Another home game, another two goals scored, another two goals conceded, and some more crucial points dropped.
Heading in to Vancouver’s three game home stand, the minimum we were expecting, and needing, was seven points. Nine though was naturally not just preferable, but very attainable.
I’d have taken the draw against a high-flying and low conceding Colorado Rapids. We got that. Real Salt Lake should be three, no question of that. We got that. The same against Orlando City, and even more so when it was discovered they’d be travelling north minus seven first team regulars.
That didn’t pan out though, and the Whitecaps dropped what could prove to be two crucial points, taking just five from a possible nine in the last eight days. It could very easily have been a case of Vancouver coming away from the Orlando game with nothing.
There was lethargy, there were more defensive errors, there were so many giveaways and so many missed opportunities. Carl Robinson summed it up perfectly after the match when he said: “Our passes went astray, we missed tackles, we defended poorly at time. We made mistakes in key areas of the field at key moments, conceded goals. It was just one of those days. Missed chances.”
When Orlando took a surprise lead from Julio Baptista in the 14th minute, after some poor goalkeeping from David Ousted, I had no real concerns. Looking at the line-ups Vancouver certainly had what was needed to overturn that, and they did, with headers from Nicolas Mezquida and Masato Kudo given the ‘Caps a 2-1 half time lead.
But Cyle Larin soon levelled things up five minutes into the second half and Baptista missing a penalty on the hour mark was a huge let off for Vancouver.
No more goals but plenty of chances for both sides to grab all three points in what was an entertaining, end to end game. If you were a neutral, it would have been amazing to watch. We’re not though, and it just left us feeling more concerned.
AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was there to capture all the action before, during and after the game and here’s his “Story In Pictures”, with a full Flickr slideshow at the end.[Also check out Tom’s website www.residualimagephotography.com for more of his photos and work].
Vancouver Whitecaps starting XI
Nicolas Mezquida comes within inches of getting onto a cross in the opening minutes
Getting clattered for his efforts
But after a lively start from both teams, David Ousted lets a Julio Baptista shot squirm through his legs and into the net in the 14th minute
The opener for Orlando and one David Ousted will wish he could get back
And there’s nearly worse to follow as a 24th minute scramble in the box causes problems
But with ten minutes of the ball remaining Nicolas Mezquida heads home the equaliser
Then two minutes before half time a free kick is floated in towards Masato Kudo at the back post
And the Japanese striker heads home the go ahead goal for Vancouver
It’s great to see Kudo back scoring and smiling for the ‘Caps after his horror injury
But there’s still time for Orlando to test David Ousted before the break
Five minutes into the second half, however, Cyle Larin outjumps Jordan Harvey for a ball to the back post
And the Canadian heads home the equaliser, as Vancouver’s players are left with that all too familiar look this season
Nicolas Mezquida just fails to get on the end of a Christian Bolanos ball across goal in the 53rd minute
Which nearly proved costly as Jordan Smith gives away a 60th minute penalty. Thankfully for Vancouver, Julio Baptista blasts well over
Vancouver are poked to life, go right up the pitch and Masato Kudo gets on the end of a cross to power a head goalbound
But Joe Bendik pulls out a great stop in the Orlando goal
Then in the 62nd minute Kendall Waston has a penalty shout of his own, but it’s not given as he goes crashing down in the box from an apparent tug back
Kendall can’t believe it
But Bendik lets his feelings be known too
Nicolas Mezquida has another chance in the 69th minute as he races in on goal, but Joe Bendik is out quick for the stop
Which is quickly followed by a chance for Kendall Waston
The MLS debut of 15-year-old Alphonso Davies, who provided a bright spark in the closing 13 minutes
But Orlando nearly snatch a late winner from a good chance
And can’t believe they didn’t, as the game ends 2-2
Alphonso Davies in his first MLS post match signing session. Already a pro!
You can see all of Tom’s photos from the game HERE and in our full Flickr slideshow below: