September 2, 2013, VANCOUVER, BC- The Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10W-9L-7D) managed to claim a 2-2 draw in heart-stopping fashion Sunday evening versus Chivas USA (5W-14L-7D) in front of a raucous crowd of 18,767 at BC Place.
Whitecaps FC recovered from an early two-goal deficit to salvage a much needed-point. Two spectacular goals from the in-form Erick Torres gave the Goats a 2-0 lead within the first quarter of an hour.
However, the Blue and White were able to recover through a well-taken strike from Budweiser Man of the Match Gershon Koffie in the 64th minute and an equalizer from second-half substitute Tommy Heinemann in the dying moments of second-half injury time.
The match got off to a frantic start as both sides had tremendous chances to open the scoring, but it was the Goats who broke the deadlock in the third minute.
After Andy O’Brien got his head on Carlos Alvarez’s ball in, the Irishman’s clearance was finished with a spectacular bicycle kick from Torres – a goal that stunned Vancouver and the home crowd.
The ‘Caps came within inches of manufacturing an immediate response. In the build-up, Koffie played a perfectly-weighted ball into the path of Kenny Miller behind Chivas’ back four. The Scottish striker’s shot beat Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, but struck the outside of the post.
Unfortunately for Vancouver, the miss proved costly. Chivas USA doubled their lead in the 14th minute through Torres once more. This time, the 20-year-old Mexican striker clinically directed Edgar Mejia’s cross into the bottom left corner of the goal. The goal gave Torres his sixth goal in six weeks since joining MLS on loan from Chivas’ parent club, Guadalajara.
The Blue and White kept making strides forward and came close again on 36 minutes. Young-Pyo Lee played a through ball the length of the pitch, which found a streaking Kekuta Manneh. The 18-year-old had a blast from distance but his shot was well parried by Kennedy out for a corner. O’Brien was able to get his head to the end of the ensuing corner, but his attempt was cleared off the line.
Chivas USA led Whitecaps FC 2-0 heading into halftime despite the home side amassing 55 per cent of possession and having more attempts at goal – eight to Chivas’ five.
Straight out of halftime, Manneh made a darting run into the heart of Chivas’ defence all the way from the centre line and laid it off to Miller, who scuffed at the attempt.
Two minutes later, Whitecaps FC keeper David Ousted made a sprawling save on Bryan de la Fuente to keep the match within reach.
It proved to be a game-saver, as the ‘Caps finally got the goal they had been pressing for in the 64th minute. First, Koffie intercepted Kennedy’s boot up field, then proceeded to score from 40 yards out, catching the Goats goalkeeper off guard and out of position.
Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie made a daring, albeit necessary, tactical substitution in the 80th minute, summoning Heinemann to replace O’Brien. The move left his side to play with three in the back.
Chivas USA nearly made Rennie’s side pay on 86 minutes. Substitute Tristan Bowen was played in all alone, but Ousted came quickly off his line to influence Bowen into rushing his opportunity.
In time added, the ‘Caps were all over the Goats, which eventually resulted in Heinemann’s well-taken equalizer. The 6-foot-4 striker finished the play, but his teammates should be credited for the brilliant build-up. Substitute Erik Hurtado headed an excellent Manneh cross across the face of goal for the hulking American, who had the task of tapping it in. It was Heinemann’s first MLS goal of the season.
After finding the equalizer, Vancouver continued to press. Hurtado nearly went on to win it with the final kick of the game but his ambitious attempt from just outside the 18-yard-box was just sailed high and wide.
For the second straight match, the ‘Caps were on the wrong end of a potential play-of-the-year candidate. Last match it was Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo’s diving save and Sunday it was Torres’ first of two tallies.
And for the second straight game, the boys in Blue and White conceded in the third minute of the match. But this time, they battled back and earned an important point to send them back to sixth place in the Western Conference.
The ‘Caps will hope to carry this momentum into a three-game road trip, starting next week with a pivotal matchup at FC Dallas – the team directly below them in the standings. Kickoff is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. PT September 7 at FC Dallas Stadium.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Gershon Koffie
Referee: David Gantar
3′ – CHV – Erick Torres
14′ – CHV – Erick Torres (Edgar Mejia)
64′ – VAN – Gershon Koffie
90′ + 3 – VAN – Tommy Heinemann (Erik Hurtado, Kekuta Manneh)
Shots: Vancouver 19 – Chivas USA 9
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 4 – Chivas USA 3
Saves: Vancouver 1 — Chivas USA 2
Fouls: Vancouver 9 – Chivas USA 10
Offsides: Vancouver 2 – Chivas USA 0
Corners: Vancouver 4 – Chivas USA 1
42′ – CHV – Carlos Borja
57′ – VAN – Young-Pyo Lee
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
22.David Ousted; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 40.Andy O’Brien (29.Tommy Heinemann 80′), 16.Johnny Leveron, 2.Jordan Harvey; 31.Russell Teibert (19.Erik Hurtado 56′), 28.Gershon Koffie, 8.Matt Watson (14.Daigo Kobayashi 65′), 23.Kekuta Manneh; 9.Kenny Miller, 7.Camilo Sanvezzo
Substitutes not used: 18.Brad Knighton, 11.Darren Mattocks, 24.Carlyle Mitchell, 27.Jun Marques Davidson
1. Dan Kennedy; 12.Marco Delgado, 2.Bobby Burling, 4.Carlos Bocanegra, 5.Carlos Borjoa; 30.Oswaldo Minda (13.Josue Soto 88′), 20.Carlos Alvarez (25.Steven Purdy 83′), 8.Edgar Mejia, 14.Bryan de la Fuente; 9.Julio Morales (7.Tristan Bowen 64′), 10.Erick Torres
Substitutes not used: 24.Patrick McLain, 7.Tristan Bowen, 11.Gabriel Farfan, 15.Eric Avila, 26.Matthew Fondy