A first-half penalty kick ultimately decided a close match as Vancouver Whitecaps FC dropped a 1-0 decision to the defending MLS Cup champions, Atlanta United, under the rain at BC Place on Wednesday evening.
Felipe Martins slotted in for an injured Jon Erice as the lone change for head coach Marc Dos Santos’ starting XI that saw them beat the likes of Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers. Erice suffered a left ankle sprain during Monday’s training session.
The ‘Caps came out strong, claiming 70 per cent of the possession through the early stages of the match.
In the 27th minute, the game changed. Atlanta striker Josef Martínez raced into the box and put a shot just beyond the outstretched arms of Maxime Crépeau. The immediate danger was cleared; however, as fast as the ball went out of the box, it came back in just as quickly, as Pity Martínez corralled the clearance and darted into the penalty area, drawing a foul from a chasing Lass Bangoura.
Josef Martínez was called to the spot and put home his fifth goal of the season for the visiting side.
A shining star for the ‘Caps all season has been the play of Crépeau, and he continued to show why he has been one of the top keepers in MLS after stopping not one, not two, but three straight scoring chances by Atlanta in the 59th minute to keep the ‘Caps in the game.
The ‘Caps pushed for an equalizer in the dying minutes of the match, as Lucas Venuto and Joaquin Ardaiz teamed up for a pair of quality chances, but the two attackers couldn’t find the back of the net before the final whistle was blown.
Whitecaps FC are back on the road this Saturday, May 18 when they visit Sporting Kansas City. Kickoff at Children’s Mercy Park is at 5:30 p.m. PT live on TSN1 and TSN Radio 1040.
WFC Man of the Match: Maxime Crépeau
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
29’ – ATL – Josef Martinez (penalty)
Possession: VAN 54.3% – ATL 45.7%
Shots: VAN 7 – ATL 17
Shots on Goal: VAN 2 – ATL 6
Saves: VAN 5 – ATL 2
Fouls: VAN 13 – ATL 15
Offsides: VAN 0 – ATL 0
Corners: VAN 5 – ATL 4
Duels won: VAN 54 – ATL 41
Tackles won: VAN 11 – ATL 6
13’ – ATL – Franco Escobar
39’ – VAN – Ali Adnan
80’ – VAN – Joaquín Ardaiz
86’ – ATL – Eric Remedi
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
16.Maxime Crépeau; 28.Jake Nerwinski, 22.Érik Godoy, 2.Doneil Henry, 53.Ali Adnan; 4.Inbeom Hwang, 8.Felipe Martins ( 9.Joaquín Ardaiz 78’), 31.Russell Teibert (15.Andy Rose 69’); 7.Lucas Venuto, 12.Fredy Montero ©, 19.Lass Bangoura (94.Victor “PC” Giro 64’)
Substitutes not used
18.Zac MacMath, 13.Derek Cornelius, 23.Scott Sutter, 46.Brett Levis
Atlanta United FC
1.Brad Guzan; 20.Brek Shea, 4.Florentin Pogba, 5.Leandro González Pírez, 2.Franco Escobar; 18.Jeff Larentowicz ©, 11.Eric Remedi; 14.Justin Meram (24.Julian Gressel 64’), 10.Gonzalo Martínez (12.Miles Robinson 82’), 15.Hector Villalba (28.Dion Pereira 69’); 7.Josef Martínez
Substitutes not used
25.Alec Kann, 9.Romario Williams, 22.Mikey Ambrose, 26.Jon Gallagher