A late goal by Carlyle Mitchell wasn't enough for Vancouver Whitecaps FC to avoid their second straight 2-1 loss to Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday morning at the Kino Sports Complex.
Down 2-0, the Trinidadian defender brought the 'Caps to within one goal after heading in a Nicolas Mezquida corner in the 78th minute.
Vancouver nearly equalized moments later, when Uruguayan midfielder Sebastien Fernandez released Darren Mattocks into the Sounders 18-yard-box, but the Jamaican's left-footed effort trickled just wide of the post as Whitecaps FC's comeback bid fell just short.
"Winning and losing is a fine line," said head coach Carl Robinson. "You saw today that it was pretty even game. They took their two chances, we ended up scoring and missing a penalty and getting a chance in the last minute and we lose the game. It's preseason … I'm not really focused on results at the moment. I'm focused on fitness and also on combinations."
Unlike Vancouver's first two preseason matches in Casa Grande, Sunday's contest in Tucson was made up of three 30-minute periods rather than two halves. The 'Caps went with an experienced squad again on Sunday, with players like David Ousted, Jay DeMerit, and Nigel Reo-Coker making their second straight starts.
Right back Steven Beitashour also made his first start as a member of Whitecaps FC and midfielder Russell Teibert made his first appearance of the preseason. The 21-year-old Canadian, who played in a holding midfielder position alongside Reo-Coker, was lively throughout the opening 45 minutes in defending and attacking positions.
After a fairly uneventful opening 20 minutes, in which Whitecaps FC looked comfortable in possession, Seattle broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute on the strength of a Kevin Parsemain volley from the top of the box.
Teibert had Vancouver's best chance to even the match in the 38th, as he took to the penalty spot after Hurtado was hauled down, only to see his attempt sail over the goal. Despite the miss, the 'Caps manager said he liked what he saw from the young Canadian.
"I thought he was great," said Robinson. "He wanted the ball all the time, he was dropping deep to get on the ball, and he was spraying passes. I thought it was a very positive performance from Russell."
Andy Rose scored the eventual winner for Sounders FC in the 50th minute. In the build-up, Sean Okoli headed a Chad Barrett cross across goal to the near post, where Rose headed it in past a sprawling Marco Carducci.
The 'Caps will return to Casa Grande on Sunday, where a number of Vancouver's trialists and recent draft picks will play a scrimmage against Indy Eleven on Monday, before flying back to Vancouver on Wednesday. Their next preseason match is set for Sunday, February 16 against the University of Victoria Vikes at Centennial Stadium.