TORONTO, ON – Darren Mattocks and Jermain Defoe traded second-half goals as Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6W-4L-8D) and Canadian rival Toronto FC (7W-5L-4D) battled to a hard-fought 1-1 draw Wednesday night at BMO Field.
The visiting ‘Caps took a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute when Mattocks banged in a pinpoint Russell Teibertpass, before Toronto FC’s in-form Designated Player equalized through a 64th-minute penalty to help the Reds earn a share of the points.
The result maintains Vancouver’s .500 record away from home (2W-2L-5D) and extends their unbeaten run to seven matches against Eastern Conference opponents this season.
Wednesday’s match was Vancouver’s second of three in an eight-day span, which is part of the reason why Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made four changes to his starting lineup – as well as a switch to a diamond midfield formation.
Among the changes, Homegrown left back Sam Adekugbe made his first MLS appearance of the season, replacing a suspended Jordan Harvey. In midfield, Teibert and Nigel Reo-Coker drew back into the starting lineup while Mattocks joined Erik Hurtado up top to form a two-striker tandem.
Both Hurtado and Mattocks had half-chances within the first two minutes for the visiting ‘Caps, but there was little space either way in the opening 45 minutes.
Toronto FC looked dangerous on the break at times, but Whitecaps FC kept things organized at the back and did well to stifle Defoe, who came into Wednesday’s match with six goals in his last six outings.
Defoe did find the back of the net in the 41st minute, when he tapped in a rebound after David Ousted made a fantastic sprawling save off a close-range Luke Moore strike. But the goal was called back as Defoe was in an offside position – it may not have counted anyway, since Ousted appeared to have the initial shot under control.
It was easily the best of Ousted’s three first-half saves and it kept the score level after an evenly played opening 45 minutes – Toronto FC had a slight edge in possession with 52.2 per cent.
Ousted was called upon again early in the second half and he was up to the task once more. This time, the Dane dove to his right and parried away a curling Michael Bradley free kick from about 25 yards.
Despite conceding the 47th minute free kick, the ‘Caps actually looked much livelier in the early stages of the second half. They showed more creativity in midfield and got improved movement from Hurtado and Mattocks up top.
And in the 50th minute, they were rewarded with the game’s opening goal. The play started with a well-timed Johnny Leveron interception in midfield, which allowed Pedro Morales to release Teibert down the left flank.
The Canadian midfielder, fresh of a multi-year contract extension, then picked Mattocks out in the Toronto FC box and the Jamaican’s first-time finish gave Whitecaps FC a 1-0 lead.
Morales, who was awarded the second assist on the goal, now has assists in three straight matches for a total of eight on the season – just one shy of the club record jointly held by Teibert and former Whitecaps FC midfielder Davide Chiumiento.
Toronto FC, who have lost just once in their last nine matches, equalized in the 64th minute through a Defoe penalty kick after Reo-Coker was called for a foul on Jackson Goncalves in the box.
Both teams went for the win in the final half hour, making their full allotment of subs, but in the end the ‘Caps were able to stave off a late Toronto FC charge to secure a valuable point away from home.
The ‘Caps are right back at it this Saturday, when they visit Western Conference rival Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT.
It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including prorated season tickets, 5-packs, student season tickets, and a youth soccer half-season ticket. Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.
Both Steven Beitashour and Gershon Koffie played their 100th career MLS regular season matchesWednesday night in Toronto.
Stat of the Game
Whitecaps FC posted a season-best 85.08 per cent passing completion rate on Wednesday. Ex-Toronto FC midfielder Matias Laba completed the most passes (54), while Carlyle Mitchell had the best passing accuracy (96.15 per cent).
Quote of the Game
Mattocks on Teibert’s assist: “It was a fantastic pass. I think Russell deserves all the credit for that goal and the build-up play by the team. For him to pick out a pass like that is really amazing.”
Budweiser Man of the Match: Russell Teibert
Referee: Allen Chapman
50’ – VAN – Darren Mattocks (Russell Teibert, Pedro Morales)
64’ – VAN – Jermain Defoe (penalty kick)
Shots: Toronto 16 – Vancouver 11
Shots on Goal: Toronto 6 – Vancouver 2
Saves: Toronto 1 – Vancouver 5
Fouls: Toronto 11 – Vancouver 22
Offsides: Toronto 1 – Vancouver 0
Corners: Toronto 7 – Vancouver 3
28’ – TOR – Bradley Orr
61’ – VAN – Russell Teibert
70’ – VAN – Nigel Reo-Coker
85’ – VAN – Sam Adekugbe
90’ + 4 – TOR – Collen Warner
12.Joe Bendik; 28.Mark Bloom (17.Nick Hagglund 55’), 16.Bradley Orr, 15.Doneil Henry, 2.Justin Morrow; 11.Jackson Goncalves (9.Gilberto 77’), 26.Collen Warner, 4.Michael Bradley, 21.Jonathan Osorio (23.Dominic Oduro 59’); 18.Jermain Defoe, 27.Luke Moore
Substitutes not used
1.Chris Konopka, 8.Kyle Bekker, 14.Dwayne De Rosario, 35.Daniel Lovitz
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 33.Steven Beitashour, 24.Carlyle Mitchell, 16.Johnny Leverón, 3.Sam Adekugbe; 20.Nigel Reo-Coker (28.Gershon Koffie 71’), 15.Matías Laba, 77.Pedro Morales, 31.Russell Teibert (23.Kekuta Manneh 82’); 19.Erik Hurtado (7.Sebastián Fernández 90’ + 3), 11.Darren Mattocks
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 17.Omar Salgado, 29.Nicolás Mezquida, 40.Andy O’Brien