The Vancouver Whitecaps played host to their Cascadia rival on Wednesday evening, looking to move up into a tie for 3rd place in the compact Western Conference. The Caps had a good opportunity to achieve that goal, having an extra day of rest, and Seattle not starting central defender Roman Torres, midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, or forward Clint Dempsey; and Joevin Jones leaving to Trinidad and Tobago early.
Despite starting their best XI currently available, the Whitecaps came out very flat and were looking the poorer team throughout the first half. Seattle opened the scoring in the 19th minute, thanks to a converted penalty kick from Nicolas Lodeiro. Seattle received the pk, after Sheanon Williams went to ground and tumbled into Victor Rodriguez.
As disappointing as it was, it was clearly the correct call. The biggest takeaway from the first half was Ricardo Salazar being a little bit yellow card happy, although all legitimate in my mind, issuing four (two to each team).
The Whitecaps started the second half just as flat as they were in the first half. As a result, Carl Robinson was quick to make changes, double substituting Bernie Ibini and Alphonso Davies in for Andrew Jacobson and Cristian Techera in the 56th minute. The substitutions had a positive impact on the match, as the Whitecaps looked a lot more dangerous, controlling more of the possession and looking for opportunities. However, that positive play appeared to be short-lived as Tony Tchani received his second yellow card, for a tackle on Roldan. Like the penalty kick call, there was little argument from Whitecaps players about Tchani’s sending off.
While hindsight is 20/20, Tchani’s sending off leads me to question why Robinson would not substitute Tchani instead of Jacobson, given how many yellows Salazar had already given out in the match. With no defensive midfielders now on the field, Carl Robinson was forced to substitute in Russell Teibert -the only way it seems Teibert gets to see action these days.
All seemed loss after Tchani picked up his second yellow card…and yet, it wasn’t. Davies, not quitting on a ball, fought off Chad Marshall and placed a lovely ball to Fredy Montero, who had peeled off his mark, to sit at the top of the 6, and slotted it home in the 64th minute. It was Fonzie’s first MLS assist, and once again Montero was the Sounders killer for the Caps.
The Whitecaps had an opportunity to go ahead in the 81st minute, with Fonzie having the opportunity to open his MLS account. However, he shanked the shot, firing it into Ibini instead of the net.
In the end, the Whitecaps settled for a 1-1 draw, which was probably better than they deserved based on the way they played. While the Whitecaps need to use their home matches to get some points, they will have to be, relatively, happy about the draw, after going down to 10 and Seattle being the better squad most of the match.
For me, the Man of the Match was David Ousted, who had to make several spectacular saves to secure the 1-1 draw. Who was your man of the match?
The Caps failed to make up any ground in the Western Conference standings, remaining in 6th place. They now make their longest trip of the season, down to Orlando for a match against Cyle Larin Saturday afternoon. Expect to see several veterans remain home and a lot of changes to the lineup.