Another dramatic finish at Empire Field on Wednesday night sent fans home still buzzing, as Davide Chiumiento scored his first goal for Vancouver Whitecaps FC. He left it late, tallying in the 91st minute and earning his team a 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes.
While the fans left happy, the players, once again, left unsatisfied.
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“I’m happy to score, but it’s not important,” said Chiumiento after the match. “We wanted to win this game and it was most important to have three points. In the end, we’re happy with a point, but we need to start to win.”
Whitecaps FC didn’t start the game well, giving up numerous chances to San Jose in the first half and eventually getting punished by last year’s MLS Golden Boot winner, Chris Wondolowski. By the time the ‘Caps woke up, there was little time left to get the result they desired.
“Obviously, I think we left it too late,” said goalkeeper Jay Nolly. “We scrambled a little bit in the first half, but we were [eventually] breaking through, and I thought we were going to get an early goal in the second half. If we’d done that, we would have put a lot of pressure on them. At the end of the game, we were chasing to tie it up and we didn’t leave ourselves much time to get a winner.”
The draw extends Vancouver’s MLS winless streak to nine games, though the ‘Caps have generally played well during that run. However, playing two contests in a week for the third straight time made it a difficult game for the ‘Caps.
“In most of the games we have created three to five good chances, and that’s not bad on this level,” said head coach Teitur Thordarson. “Today, we didn’t manage that and I think the reason is that some of the players are lacking energy. We’ve played so many games lately, every third day, so that obviously will be seen somewhere.”
One of those players running on empty is defender Alain Rochat, who has played every minute in all competitions this season.
“It was a hard game,” said Rochat. “We tried to get our rhythm late to get the win, but we missed too many passes. The offense wasn’t good enough throughout the game, but we always fight until the end and we battled to a point.”
While his players were clearly frustrated with another draw, Thordarson was again proud of his team’s perseverance.
“We are definitely struggling a bit energy-wise, and that is understandable,” added the head coach. “But I want to say one more time that I am impressed with the character of the team. Confidence-wise, it was without a doubt a very important goal. In situations like this, there is a big difference between drawing the game and losing the game, and there’s no doubt that it means a lot to us. It’s great for the guys to see that it pays off in the end.”