Sounders top Vancouver 2-0 behind strong defense

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Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson scored second-half goals as Sounders FC (11-6-7, 40 points) defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 2-0, Saturday on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. Michael Gspurning picked up his fifth shutout of the season in front of a crowd of 55,718 as Seattle moved into sole position of third place in the Western Conference.

Montero put Seattle on the board first in the 64th minute, just three minutes after entering the match. Jeff Parke chested a Mauro Rosales free kick down to Montero in the box, who poked it past keeper Joe Cannon for his eighth goal of the year.

It was Montero's fourth goal in his last five games, and his fourth in four career games against Vancouver. Montero has now scored six goals in 10 career substitute appearances, including five goals in five substitute appearances this season.

It was the fifth career assist for Parke, and his first since October 15, 2010. Rosales now has a team-high 10 assists in 2012.

Johnson made doubled the lead in the 87th minute with his 11th goal of the season. Osvaldo Alonso played a lofting ball near the right corner to Evans, who sent a well-placed low cross to Johnson in front of the goal for an easy tap in.

Johnson has now scored in all three Cascadia Cup matches this season. Montero and Johnson also each scored in a 2-2 draw at Vancouver on May 19.

Johnson finished with a team-high five shots (two on goal) and was dangerous throughout the match. In the 19th minute, he made a couple moves to create separation and rifled a shot from outside the box, but Cannon parried it over the crossbar. In the 38th minute, he spun to create some space and found Caskey at the top of the box but his low shot rolled just wide of the post.

In the 50th minute, Johnson chested a long free kick down to the feet of Alonso, who blasted a one-timer from 30-yards out, saved only by a diving Cannon. In the 70th minute, he got his head on a cross from Alonso, but the shot sailed above the crossbar.

Gspurning picked up his fifth shutout of 2012 and lowered his league-leading goals against average to 0.55. He anchored a defense that did not allow a shot on goal all game, and in the 6th minute the Austrian charged off the line and slid to stop a Vancouver breakaway.

With the win, Sounders FC improves to 1-1-1 in Cascadia fixtures this season. Seattle is now 2-0-2 against Vancouver all-time in MLS play, and holds a 62-46-20 advantage across all competitions since 1974. The next Cascadia Cup contest is a September 15 matchup at Portland.

Sounders FC has just one loss in their last eight MLS matches (4-1-3). Seattle will return to action next Saturday when the team travels to Carson, California, for a match against Chivas USA. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. PT at The Home Depot Center.


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