FRISCO, TEXAS – Second-half substitute Erik Hurtado scored his fifth goal of the season but it wasn’t enough as Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8W-7L-13D) fell 2-1 to FC Dallas (13W-9L-6D) Saturday night at Toyota Stadium.
After Panamanian striker Blas Perez gave Dallas a 1-0 lead on a first-half wonder goal, Hurtado drew the game level in the 67th minute – finishing off a nice little ball from Budweiser Man of the Match Mauro Rosales. The Argentine’s assist was his first point in a Whitecaps FC uniform.
But Perez added his second goal of the match in the 78th minute to seal the victory for FC Dallas. The Perez brace undid a positive road performance for the ‘Caps, who still occupy the fifth and final playoff position in the Western Conference.
Saturday’s match was Vancouver’s third in the last eight days, leading head coach Carl Robinson to make four changes to his starting lineup after a midweek win over San Jose.
The most notable of them saw rookie centre back Christian Dean replace Andy O’Brien to make his first career MLS regular season start. Dean was joined on the back line by fellow rookie Ethen Sampson, who drew back into the squad in place of Steven Beitashour.
Like Beitashour and O’Brien, Pedro Morales was also rested on Saturday, though the Chilean did play half an hour as a sub. That opened the door for Mehdi Ballouchy to make his third start of the season. Finally, Darren Mattocks replaced Hurtado up top, forming a partnership with Sebastian Fernandez.
The changes seemed to have their desired effect, as Robinson’s side looked fresh early on. The visiting ‘Caps saw a lot of the ball and looked bright in their 4-4-2 diamond midfield formation – with Rosales pulling the strings at the tip.
Vancouver had the first chance of the match in the 10th minute, when they found space on the counter after Fernandez won the ball in midfield. Eventually, Ballouchy picked out Mattocks at the top of the box, but the Jamaican couldn’t get off a shot.
Overall, it was a positive road start for the ‘Caps, but disaster struck in the 20th minute.
That’s when Perez curled in an improbable half volley from the right corner of the field, which may have been intended as a cross, to give Dallas a 1-0 lead.
Perez appeared to double Dallas’ lead in the 27th minute, but his goal was called back due to offside. After a quick counter, Vancouver nearly equalized on a Rosales free kick from the edge of the box, but Raul Fernandez was there to make the save.
From there, Dallas started to come on. They had a few more chances, including a Victor Ulloa blast from inside the area, but Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted made a spectacular diving save to keep the game within reach.
The Danish keeper made another fantastic save at the hour-mark – this time off a left-footed Fabian Castillo effort from close range. And the ‘Caps took advantage.
In the 67th minute, Rosales released Hurtado into the box and the second-year striker blasted it into the back of the net to pull the game level. It was a great ball from Rosales, who was Vancouver’s liveliest player from the opening whistle, and a great finish by Hurtado, who was subbed on just a few minutes prior.
The 1-1 scoreline didn’t last long. Perez scored his second goal of the match just over 10 minutes later, finding the back of the net from close range after Kendall Waston headed away a Michel free kick, to put Dallas back ahead.
Vancouver had a few late chances, including a Waston header that appeared to strike the arm of a Dallas defender, but fell just short in the end.
Despite the loss, the ‘Caps are still fifth in the Western Conference – one point up on Portland Timbers, who they will meet next Saturday, September 20 at Providence Park.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Mauro Rosales
Referee: Ted Unkel
20′ – DAL – Blas Perez (Je-Vaughn Watson)
67′ – VAN – Erik Hurtado (Mauro Rosales)
78′ – DAL – Blas Perez (Tesho Akindele)
Shots: Dallas 11 – Vancouver 10
Shots on Goal: Dallas 6 – Vancouver 2
Saves: Dallas 1 – Vancouver 4
Fouls: Dallas 15 – Vancouver 16
Offsides: Dallas 4 – Vancouver 4
Corners: Dallas 10 – Vancouver 5
29′ – VAN – Kendall Waston
45′ + 2 – VAN – Russell Teibert
89′ – VAN – Jordan Harvey
1.Raul Fernandez; 27.Je-Vaughn Watson, 17.Zach Lloyd, 24.Matt Hedges, 3.Moises Hernandez (5.Jair Benitez 45′); 11.Fabian Castillo, 28.Victor Ulloa, 31.Michel, 91.Andres Escobar (10.Mauro Diaz 55′); 7.Blas Perez, 13.Tesho Akindele (23.Kellyn Acosta 82′)
Substitutes not used
18.Chris Seitz, 8.Peter Luccin, 9.David Texeira, 12.Ryan Hollingshead
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 27.Ethen Sampson, 4.Kendall Waston, 22.Christian Dean, 2.Jordan Harvey; 30.Mauro Rosales (23.Kekuta Manneh 81′), 8.Medhi Ballouchy (77.Pedro Morales 57′), 15.Matías Laba, 31.Russell Teibert; 11.Darren Mattocks (19.Erik Hurtado 62′), 7.Sebastián Fernández
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 3.Sam Adekugbe, 17.Omar Salgado, 29.Nicolás Mezquida