VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Vancouver Whitecaps began their penultimate season in the USL First Division with a 0-0 draw against the visiting Charleston Battery.
It was a unique season opener for the Whitecaps franchise. Not only was the club celebrating its first game since Vancouver was officially awarded a Major League Soccer franchise for 2011, but it was the team's first game as USL first division champions, as well as the start of the club's 35th anniversary season.
After a quiet opening, midfielder Vicente Arze found 20-year-old striker Marcus Haber with a through ball on the right side in the 14th minute.
Haber, one of a number of new players for Vancouver, beat the offside trap and was through alone on Battery goalkeeper Dusty Hudock. Haber's low shot beat Hudock but struck the base of the post to Hudock's right and rolled wide.
Despite being camped in the Battery side of the field for most of the first half, the Whitecaps were unable to break through and the game was scoreless heading into the second half.
Charleston started the second half with an intensity they didn't have in the first. Midfielder Frankie Sanfillippo saw a volley from 25 yards out sail just wide after Vancouver goalkeeper Jay Nolly could only partially clear a Charleston cross with a punch.
Ansu Toure had Vancouver's best chance in the second half. Toure was left alone after a cross from the left side was knocked around the box but his shot just missed the left post.
Before the season, Vancouver parted with a number of older players. Gone are veterans Jeff Clarke, Steve Kindel and Alfredo Valente.
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