by Michelle Dapper, SWX Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
Coquitlam, BC Canada - The Sounders started their W-League campaign with a 2-0 victory over Cascadian rivals, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The Sounders pulled out two 2nd half goals from Megan Manthey and Veronica Perez for the win. Substituting for Hope Solo, Katie Hultin, proved that the Sounders are in good hands with or without their superstar as she recorded four fantastic saves for the shutout.
The Sounders Women created the first chance of the match in the 6th minute, the same way they scored multiple goals in the exhibition season; off a corner kick. The ball was swung in and miss-played by goalkeeper, Clair Gurveen. The deflected ball fell right in front of the goal line and multiple players hacked away for at least five seconds, but they couldn't put it in.
In the 17th minute, the Whitecaps got their first shot of the match. A misplaced pass across the back four opened up a shooting chance, 30 yards away from the Sounders goal. Jenna Richardson saw a chance to turn and go towards goal. Her long shot flew well over the bar.
A minute later, despite the majority of possession, the Sounders gave up another long shot opportunity on a quick counter attack. Again, the chance fell to Richardson and her shot was off frame.
Each team traded opportunities for the next 10 minutes, until the 31st minute. The Whitecaps again found chances in front of the Sounders net. The first opportunity was a cross headed wide by MaryKate McLaughlin. The 2nd and third chances opened up for Richardson on the right side of the goal. Her first shot hit side netting, and her 2nd was scuffed for an easy Katie Hultin save.
In the 42nd minute, the Sounders earned a corner kick off a great slashing run from Lindsay Elston. Megan Meanthey delivered the corner which almost whipped into the net without a touch. Clair tipped it over in the Whitecaps net. The ensuing corner was cleared out to Veronica Perez. The Mexican National Teamer struck a first touch shot and tested the Vancouver keeper, but was saved.
The first half was played mostly from back to front, with midfields seldom utilized. When the Sounders were able to connect the two, they dominated the possession. Mexican national teamer, Veronica Perez, found more and more touches as the half went on. A rough estimate would say possession was in favor 55%-45% in favor of the Sounders, with goal scoring opportunities; even.