VANCOUVER, BC – A sublime 30-yard Cristian Techera free kick salvaged a 1-1 draw for Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6W-6L-2D) on Saturday night against FC Dallas (6W-3L-6D).
“The Bug,” who now has four goals on the season, brought the game level in the 74th minute after FC Dallas striker Maximiliano Urruti opened the scoring early in the second half, rescuing a point for the injury-riddled ‘Caps in front of a sold-out crowd of 22,100 at BC Place.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson was forced to make three changes to his starting lineup following a 3-1 win over Atlanta two weeks ago, as right back Jake Nerwinski, midfielder Russell Teibert, and winger Brek Shea replaced Sheanon Williams (suspended), Christian Bolaños and Kendall Waston – the latter two suffered injuries while away with Costa Rica on international duty.
Saturday’s match was the first meeting between Vancouver and Dallas this season but it didn’t take long for the Western Conference rivals to renew acquaintances. It was a feisty start with tackles flying in all over the pitch – as if often the case between these two teams.
Naturally, that meant Matias Laba was one of the most noticeable ‘Caps with four tackles and three interceptions in the first half alone, doing his part to help limit Dallas’ attack.
The visitors did, however, threaten at times and had the best chance of the opening frame in the 42nd minute, when Roland Lamah headed a cross just over the bar at the back post.
Dallas eventually capitalized in the 52nd minute through Urruti, who raced into the box after a Vancouver turnover in midfield and coolly finished with his left foot from about 12 yards.
At the other end of the park, the ‘Caps got into some good areas throughout the match but struggled to produce that final pass or shot. Until the 74th minute, that is, when Techera curled in a stunning 30-yard free kick to draw the game level at 1-1 with his fourth goal of the season.
Both teams pushed for a late winner, including a close-range Michael Barrios opportunity that Jordan Harvey denied with a superb sliding block, but it was not to be.
Next up for Whitecaps FC is a trip to Minneapolis for their first-ever MLS meeting with expansion side Minnesota United FC.
NEWS AND NOTES
Shea’s wife, Carling, gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Zepplin at 4:40 p.m. on Saturday at BC Women’s Hospital. The ‘Caps midfielder was with his wife for the delivery before arriving at BC Place less than an hour later… newcomer Bernie Ibini made his MLS and Whitecaps FC debut as a second-half sub, playing the final six minutes of the match.