VANCOUVER — Carl Robinson didn’t sound like a head coach whose team had just lost 3-0.
Andreas Ivanschitz, Gonzalo Pineda and Obafemi Martins had the goals for Seattle as the Sounders defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday in a game that, despite the lopsided scoreline, the home side controlled for long stretches.
“I can’t fault my boys in there today. I thought they were fantastic,” said Robinson. “I was proud of them because we had a right go at (Seattle).”
The Whitecaps had a number of great opportunities early — with Octavio Rivero and Cristian Techera both coming close — but it was the visitors who went into halftime up 1-0 after Ivanschitz scored his first goal with the Sounders (14-13-3) in the 45th minute.
Martins grabbed the ball in midfield before delivering a perfectly weighted pass over Vancouver defender Jordan Smith to Ivanschitz, who beat Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted between the legs.
“We have two or three clear chances and we don’t take them,” said Robinson. “They have one chance and they take it. They’re a good team. That happens.”
Vancouver (15-11-3) — which lost 2-0 at home to the Sounders in May before returning the favour in a 3-0 triumph in Seattle last month — had more chances early in the second half, but Pineda doubled the lead in the 71st minute on the counterattack with the Whitecaps pressing.
After pinging a shot off the post and in, Pineda rushed to Seattle’s travelling supporters in one of the corners at B.C. Place Stadium, kissing his Sounders badge as he was mobbed by teammates.
“The quality they have in that side was obvious today,” said Ousted. “They finish their chances and do it well.”
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, after Clint Dempsey fought off Russell Teibert to feed the striker for his 13th of the season.
With the victory, Seattle improved to 3-0-1 over its last four while also creeping to within three points of Vancouver, which has played one less game, in the Western Conference standings.
The Sounders also claimed their fourth Cascadia Cup, a regional head-to-head tournament between Seattle, Vancouver and the Portland Timbers. The Whitecaps needed a victory to win their third straight trophy in the competition.
Vancouver entered the weekend first in Major League Soccer’s overall standings with 48 points and was coming off a 1-0 victory over C.D. Olimipa in CONCACAF Champions League play in a midweek match that saw 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 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.
“In periods of the game we did well,” said Ousted. “But at the end of the day the scoreboard doesn’t lie. They were better than us at what’s important in this game, and that’s scoring goals.”
Notes: Whitecaps midfielder Matias Laba served the second match of a two-game MLS suspension. … Vancouver captain Pedro Morales missed out with a hamstring injury.
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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press