Vancouver Whitecaps FC women closed out their two-match road trip with a 0-0 draw versus Colorado Rush in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch on Sunday afternoon. The result moves the 'Caps into first place in the United Soccer Leagues W-League Western Conference standings - a point up on Santa Clarita Blue Heat.
'Caps head coach Hubert Busby Jr. stayed with the same starting XI that had convincingly won two days earlier against Colorado Force by a 2-0 scoreline. This meant a third-straight start for goalkeeper Jaclyn Dunnett.
The match was played under cloudy skies and with a strong wind blowing the length of Valor Christian High School Stadium. Whitecaps FC kicked off facing not only the wind and a difficult opponent, but also their second game in three days at altitude. Despite this, the first half was evenly played, with the home side having only a narrow five to four edge in shots over Vancouver.
At halftime, Busby brought on veteran attacker Amy Vermeulen in place of Carrie Patterson, while on 67 minutes, Colorado native Krista Kruse entered the match, as she subbed in for W-League goalscoring leader Tiffany Weimer.
Now with the wind at their backs, Whitecaps FC were stronger in the second half, and out-shot the Rush nine to three.
On 83 minutes, Vermeulen set up forward Jen Stoltenberg for possibly the match's best chance, but Stoltenberg whistled her shot just wide of the far post. The speedy winger led Vancouver on the day with three shots.
The match ended 0-0, as Dunnett was credited with three saves against eight shots, to record her third straight clean sheet. At the other end, Colorado's Krissy Tribbett made five stops to become the first goalkeeper to blank the 'Caps in over a year.
Afterwards, coach Busby described it as a well-contested and hard-fought match, saying "both teams had good spells of possession at times, and if we could have capitalized on some of the chances we had, we would have come away with three points. Overall, it was another good performance on the road under difficult conditions."
Busby then added, "I'm very proud of the way we fought, and am very pleased that we left this road trip without conceding any goals."
The draw puts Vancouver's record at 6W-1L-2D, moving Whitecaps FC a point ahead of Santa Clarita in the W-League Western Conference standings. The Blue Heat hold two games in hand, with a record of 6W-0L-1D. Meanwhile, this was the first draw this season for the Rush, whose record now stands at 5W-3L-1D.
Whitecaps FC now return home to face Pali Blues next Friday night at Surrey's Newton Athletic Park. The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. PT and could well determine which of these two teams qualifies for the W-League playoffs. The game is part of the Whitecaps Women's Soccer Series presented by Kia - in partnership with the Girls Metro Soccer League - and is being hosted by Surrey FC Pegasus. Tickets for all home games are available online for just $12 at www.whitecapsfc.com/wtickets.
Shots: Vancouver 13 - Rush 8
Saves: Vancouver 3 - Rush 5
Fouls: Vancouver 9 - Rush 12
Corners: Vancouver 3 - Rush 1
Offsides: Vancouver 0 - Rush 1
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
35.Jaclyn Dunnett; 7.Tina Romagnuolo, 4.Lexi Marton, 3.Shannon Woeller; 18.Monica Lam-Feist (11.Alysha Bonnick 78'), 22.Kelsey Hood, 8.Tiffany Weimer (15.Krista Kruse 67'), 14.Keshia Wallin; 20.Jen Stoltenberg, 21.Jenna Richardson (16.Julie Armstrong 89'), 17.Carrie Patterson (6.Amy Vermeulen 45')
Subs not used: 29.Kristen Funk, 10.Tseng Shu-O, 25.Ciara McCormack
1.Krissy Tribbett; 3.Morgan Kennedy, 5.Kerstyn Farrell, 7.Kellyn Farrell; 6.Maddison Kiebel (20.Hannah Peterson 62'), 11.Ameera Abdullah, 12.Christie Ehrhardt (Sara Feder 78'), 13.Jacy Drobney, 14.Olivia Wagner; 19.Briana Campos, 25.Lindsey Horan
Subs not used: 18.Megan McCain, 24.Kourtney Camy, Antonia Land