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Sports >  Seattle Sounders

Sounders finally yield goal in run of play, but unbeaten streak lives on after tie with Whitecaps

UPDATED: Sat., June 26, 2021

Vancouver Whitecaps attacker Lucas Cavallini, right, slides a shot past Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland, left, and defender Shane O'Neill during an MLS soccer match Saturday, June 26, 2021, in Seattle.  (Dean Rutz/Seattle Times)
Vancouver Whitecaps attacker Lucas Cavallini, right, slides a shot past Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland, left, and defender Shane O'Neill during an MLS soccer match Saturday, June 26, 2021, in Seattle. (Dean Rutz/Seattle Times)
By Jayda Evans Seattle Times

SEATTLE – On a steamy summer night, Vancouver nearly had all the moves to cool off the Sounders.

The Cascadia rival, which entered Saturday’s match on a five-game losing streak, crafted two second-half goals to nearly swipe a win at Lumen Field on Saturday.

But Sounders reserve Jimmy Medranda used a powerful strike in the 71st minute to help the Sounders eke out a 2-2 draw before 25,603 fans. Sounders reserve forward Fredy Montero, who played his past three MLS seasons in Vancouver, was credited with the assist.

Vancouver (2-6-2) almost made sure the only record that remained in Seattle was the temperature that hit 90 degrees on field at kickoff to become what is believed to be the second-hottest match the Sounders have played at home by 1 degree. The Sounders’ home unbeaten streak (16), best start in franchise history (7-0-4) and not being scored on in the run of play (949 minutes) were also on the line – the last one taking a hard fall.

Sounders keeper Stefan Cleveland left his line to challenge Vancouver striker Cristian Dajome’s drive about 2 feet outside the penalty box. Dajome batted the ball around Cleveland, then sent a shot past MLS rookie AB Cissoko, the only Sounder left to protect the empty goal.

The score in the 49th minute was the first against Seattle in the run of play this season – a stretch of 949 minutes, which is a record since tracking the stat began in 2010.

Vancouver midfielder Lucas Cavallini had the go-ahead goal in the 56th minute. Sounders defender Shane O’Neill mistimed his attempt to use a header to clear the ball and tumbled into Cleveland, the ball rolling into the net. Dajome had the assist.

The Sounders had multiple near-chances in the closing minutes and second-half stoppage time in efforts to recoup the match it decisively owned in the first half. Nothing connected.

Raul Ruidiaz had the Sounders’ opening goal in the 40th minute. The Peruvian’s finish matched the artistry his teammates blended together to get him in position to score.

Sounders midfielder Josh Atencio started the play with a strong tackle against midfielder Michael Baldisimo in Vancouver’s end of the field. Cristian Roldan picked up the won ball for Seattle and dribbled downfield before passing back to Atencio. The latter smartly waited inches outside of the penalty box before passing ahead to Brad Smith, the Australian providing the service to Ruidiaz.

The striker has scored in each of Seattle’s three matches since a three-week international break.

Ruidiaz was called up by his Peru national team for World Cup qualifying matches but not the Copa America tournament. Peru plays Venezuela in a group stages match on Sunday.

Ruidiaz remains tied with Los Angeles Galaxy striker Chicharito Hernandez in MLS’s Golden Boot race with nine goals each.

Atencio returned to the starting lineup after suffering a quad injury earlier this season. Nouhou missed a third straight start due to a adductor strain. Smith was slotted in at left wingback after missing the start for the midweek against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.

Saturday’s match marked the celebration of Pride but the Whitecaps players wore orange armbands to recognize the discovery of the Cowessess First Nation finding 751 unmarked graves at a Saskatchewan residential school site. The remains of 215 children were found at a similar residential school in British Columbia.

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