SEATTLE — Nicolas Lodeiro hadn’t found his way onto the scoresheet in more than a month.
On Wednesday night, he was all over it.
Loderio had a goal and two assists and La Liga veteran Victor Rodriguez scored his first MLS goal to help the Seattle Sounders beat the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Whitecaps 3-0.
The Sounders (12-8-11) rebounded from a 2-0 loss at Real Salt Lake on Saturday that snapped their unbeaten streak at 13 games. Since beating Minnesota on Aug. 20, they had four ties before the loss to Real Salt Lake.
“I think it was just one of those games where it clicked and it worked,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “That streak was a good streak – 13 games unbeaten is a great accomplishment. But it also kind of wore on us a little bit as we got those draws and not the results we wanted.
“This group was going to have a breakout game, and that was tonight.”
Lodeiro was quick to say why everything worked on Wednesday after the team struggled for the past month.
“We played 90 minutes with concentration – that was big for us, because the last game, we had mistakes and we lost,” Loderio said. “It was important to score first and to score early tonight so we could play more fluidly.”
Rodriguez, signed Aug. 2 after spending four of the last five seasons in Spain’s top league, put Seattle on the board in the 17th minute. He got behind two defenders, took a short pass from Lodeiro into the top of the penalty area restraining arc, and beat goalkeeper David Ousted with a shot into the back right corner. That ended a 202-minute scoring drought for the Sounders.
Loderio made it 2-0 in the 62nd minute when he broke unmarked into the box, took a pass from Joevin Jones and scored from 8 yards for his fifth of the year.
In the 69th, Loderio and Clint Dempsey worked a give-and-go for Dempsey’s team-leading 12th of the season. In a formation switch by Schmetzer, Dempsey moved up top on Wednesday night.
“It came from watching tape and trying to get our team on track a little bit,” Schmetzer said. “We had to make sure that the team bought into it. I’d started take about it a couple games ago to see if we could jump-start something. Clint was on board, Nico and Victor were on board, and this seemed a good opportunity to roll it out there.”
Stefan Frei had his career-high 11th shutout. He preserved it in the 37th minute when he made a leaping save of a Fredy Montero free kick that was on its way into the top right corner. Frei stretched to knock it off the underside of the crossbar, then pounced on the ensuing loose ball.
Vancouver (14-10-6) was unbeaten in its previous seven games.
“Whenever you play a good team – and Seattle is a good team — it comes down to fine lines,” said Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson, whose team missed a chance to clinch a playoff spot, but is still well positioned to make the post-season. “Giving pu the first goal was not a good idea. But from that moment to maybe just before they scored their second goal, we had some good periods of play.
“We weren’t able to take advantage of any chances, which were very few.”
Seattle outshot Vancouver, 20-8, and had 58 per cent of the possession.
The Whitecaps played the final minute of stoppage time with 10 men. Tony Tchani initially was given a yellow card for violent conduct. But after a video review, referee Robert Sibiga came back across the field and showed him a red card.