Vancouver Whitecaps got their first point of the new MLS season on the board in a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas at BC Place on Saturday afternoon, but it was another game where the ‘Caps will feel that they should have got more out of the match.
After falling behind to an early Sebastian Ibeagha header, the Whitecaps fought back and got level after a Paul Arriola own goal, but neither side did much in the last hour to take the full three points and that will certainly disappoint Vancouver more than Dallas.
The hope was the Whitecaps would be buoyed by their midweek Champions League win but it felt more like a hangover as the visitors got off to a super fast start.
Taking the game to Vancouver, Dallas kept possession, moved the ball around well, and opened the scoring just five minutes in.
Once again it came from a free header, with Nkosi Tafari whipping the ball in from the left, over Tristan Blackmon, for a free header for Ibeagha to give Dallas the lead and grab him his first MLS career goal.
THE DRIP OR DROWN COMBO 🤯
Nkosi with the perfect pass, and Ibeagha with the perfect finish for his first career MLS goal. pic.twitter.com/LPDhI1terZ
— FC Dallas (@FCDallas) March 11, 2023
It was another goal given up that the Whitecaps will want back defensively and they allowed the visitors more space moments later when the ball came through to a wide open Arriola, who forced a save out of Yohei Takaoka.
The Whitecaps finally settled and started to take over the game.
Brian White had a couple of chances to tie things up, one hitting the side netting and the other bringing a good save out of Maarten Paes.
Dallas were still a danger and Ibeagha was again allowed to rise unchallenged, this time meeting an Arriola corner but crashing his header off the bar.
A huge escape for the Whitecaps but they took full advantage of it, going up the pitch and grabbing the equaliser in the 34th minute.
Javain Brown sent a long throw in from the right. It was flicked on superbly by Ranko Veselinovic into the six yard box, only for Arriola to turn it into his own net under pressure from Ryan Gauld
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) March 12, 2023
The ‘Caps nearly went into the break with the lead, but Paes denied them again with a spectacular acrobatic save off a diving White header.
The Whitecaps continued on the front foot to start the second half, but without carving out any clear cut goalscoring opportunities.
Dallas weren’t offering up much either in a fairly disappointing second half, but they came close in the 78th minute when the ball came to an unmarked Marco Farfan at the edge of the box and his first time volley flew narrowly over.
As the game headed into stoppage time both teams had a chance to secure the dramatic ending.
Andres Cubas had to make a huge tackle to deny Jesus Ferreira, as the Dallas player was all set to pull the trigger in the box. The visitors kept the pressure on from the corner with Alan Velasco flashing a low effort inches past the left post.
There was still time for the Whitecaps to go up and nearly nick it in the dying seconds as the ball was played into a stretching Sergio Cordova at the back post, but he just couldn’t connect with it and both teams had to settle for a point.
On the one hand it was good for the ‘Caps to finally get their MLS campaign off and running with a point against a tough opponent, but on the other, they dominated for the majority of the match but found a Dallas defence that was tough to break down. They should have at least five points from their first three matches, instead they have just one and have already dropped five points at home. For a team that is not good on the road and have two big away league matches coming up, that is a major concern.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – 1 FC Dallas
Possession: VAN 43.5% – DAL 56.5%
Shots: VAN 11 – DAL 11
Shots on Goal: VAN 4 – DAL 2
Saves: VAN 1 – DAL 4
Fouls: VAN 14 – DAL 7
Offsides: VAN 0 – DAL 2
Corners: VAN 7 – DAL 6
VANCOUVER: Yohei Takaoka; Javain Brown, Ranko Veselinović, Tristan Blackmon, Ryan Raposo (Ali Ahmed 83); Julian Gressel (Mathías Laborda 82), Andrés Cubas, Alessandro Schöpf (Sebastian Berhalter 78); Cristian Dájome (Sergio Córdova 46), Ryan Gauld; Brian White (Pedro Vite 70’)
[Substitutes not used: Thomas Hasal, Karifa Yao, J.C. Ngando, Russell Teibert]
DALLAS: Maarten Paes; Emmanuel Twumasi (Geovane Jesus 77), Sebastien Ibeagha, Nkosi Tafari, Marco Farfan (Sam Junqua 89); Sebastian Lletget (José Martínez 60), Edwin Cerrillo, Paxton Pomykal; Paul Arriola (Jáder Obrian 60), Jesús Ferreira, Alan Velasco [Substitutes not used: Jimmy Maurer, Tsiki Ntsabeleng, José Mulato, Nolan Norris, Bernard Kamungo]
On the match:
“I think we should be pissed, we should be frustrated, we should be angry. Because if we say ok we made a point, we have the wrong mentality, because we should have won. We were the best team for 75 minutes, for me it’s from minute 15 until minute 93. We played well, so there’s a lot of positives to look at. The general feeling should be that we should have five points at the moment and we have only one. That’s the luck, and something else. We are doing well, and we will score goals. We will have chances, we need the luck and the management of some people in the game to be better.”
