VANCOUVER, BC – In front of a boisterous crowd at BC Place on Saturday, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (3W-4L-4D) were pegged back twice in a thrilling 2-2 draw against Cascadian rivals Portland Timbers (4W-1L-7D).
Highlights: Whitecaps FC 2 - 2 Portland Timbers FC
Camilo opened the scoring with an expertly taken free kick in the first half to give Vancouver the lead going into the break. A flurry of goals in the second half saw Portland equalize with a penalty from Will Johnson before Gershon Koffie struck to give Whitecaps FC the lead for a second time. Portland then had centre back Mamadou Danso sent off before substitute Jose Valencia grabbed a late equalizer.
The build-up to the match set the stage for an intense match as the Southsiders and Curva Collective supporters groups banded together to unveil a massive tifo display before kickoff.
Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie made four changes from the midweek draw at Montreal. Coming into the lineup were Camilo, Jun Marques Davidson, Young-Pyo Lee, as well as rookie Erik Hurtado, who was making his first start at BC Place. Goalkeeper Brad Knighton and left back Jordan Harvey were both making their first MLS starts of the season.
Vancouver came out strong and in the ninth minute a cross-field ball from Russell Teibert found Hurtado wide on the left. The young winger beat his man and fired in a shot that went just wide of the near post. A minute later both Camilo and Koffie Gershon Koffie had long range shots blocked in quick succession as Vancouver looked for an early goal.
Whitecaps FC were made to defend in the 15th minute as Diego Valeri got clear for Portland. Knighton got down low to save Valeri’s shot before Rodney Wallace closed in looking to capitalize on the rebound, but Brad Rusin managed to get the ball to safety.
The next opportunity for Vancouver came when Teibert was clattered well outside the box. Camilo lined up the free kick and shot narrowly past the far post on 22 minutes - a sign of things to come from the crafty attacker.
It didn’t take long for Camilo to have another opportunity as a minute later he was taken down just outside the area. The Brazilian stepped up to bury the free kick into the top corner to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead.
The Timbers looked for a reply and on 30 minutes Knighton was called into action as a Valeri cross from the right was met at point blank range by Wallace, but to Knighton showed great reflexes to keep the effort out.
The teams played out a quiet final fifteen minutes of the first half as Whitecaps FC went in1-0 up at the break.
Immediately after the break Camilo looked to double his tally for the day with a speculative effort from long range which bounced awkwardly in front of Donovan Ricketts in the Portland goal but the 'keeper managed to tip it wide on 46 minutes.
Portland got their opportunity to equalize in the 52nd minute when an effort from just inside the area from Will Johnson hit Andy O’Brien on the arm. The referee gave the penalty and Johnson stepped up to fire past Knighton to level the scores.
It didn’t take long for Vancouver to get their noses back in front when on 54 minutes Camilo gathered the ball in the box. The Brazilian held off his defender and played the ball into the path of Koffie who took a touch to control before curling the ball beyond the reach of Ricketts to make it 2-1.
Portland nearly found another equalizer on 61 minutes when Nigel Reo-Coker gave away a foul outside the Whitecaps FC box. The Englishman picked up his fifth booking of the season for the challenge and will miss Vancouver’s next MLS match in New York on June 1, but Whitecaps FC were spared further damage when Will Johnson sent his shot narrowly wide.
With Portland pressing to level the match, the home side broke forward on 81 minutes when Reo-Coker played the ball through to Camilo. The Brazilian was clean in on goal but taken out by Danso, who gave the referee no choice but to send the Portland player off.
Despite the man advantage Whitecaps FC let in an equalizer shortly after on 84 minutes as a long ball forward was controlled by Portland substitute Jose Valencia - who looked as if he'd struck the ball with both hands - before holding off the challenge of two Vancouver defenders and slotting past Knighton for the Timbers’ second.
Vancouver pushed for a winner late on and won a free kick wide on the right in the 91st minute. Teibert played the ball in with pace but Rusin could only steer his header wide. Two minutes later some neat passing outside the Portland area saw substitute Matt Watson find some space and hit a stinging strike, but alas it sailed wide of the post.
Despite Vancouver pushing for a late winner the match finished 2-2 and Camilo was named the Budweiser Man of the Match for an industrious performance up front for Whitecaps FC.
The 'Caps now have a bye week from MLS action as they prepare for the decisive second leg of the 2013 Amway Canadian Championship final against Montreal Impact on Wednesday, May 29 at BC Place. Tickets are available for the cup final at ticketmaster.ca/whitecapsfc.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Camilo Sanvezzo
Referee: Matthew Foerster
24' - VAN - Camilo Sanvezzo
52' - POR - Will Johnson (penalty kick)
54' - VAN - Gershon Koffie (Camilo Sanvezzo)
84' - POR - Jose Valencia (Will Johnson)
Shots: Vancouver 15 - Portland 16
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 4 - Portland 4
Saves: Vancouver 2 - Portland 2
Fouls: Vancouver 16 - Portland 15
Offsides: Vancouver 0 - Portland 1
Corners: Vancouver 3 - Portland 5
23' - POR - Will Johnson
33' - POR - Diego Valeri
61' - VAN - Nigel Reo-Coker
70' - POR - Michael Harrington
81' - POR - Mamadou Danso
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18.Brad Knighton; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 40.Andy O'Brien, 3.Brad Rusin, 2.Jordan Harvey; 13.Nigel Reo-Coker, 27.Jun Marques Davidson (11.Darren Mattocks 88'), 28.Gershon Koffie (8.Matt Watson 71'); 31.Russell Teibert, 7.Camilo Sanvezzo, 19.Erik Hurtado (4.Alain Rochat 83')
Substitutes not used: 1.Joe Cannon, 24.Carlyle Mitchell, 26.Corey Hertzog, 29.Tommy Heinemann
Portland Timbers FC
1.Donovan Ricketts; 5.Michael Harrington, 13.Jack Jewsbury (20.Jose Valencia 77'), 35.Andrew Jean-Baptiste, 98.Mamadou Danso; 4.Will Johnson, 8.Diego Valeri, 21.Diego Chara; 6.Darlington Nagbe (11.Kalif Alhassan 34'), 9.Ryan (10.Frederic Piquionne 62') Johnson, 22.Rodney Wallace
Substitutes not used: 90.Jake Gleeson, 7.Sal Sizzo, 14.Ben Zemanski, 44.Pa Modou Kah