VANCOUVER, BC — The Vancouver Whitecaps’ lackluster season continues with what was, on balance, a poor game. Yet, thanks to a late equalizer by second-half substitute Fredy Montero, the hosts managed to rally for a 1-1 draw against the Columbus Crew in front of an announced crowd of 16,683 at BC Place Saturday afternoon.
The draw was devastating to the Crew’s slim postseason hopes as they fall five points below the playoff line with two games remaining. Already eliminated from MLS Cup playoff contention, Vancouver (7-15-10, 31 points) picked up points in a second consecutive match after three straight losses.
In a wide-open game from the start, Vancouver had the first chance through Russell Teibert, but his shot in the 8th minute was kept out by Eloy Room.
In the 18th minute, Luis Díaz broke into the box and his shot was kept out initially by Zac MacMath, but the goalkeeper could not control the ball, and then brought down Pedro Santos, who was poised to put away the rebound. Gyazi Zardes stepped up and put away the ensuing penalty to give Columbus (9-15-8, 35 points) the lead.
Díaz continued to be the most active player on the pitch. In the 36th minute, the 20-year-old Costa Rican midfielder turned Andy Rose inside out on the right flank, cut to the center and unleashed a shot that MacMath did well to keep out.
Aside from Teibert’s early chance, the Whitecaps were relatively harmless in the first half, a view not shared by Vancouver head coach Marc Dos Santos.
“I don’t think it was a fair result at halftime,” Dos Santos said.
When the Whitecaps did break forward, they lacked the decisiveness and luck to get the ball across the line. In the 55th minute, Theo Bair’s cross from the right was deflected and hit the post, Room then quickly reacted and jumped on the loose ball before any Vancouver player could pounce.
Sep 21, 2019; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Inbeom Hwang (4) goes up for a header against Columbus Crew forward Gyasi Zardes (11) during the first half at BC Place. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
The Whitecaps looked frustrated at times, which manifested the most in the interplay between Ali Adnan and Teibert with the two openly arguing on the pitch at times over each other’s positional play.
“I agree with you,” Dos Santos said when asked about Adnan’s poor positional play. “He has to learn a lot. Not only in his positioning, but sometimes when we lose the ball, the way he reacts in transition, his decision making, when to dribble and not to dribble.”
At the same time, with Columbus failing to score the second goal, it was Adnan’s run down the left that led to Montero’s equalizer.
“The second goal was there,” Columbus coach Caleb Porter said after the game. “I mean we got shots, but they were from distance. But when you don’t see a game out, it is in your head and you can see it was in the team’s head.”
Vancouver Whitecaps (4-3-3)
MacMath – Adnan, Henry, Cornelius, Sutter (Nerwinski, 83′) – Teibert, Rose, Inbeom – Bair (Chirinos, 63′), Ricketts (Montero, 61′), Reyna
Columbus Crew (4-2-3-1)
Room – Maloney, Keita, Mensah, Afful – Guzmán (Trapp, 58′), Artur – Mokhtar (Argudo, 76′), Santos, Díaz – Zardes