(Photo Credit: FC Dallas)
Frisco, Texas has never been that much of a happy hunting ground for Vancouver Whitecaps. The ‘Caps have won only once in their 10 meetings there and taken five points in total. Heading into a bottom of the table battle on Sunday night, it was important that the Whitecaps got something, anything, from this match to stop being cut adrift at the foot of the Western Conference standings.
By the end of the 98 minutes played, the Whitecaps left Texas with a point, but it was a 2-2 draw that felt like a loss after giving up their fourth stoppage time goal in four matches, throwing away a half time lead that had seen Lucas Cavallini cancel out Ricardo Pepi’s opener and Andy Rose sending the ‘Caps into the break ahead.
Under the cosh from intense second half pressure from the home side, it looked liked Vancouver were going to hang on for the win, before their stoppage time curse struck again and substitute Ranko Veselinovic headed into his own net for a share of the spoils.
Marc Dos Santos made one change for this one, with Javain Brown coming back in at right back, with Janio Bikel moving back into the midfield, and Michael Baldisimo dropping out with an injury.
All of Dallas’ ten points this season had come at home. The Texans were looking to build on their unbeaten record early, with Bryan Acosta forcing a low save out of Max Crepeau seven minutes in.
Crepeau was called into action again in the 12th minute, pulling of a huge double close range save from Pepi, as the Texans started to turn the screw.
It took ten more minutes for them to get the breakthrough and it was that young man Pepi who did the damage, running inbetween the two Whitecaps centre backs to powerfully head home a Jesus Ferreira cross. Crepeau got a hand to it, and perhaps could have got a stronger one on it, but it was 1-0 Dallas.
Jesús ➡️ Pepi = Thing of Beauty pic.twitter.com/2QkXHoadZj
— FC Dallas (@FCDallas) July 5, 2021
You feared the worse, but from nowhere, the Whitecaps pulled themselves back level on the half hour mark.
Cristian Dajome broke up the right, sending a low ball into the box that Dallas defender Bressan failed to control and clear. The ball broke to Cavallini, who took a nice sideways touch to make room and fire home past Jimmy Maurer to level things up and score Vancouver’s first, first half goal of the season.
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) July 5, 2021
Cavallini had a chance to fire the Whitecaps into the lead five minutes later, shooting over from a quick Vancouver breakaway, as the game swung back into the balance.
That looked to be all the first half action as the game’s one minute of stoppage time came and nearly went, but then again from nowhere, and again from a Dallas defensive error, the Whitecaps found themselves in a shock lead.
Justin Che got onto a long Whitecaps ball forward and headed the ball out for a corner, and close to being into his own net. Deiber Caicedo whipped in a dangerous corner from the right and it was met superbly by Rose who headed it off the ground and high into the net.
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) July 5, 2021
So the second first half goal of the season and the Whitecaps first, first half lead!
And it was a lead that clearly stung the home side into action, as they laid siege to the Whitecaps goal at the start of the second half.
After a couple of half chances were either missed or blocked, Crepeau was called into action to pull of an acrobatic save from a Ryan Hollingshead header in the 53rd minute. Four minutes later and Crepeau was called into action again to deny Acosta.
The Whitecaps were having trouble getting out of their half and creating anything, but they were also dealing with everything that Dallas were throwing at them, which was a pattern that continued for the rest of the half.
The game entered into stoppage time with Dallas still trying to launch attacks and Vancouver’s players looking drained in the Texas heat. Dos Santos tried to shore up the backline with a couple of defensive substitutions three minutes into stoppage time, but it backfired almost instantly when some miss communication in the centre of the ‘Caps box saw the newly introduced Ranko Veselinovic headed into his own net past the diving, and despairing, Crepeau.
appreciate the help 🤝 pic.twitter.com/yAvrpZs7TA
— FC Dallas (@FCDallas) July 5, 2021
Dallas had another couple of looks to win the game in the dying minutes, but couldn’t find a winner, and while Vancouver will breathe a sigh of relief at not giving up another stoppage time winner, the one goal they did give up will certainly have them leaving Texas with the feeling of two points thrown away, and what could prove to be a couple of crucial points at that.
Questions have to be asked not only about the continuing late lapses and the causes behind them, but also of the fact that the ‘Caps showed very little interest in trying to secure a third goal that would have killed the tie off. That latter point concerns me more in some ways than the giving up of goals. The best form of defence is to attack, but despite MDS wanting this from his players, they seem incapable of getting out of these situations.
