June 26,2014(ISN) – VANCOUVER, BC – After a two-and-a-half week World Cup break, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (5W-2L-7D) continued their 2014 Major League Soccer campaign and played to a scoreless draw with Montreal Impact (2W-7L-5D) Wednesday night at BC Place.
Budweiser Man of the Match David Ousted put in another strong performance, making a pair of key saves to preserve his third clean sheet of the season.
The ‘Caps are now unbeaten in eight straight league fixtures – a new club record in MLS. The Blue and White also remain unbeaten against the Impact in MLS, without having conceded a goal in three encounters.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made four changes to his starting lineup from Vancouver’s last game before the break – a 3-3 draw with Philadelphia Union back on June 7.
Among them, Carlyle Mitchell replaced Nigel Reo-Coker at right back to make his first MLS appearance of the season. Reo-Coker left for New York in the morning to join his wife, who gave birth to their first child earlier this evening.
The other changes saw Johnny Leveron replace an injured Jay DeMerit (left ankle), and speedsters Kekuta Manneh and Darren Mattocks draw in for Nicolas Mezquida and Russell Teibert on the wings. Chilean midfielder Pedro Morales wore the captain’s armband in DeMerit’s absence.
At the other end of the park, the Impact fielded a depleted side with attacking trio Marco Di Vaio, Justin Mapp and Felipe each unavailable. But to their credit, the Eastern Canadian side looked sharp early on. They had a couple early corners and forced Ousted into a great reaction save off a deflected Maxim Tissot shot in the third minute.
Tissot was involved again in the 13th minute. This time, he whipped in a curling free kick to Jack McInerney at the back post. Ousted came up big again with a goalline save, but the play was called offside.
Though Montreal looked like the livelier side early on, the ‘Caps had one of the best chances in the half in the 21st minute. That’s when Mattocks broke into the right side of the box before launching a right-footed strike just wide of the near post.
McInerney had a similar attempt at the other end of the park just a few minutes later and the end result was the same.
The first half wasn’t without its chances, but there was little flow either way and the score fittingly remained 0-0 heading into the break.
Looking to break the deadlock, Vancouver came out of the interval with some renewed enthusiasm. And if it wasn’t for two fantastic saves from Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins, they could have very easily taken the advantage.
First, Perkins drove to his right to stop a left-footed Manneh strike from the top of the box in the 46th minute. And then in the 50th minute, he just narrowly tipped away a low Morales free kick from the right corner of the box.
Whitecaps FC continued to control possession and push the play forward, but Montreal kept thing organized at the back and did well to limit Vancouver’s attack.
Things started to open up a little after the 70-minute mark, as Montreal’s Tissot and Vancouver’s Jordan Harvey traded crossbar opportunities within the span of four minutes. Harvey’s strike came just after Perkins stymied a Mitchell header in the 77th minute.
Montreal came close again in the 84th minute, when McInerney headed a free kick off the near post. It seemed a goal was simply not in the cards on this night. And in the end, the Canadian rivals both came away with a point in their lone meeting this season.
The ‘Caps are right back at it this Saturday, when they visit Western Conference rival Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. PT.