VANCOUVER — Andreas Ivanschitz and Gonzalo Pineda scored their first goals of the season, and Obafemi Martins added his 13th of the campaign late, as the Seattle Sounders defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-0 on Saturday.
With the victory, Seattle (14-13-3) moved to 3-0-1 over its last four while improving its playoff chances in the Western Conference.
The Sounders also claimed their fourth Cascadia Cup, a regional head-to-head competition between Seattle, Vancouver and the Portland Timbers. The Whitecaps needed a victory to claim their third straight trophy in the competition and sixth overall.
The Sounders opened the scoring in the 45th minute when Martins grabbed the ball in midfield before delivering a perfectly weighted ball over Vancouver defender Jordan Smith to Ivanschitz, who beat Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted between the legs.
The Austrian’s first goal in Major League Soccer also came in his first start since joining the Sounders last month.
Pineda then double the lead in the 71st minute on the counterattack with Vancouver pressing. Clint Dempsey fed the Sounders midfielder at the top of the Whitecaps’ penalty area, and he made no mistake in pinging a shot off the post and in behind Ousted.
Pineda rushed to Seattle’s travelling supporters in one of the corners at B.C. Place Stadium, kissing his Sounders badge before getting mobbed by teammates.
Martins then sealed it in the 87th minute with his fourth goal in as many games, and sixth in six matches since returning from injury, when Dempsey fought off Russell Teibert to feed the striker.
Vancouver (15-11-3) entered play sitting tops in MLS’s overall standings with 48 points and was coming off a 1-0 victory over C.D. Olimipa in CONCACAF Champions League play in midweek, in a match that saw head coach Carl Robinson rest a number of his starters.
The Whitecaps visit Seattle on Wednesday in Champions League action with first place in Group F on the line.
Down 1-0 at the break on Saturday, Vancouver had a decent chance in the 49th minute, but Mauro Rosales’ shot from just outside the box sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.
Rosales then crossed in the 54th minute to Kendall Waston, whose header was comfortably saved by Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
After Pineda made it 2-0, Waston was shown a yellow card in the 82nd minute for a hard challenge on Dempsey that had both sides incensed before Martins rounded out the scoring.
Notes: Whitecaps midfielder Matias Laba served the second match of a two-game MLS suspension. … Vancouver captain Pedro Morales missed Saturday with a hamstring injury.
Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter
Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press