SEATTLE — Nicolas Lodeiro was spot on again from the penalty spot — and the Seattle Sounders once again got a result to show for it.
Lodeiro opened the scoring on a penalty kick and added another first-half goal in Seattle’s 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.
The Sounders (5-9-5) extended their season-high unbeaten streak to four games (2-0-2). Vancouver (7-9-5) lost for the fourth time in the last five games.
Newly signed Peruvian striker Raul Ruidiaz, who scored 40 goals in two seasons for Morelia in Liga MX, made his Sounders debut, subbing on in the 61st minute. He was in uniform for last week’s game at Atlanta, but did not play.
Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted the penalty kick, this one after defender Doneil Henry was called for hand ball in the box. After putting one in straight down the middle in last week’s 1-1 tie at MLS-leading Atlanta, Lodeiro drilled this one into the back left corner past Whitecaps goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.
“I need to change (directions) because I think the keepers know me. So sometimes, I shoot different,” Lodeiro said.
In the 31st minute, Lodeiro made it 2-0 on a curling 25-yard shot from the left of the arc. Marinovic barely got his outstretched left hand on it, but could only knock the ball down before it took two bounces on its way past the goal line. Lodeiro has four goals for the season.
“When I shot it, I think the ball was going in the goal, but not like that,” Lodeiro said. “Sometimes, I need luck, too.”
Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer, whose team is still trying to climb back into contention for a 10th consecutive playoff berth, didn’t downplay luck. But he said that wasn’t the only factor in Saturday’s outcome.
“You also make your own luck,” Schmetzer said. “The guys went out there today and performed at a high level. Vancouver is desperate for points. They rested a lot of guys in their midweek game, so they were prepared for this match.
“As far as Nico’s shot is concerned, his ball was moving — I wouldn’t say that’s luck. That’s a guy who was hitting the ball and was able to move it twice, and it caught Marinovic by surprise.”
The Whitecaps thought they were going to have a chance to get on the board during first-half stoppage time when Sounders defender Chad Marshall was whistled for a hand ball in the box. But after a video review, referee Chris Penso waved off his call.
“The brutal assessment is we’re too soft,” said Vancouver coach Carl Robinson, whose team has been outscored 9-1 in its last three road games. “We give away too many soft goals. Two mistakes today in the first 20 minutes against a good team — you’re not going to win games of football like that, so it’s disappointing. We’re not good enough to just turn it on and off when we want to, and you’ve seen that this week by the goals we’ve conceded on top of the box.”
Vancouver played a man down after midfielder Efrain Juarez was ejected in the 77th minute. He was issued a yellow for a hard tackle, then moments later a straight red for contact with the referee.
“I don’t know exactly what happened there,” Robinson said. “Efrain comes from Mexican football. The referees are a little bit different and things like that, but we don’t condone that.”
Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei earned his third shutout of the year, and for the first time this season got the win to go along with it. His first two clean sheets were 0-0 ties against Columbus and New England.