That said, teams will be licking their chops if they’re tied or behind against the ‘Caps and heading into stoppage time. They’ll sense blood and the ‘Caps will be “shitting their pants”, to use a MDS expression from a few weeks ago.
Getting a point out of both Seattle and Dallas would have seemed unlikely a few weeks back. You’d have taken that going into both matches, but the performance in Seattle and the lead in Dallas see you come away disappointed at the points left on the table.
And these could be very important points come the end of the season. The Whitecaps may be unbeaten in two, but they’re winless in seven, rooted at the foot of the standings, and six points back of the playoff places. There’s a long road ahead and RSL are up next – the team that started all this stoppage time trouble.
FINAL SCORE: FC Dallas 2 – 2 Vancouver Whitecaps
DALLAS: Jimmy Maurer; Justin Che, Bressan, Nkosi Tafari, John Nelson (Paxton Pomykal 63); Facundo Quignon (Franco Jara 75), Bryan Acosta, Jader Obrian (Dante Sealy 63), Jesus Ferreira (Andres Ricaurte 81), Ryan Hollingshead; Ricardo Pepi [Subs Not Used: Phelipe, Edwin Cerrillo, Kalil El Medkhar, Brandon Servania, Ema Twumasi,]
VANCOUVER: Maxime Crepeau; Javain Brown (Jake Nerwinski 90+3), Erik Godoy, Andy Rose, Cristian Gutierrez; Janio Bikel, Cristian Dajome (Ryan Raposo 71), Caio Alexandre (Patrick Metcalfe 83), Russell Teibert, Deiber Caicedo (Ranko Veselinovic 90+3); Lucas Cavallini (Brian White 83) [Subs Not Used: Thomas Hasal, Evan Newton, Leo Owuso, Theo Bair]
Possession: DAL 57.3 – VAN 42.7
Shots: DAL 17 – VAN 5
Shots on Goal: DAL 8 – VAN 2
Saves: DAL 0 – VAN 7
Fouls: DAL 11 – VAN 11
Offsides: DAL 0 – VAN 1
Corners: DAL 7 – VAN 5
MARC DOS SANTOS
On the game:
“The first 25, 20 minutes, that was difficult for us. I think after the 25th minute mark in the first half we started to grow a lot, our possession helped us control more the tempo of the game. We pushed, we tied, we turn it to 2-1. At halftime one of the things we spoke about was our midfield was staying a little bit too deep, so a lot of spaces. There was the spacing between Cava and the three midfielders where some of their players like Acosta came in those pockets and were able to switch the play too much. So we were backing off too much. I think we had a very difficult second half. We were a lot under pressure, it was hard for us.”
On the stoppage time goal:
“It’s very hard to explain. I think it’s us having the ability just to make the plays. It was a very unlucky ball. Lucky goal that we dealt with and it’s just frustrating that the opponent doesn’t have to work [for] the goal that gives them the 2-2. It’s just the ball that is played in the box and I think Andy backs off on of on Ranko, or there’s a knock, I just saw the goal live. And then Andy is not able to get the good angle to clear it. It’s an lucky play, but then we have to be able in injury time to manage the game better. There’s this last ball that we play directly to them that leads to a counter attack and very close to make the 3-2 for them. So look, we’re a team that is able right now to deal with the 90 minutes, but is not able right now to deal with the injury time and we’re going to have to find solutions for that.”
On the late goals during recent matches:
“Really, really frustrating, especially this one. As we know there’s different types of draws. In Seattle, given the way the last 10-15 minutes went, we came out feeling like it was a positive result and this one when the referee blows the whistle it feels like a loss, even though on the surface when you sit back and reflect a little bit, a point in Seattle or point away in Dallas you feel okay about that. But just some of our bits of play and lapses in concentration that have happened a few times in the last months and could have given us enough, at least probably five more points, which could have put ourselves right in that mix.”
On the team’s fighting spirit:
“I understand exactly where we are. I don’t want to give a rallying call or anything like that, but I hope the people see that and choose to stick with us. We need to become more consistent. In these last few weeks going up against good teams away from home, I think we’ve shown a lot of really encouraging passages of play. I think we’re getting really comfortable in this 4-3-3. There’s a real identity forming. It’d be really, really nice for us to show our fans at home at BC Place. It’s something we’re excited about, we hope for. During my time in Vancouver, this is certainly the group I’ve felt most confident about moving forward.”
