It was back to work last night as the Vancouver Whitecaps returned from a two-and-a-half week World Cup Break to play host to the Montreal Impact at BC Place in Vancouver.
The match was a toss-up as the Impact controlled the first half and the Whitecaps controlled the second half as both teams played to a scoreless draw and came away with a point each. This was the only meeting this season between the two Canadian Clubs.
The draw extended the Whitecaps unbeaten streak to eight matches, which is a club record within their stay in Major League Soccer and it also extends their unbeaten streak against Montreal to three matches as well with an added bonus of not conceding a goal within those three matches.
Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson made some adjustments to his starting eleven including replacing Nigel Reo-Coker with Carlyle Mitchell at right back. Reo-Coker flew to New York to be with his wife who gave birth to their first child and it was also the first MLS appearance for Mitchell.
As the match began, Vancouver seemed sluggish from the extended break and Montreal took advantage and quickly placed pressure on the back line of the Whitecaps. Even though Montreal was dictating the flow of the match, it was Vancouver that had the first real scoring chance of the match which came in the twenty-first minute when Darren Mattocks let loose a shot from the right side which flew just wide of the net. Minutes later, Montreal placed pressure on Whitecaps keeper David Ousted, but the results were the same as Vancouver’s attempt as the ball sailed wide of the net.
The first half continued with both clubs unable to sustain any pressure on the other club as the flow of the match was disjointed and technically flawed.
The second half of the match began with a flurry of shots from the Whitecaps and the score could have easily been 2-0 if it was not for the brilliant goalkeeping of the Impacts Troy Perkins. Right at the start of the second half, Kekuta Manneh let a shot go from the top of the box which Perkins had to dive to his right to stop and then minutes later; Perkins once again made a great save off a shot from Pedro Morales.
The rejuvenated Whitecaps kept the pressure on the Impact and controlled possession for most of the second half. The continued attack on the defense of Montreal was relentless, but, to the credit of the Impact, they were up to the challenge and did not concede a goal.
Both Vancouver and Montreal each had one more opportunity to score, however, both shots were thwarted by the crossbar and the match concluded in a draw.
Vancouver keeper David Ousted was great in net and earned his third shutout of the season making two key saves which allowed the Whitecaps to come away with a crucial point to start the second half of the season on the right foot.
It is a quick turnaround for Vancouver as they travel to Colorado to take on the Rapids this coming Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
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Main Photo: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press