Vancouver and Seattle opened their Western Conference semifinal series with a scoreless draw on Sunday night at BC Place. Will anybody compare that scoreless 90 minutes with what we saw during regulation in Atlanta last week? Sure, but not favorably.
“It was important we didn’t concede today," Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said. "In two-legged ties, I think conceding at home is a no-no. I learnt that two years ago. That was the mindset. We can be better going forward, we setup slightly tactically different today, and it worked."
Strategizing a first-leg in a two-game series isn't easy. Focusing on not giving up the away goal is important. So is not turning a 180 minute series into 90 minutes on the road. Stress the away goal rule now in Vancouver's favor if you want, but that's what a scoreless first-leg accomplishes in a two-game series. It's now a knockout game in Seattle that the Sounders know that they have to win outright.
"I actually wish we would have pressed the issue a little bit more," Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said. "I thought there were opportunities in the second half, and even the one opportunity we had in the first half where we were able to get behind their defense and actually create some problems. Vancouver’s too good of a team for us to just sit in and defend. We have to score goals, so the balance was there maybe, but I almost wish we could have pushed for the first goal."
MLSsoccer.com's Charles Boehm blames tactics for the stalemate in Vancouver. The Vancouver Sun's Patrick Johnston isn't impressed with 0-0. The Seattle Times' Geoff Baker on the situation the Sounders now face at home. Soccer America's Paul Kennedy uses the Vancouver vs Seattle game to make a point about the playoffs.
ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan's look at Real Madrid's issues. The Guardian's Jonathan Wilson questions Jose Mourinho's approach with Manchester United. Bundesliga Fanatic's Mathew Burt on Werder Bremen looking for a new coach.
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