With 45 minutes gone and a 1-0 lead in the books against FC Dallas, Vancouver Whitecaps FC looked like they were headed for their first win since their season opener.
But the story is never written until the final whistle goes off and, instead of walking away with their second notch in their win column, Vancouver suffered their first loss at home, falling 2-1 to FC Dallas at Empire Field.
It was the first time the ‘Caps failed to register a point after taking the lead. Against New England Revolution on April 6, Whitecaps FC also let a late lead slip in a 1-1 draw, but that was with only nine men on the field.
“I think maybe we were a little bit in two minds,” said Terry Dunfield, who's serving as captain while Jay DeMerit remains out of action. “Some of us were pressing and others were dropping off and, unfortunately, Dallas were able to pick us apart.
“It’s difficult when you concede [on set pieces] and, unfortunately in that second half, we didn’t have that skip to our step."
Vancouver took the lead in the 25th minute when defender Alain Rochat nodded home a Davide Chiumiento cross. They carried the 1-0 lead into the second half, but shortly after the restart, the ‘Caps conceded off of an FC Dallas corner kick in the 53rd minute. That earned the ire of Whitecaps FC head coach Teitur Thordarson.
“I’m very frustrated with it because we have let in a few of them and we have been training on them,” said Thordarson in regard to giving up a goal on a set piece. “That comes down to individual responsibility - it’s not a team problem.”
A strong first half looked to have Vancouver on their way to three points, especially after the home side got a lucky break when reigning MLS MVP David Ferreira uncharacteristically missed a penalty kick.
However, the ‘Caps came out flat for the second 45 and failed to put the game away. FC Dallas' Eric Avila found some space in the 83rd minute and rifled home to give his team the win.
“It’s definitely not good,” said Thordarson. “I thought we would manage to keep up the pace in the second half, as we did in the first half. I felt that we had quite a good first half and was very much looking forward to the second half, but unfortunately, that didn’t go the way I’d hoped."
“It’s not normal that we give away a game after being up 1-0 at home,” added midfielder Chiumiento. “We lose a game like this, we need to start to really look at our team. Everyone must take responsibility. I don’t know what to say. It’s just bad with the mistakes and we paid in the end.”
The loss is frustrating for Whitecaps FC, but they’ll be looking to put the result in the rearview mirror, as they face a quick turnaround. Vancouver will head to Quebec to play the North American Soccer League’s Montreal Impact in the first leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship semifinals on Wednesday.