CARSON, CA - It may not have been as memorable as their first meeting with Chivas USA (5W-7L-5D) this season, but Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8W-4L-6D) picked up another valuable point in a scoreless draw with The Goats Saturday night at The Home Depot Center.
Earlier this season, The Home Depot Center provided the backdrop for Vancouver’s first road win in Major League Soccer and captain Jay DeMerit’s first goal as a member of the club.
History did not repeat itself on Saturday, but the ‘Caps have now claimed at least a point in seven of their last eight MLS matches, as they continue to make their mark in the Western Conference standings.
Highlights: Chivas USA 0 - 0 Whitecaps FC
With striker Darren Mattocks unavailable due to caution accumulation, striker Sebastien Le Toux slotted back into the line-up, as the ‘Caps returned to their 4-2-3-1 formation that proved effective in a midweek win over Colorado Rapids.
Returning to action after 10 days of rest since their previous MLS fixture, Chivas USA came out energized in front of their home crowd, earning a corner in the first minute of play.
But nothing came of it, as Whitecaps FC collectively breathed a sigh of relief.
As the match continued, it became clear the opening 45 minutes would belong to the Blue and White.
Their first real chance came just before the 10-minute mark off a set piece from midfielder Barry Robson, but his curling left-footed strike bounced off the Goats' wall before sailing out of play.
It was surely not the outcome Robson had in mind, but the Scottish international’s effort seemed to inspire the ‘Caps, who began to settle in and push forward against the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup semifinalists.
Le Toux and midfielder Davide Chiumiento both had tremendous opportunities in the following few minutes, but neither could find the back of the net, as the score remained even at the interval.
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To their credit, the Southern California outfit manufactured a decent pushback in the opening stages of the second half. But the best opportunity for either team came in the 55th minute when Alain Rochat, playing as a midfielder for the second straight match, sent Chiumiento in all alone with a perfectly weighted through ball.
But with Goats goalkeeper Dan Kennedy oncoming, Chiumiento just missed the top right corner of the goal, as it seemed neither team was destined for the victory.
The low-scoring result should come as no surprise, considering the quality of goalkeepers at both ends of the pitch.
‘Caps shot-stopper Joe Cannon and Kennedy came into the match third and fourth in saves respectively, and their performances Saturday night only cemented their status as two of the top goalkeepers in MLS.
Cannon, who posted his league-leading eighth clean sheet, was especially on point in the 73rd minute, making a spectacular sprawling save off a curling free kick from midfielder Paolo Cardozo.
Despite a flurry of chances for the Goats in the dying stages of the match, the ‘Caps held on for the scoreless draw, earning their second consecutive shutout away from BC Place and league-leading ninth team clean sheet on the season.
With the result, the ‘Caps remain undefeated in four all-time meetings against the Red and White and reach the 30-point mark for the first time in their young MLS history.
Saturday’s contest kicked off the second half of the season for Whitecaps FC, who are right back at it Wednesday evening in an all-Canadian clash at Toronto FC.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Gershon Koffie
Referee: Juan Guzman
Shots: Chivas USA 16 – Vancouver 11
Shots on Goal: Chivas USA 3 – Vancouver 1
Saves: Chivas USA 1 – Vancouver 3
Fouls: Chivas USA 19 – Vancouver 22
Offsides: Chivas USA 2 – Vancouver 5
Corners: Chivas USA 5 – Vancouver 2
45' - CHV - Nick LaBrocca
63' - VAN - Alain Rochat
64' - VAN - Eric Hassli
71' - VAN - Martin Bonjour
87' - VAN - Gershon Koffie
90' + 3 - CHV - Danny Califf
1.Dan Kennedy; 19.Jorge Villafana, 4.Rauwshan McKenzie, 23.Danny Califf, 7.James Riley; 21.Ban Zemanski, 16.Laurent Courtois (22.Ryan Smith 45'), 10.Nick LaBrocca, 30.Paolo Cardozo; 9.Juan Pablo Angel, 27.Jose Erick Correa
Substitutes not used: 28.Tim Melia, 5.John Valencia, 14.Casey Townsend, 15.Alejandro Moreno, 18.Blair Gavin, 58.Cesar Romero
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Joe Cannon; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 15.Martin Bonjour, 6.Jay DeMerit, 3.Jordan Harvey; 28.Gershon Koffie, 4.Alain Rochat; 14.Barry Robson, 7.Sebastien Le Toux, 20.Davide Chiumiento; 29.Eric Hassli (37.Camilo Sanvezzo 69')
Substitutes not used: 18.Brad Knighton, 13.Michael Nanchoff, 19.Carlyle Mitchell, 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 31.Russell Teibert, 32.Greg Klazura