PORTLAND, OR – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (9W-7L-6D) grinded out a 1-1 draw with a battling performance against Portland Timbers (8W-3L-11D) at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday.
Highlights: Portland Timbers 1 - 1 Whitecaps FC
Whitecaps FC were forced into a number of changes from the side that faced Philadelphia Union. Goalkeeper David Ousted made his debut for Vancouver coming in for Brad Knighton while rookie winger Kekuta Manneh made his first start since the opening day of the season to replace the injured Kenny Miller. Brad Rusin and Daigo Kobayashi took the places of suspended duo Gershon Koffie and Jun Marques Davidson in midfield, with Carlyle Mitchell lining up at centre back in place of Rusin.
After a feisty opening, Vancouver were awarded a free kick in the Portland half on six minutes after a foul on Nigel Reo-Coker. Camilo stepped up to swing a ball into the box that was headed by Frederic Piquionne narrowly wide of the post as Whitecaps FC came close to an early opening goal.
On 19 minutes, a punt upfield from Ousted was headed by Michael Harrington straight to Kobayashi. The midfielder struck a ferocious first time shot from well outside area that had Ricketts sprawling across his goal but the effort went narrowly wide.
In the 43rd minute, Portland won a corner kick which was delivered by Canadian international Will Johnson. The delivery found Pa Madou Kah at the back post but the centre back put his header wide of the post as Whitecaps FC endured some pressure late in the first half.
In the first minute of time added on Portland launched an attack with Harrington sending in a cross from the left. Alvas Powell leapt highest but good positioning from Harvey denied the fullback a clear header as Ousted collected the loose ball, sending the teams into the break goalless after a gritty first half.
Four minutes after the break Portland took the lead as they broke on the counterattack. Diego Valeri received the ball on the right and floated in a cross to substitute Ryan Johnson. The Jamaican found himself unmarked in the box and buried the header past Ousted for a 1-0 lead.
Following the goal, Whitecaps FC enjoyed some good possession and Camilo came close to registering an instant reply in the 54th minute. Manneh took on his fullback and played the ball to the Brazilian. Camilo made himself some space before launching a vicious strike at goal but the effort was straight at Ricketts who collected the ball with ease.
Vancouver would get their equalizer on 69 minutes after a quickly taken free kick found Camilo free on the left side of the box. The striker drilled a low shot into the area that was deflected behind for a corner. Camilo then stepped up to take the corner himself and sent in a driven delivery that was headed beyond Ricketts by Harvey to knot th match at 1-1.
Having got the leveler, Whitecaps FC enjoyed a spell of pressure just outside the Timbers area. On 74 minutes, Reo-Coker played the ball out to substitute Erik Hurtado on the left and the rookie drove into some space before unleashing a shot from outside the area that flew over the crossbar
Vancouver almost carved out another late chance in the 84th minute as Hurtado raced into the area and played a clever one-two with Camilo. The winger looked set to latch on to the through ball for a close range opportunity but the Portland defender recovered to snuff out the danger.
With time for a winner fast running out, Whitecaps FC pressed one more time as a long ball from Ousted in the 90th minute was controlled under pressure by Hurtado. The winger played the ball out wide to Camilo who stepped past the defender before crashing a shot across goal from a difficult angle that narrowly missed the far post.
Soon after, the referee called time on an engaging contest as Vancouver gained a well-deserved point. Goalscorer Jordan Harvey was named Budweiser Man of the Match after a solid defensive performance.
Next up for Whitecaps FC is another tussle against Western opposition as they take on San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, August 10. Kickoff at BC Place is at 4:30 p.m. PT.