It looked like late match heroics would give Vancouver Whitecaps a victory but an even later goal from Toronto FC snatched two points from the home side’s grasp in a 1-1 draw at BC Place on Friday night.
A stale game was looking set for a stalemate before Fredy Montero opened the scoring from the penalty spot with six minutes remaining, but Nick DeLeon scored a deflected goal through a crowd of players in the final minute of the 90 to earn TFC a point.
The first half was uneventful, with both sets of players unable to create any danger in the opposition final third.
The first chance for either side came 34 minutes in when Terrance Boyd made a solo run from left side but his shot barely troubled Max Crepeau.
Vancouver’s first opportunity on goal came after 40 minutes when Eric Godoy chipped on a ball over TFC’s backline into the path of a streaking Russell Teibert, whose shot missed the mark by a few feet.
It was such a quiet first half the biggest highlight was when Crepeau, with some fancy footwork, made TFC’s Alejandro Pozuelo fall over.
The opening 23 minutes of the second half continues in a very similar vein to the first with both teams unable to break the other for clear chances.
Crepeau was tested from distance in the 69th minute, diving to deny a rocket from distance Marky Delgado.
Less than a minute later, after a charge up the field by a returning from injury Yordy Reyna, Montero’s attempt from outside the box failed to dip enough to get under the bar, landing on the roof of the net.
Then it was Crepeau’s turn to make a couple of stops a minute apart, one off of Jozy Altidore and then one from TFC’s other DP Pozuelo.
The action finally turned in the 83rd minute when Yordy Reyna, who had been buzzing around since coming on as a sub, made an individual run and was taken down in the box by Drew Moor.
A clear penalty and arguably what should have been a second yellow card for the Toronto defender.
Montero stepped up and converted the penalty, earning the ‘Caps their first shot on target for the night and a 1-0 lead late in the game.
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) June 1, 2019
At this point the ‘Caps just needed to see the final minutes through, but it wasn’t to be and TFC grabbed a deserved equaliser in the 90th minute.
DeLeon scored from outside the box with a low shot that took a deflection along the way, with Altidore screening Crepeau at the near post to allow the ball to somehow end up in the back of the net.
There would very little danger in injury time as both Canadian clubs shared the points sending the 21,083 supporters at BC Place home with disappointment.
What hurts the ‘Caps even more Is that they won’t be playing for another three weeks as they go into the Gold Cup break, so they have a lot of time to stew over this one.
Even when they do return Dos Santos will be missing a number of starters, including their MVP so far this season in Max Crepeau, forcing a makeshift team for at least two and up to four matches.
Once again the keeper held his own and made a number of key saves to give his teammates a chance to take the lead, and was the ‘Caps Man of the Match.
The Whitecaps return to the pitch when Vancouver hosts Colorado Rapids on June 22 at BC Place.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – 1 Toronto FC
VANCOUVER: Maxime Crépeau; Érik Godoy, Andy Rose, Derek Cornelius; Scott Sutter, Inbeom Hwang (Victor “PC” Giro 90+1), Jon Erice, Russell Teibert (Felipe Martins 70), Ali Adnan; Lucas Venuto (Yordy Reyna 62), Fredy Montero [Substitutes not used: Zac MacMath, Brendan McDonough, Brett Levis, Theo Bair]
TORONTO: Quentin Westberg; Laurent Ciman, Drew Moor , Chris Mavinga (Eriq Zavaleta 32); Richie Laryea (Nick DeLeon 50), Liam Fraser, Marco Delgado, Alejandro Pozuelo, Justin Morrow; Terrence Boyd (Jordan Hamilton 76), Jozy Altidore [Substitutes not used: Alex Bono, Ashtone Morgan, Jay Chapman, Griffin Dorsey]
MARC DOS SANTOS
On struggling to create chances:
“I’m not sure. I have to re-watch the game. Looking at it and thinking about it quickly, I think that once we got in possession in their half, especially in the first half it was sloppy, bad decision making on the ball, missed passes. It wasn’t good. In my opinion I think it’s probably our worst first half this year. That made it obvious that it was difficult for us then to create chances.”
On the summer transfer window opening:
“We’re working hard on that. But July 7 is not like Christmas, it’s not [like] we open presents because it’s July 7. It could be July 8, it could be July 9, that’s how a transfer window works. July 7 opens, I guarantee you that at this moment we’re trying things, and we’re trying to bring players to help. Not because we doubt the group we have, because we trust 100 per cent. The run they’ve made is fantastic this month. Because it’s easy at home, behind the screen, having a drink and say ‘hey he has to press, he has to run’, but the run of these guys this month. Seven games in 25 days, 17 points in our last 11 games, there’s a lot of positive, but not it’s obvious that you need to reinforce what’s here already. July is another run like we had in May, both July and August with the Canadian Championship. So it’s obvious that we’ll need help, and we’re working very hard on that. Not I just told you that of July 7 because it could be before, it could be after. We’re working around those dates, for sure, that we’re in.”
On getting more players forward in the final 30 minutes – whether it was Toronto giving more space, or more intent:
“It was a little bit of both. The game stretched. Yordy [Reyna] came on the game very, very well. He brought a lot. He continued in the run that he had before his injury. That opened a little bit more the game. But after that, again decision making. We could have been better in their half. That’s unfortunate, but we’re playing a team that wants a win, wants the result, give everything they had, put a lost of crosses in the box. That’s something that we were comfortable with defending. But at the end of the day even if we scored and we conceded late, we have to admit that the tie is fair. It’s a fair result for both teams. If we don’t admit that then we’re delusional and we don’t progress as a team. I think at the end of the night the tie was fair. Again, these guys have been in an incredible run, very difficult with the travel. We just felt that tonight there was a little bit of a lack of energy, a little bit of where the mind is tired and we’re not sharp enough. It looked a little bit like an accumulation of all the month in us, and these guys deserve the break.”
