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Improved Vancouver Whitecaps frustrated by Philadelphia Union in 1-1 draw

VANCOUVER, Canada — The Vancouver Whitecaps looked much improved hosting the Philadelphia Union, but settled for a 1-1 draw Saturday in front of an announced 17,835 fans at BC Place.

“It was overall frustrating,” Caps coach Marc Dos Santos said. “We lost two points.”

Once again the fans opted to walk out in the 35th minute in support of 14 women who have made allegations of sexual misconduct conduct by a former Whitecaps women’s team coach coach back in 2008. Even before the walkout, the atmosphere at BC Place was somewhat muted with many seats remaining empty.

On the pitch, it was a different story, however, as both teams started with plenty of energy.

In the 9th minute, Union midfielder Brenden Aaronson saw an attempt cleared off the line by winger Victor “PC” Giro. Two minutes later, the Whitecaps almost took the lead when Yordy Reyna unleashed a shot inside the box that rattled off the near post. 

The match, however, lost some steam after the early excitement, with both teams neutralizing each other in midfield. There was one positive for the Caps though: For the first time this season, the Caps dominated possession and finished the match with 51 percent possession. 

Philadelphia, however, had the next chance in the 34th minute. David Accam tanked his way into the box, but his shot from 16-yards missed the target. 

Apr 27, 2019; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Philadelphia Union defender Auston Trusty (26) challenges Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Russell Teibert (31) during the first half at BC Place. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Then in the 35th minute, the Southsider and Curva Collective began their walkout. The stadium, already somewhat muted, fell silent. As a result of the walkout, the fans missed the opening goal.

Once again, it was a set piece that got the job done for the Caps, who have struggled to score from open play this season. In the 41st minute, Ali Adnan brought in a corner from the right that was met by defender Doneil Henry, and his header left Philadelphia goalkeeper Matt Freese rooted. 

Vancouver looked much improved in this match and translated possession into some nice-looking attacking moves. One example came in the 53rd minute, when Lucas Venuto dribbled his way from the right into the box and found Reyna with a low pass, but the Peruvian’s low shot was stopped by keeper Freese. 

Instead, Philadelphia scored in the 66th minute. Jamiro Monteiro played a through ball to the German-born Polish striker Kacper Przybylko. The forward easily escaped defender Erik Godoy and equalized with a low drive that beat keeper Maxime Crépeau at the far post. 

“It was a ball that we had under control. We gave it away too easily,” Dos Santos said, assessing the situation after the game.

“We made one mistake and they scored,” Whitecaps defender Jake Nerwinski added.

The Whitecaps, however, were not discouraged by this turn of events and kept playing good soccer.

But there was something missing for the Whitecaps, despite playing very well in the attacking third.

“What we are missing is the final product,” Dos Santos said.

Said Nerwinski: “It was frustrating we did everything to get to that final point but just couldn’t capitalize.”

The biggest chance came in the 69th minute. Spectators thought the Caps had once again scored. Brazilian winger Lucas Venuto had unleashed a curled effort that had keeper Freese beat, unfortunately for Vancouver, the ball missed the target and only hit the back post of the goal. 

Meanwhile, Philadelphia could have taken the lead in the 75th minute. Once again, Przybylko was given to much room inside the box, but Crépeau came out of his net and stopped the close-range shot. 

The Whitecaps overall were the better team but could not find a winner despite creating several dangerous opportunities in Philadelphia’s box.

“It was a missed opportunity for us,” midfielder Russell Teibert said after the game. 

Lineups

Vancouver Whitecaps (4-3-3)

Crépeeau – Adnan, Henry, Godoy, Nerwinski – Teibert, Erice, In-beom – “PC” (Bangoura, 79′), Reyna (Ardaiz, 65′), Venuto 

Philadelphia Union (4-3-1-2)

Freese – Gaddis, Trusty, Elliott, Mbaizo – J. Monteiro, Medunjanin, Bedoya – Aaronson (Picault, 61′) – Accam (Creavalle, 75′), Przybylko

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