KANSAS CITY, KS - In front of a sell-out crowd at Sporting Park, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (7W-5L-5D) fought hard for a win, but came out with a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City (7W-5L-6D) on Wednesday.
Highlights: Sporting KC 1 - 1 Whitecaps FC
A first-half goal from Aurelien Collin gave the home side the lead, but an inch-perfect free kick from Camilo to end the first half allowed the 'Caps to grind out another point on the road.
Head coach Martin Rennie made two changes from his starting lineup in last Saturday's 1-0 win against DC United, with Brad Rusin and Corey Hertzog slotting in for Carlyle Mitchell and Russell Teibert, who are both away on international duty.
Just five minutes in, Sporting Kansas City midfield maestro Graham Zusi had the first chance of the match as his left-footed shot was stopped by a sprawling 'Caps goalkeeper Brad Knighton.
Nine minutes into the match, Nigel Reo-Coker, playing right back, intercepted a pass in midfield and stepped up for a shot, but it bent wide of the right post.
One minute later, Zusi sprung Kei Kamara, who blazed down the left side of the field, but before he could release a shot, Rusin slid into block his attempt.
In the 16th minute, the home side had another chance when Zusi passed the ball Kamara, who crossed the ball to Claudio Bieler, but the Argentine striker's sliding effort flew harmlessly wide.
On 24 minutes, SKC continued their offensive push as Oriol Rosell received the ball off of Zusi's corner kick and unleashed a swerving shot, but the ball was stopped by Knighton. The rebound landed at the feet of Soony Saad, but the young American striker tapped the ball to the side of the net.
In the 35th minute, Frenchman Collin gave his team the lead after cross from Rosell was headed down to him by Chance Myers. His first shot was blocked by Honduran international Johnny Leveron, but his second shot found the back of the net to give Sporting KC the 1-0 lead.
The 'Caps though, would not go into the break down a goal. On the last play before the break, Camilo continued his magnificent form as he equalized on a beautiful free kick from 20 yards out that found the top half of the net. It was a crucial goal that left the match on level terms going into the second half.
Vancouver came out with attacking intent after the midway mark. On 51 minutes, the 'Caps nearly took the lead as Kenny Miller controlled the ball nicely and crossed the ball to Camilo. The ball then popped out to Matt Watson for a shot, but it sailed high.
After some back and forth play in the middle of the park, Sporting KC had their own chance to take the lead on 60 minutes, when a corner kick taken by Zusi again found Kamara but his open header went over the top of the crossbar.
On 75 minutes, the home side had a key opportunity when Zusi found a bit of space around the top of the box, but his shot hit the right post and was cleared into safety.
As both sides pressed for the winner in the final 15 minutes, the central defensive pairing of Rusin and Leveron - together for the first time - did well to clear a multitude of chances.
The final minutes made for a tense end to the match. With just over a minute left in added time, Kamara fired a screamer from outside the box, but the ball flew wide. A minute later, Rusin again came up with a block, this time on Zusi in the box. Shortly after, the final whistle blew and gave extended Vancouver's run to four straight matches undefeated.
After the match head coach Martin Rennie reflected on his team's recent run.
"In recent games we have been a lot more forward thinking and a lot more dominant in the opposition’s half," said Rennie. "We have had players scoring goals and we are doing a good job putting them in positions to get chances and again, tonight, we did that. I just think the team is rolling in belief, but I also think earlier in the season we were playing well and not getting the results we deserved. But the players realized we are a good team and we have a good chance against anybody."
Next up, the Blue and White return home to host Cascadia arch-rivals Seattle Sounders FC this Saturday, July 6, at BC Place. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. PT and will be live on TSN and TEAM 1410.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Johnny Leveron
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
35' - KC - Aurelien Collin
45' - VAN - Camilo Sanvezzo
Shots: Kansas City 25 – Vancouver 10
Shots on Goal: Kansas City 3 – Vancouver 2
Saves: Kansas City 1 – Vancouver 2
Fouls: Kansas City 13 – Vancouver 10
Offsides: Kansas City 1 – Vancouver 2
Corners: Kansas City 7 – Vancouver 3
46' - VAN - Camilo Sanvezzo
68' - KC - Aurelien Collin
Sporting Kansas City
1.Jimmy Nielsen (C); 7.Chance Myers, 78.Aurelien Collin, 5.Matt Besler, 4.Kevin Ellis (31.Josh Gardner 86'); 13.Lawrence Olum (10.Benny Feilhaber 53'), 20.Oriol Rosell, 8.Graham Zusi; 23.Kei Kamara, 16.Claudio Bieler (14.Dominic Dwyer 57'), 22.Soony Saad
Substitutes not used: 18.Eric Kronberg, 3.Ike Opara, 9.Teal Bunbury, 37.Jacob Peterson,
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18.Brad Knighton; 13.Nigel Reo-Coker, 3.Brad Rusin, 16.Johnny Leveron, 2.Jordan Harvey; 14.Daigo Kobayashi, 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 8.Matt Watson (28.Gershon Koffie 63'); 26.Corey Hertzog (29.Tommy Heinemann 82'), 7.Camilo Sanvezzo, 9.Kenny Miller (C)
Substitutes not used: 1.Joe Cannon, 11.Darren Mattocks, 23.Kekuta Manneh, 32.Greg Klazura