FRISCO, TX - In their fourth road match of the season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-3L-2D) fell to a 2-0 defeat to Western Conference rivals FC Dallas (6W-1L-1D). Saturday's encounter at FC Dallas Stadium was the first of two consecutive MLS matches between the clubs, as Whitecaps FC host the rematch next Saturday at BC Place.
Highlights: FC Dallas 2 - 0 Whitecaps FC
An unfortunate own goal off the back of Brad Rusin gave FC Dallas a first half advantage and they sealed the win with a second half header from Blas Perez.
Coach Martin Rennie made three changes from the side that drew at home to Real Salt Lake last weekend. Erik Hurtado returned to the starting lineup up front alongside Matt Watson and Tommy Heinemann making their first starts for Vancouver this season. The trio replaced injured Corey Hertzog, rested Daigo Kobayashi, and winger Camilo.
In the first minute, FC Dallas striker Perez took the opportunity to test Joe Cannon early with a thunderbolt from well outside the area but the 'Caps ‘keeper was alert enough to push the shot away.
Whitecaps FC then enjoyed a spell of pressure, but on 11 minutes Kenny Cooper collected a loose ball before unleashing a powerful drive at the far post that Cannon acrobatically tipped over.
The chances continued for Dallas as a cross from Jackson found Perez open in the area but his header was no match for Cannon, who made a great reflex save from point blank range after 16 minutes.
FC Dallas sustained the pressure with a run of corners and found success in the 29th minute. A corner from the right bounced into the box and came off the back of Rusin and deflected across the goal-line before defender Young-Pyo Lee was able to clear it away.
Looking to equalize, Vancouver had their best opportunity in the 41st minute as Nigel Reo-Coker sent a testing cross in from the right which was fumbled by Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez into the path of Watson, but the Englishman could only get a soft shot towards goal as George John cleared it off the line to keep FC Dallas in the lead going into the break.
The home side made the perfect start to the second half as they hit Whitecaps FC on the counter. A strike from Cooper deflected off of Lee into the path of Perez, who was left with a simple header from close range to double the Dallas lead to 2-0 four minutes after halftime.
In response, Whitecaps FC kept better possession as they looked to get back into the match. Twice they came close to carving out an opportunity as substitute Darren Mattocks played a ball through to Hurtado but the rookie winger’s cross was well cut out by the Dallas defence on 63 minutes.
There was a sense of déjà vu a minute later as Reo-Coker this time played through Hurtado but again the Dallas defence cut out the cross when there were Vancouver players lining up to bury the chance.
With time running out, substitute Camilo took a long range shot that was tricky for Fernandez as he flapped the ball towards Heinemann. The striker controlled the ball and played it back to Camilo who was fouled on the edge of the box. The Brazilian got up to take the free kick and bent the ball around the wall but just wide of the far post with eight minutes remaining.
FC Dallas fought back and on 84 minutes almost got a third as the ball was played through to Fabian Castillo who found himself one-on-one with Cannon. The Vancouver stopper made another impressive save to keep the score at 2-0, which it remained until the final whistle.
With several outstanding saves, Cannon was deservedly awarded the Budweiser Man of the Match.
After the match, Rennie was blunt in his assessement of his team's performance.
"The positive is that we get a chance to put it right," continued the head coach. "We play Dallas again next week and we have to put together a much better performance than that."
Retribution could come soon for the ‘Caps as they host FC Dallas in a rematch at BC Place next Saturday with kickoff at 3:00 p.m. PT. The match will see the much anticipated return of former Whitecaps FC striker Eric Hassli for the first time at BC Place.
However, before then Whitecaps FC will take on FC Edmonton in the first leg of their Amway Canadian Championship semifinal this coming Wednesday, April 24. Kickoff at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton will be 6:45 p.m. PT, with the broadcast on Sportsnet beginning at 6:30 p.m. PT.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Joe Cannon
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivera
29' - VAN - Brad Rusin (own goal)
50' - DAL - Blas Perez
Shots: Dallas 13 - Vancouver 8
Shots on Goal: Dallas 6 - Vancouver 3
Saves: Dallas 2 - Vancouver 5
Fouls: Dallas 12 - Vancouver 15
Offsides: Dallas 4 - Vancouver 1
Corners: Dallas 8 - Vancouver 4
45' - VAN - Nigel Reo-Coker
61' - DAL - George John
1. Raul Fernandez; 5. Jair Benitez, 14. George John, 24. Matt Hedges, 17. Zach Loyd; 6. Jackson (27. Je-Vaughn Watson 85’), 4. Andrew Jacobson, 31. Michel, 10. David Ferreira; 33. Kenny Cooper (11. Fabian Castillo 76’), 7. Blas Perez (29. Eric Hassli 89’)
18. Chris Seitz, 16. Bobby Warshaw, 21. London Woodberry, 23. Kellyn Acosta
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Joe Cannon; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 40.Andy O'Brien, 3.Brad Rusin, 4.Alain Rochat; 13.Nigel Reo-Coker ©, 27.Jun Marques Davidson (28.Gershon Koffie 58’), 31.Russell Teibert (11.Darren Mattocks 58’); 8.Matt Watson (7.Camilo Sanvezzo 70’), 29.Tom Heinemann, 19.Erik Hurtado
18.Brad Knighton, 2.Jordan Harvey, 16.Johnny Leveron, 23.Kekuta Manneh