On Brian White’s play:
“The quality of the runs, the commitment, the pressure, and today actually was also there in that moment. Like the first chance we created, he went, he won, and then he shot at goal. The second one is in between two big centre backs and he attacks the space perfectly. He scored a goal Wednesday. I think the real Brian is now here, and we are happy to have him. Let’s keep playing like this, because we will win soon, and a lot of games.”
On the result:
“Obviously we wanted three points. It’s the game of football, we just have to build on this and put away our chances away, also stay clean at the back. We can’t give them those opportunities to score early in the game like that, you know, but it’s the result that we could build on. We just have to trust each other. We’re a great team and our locker room is hanging tight and I just would say to the fans, just give us that extra push.”
On a busy week going to Honduras and LA:
“I mean, we have a staff which helps us a lot, they know what they’re doing and we have to make that extra push. It’s our job to get results, so we have to just put everything aside and focus on the games coming.”
On the match:
“It’s a point, we’re on the board, after not having the greatest start with the past two games. I thought it was a pretty even game, obviously we know that they’re a good team, very good style in my opinion and very dangerous. Very good players. Very good coach. So we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But I thought we were better this time at translating the first half into the second half and not really dropping our quality too much and even having chances to win the game. It’s a tie. We could have probably scored a couple of goals. They maybe had a few chances. So I think overall, the tie is maybe the most deserved result, but again, we would have liked to obviously win the game, especially at home. Whenever you get a chance to beat a good team, you should try and capitalize, especially at home. There’s a point and we’ll take it and like I said, we’re on the board and hopefully we continue to roll now.”
On the upcoming schedule:
“Well, I think it’ll be pretty simple. We’re up 5-0 and that’s obviously a very good cushion to have but at the same time, we know how difficult it can be in places like that. You see Austin just last week, so obviously you’ve got to be ready and you’ve got to be prepared for quite a difficult environment down there. Then try and obviously have a quick turnaround with LA and a long week in terms of travel, but I think the focus now shifts obviously to the Champions League and make sure that we advance there and then we will figure out what LA will look like after that.”
On the match and BC Place being a tough place to play:
“Well I think you’re right it is a difficult place for FC Dallas historically. But I think we did a very good game, playing away, dictating the tempo. We knew that they were a good team, they have quality. I think we had a good start and scored a goal. Then there was a moment there that I think we should be more aggressive. We should be more determined to score the second goal. Even though we were having the possession, we were dominating, we weren’t great in our goalscoring opportunities. I think that side we’ve learned today that when we score we want to go and score a second goal. It was a little bit that side that we have learned in this experience. In the second half, I think they started better. We tried to modify to defending a 4-4-2 but it didn’t work well and then we switched to a three in the back and it helped us because sometimes, people like to switch to introduce a centre back, it means you want to defend and it was the other side. We were looking for to keep more the ball, to have more width with our wingbacks, and trying to exploit the wide areas to score goals. I think we did a good job on that and we had created some good chances to score the second goal, but we couldn’t and at least we got a point.”
On how they managed the game:
“Well, we knew that they had a midweek game and for us it was about to increase the tempo. I think in the first half, we had a good start but we stopped a little bit and then they’re a team that they feel more comfortable when the tempo of the game is slow and then they do a good job on that. In the moments that we were able to increase the tempo and the speed, it was good for us, and they had more issues. We knew that some players were going to rest and come into the game like [Sergio] Cordova, he’s getting fit, like [Pedro] Vite, you usually have to do some rotation. But you know, they’re professionals. They know that they have to play every three or four days. And I think they also did a good job of the rotation that they had.”
On scoring his first FC Dallas goal
“It’s been a long time since I scored a goal, so it is good to be back on the score sheet. For it to be assisted by Kos (Tafari) is great because he’s my guy. We looked at each other and I told him to put the ball in the box and that is exactly what he did. It was a good goal and it makes it a little extra special that Kos assisted it for me.”
On the change formation mid game
“Switching to a back three means we will be more aggressive and attack more. We missed the chance to get in the lead in the first half and Nico saw that. We tried to push the game more and go forward in the second half. Changing us to three at the back allowed us to go more forward and that is exactly what we did.”
On the different pairings at the center back position
“José (Martínez) and Kos (Tafari) are two different players. Kos is similar to the athletic play style I have, while José has that technical play and is very good on the ball. It’s about knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses so we can push each other and become better. We always rotate in training and try different pairings because we don’t know what could happen in a game and we need to all be on the same page.”