INDIO, CALIFORNIA – Vancouver Whitecaps FC played their second match of the 2023 Coachella Valley Invitational on Saturday, drawing 1-1 with Eastern Conference side Charlotte FC at Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. The match was divided into three 45-minute periods.
Prior to the match, the two teams held a moment of silence for Charlotte FC defender Anton Walkes, who tragically passed away on January 19.
Four minutes in, Charlotte had the first chance of the match as Kerwin Vargas' free kick effort hit the side netting and out for a 'Caps goal kick.
The 'Caps would then follow up with a couple chances of their own in the 19th minute, with Javain Brown and Russell Teibert both having their attempts at goal blocked.
Five minutes later, Cristian Dájome went down in the box after taking contact from a Charlotte FC defender but the referee didn't award a penalty kick for the Blue and White.
The 'Caps continued to come close to opening the scoring, as Brian White controlled a cross from Teibert in the box; however, the striker was unable to get a shot off.
Shortly after, Tristan Blackmon prevented Charlotte from grabbing the lead, blocking a shot towards goal and clearing it out of the box to keep the match scoreless.
Just before the end of the first period, Dájome saw his shot in the box saved by Charlotte FC goalkeeper George Marks, with the rebound falling to White but his effort was also parried away.
Fast forward to the 60th minute in the second period, Charlotte FC midfielder Brandt Bronico received a second yellow card and a subsequent red card. The match would continue being played 11v11 as Charlotte brought on substitute Harrison Afful.
The 'Caps had another chance four minutes later, as Julian Gressel played a short corner to Luís Martins, who's ensuing cross almost found the head of Blackmon.
A couple minutes later, Kerwin Vargas' deflected cross found its way towards the 'Caps goal and into the net, giving Charlotte the 1-0 advantage.
The Blue and White almost came through with an immediate response, as Gressel's low cross into the six-yard box went untouched.
Following a full round of changes, the 'Caps had a great chance through a counterattack conducted by Kamron Habibullah and Sebastian Berhalter, which led to a cross from Levonte Johnson that found Simon Becher. The striker saw his deflected effort saved but the play was called offside.
In the 85th minute, the 'Caps got their reward for their high press. After Ali Ahmed played him in behind the Charlotte backline, Becher tried to pass the ball across the field but his attempt was blocked and fell right into his path to have a strike at goal, beating Charlotte goalkeeper Marks to tie the match at 1-1.
The teams would go into the last 45-minute period tied up at 1-1, but the 'Caps would continue threatening the Charlotte backline in the hopes of finding the go-ahead goal.
In the 97th minute, Mathías Laborda played a through ball in behind to Johnson and whipped a cross into Becher, who's shot was parried away into the path of Pedro Vite but his follow-up was also saved.
In the 113th minute, Ryan Raposo came close to giving the 'Caps the lead off a free kick, but saw his effort saved by Charlotte goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega.
A couple minutes later, Becher had a pair of chances to grab his brace. The first saw him head a cross from Laborda wide, while the second was a strike from distance that forced another save from Sisniega.
Charlotte came close to scoring a last-minute winner as a header went just wide of the 'Caps goal, but in the end, the match would finish level.
The Blue and White will now set their eyes on their third match of the Invitational on Wednesday, February 8 against Canadian rivals Toronto FC, with kickoff set for 1 p.m. PT at Empire Polo Club. Updates will be available on Whitecaps FC social media channels.
66' – CLT – Kerwin Vargas
85' – VAN – Simon Becher
23’ – VAN – Cristian Dájome
29' – CLT – Brandt Bronico
51' – VAN – Andrés Cubas
60 – CLT – Brandt Bronico
106' – VAN – Karifa Yao
125' – CLT – Jaylin Lindsey
60 – CLT – Brandt Bronico
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Thomas Hasal (60.Isaac Boehmer 90'); 23.Javain Brown (27.Ryan Raposo 70'), 4.Ranko Veselinović (2.Mathías Laborda 70'), 6.Tristan Blackmon (12.Karifa Yao 70'), 14.Luís Martins (22.Ali Ahmed 70', 61.Matteo Campagna 114'); 19.Julian Gressel (30.Kamron Habibullah 70', 76.Joe Hanson+ 114'), 20.Andrés Cubas (16.Sebastian Berhalter 70'), 31.Russell Teibert © (18.Alessandro Schöpf 70', 52.Vasco Fry+ 90'); 11.Cristian Dájome (45.Pedro Vite 70'), 25.Ryan Gauld (28.Levonte Johnson* 70'); 24.Brian White (29.Simon Becher 70')
*Unsigned MLS SuperDraft Selection, +WFC2