ORLANDO, FL – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (1W-0L-1D) remain undefeated to begin the 2021 Major League Soccer season thanks to a thrilling 2-2 draw with Toronto FC (0W-1L-1D) at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, FL on Saturday afternoon.
Toronto opened the scoring seven minutes in as young centre back Luke Singh scored his first professional goal after pouncing on a loose ball in the area.
After TFC took the lead, the ‘Caps showed promising signs going forward as they searched for the equalizer. Cristian Dájome came close to tying the scoreboard after Lucas Cavallini sent him in behind the TFC backline, but the Colombian couldn’t beat goalkeeper Alex Bono at the far post.
The ‘Caps would get another chance to equalize at the 41st-minute mark when Dájome sent Deiber Caicedo through on goal, forcing a save from Bono before halftime.
Just like last week, the ‘Caps came out of the halftime break full of energy. In the 54th minute, Dájome played a quick free kick to Cavallini, who drove into the TFC penalty area and drew the foul from Canadian international teammate Richie Laryea to give the ‘Caps the chance to equalize from the spot.
As he did in preseason, Dájome stepped up and calmly slotted home his first goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1.
The ‘Caps continued to press forward on the offensive, creating some decent half chances around the TFC penalty area.
In the 70th minute, the ‘Caps would find the breakthrough as Cristian Gutiérrez whipped in a delightful ball to the back post for Andy Rose to head home his first of the season to give the ‘Caps the lead. Gutiérrez also captured his second assist of the season, tied for most among defenders in MLS.
After a mix-up in the box in the 83rd minute, TFC midfielder Jonathan Osorio was able to force home the equalizer for the Eastern Conference side, setting up a tense, final few minutes.
The ‘Caps had two close chances in added time to secure the three points through second-half sub Ryan Raposo and centre back Ranko Veselinovic but neither could find the back of the net, leaving the ‘Caps with a point to take back to Utah.
Unbeaten in two matches, the ‘Caps now head back to Utah to prepare for a Western Conference clash against the Colorado Rapids next Sunday, May 2. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. PT live on TSN1/3 and AM730.
ADDITIONAL NOTES: Prior to the match, Whitecaps FC paid tribute to Dani Hoult, one of the first ‘Caps Kid Captains who passed earlier this week. The team honoured her by bringing out a crested jersey and holding it up in their starting XI photo. Head coach Marc Dos Santos also wore an armband as part of the tribute... Russell Teibert made his 142nd MLS regular season start for the ‘Caps, tying former goalkeeper David Ousted for second-most all-time... Jake Nerwinski made his 100th start across all competitions for the ‘Caps... Offseason signings Caio Alexandre and Bruno Gaspar made their Whitecaps FC debuts as second-half substitutes.
GE Appliances VWFC Player of Quality: Cristián Gutiérrez
Referee: Jair Marrufo
7’ – TOR – Luke Singh
55’ – VAN – Cristian Dájome (penalty kick)
70’ – VAN – Andy Rose (Cristián Gutiérrez)
83’ – TOR – Jonathan Osorio
Possession: TOR 52.5% – VAN 47.5%
Shots: TOR 12 – VAN 8
Shots on Goal: TOR 5 – VAN 6
Saves: TOR 4 – VAN 3
Fouls: TOR 13 – VAN 9
Corners: TOR 7 – VAN 5
6’ – VAN – Cristián Gutiérrez
64’ – TOR – Michael Bradley
70’ – TOR – Omar Gonzalez
25.Alex Bono; 22.Richie Laryea, 44.Omar Gonzalez, 26.Luke Singh, 96.Auro Jr (24.Jacob Shaffelburg 61’); 4.Michael Bradley ©, 14.Noble Okello (20.Ayo Akinola 78’); 8.Marky Delgado, 18.Nick DeLeon (21.Jonathan Osorio 61’), 11.Jayden Nelson (2.Justin Morrow 46’); 13.Patrick Mullins (17.Jozy Altidore 61’)
Substitutes not used
16.Quentin Westberg, 3.Eriq Zavaleta, 19.Griffin Dorsey, 31.Tsubasa Endoh
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
16.Maxime Crépeau; 28.Jake Nerwinski, 4.Ranko Veselinović, 15.Andy Rose, 3.Cristián Gutiérrez; 7.Déiber Caicedo (13.Derek Cornelius 87’), 19.Janio Bikel (8.Caio Alexandre 75’), 55.Michael Baldisimo (6.Bruno Gaspar 87’), 31.Russell Teibert ©; 11.Cristian Dájome (27.Ryan Raposo 90’+4‘), 9.Lucas Cavallini
Substitutes not used
1.Thomas Hasal, 12.Evan Newton, 14.Theo Bair, 23.Javain Brown, 32.Patrick Metcalfe