwall of MLSsoccer.com throws down a probable lineup for Seattle’s home match with Montreal this weekend. It’s a difficult test for Sounders without Dempsey and likely Lodeiro as well, can they cope against Piatti and the Impact? 

Come for the match analysis, stick around for our traffic stories. Every week, only on Radio Cascadia.

 

Playlist:

02:30 – Timbers: Hard-earned point in Dallas, what’s possible in Chicago?

15:40 – Whitecaps: Dull performance against Galaxy doesn’t exactly inspire before trip to Columbus 

28:05 – Sounders: Still injury-riddled, but ready to get back on track against Impact

MLS Defensive Player of the Week: Week 4 – LA Galaxy defender stands strong in Vancouver

For every week of the 2018 MLS season, MLSGB will award two Player of the Week accolades to the previous gameweek’s standout performers. We will highlight one star attacking player, as well as the leading defensive performer from the last round of fixtures. The Attacking Player of the Week award can be won by strikers, wingers and advanced midfielders. While the Defensive Player of the Week award can be won by goalkeepers, defenders and defensive midfielders.

Week 4 might have been quiet in terms of games played as a result of the international break, but one particular performance made a lot of noise. Just three of the 12 teams in actions kept a clean sheet in Week 4, but only one of those came from a travelling team.

LA Galaxy did well to hold Vancouver Whitecaps to a 0-0 draw at BC Place on Saturday night, especially when you consider they only dressed 17 players for the trip as a result of a huge absentee list. The standout performer – both on the night for LA and overall in MLS this weekend – was Daniel Steres. He is the MLSGB Defensive Player of the Week after a commanding display in the Galaxy backline.

As the graphic above demonstrates, Steres was incredible at the back for the Galaxy. He completed 2/2 tackles, 4/4 interceptions and made 11 clearances to help keep Vancouver out. Of those 11 clearances, nine were headed clearances, further highlighting how commanding Steres was, despite having to face off against Kei Kamara.

Steres also won all four of his aerial duels on the night and was effective at distributing the ball to teammates out of defence. The graphic below shows all of his actions during Saturday’s game. He completed 34 of the 41 passes he attempted, with the seven incomplete passes all coming from ambitious long balls down the right-side.

A detailed look at Daniel Steres’ Week 4 performance at Vancouver Whitecaps – Stats via @StatsZone

The green circles above highlight where Steres made his clearances, while the green diamonds show interceptions. Just looking at those alone shows how dominant he was in crucial defensive areas.

The 27-year-old defender sat out of the Galaxy’s first game of the season and only got his chance in Week 2 following the injury to Michael Ciani. However, he has impressed in the 136 minutes he has completed so far, with his first start at Vancouver proving that he does perhaps deserve more starts.

Don’t miss: MLS Attacking Player of the Week: Week 4

LA Galaxy have the huge derby clash with LAFC to prepare for next. And with Ciani still struggling with a groin injury, Steres will need to come up big to stop the likes of Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela from stealing the show in the league’s first LA Derby between the new rivals.