With a humbling 3-1 defeat to Chivas USA fresh in their minds, expectations were high for the Vancouver Whitecaps to come out of the gate swinging against their Canadian rival Toronto FC. While it looked like the Whitecaps might just pull this one out thanks to a second half Darren Mattocks goal, foul trouble cost the club for the second straight match, sending the club to a disappointing 1-1 draw.
With his team playing on just a three-day break and scheduled to play on the weekend as well, Carl Robinson felt comfortable making a few changes to his starting 11. The goat of the Chivas USA match, Jordan Harvey, was suspended and therefore replaced by the young Sam Adekugbe. Steve Beitashour, Carlyle Mitchell and Johnny Leveron took their normal spots on the backline. Up top, Darren Mattocks and Erik Hurtado paired as strikers, while a diamond midfield was comprised of Russell Teibert, Pedro Morales, Matias Laba and Nigel Reo-Coker, apparently back from soccer purgatory.
The first 45 saw both sides exchange chances, and you could argue TFC had the edge in play. However, David Ousted was on his game, and made a few nice saves to keep the match level. The second half saw all the fireworks, with the Whitecaps breaking through at the 50' mark.
Darren Mattocks deflected an absolutely perfect ball from Russell Teibert, who's clearly motivated after signing that new deal. Considering road matches have never been friends of the Whitecaps, to be up 1-0 and to have all the momentum in the second half was great for the club.
Of course, it lasted all of 13 minutes, when Nigel Reo-Coker collided with TFC midfielder Jackson near the edge of the box. It was a soft call of course, however Reo-Coker should never have put himself in that position; Jackson is known to go down easy, and Reo-Coker didn't have a good angle on him at all, he needed to be more aware of his surroundings. As it stood, Jermain Defoe took the penalty kick, and the two sides were square at one. Against Chivas USA, it was a dumb foul by Jordan Harvey that set the club back, this time it was a questionable call in the box. The 'Caps found themselves back at square one, and now TFC was generating the majority of the chances.
The 'Caps got a few swings in of their own, David Ousted made some timely saves to keep everything knotted up at one, and the two sides walked off, no doubt both disappointed in the result. TFC was looking for a strong showing at home, while the Whitecaps were looking to dust themselves off and get back on track. A point on the road is never a bad result for the Whitecaps, however like most recent club results, they simply left you wanting more.
Two points were left on the table tonight, and with the L.A. Galaxy lurking just two points behind the fifth place Whitecaps, these are the types of matches that tend to come back and bite you. A good result, not a great one, and in my opinion, this club could have really used a great one.
Lineup: Ousted, Beitashour, Mitchell, Leveron, Adekugbe, Reo-Coker, Laba, Morales, Teibert, Hurtado, Mattocks