A new head coach energized Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday night, and the result was a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center. But even as the Tom Soehn-led ‘Caps used new tactics and a new line-up, a familiar storyline prevented them from having an opportunity to end their lengthy winless streak when Eric Hassli was shown his third red card of the season.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
“We had a lot of ups and downs,” said Soehn after the match. “We really started the game poorly, and then we found our way back in and started to keep possession. I thought after we did that, we created opportunities, but creating them isn’t enough. We’ve got to start putting some of those away.”
Soehn’s imprint was evident right from kickoff with four significant changes made to the line-up that faced New York Red Bulls last match. Mouloud Akloul came in at centre back, with Bilal Duckett slotting in at right fullback, Alexandre Morfaw in central midfield and Joe Cannon replacing Jay Nolly in net.
The inclusion of Duckett and Morfaw was especially surprising, as each made their MLS debuts and played the full 90 minutes. The pair had been playing on loan with the Whitecaps FC Residency squad, with Duckett having not been on the bench since the ‘Caps last played Chivas USA back on April 16 and Morfaw not included in the 18-man roster all season. Cannon, meanwhile, last played on March 26 against Philadelphia Union in the club's second match of the season.
In addition to the new entrants, tactics were also adjusted by the new man in charge. The biggest change saw Davide Chiumiento swap positions with Camilo, moving to a withdrawn striker role, with the Brazilian sliding to the left side of midfield.
“It took them a little while to find the flow of the game,” said Soehn. “Anytime you make that many changes, it’s going to take a little bit to find our rhythm, plus we talked about reshaping ourselves, so I could see us grow through that. Obviously when we got the red card, it didn’t help us a whole lot."
That red card came in the 66th minute when Hassli was shown a straight red by match referee Ricardo Salazar after a clumsy challenge. The decision was questionable since Hassli had yet to be called for a single foul and didn’t make contact.
Regardless, with the ball deep in Chivas USA territory and the ‘Caps in search of a much-needed win, Hassli showed Soehn what the coach already knew when he took over two short days ago.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Vancouver's head coach said.