VANCOUVER Whitecaps FC (7W-4L-12D) picked up their third straight clean sheet in a scoreless draw with Chivas USA (6W-11L-6D) Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
It was another strong defensive performance from the ‘Caps, who haven’t conceded a goal in 321 minutes, which is a season high. Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted, who made four saves and was solid when called upon, is now tied for the league lead with seven clean sheets this season.
Saturday’s result also extended Vancouver’s unbeaten streak to six matches – their last defeat came at the hands of these very Goats over a month ago. Whitecaps FC have lost just four of 23 matches this season, which is tied with Real Salt Lake for the least amount of losses in all of MLS.
Head coach Carl Robinson made three changes to his starting lineup after a 2-0 win over defending MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City. Each of the changes came in midfield.
Omar Salgado, who had appeared in three straight matches as a substitute, replaced Erik Hurtado on the right wing. Nicolas Mezquida came in for Pedro Morales (tight hamstring) in an attacking midfield position – Morales was left on the substitute’s bench as a precautionary measure. And Russell Teibert, who wore the captain’s armband in Morales’ absence, took the spot of Gershon Koffie (ankle).
Robinson’s side looked fresh and energized in the early stages. Fullbacks Jordan Harvey and Steven Beitashour were both active along the flanks, Teibert was influential in the centre of the park, and Sebastian Fernandez looked lively in the attacking third.
The ‘Caps had the first chance of the match in the seventh minute. A nice combination between Harvey and Fernandez on the left resulted in a Mezquida attempt from outside the box, but the Uruguayan’s right-footed strike sailed over the goal.
At the other end of the park, Chivas USA didn’t offer much threat but they did have a couple chances through striker Erick Torres. The Mexican’s best chance came in the 13th minute, when a second phase ball landed at his feet in the centre of the box. Beitashour did well to unsettle Torres at the last moment, however, which all but nullified the opportunity.
There wasn’t much space either way in the opening half, but the ‘Caps came close to opening the scoring in the 28th minute. Salgado did well to get on the end of a Teibert corner, but Goats goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was there to keep the score level.
It was one of Vancouver’s six corners in the first half. The Blue and White also controlled 58 per cent of possession, but simply couldn’t break down a Goats side that appeared content to sit deep in their own half.
It was a similar story after the break, though things started to open up around the hour-mark after both sides made a pair of substitutions. Robinson brought on Hurtado at the start of the second half and Manneh in the 61st minute, before using his final substitution on Morales in the 68th minute.
A pair of substitutes traded chances just after the 70-minute mark. First, Chivas USA midfielder Mauro Rosales found some space along the right side of the box before sending a low cross into the box, but Ousted kicked it away from danger.
Then, after receiving a feed from Morales, Manneh cut into the middle and let loose a heavy strike from about 25 yards but couldn’t find the target.
Despite several standout performances – Teibert, Budweiser Man of the Match Matias Laba, and the entire back line put in a strong shift – the ‘Caps had to settle for their 12th draw of the season.
Next up for Whitecaps FC is a pair of massive Western Conference fixtures. First, they return to the StubHub Center a week from today for a meeting with LA Galaxy, who they trail by just one point. Laba will be unavailable in that match due to caution accumulation.
Then, the ‘Caps host Cascadia rival Portland Timbers on Saturday, August 30 at BC Place. Tickets are still available at whitecapsfc.com/tickets.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Matias Laba
Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
Shots: Chivas USA 12 – Vancouver 13
Shots on Goal: Chivas USA 4 – Vancouver 3
Saves: Chivas USA 3- Vancouver 4
Fouls: Chivas USA 12 – Vancouver 7
Offsides: Chivas USA 0 – Vancouver 5
Corners: Chivas USA 3 – Vancouver 8
36′ – VAN – Matias Laba
49′ – CHV – Agustin Pelletieri
79′ – CHV – Mauro Rosales
82′ – CHV – Lenadro Barrera
1.Dan Kennedy; 14.Akira Kaji, 4.Tony Lochhead, 16.Andrew Jean-Baptiste, 25.Donny Toia; 15.Eric Avila (11.Lenadro Barrera 59′), 8.Agustin Pelletieri, 12.Marco Delgado (7.Mauro Rosales 45′), 24.Nathan Sturgis; 20.Felix Borja, 9.Erick Torres (19.Ryan Finley 81′)
Substitutes not used
23.Trevor Spangenberg, 2.Bobby Burling, 22.Eriq Zavaleta, 30.Oswaldo Minda
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 33.Steven Beitashour, 40.Andy O’Brien, 16.Johnny Leverón, 2.Jordan Harvey; 31.Russell Teibert , 15.Matías Laba; 17.Omar Salgado (23.Kekuta Manneh 61′), 29.Nicolás Mezquida (77.Pedro Morales 68′), 7.Sebastián Fernández; 11.Darren Mattocks (19.Erik Hurtado 45′)
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 8.Medhi Ballouchy, 20.Nigel Reo-Coker, 24.Carlyle Mitchell