No knockout punch again - The Province

Whitecaps 1 Railhawks 1. Now winless in last four USL games

Steve Ewen
The Province

Vancouver Whitecaps captain Jeff Clarke admits his team is missing that knockout scoring punch right now.

"If this was boxing, we'd be undefeated in our last 10 ... we're certainly ahead on points," said Clarke, whose club had the run of play again Sunday but could manage only a 1-1 draw with the Carolina RailHawks at Swangard Stadium.

"The goals are what matters. We know that and we work on it. Our work at training just isn't translating into our 90-minute play right now."

Now winless in four USL First Division games, Vancouver (7-4-3) had most of the ball possession last night against a team from Carolina (4-4-8) that played Friday in Minnesota.

They had trouble making that final pass and getting to goal for legitimate chances, though, leaving the crowd of 4,989 little to get excited about.

Eduardo Sebrango scored for Vancouver, but, right now, that probably goes without saying.

His marker in the 75th minute, after taking a crafty Martin Nash feed and darting around onrushing Carolina goalkeeper Chris McClellan, was his fifth of the campaign.

The rest of the team has eight goals among them.

The team pushes forward more under new coach Teitur Thordarson than it did under his predecessor, Bob Lilley, but the outcomes haven't shown it so far.

"We basically have one player that scores goals, and that's Eddy," said Thordarson. "We need more of them."

Carolina had scored in the 74th minute, Dan Antoniuk volleying a shot past Srdjan Djekanovic.

Antoniuk had actually been a Whitecap for about 15 minutes.

He signed here as a free agent in 2006 after a breakout season with the Portland Timbers. Before the campaign began, he was traded to the Montreal Impact for Sebrango.

"I love this place," said Antoniuk, a Philadelphia native who signed with Carolina as a free agent in the offseason after playing last with the Atlanta Silverbacks.

"I love this city. Great pitch, great fans. This has always been a good team ... intelligent, tough to play against.

"We'll take [the point] tonight, on the road. These guys are good. We have to still figure a way to win. Most of the ties we have are teams coming back on us."

Djekanovic couldn't be faulted for the goal. There were plenty of eyes on him last night, as he was making his first start since May 23, a string of 11 games.

He was the starter at the outset of the season, but lost the gig to Jay Nolly.

He politely declined comment on whether he was frustrated sitting out, which undoubtedly spoke volumes itself.

Thordarson said that he made the change because Nolly looked tired.

"I felt, in the last games, he hadn't been as fresh as he was before," said Thordarson.

The Whitecaps don't play again until July 23, when they host the Charleston Battery. Thordarson said last night that the players will get five days off.

steve.ewen@gmail.com

© The Vancouver Province 2008