The Vancouver Whitecaps are still unbeaten at home, but they can't be truly happy with the outcome, a 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake. For the first 45 minutes of play, the Vancouver Whitecaps looked unbelievable. Their attack kept coming in waves, hemming Real Salt Lake into their own end, forcing them to chase their crisp passes and creative mid work. When RSL did manage to mount an attack, the 'Caps defense stood tall, giving Joe Cannon plenty of support . That would eventually fade in the second half, as the Whitecaps could not finish the match, in more ways than one.
The Whitecaps did switch up their starting 11 from last week, but some familiar faces were still missing from the lineup. Joe Cannon once again got the start, with the usual back four of Lee, Rusin, O'Brien and Rochat in front of him. Davidson, Reo-Coker and Kobayashi took their spots in mid, with the young Canadian Russell Teibert holding onto his starting spot from last week. That meant Gershon Koffie would once again ride the pine, joined by Darren Mattocks, who displaced again by Corey Hertzog. Finally, Camilo sneaked into the starting 11, taking over the reigns from Erik Hurtado. Kenny Miller wasn't available in any capacity, as he continues to struggle with his hamstring injury.
As I said before, the Whitecaps attack was a thing of beauty early on. YP Lee got the first shot of the match at 9 minutes, and the boys kept coming. At 10', Camilo found himself with the ball off a corner, getting two cracks at RSL keeper Nick Rimando. He even got a third shot off, though it sailed over top of the net. For a guy that hasn't played much this year, Camilo looked hungry.
At 19', Camilo was in the fray again. Following a yellow card to RSL defender Chris Schuler, Camilo's free kick looked destined for the top corner of the net. Rimando was equal to the task though, punching the ball away from danger.
Camilo tried again at 25', sending in a shot from well out (probably 35 yards) that Rimando was late to react to. The ball looked like it was going to go wide of the net, then took a funny hop and made Rimando dive out to stop it. He barely got a fingertip on it, sending it wide.
Five minutes later, RSL would suffer a significant blow, as Captain Kyle Beckerman would have to leave the match, after aggravating a rib injury. Despite the loss, RSL would get the next great chance, with Joao Plata finishing off a great passing sequence with a backheel past Joe Cannon. Luckily for the 'Caps, Plata was offside, negating the goal.
At 38 minutes, Russell Teibert laid a ball perfectly to Kobayashi, who had a good look and shot, but it sailed over the net. Teibert, making his first MLS start at home, looked very happy to get the opportunity.
It was fitting that the last good chance of the half went to the man who had the first one, Camilo, as he fought off three RSL defenders before his cut back shot went well wide. A lack of finish, but a true showing of guts and determination by the young Brazilian.
The second half would see the Whitecaps take their foot off the gas pedal, as pitch conditions worsened and RSL tried to mount some form of an attack. The field crew had watered the pitch at halftime like they always do, and the poor quality of the turf meant players might as well have been wearing ice skates. Seriously, you couldn't go five seconds without watching some poor sap go ass over tea kettle while trying to make a play.
At 52', Joe Cannon saw his first action in a while, coming well out of his net to play the ball away from an oncoming RSL attack.
At 55', Teibert laid in a beautiful corner that was headed out by RSL, but right to a waiting Nigel Reo-Coker, who one timed the ball out of mid-air. Nick Rimando was there, making a gigantic save to keep the match scoreless.
At 58', the collar on Martin Rennie's dress shirt must've felt a little tight, as Brad Rusin went up for a header, came down hard and stayed down on the pitch. Replays showed Rusin took the ball partially on his face, and it may have hit his eye hard. He was clearly in discomfort, but toughed it out and stayed in the match.
The 63rd minute saw the first substitution for the Whitecaps, with Darren Mattocks finally finding his way onto the pitch, taking Corey Hertzog out. He didn't play at all versus San Jose, as Rennie clearly wants more from him in terms of consistency.
Despite the injection of offence for the 'Caps, it would be RSL getting on the board first. At 66', the young Olmes Garcia would take a beautiful curling shot from just outside the box that found the far right post. Joe Cannon dove to make the save, but it was a perfectly placed strike that quieted the crowd at BC Place.
The Whitecaps would respond, although the assist has to go to the turf. As Nat Borchers tried to play the ball forward, he slipped, falling face first towards the pitch. He put his arms out to brace himself, with his left hand falling right on the ball, in the box. Hand ball, penalty shot for the Whitecaps.
Camilo took the shot and made no mistake, as Rimando guessed and dove wide right. Camilo had tied the match up for the 'Caps, but with just a few minutes remaining, RSL tried their best to score. The officials actually let extra time go longer than it should've, giving RSL time for two corner kicks. The first was dangerous, with Joe Cannon punching a ball labeled for the top of the net, out of danger. It was a match saver.
The second was nowhere near the net, and the 'Caps would escape with a single point.
They Deserved Better
Stop me if you've heard this one before; the 'Caps lacked finish. They had a slew of chances in the first half, and easily could've been up by 2 goals. Instead, they had to claw back just to achieve a draw. I liked the 'Caps game tonight, but there are so many talented people on this squad; so why is there a general difficulty with putting the ball in the net?
Russell Teibert usurped Gershon Koffie's spot for the last two matches, and has looked brilliant in doing so. His service tonight was arguably the best on the team. The potential is definitely there, and he looks like he will be a big part of this clubs future.