On the match and two halves:
“First half we knew they were coming strong. First 20, we managed it. Then there was a goal at 23rd, 24th, or something like that. We come back from it because we knew they were coming at us at first and then we need to manage that little moment. So we’re up 2-1 at halftime and then second half, there’s like 30 minutes of defending where just keep playing and keep being in those spots, the same on the first half, and not basically defend and try to get on that ball and really keep it. Like, honestly, keep that ball. That’s the problem in the second half, we just had the mindset of defending at some point for 35 minutes and we can pay the price at the end.”
On a solid performance before heading to the Gold Cup with Canada:
“I’ll be honest, I just think of the first goal. A little slip, I’m on my knees, and then the ball hits my hand but if I get on my feet there, it’s a 2-1 win tonight. Small details make the difference for me. Okay it’s my job to make saves, it’s my job to keep the team in it, but that little moment and we can be 2-1 right now and I’ll be in a better mood.”
On the second half perform…
“That loss of momentum in the end of the first half hurt the outcome of the game. There are shifts in the game which happened. I felt like we put a lot of effort and energy and intensity into the first 30 minutes or so. Like you mention, we lose momentum in the end of the first half and we concede two goals. We have to learn even though we lose momentum, we still need to defend well. Clear balls and put ourselves out of danger. I think we are not making defensive plays at a high level. Plus on top of that the loss of lines. We put ourselves in a hole going into the second half. At the end of the game we responded, it would’ve been better to score earlier in the second half. I think that would’ve shifted the momentum of the second half to win the game. Credit to Vancouver, they did well. They didn’t make it easy and put a lot of numbers between the midfields and the backs to condense the box. We had to do longer range crosses which I thought were dangerous. Maxime Crépeau had some good saves that kept them in the game. But credit to our boys who showed a response and got the tying goal at the end. I believed we had a few more minutes and we could’ve gotten a winner. Even after a tying goal, I was overall disappointed. It’s another draw at home which we want more for our fans. We got to pick ourselves up quickly and grab the response in the second half. We have to do something different in a way. This season our goal is if we do something different away we want to send a message away. We haven’t done that yet, we’re picking up points at home but it’s not up to our standards. We have our backs against the wall and it’s now or never to do it against the LA Galaxy. In a short amount of time we have to regroup.
On the fans…
I want to give a big thank you to our fans. That was amazing, the support today. We haven’t felt that in two and a half years. I heard everybody in that stadium cheering and singing those songs, staying positive, believing in the guys to tie the game and to try and win it. That really makes a big difference in our spirit and energy so I want to send a thank you to the fans. It means a lot and we want to do everything on the field for them. I’m sad we couldn’t show more today, but those are the environments that we savor and I know the players really want to perform more with those types of energies and positivities and spirits. So thank you fans, we are looking forward to the next game.
Thoughts on his goal…
First of all, I saw the space and I felt like Vancouver left a lot of space in behind the line and I knew Jesus was looking for me so I just made that run and he delivered that perfect ball and I just headed it in.
General thoughts after tonight and heading into three road games…
It’s a bittersweet feeling. I felt like we could have won the game. We had total control of the game except for the 15 minutes that they scored the two goals. I feel like, personally, we’re not happy with the result but we can keep working hard and keep running back and hopefully we get some points.
What needs to change when the team is on the road…
I feel like away, we always start a little timid. If we play the way we play here at home we can get some points away so I think that’s important. Just having the confidence in ourselves, the whole team working hard I think we can pull something out.
On the instructions he received from Luchi Gonzalez before entering the match…
“We both came in on the wing and the instructions were to stretch the team out. When we get the ball, be vertical, be a threat and make an impact on the game, work hard and put service into the box. We felt like we needed to do that more and our second goal came from it. So those were some of the things we were talking about.”
On what the team needs to do with three road games coming up…
“We know that our next three games are on the road, it’s not secret that we haven’t been great on the road in the past, especially recently. So, that’s something we’re really focusing on and we need to go get points since we’ve dropped some at home. Getting a point back tonight is a bittersweet feeling. Starting the second half down, we felt like if we’d had five more minutes we could’ve pushed for a third goal, the momentum was in our favor. But we need to play that same way on the road, go out there, don’t be timid and play our style. We know we haven’t played the best on the road but that’s going to turn around and I think we’re going to show in the next three games what we can do on the road.”