VANCOUVER, BC – Those Whitecaps FC centre backs sure love their back heels.
Just four days after Pa-Modou Kah stole the show in Seattle, Tim Parker scored a back-heel volley on a 61st-minute corner Wednesday night at BC Place.
Unfortunately for the 19,683 fans in attendance, however, this time Seattle Sounders FC (CCL: 0W-0L-1D) came back to earn a 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC (CCL: 0W-0L-1D) in the club’s first-ever CONCACAF Champions League match.
"It's important that we didn't lose," Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson told reporters. "We didn't play great. Sometimes that happens when you make that many changes. I'll accept that, but we got our noses in front. Unfortunately, we switched off at a vital moment and let them back in with a bad goal, but I think it was probably a fair result."
Robinson fielded a young lineup composed of 11 different players after Saturday’s 3-0 win over Seattle, which wasn’t a big surprise considering Vancouver’s busy schedule this month. Seattle took a similar approach, resting the likes of Clint Dempsey and Chad Marshall.
"It was important I got these guys games with the busy schedule we've got coming up," Robinson said. "The group of players in the first team at the moment wouldn't be able to cope with eight games in a month ... we'll take the point at home but we would have liked three."
Vancouver’s starting lineup had an average age of just over 23 years old, but there was some experience in the team. Notably, Canadian midfielder Russell Teibert and captain Pedro Morales both returned to the starting lineup for the first time since early June.
Aside from a few half-chances from Seattle in the early stages, there wasn’t much between the two teams in the first half. Both sides struggled to generate much in the final third – or any sort of sustained pressure.
The visiting Sounders looked the more likely side to score, however, and they came close in the 35th minute when Andy Rose headed a pinpoint Aaron Kovar cross just over the goal. But it was the only real opportunity from either team in the opening 45 minutes.
It took them a little while, but Vancouver started to come on a bit around the hour-mark. In the 61st minute, Morales sent a perfect ball over the top to Erik Hurtado, who chested it down before seeing his left-footed attempt stopped by a sprawling Troy Perkins.
Moments later, the ‘Caps took the lead off a Morales corner.
The Chilean found Parker at the near post and the rookie flicked it in with a back-heel volley to give Whitecaps FC the advantage. The goal, Parker’s first as a professional and for the club, marked the third straight match Vancouver have scored on a set piece.
Unfortunately for the home faithful, the lead didn’t last long. Seattle got on the board in the 72nd minute through Lamar Neagle, who banged in a Rose cross at the near post to level the score.
And despite a late spark from substitutes Robert Earnshaw, Marco Bustos and Sam Adekugbe, that’s how this Group F opener would end.
Whitecaps FC continue CCL group play on September 16, when they host Honduran side CD Olimpia at BC Place. Meanwhile, the Western Conference-leading ‘Caps return to MLS action this Saturday against Real Salt Lake – kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT and tickets are still available.
REMAINING GROUP F SCHEDULE
- August 19: Seattle Sounders FC vs. CD Olimpia at CenturyLink Field
- August 26: CD Olimpia vs. Seattle Sounders FC at Estadio Tiburcio Carías Andino
- September 16: Whitecaps FC vs. CD Olimpia at BC Place
- September 23: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Whitecaps FC at CenturyLink Field
- October 22: CD Olimpia vs. Whitecaps FC at Estadio Tiburcio Carías Andino
Referee: Luis Santander
Man of the Match: Tim Parker
61’ – VAN – Tim Parker (Pedro Morales)
72’ – SEA – Lamar Neagle (Andy Rose)
Shots: Vancouver 7 – Seattle 12
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 2 – Seattle 5
Fouls: Vancouver 12 – Seattle 16
Offsides: Vancouver 2 – Seattle 1
Corners: Vancouver 2 – Seattle 8
58’ – SEA – Chad Barrett
73’ – SEA – Michael Azira
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
70.Paolo Tornaghi; 27.Ethen Sampson, 26.Tim Parker, 18.Diego Rodriguez, 22.Christian Dean; 20.Deybi Flores, 31.Russell Teibert; 19.Erik Hurtado (32.Marco Bustos 77'), 77.Pedro Morales (88.Robert Earnshaw 65’), 38.Kianz Froese (3.Sam Adekugbe 70’); 11.Darren Mattocks
Substitutes not used
1.David Ousted, 2.Jordan Harvey, 23.Kekuta Manneh, 28.Gershon Koffie
Seattle Sounders FC
1.Troy Perkins; 91.Oniel Fisher, 3.Brad Evans, 20.Zach Scott, 15.Dylan Remick; 5.Andy Rose, 42.Michael Azira, 7.Cristian Roldan, 11.Aaron Kovar (18.Thomas 74'); 27.Lamar Neagle (17.Darwin Jones 87'), 19.Chad Barrett (28.Erik Friberg 79')
Substitutes not used
24.Stefan Frei, 8.Gonzalo Pineda, 13.Andres Correa, 21.Jimmy Ockford
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