On honouring the 1979 team:
“On my side, what was done here 40 years ago and what happened in the city 40 years ago is definitely something that was huge. I was only able to watch videos of it on YouTube, but I’m impressed of it – well imagine if Vancouver would win an MLS Cup. It was incredible to see that. Very, very motivating. [I was] honoured to be on the field with Tony Waiters in that moment as a coach. It was special, it was a special night. Unfortunately we couldn’t give them the win.”
On tonight’s performance:
“It wasn’t our best performance tonight. I can’t speak for their team, I don’t care about them, I care about us. I think we didn’t bring our best game tonight but it’s deceiving to end up with only one point at the end of tonight.”
On the equalizer:
“We’re solid defending crosses. I don’t’ have words for this play where the ball’s on DeLeon’s foot coming in, Ali’s doing his job trying to block the cross, then it’s going past me and kissing the post, really close. It’s difficult to end the game like that, it’s heartbreaking.”
On outlook moving forward:
“Definitely, we needed a win to be higher the line. Overall, if we look at the last few games, it’s been difficult opponents, and tonight it would’ve been great if we ended up with points. But overall, I guess right now it’s time to regroup, easy, rest up, and be prepared for the second half of the season because we’re almost there.”
On Jozy Altidore on the equalizer:
“I know he’s watching the ball. Some people ask me if he’s off, I have no idea. I didn’t look at the replay. You guys tell me if he’s off or not. I was watching the ball.”
On the equalizer:
“I thought it was fair on the night. It took me from an emotion where I was very angry, to, I guess, I’ve calmed down a little bit. I’m proud of the guys because we tried to push the game, tried to find ways into the box, around the goal, trying to find ways to score a goal. They got a lot of numbers in front of their goal. They do a great job protecting their goal. We were finding a hard time trying to find a way to break it open.”
On fighting until the end:
“We were the architect of our own demise on the goal, giving up the ball at a bad spot. A very fast player on transition puts us in a tough situation. The guys stuck with it. It’s something we’ve been talking about this week. They fight until the end with some urgency and some quality on some of the actions to create chances in the end. When you push the game like that, hopefully at some point, something gives. I’m not sure we had a PK earlier, that was a possibility, but when you push the game and put the opposition in difficult situations, sometimes good thinks happen for you.”
On opposing teams’ tactics against TFC:
“We’ve played a lot of teams who have been quick to get a lot of numbers back in between the ball and the goal. We’ve been in a lot of games where we’ve been forced to have to break teams down and create chances and finish chances. Not a lot of space and a lot of numbers between the ball and the goal. It takes a little more quality, it takes a little more precision. We’ve got to be able to hurt teams from wide positions. We’ve got to hurt teams from distance. If we can do that, they might have to open up. This game would’ve done well having a goal if we scored earlier, that would’ve changed the complexion of the game. That’s football, teams choose their tactics, and they choose the way they think they can win. Right now, a fair amount of teams are choosing to get numbers between the ball and the goal against us, forcing us to have to break them down and try to get us in transition. We got to stick with it, and I do believe that the goal tide is going to come.”
On tonight’s result:
“To be honest, I think we deserved it. For most of the game, we controlled most of the play. Fair play to them, they punished us that one time we lost the ball in a difficult spot but I think we deserved three points but we’ll take one. We’ve been in a rut and it’s a positive result at the moment.”
On taking more risks:
“Oddly enough, the goal comes off a giveaway but I think we took better care of the ball aside from that. We have to be more dangerous. We have to take more risk in the final third. I think we’re too comfortable with getting it, playing the safe pass, and that comes with repetition. We haven’t had our full team out there all the time, we’ve had injuries, but we have to be proud of this result. It’s a tough place to play, and we’ve been in a rut so to have a positive result, we’ll take it from there and look forward to next week.”
On playing understrength:
“We’ve had some big trips, we came off a tough month, we finally have some guys healthy and we lose two key guys in Michael and Jonathan Osorio. We’re still understrength, but to get a positive result, I think everybody’s pleased with it.”
On playing for each other:
“I think the goals are going to come. We can do with a little bit more quality at times but you can’t fault the boys for effort. Greg has done a great job preparing everybody. Tonight was a group playing for each other, for our coach because he enables us to do what we do. We need him, we rely on him, and we look forward to next week.”
On his performance:
“I thought I did well. Disappointed from a team aspect not to come away with the three points, because I thought we deserved them. For myself I was building on the last performance against San Jose. My teammates really helped me with that. But again we’re not satisfied with a draw, we wanted to take those three points. We’re going to head back to Toronto, we have a game against Kansas [City] on Friday and we’re going to push for that win.”
On being surprised at the Whitecaps defending deep:
“I think that might have been the gameplan in the first half, because they seemed very reluctant to want to press us. I think in the second half they decided to start stepping up a bit more because they thought we were too comfortable on the ball. We all feel that’s a goal on the penalty that we shouldn’t give up. We lost the ball in their final third and for us to make that track back almost the full length of the pitch and give away a PK is something that we’re not anticipating at all. That’s why it kind of caught us off guard. But that’s something we’re going to take back to the training ground to work on as we head back to Toronto this week.”