'Caps get a point to start MLS season

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VANCOUVER, BC In front of the largest home opener crowd in the club's 50-year history, Vancouver Whitecaps FC came from behind to earn a point in a 1-1 draw against Eastern Conference side Charlotte FC.

Whitecaps FC opened the match with 10 returning players, with newcomer Damir Kreilach slotting in the front three to make his first BC Place start in 'Caps colours.

Charlotte came out the aggressors early in the first half. They were initially awarded a penalty kick in the 23rd minute, but after video review the call was overturned.

The 'Caps then found some momentum with Ranko Veselinović having a scissor kick attempt saved, followed by Tristan Blackmon heading a Ryan Gauld free kick inches wide.

Charlotte would come back and open the scoring in the 31st minute. After a quick turnover, Kerwin Vargas put a quick ball in the box that was finished into the top corner by luri Tavares.

In the 41st minute Enzo Copetti broke through on a breakaway for Charlotte, but Yoehi Takaoka came up with a huge save to keep the 'Caps within a goal.

The 'Caps came back to tie it just before halftime. After a corner kick, Pedro Vite chipped in a terrific ball to Ryan Raposo who one-timed a low finish to draw the match level at 1-1.

The home side had the better of the play in the second half. Two chances came in quick succession after the 70th minute. First, a header from Javain Brown was just saved off the line by Charlotte goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina. Then, substitute Fafà Picault found the ball in the box before being denied by Kahlina.

Whitecaps FC continued pressing, but a winner wouldn't come as the two sides settled for a point apiece.

Next up for the 'Caps is a first road test of the season next Saturday, March 9 when they face San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. PT live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, and on AM730 radio.

Whitecaps FC are back at BC Place on Saturday, March 23 versus Real Salt Lake. Kickoff will be at 4:30 p.m. PT. For ticket information, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.

MATCH DETAILS

Attendance: 29,624
GE Appliances VWFC Player of Quality: Tristan Blackmon
Referee: Scott Bowman

Scoring Summary
25' - CLT - Iuri Tavares
45'+5 - VAN - Ryan Raposo (Pedro Vite)

Statistics
Possession: VAN 50% – CLT 50%
Shots: VAN 10 – CLT 8
Shots on Goal: VAN 6 – CLT 5
Saves: VAN 4 – CLT 5
Fouls: VAN 7 – CLT 11
Offsides: VAN 1 – CLT 0
Corners: VAN 5 – CLT 5

Cautions
44' - CLT - Ashley Westwood
57' - VAN - Andrés Cubas
61' - VAN - Tristan Blackmon
79' - CLT - Iuri Tavares

Vancouver Whitecaps FC1.Yohei Takaoka; 23.Javain Brown, 4.Ranko Veselinović, 6.Tristan Blackmon; 8.Alessandro Schöpf (16.Sebastian Berhalter 67'), 20.Andrés Cubas, 45.Pedro Vite (22.Ali Ahmed 77'), 7.Ryan Raposo (14.Luís Martins 78'); 19.Damir Kreilach (11.Fafà Picault 67'), 24.Brian White (28.Levonte Johnson 90'+4), 25.Ryan Gauld ©

Substitutes not used
32.Isaac Boehmer, 12.Belal Halbouni, 15.Bjørn Inge Utvik, 92.Jay Herdman

Charlotte FC1.Kristijan Kahlina; 14.Nathan Byrne, 21.Jere Uronen, 29.Adilson Malanda; 8.Ashley Westwood ©, 10.Brecht Dejaegere (33.Patrick Agyemang 70'), 30.Junior Urso, 34.Andrew Privett; 9.Enzo Copetti (37.Scott Arfield 83'), 18.Kerwin Vargas, 38.Iuri Tavares (27.Nimfasha Berchimas 83')

Substitutes not used
22.David Bingham, 6.Bill Tuiloma, 20.João Pedro, 23.Nikola Petkovic, 24.Jaylin Lindsey, 32.Hamady Diop