The Vancouver Whitecaps have started the 2017 MLS Regular Season with a whimper, not a bang. Despite boasting a beefed up attack and youthful, speedy talent, the Whitecaps couldn’t get their offense started against the Philadelphia Union, drawing with them 0-0 at BC Place. It was a painful match to watch, and a rather poor way to kick off the season for the two clubs.
David Ousted took his usual spot in net, while Carl Robinson went with an all-American back four; Sheanon Williams, Tim Parker, Christian Dean and Jordan Harvey. Dean, making his first start after missing all of last season with injury, replaced the suspended Kendall Waston, who was serving a one-match suspension for his bone-headed play against the Timbers in last seasons’ finale.
Matias Laba and Andrew Jacobson took the defensive midfield, while Cristian Techera, Kekuta Manneh, Alphonso Davies and Erik Hurtado made up the attack. New additions Brek Shea and Fredy Montero were available off the bench.
Another option off the bench was Nicolas Mezquida, a good sign as the Whitecaps deal with injuries to their midfield. Marcel De Jong, Yordy Reyna and Christian Bolanos all missed the match with injury, as did Brett Levis and David Edgar.
The Union and Whitecaps spent most of the first half trying to feel each other out. While the ‘Caps didn’t concede any grade ‘A’ scoring chances, they didn’t seem to have the same giddy-up and go they had against the Red Bulls on Thursday. When the Whitecaps did have chances it seemed to come from their bread and butter; The long pass with the speedy attacker racing underneath it. Hurtado was sprung by a long pass in the 34th minute and nearly connected with Techera on a cross, but the Union escaped unscathed. Hurtado should have been sprung on a breakaway in the 40th minute, but the pass from Matias Laba was just a little too far out of his reach.
The Whitecaps started the second half quite dull, and Carl Robinson didn’t hesitate to make some changes. In the 58th minute, he brought on Fredy Montero and Brek Shea for Kekuta Manneh and Erik Hurtado, as the Whitecaps looked to get their first shot on net in the contest. They would get it in the 65th minute, when Jordan Harvey was able to get a rocket of a shot off just inside the box, but Union defender Keegan Rosenberry was hugging the post and was able to deflect the ball way from danger.
For all of the firepower the Whitecaps had on the pitch, it certainly was a boring match offensively. In an effort to inject some creativity into the match, Robinson used his final substitution to bring in Nico Mezquida for Techera. It didn’t make a difference though, as the two sides would play to a 0-0 draw. Talk about your snooze-fests.