The Vancouver Whitecaps once again kept their playoff hopes alive with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders on Saturday.
Pedro Waite opened the scoring in the 29th minute and Julian Grisel doubled Vancouver’s lead eight minutes later as the Whitecaps (11-14-7) beat their regional rival for the first time in more than five years. .
Will Bruin responded with a goal for the Sounders (12-16-3) in the 89th minute.
Goalkeeper Thomas Hassall stopped two shots on target to collect Vancouver’s fourth win of the season and Stephen Fry made three saves for Seattle.
The result dropped the Whitecaps to ninth place in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference ahead of the Sounders (12-16-3).
Vancouver still sits two spots and three points below the playoff bar with two games left in the regular season. Seattle is four points and three out of a postseason spot.
The Caps won 3-0 against the LA Galaxy on Wednesday while the Sounders haven’t played since beating Austin FC on Sept. 10.
The effect of the packed schedule showed at times in the second half, with Seattle pressing hard and Vancouver’s players looking gassed at times.
Former Whitecap Freddy Montero scored Seattle’s only goal of the night in the 89th minute, sending a shot into the penalty area where it glanced over Bruin’s head and into the net.
Bruin came off the bench in place of Josh Atencio in the 72nd minute.
Renko Veslinovic temporarily saved Vancouver’s clean sheet in the 74th minute. Positioned on the goal line, the Serbian defender deflected a header by Seattle’s Albert Rusnak.
The Whitecaps briefly looked to go 3-0 up midway through the second half when Luis Martinez pounced on Brian White’s sliding leg.
The Vancouver striker fired a shot into the net in the 61st minute but Frei picked the ball up before it went completely over the line and continued to play as boos rained down from the crowd. The video referee checked the line-up and upheld the goalless call.
Seattle controlled 66 percent of the possession in the first half but it was Vancouver who took a 2-0 lead into the locker room on top of the scoreboard.
The Sounders’ first goal came in the 48th minute when Montero’s right-footed effort from outside the box forced Hustle to make a save.
Grisel doubled the home team’s advantage in the 37th minute with a stunning strike.
Martinez flicked the ball down the sideline, found Renko Veslinovic for a header in traffic, and the ball went to Grisel at the top of the penalty area. The German fired a right-footed shot past a free hand to give Vancouver a 2-0 lead.
It was his second goal of the season.
With eight minutes to go, Ryan Gould slipped around his defender and passed to Waite, who fired the ball in from the top of the six-yard box for his second goal in as many games.
Heading into Saturday’s game, Vancouver had not lost to Seattle since April 14, 2017, Seattle went 10-0-5 overall.
The Whitecaps are now off for the international break and return to action on October 1 when they host Austin FC in their final home game of the season. The Sounders face FC Cincinnati on Sept. 27 in Seattle.
Footnotes: Whitecaps midfielder Andreas Kuba left the game in the 33rd minute with an adductor injury. Seattle’s Alex Roldan was shown a yellow card in the 25th minute for grabbing the gold jersey. Sounders captain Nicolas Lodero was cautioned in the 81st minute for a tackle on Gressel. Greisel received a yellow a minute later for another challenge on Ludeiro. 19,722 people played at the BC venue, marking the club’s largest attendance in an MLS season.