It was a classically tragic result for the Vancouver Whitecaps they drew 2-2 against Toronto F.C in the first leg of the Voyageurs Cup.
Kei Kamara had an early chance from a Marcel De Jong cross but the target man fired it over the bar. For the most part though the match started slowly as the two teams felt each other out. This was just as well as bloggers currently in the U.S were still scrambling to find a stream that would work.
In the 15th minute Stefan Marinovic made a save from a sharp angle on Jozy Altidore. Shortly after the Whitecaps answered with a dangerous attack of their own. Cristian Techera played a through ball to Yordy Reyna. Reyna couldn’t get on the end of it but the ball was cleared to an onrushing Techera who’s shot skimmed the crossbar.
In the 19th minute Michael Bradley played a dangerous ball over the top that Altidore headed just wide. The Whitecaps were fortunate as the American centre forward really should have scored.
In the 23rd minute Tosaint Ricketts handled the ball on a Whitecaps corner and referee Dave Gantar didn’t hesitate to point to the spot. Kamara stepped up and smashed it in off the right post to make it 1-0 Vancouver. But the lead was short lived as not even a minute later Auro slipped through Delgado who found Jonathon Osorio who cooly slotted home, tying the game 1-1.
in the 33rd minute the 5’2 Techera humorously felled the 6’1 Altidore. This didn’t have much impact on the game but I felt it should be immortalized in text form.
Osorio almost added to his tally in the 39th minute as he cut inside from the left but Jake Nerwinski did well to block the shot, which seemed destined for the far corner. Two minutes later the Whitecaps almost re took the lead. Alphonso Davies found himself in some space down the right and cut it back to Felipe who’s shot hit the side netting. It was not a good omen of things to come.
In first half stoppage time Felipe was shown a straight red card after he caught a TFC player in a 50/50 challenge. It was borderline but many red cards have been given in similar situations and Felipe shouldn’t have given the ref the opportunity to show the red for the sake of a 50/50 in midfield.
The teams went into the break with the score 1-1, but Toronto having the all important away goal.
To start the second half Aly Ghazal entered the game for Techera, presumably to shore up the ‘Caps shape.
In the 53rd minute Alphonso Davies slipped through Nerwinski on the right. Nerwinski squared but Yordy Reyna couldn’t make a good connection. Reyna was undeterred though as In the 65th minute he was at it again as De Jong put him into some space down the left. Unfortunately Reyna’s eventual shot was blocked by Hagglund. The Whitecaps, despite being down to 10 men seemed to be taking control of the match.
in the 70th minute TFC finally created a good chance after being up a man for so long. as Ryan Telfer put in a dangerous cross that Ricketts put wide.
In the 73rd minute Davies went on one of his trademark mazy runs, but Clint Irwin was equal to the task and made an excellent close range save.
In the 79th minute Reyna was hacked down at the edge of the box. In my view it was more of a red than Felipe’s tackle was, but Jason Hernandez was only given a yellow. The ensuing free kick was well saved by Irwin.
In the 84th minute Russel Teibert played a beautiful ball over the top and Erik “hero” Hurtado calmly slotted past Iwrin to make it 2-1 for Vancouver. It seemed as though the Whitecaps had dug deep and found it within themselves to win the game despite the odds being against them. How young and naive we were back then.
Shortly afterward Davies went down with an injury, forcing the ‘Caps to make a change. This will be something to watch as Davies will be vital if the ‘Caps want to win this competition or squeak into a playoff spot. Unfortunately for the ‘Caps this would not be their biggest problem on the night. In the dying moments of the match TFC launched one last attack. The ball was headed across goal by Altidore and Doneil Henry, a man who has been arguably Vancouver’s best defender in 2018, tragically headed the ball beyond his own goalkeeper tying the game at 2-2.
The 2-2 result, while not insurmountable, is yet another gut punch to the Whitecaps’ season. Getting a result in Toronto will be difficult, especially if the likes of Giovinco and Vasquez return to the lineup. If Davies hasn’t recovered by then it will be nearly impossible. Still though, this is sports and anything can happen. The Whitecaps will play on Saturday in Portland and the second leg will be next Wednesday in Toronto.