VANCOUVER, BC – It was an old-fashioned barn burner at BC Place.
And that doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8W-8L-5D) and Orlando City SC (4W-5L-10D) played to a thrilling 2-2 draw on Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd. It was a match that had just about everything, including some highlight-reel saves, a missed penalty, and a Major League Soccer debut for 15-year-old Alphonso Davies.
Nicolas Mezquida and Budweiser Man of the Match Masato Kudo provided the scoring for Vancouver with a pair of headers, their second goals of the season, while Julio Baptista and Canadian international Cyle Larin found the back of the net for Orlando.
"I think we have to happy to take a point, because we didn’t play very well," said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson, whose team was playing their third game in a week. "We didn’t impose ourselves the way we did, or have done, this season at times. When you don’t play well, I think it’s important to get something out of the game. So, we will take the point.”
There was all sorts of action in this one at both ends of the pitch.
The ‘Caps got things started in the second minute, when Kudo sent in a low cross that was just out of the reach of a lunging Mezquida. Orlando responded with a quality chance of their own a few minutes later, as Kevin Molino fired a first-time strike just wide from the top of the box.
It was easy to see this was going to be an end-to-end affair.
To their credit, Orlando looked the more dangerous side in the early going and took a deserved lead in the 14th minute. After a nice build-up, Baptista hit a first-time strike from the top of the box that appeared to take a slight deflection before trickling through the legs of David Ousted.
After a few nervy moments in front of their own goal, the ‘Caps got their equalizer in the 35th minute. The play started with some fine work by Andrew Jacobson, who did well to win the ball in midfield before poking a cheeky little throughball to Christian Bolaños. The Costa Rican followed suit with some trickery of his own, which led to a clear-cut Kudo strike in front of goal.
Joe Bendik made a fine save, but Mezquida headed in the rebound to level the score.
The ‘Caps then took the lead just before the break through Kudo, who was making his second straight start after returning from a broken jaw. The Japanese striker put Whitecaps FC ahead with a diving header at the back post, converting a pinpoint Pedro Morales free kick.
But this one was far from over.
Orlando brought the score level at 2-2 in the 50th minute, when Larin headed in a Molino cross at the back post, and they nearly took the lead shortly later after Baptista drew a PK. Much to the delight of the home crowd, however, Baptista fired his penalty attempt high and wide.
From there, it was all Vancouver.
The ‘Caps had all sorts of chances in the final half hour, forcing Bendik into a pair of big saves on another diving Kudo header as well as a close-range Mezquida attempt after Kendall Waston chested down a free kick.
Ousted would have the biggest save of the night, however. That came in the 88th minute, when he denied a David Mateos header with a fantastic reaction stop on the goalline.
A winner just wasn’t in the cards for either side, though it wasn't for a lack of effort.
Next up for Whitecaps FC is an international friendly with English Premier League club and FA Cup finalist Crystal Palace FC on Tuesday night at BC Place (7 p.m. PT – tickets still available).
MCMILLAN ‘CAPS CORNER KICK DONATIONS
For every ‘Caps corner kick at home, McMillan donates $100 to the United Way. An additional $500 is donated for every goal scored off a corner kick. This match McMillan Corners for Kids has donated $600 for a running total of $8,500.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Masato Kudo
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
14’ – ORL – Julio Baptista (Luke Boden)
35’ – VAN – Nicolas Mezquida
43’ – VAN – Masato Kudo (Pedro Morales)
50’ – ORL – Cyle Larin (Kevin Molino, Darwin Ceren)
Possession: Vancouver 47.9 % – Orlando 52.1 %
Shots: Vancouver 14 – Orlando 12
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 4 – Orlando 5
Saves: Vancouver 2 – Orlando 2
Fouls: Vancouver 17 – Orlando 9
Offsides: Vancouver 1 – Orlando 1
Corners: Vancouver 6 – Orlando 6
69’ – ORL – Servando Carrasco
90’ + 2’ – VAN – Andrew Jacobson
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 6.Jordan Smith, 4.Kendall Waston, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 17.Andrew Jacobson, 15.Matías Laba (13.Cristian Techera 63’); 7.Christian Bolaños, 11.Nicolás Mezquida (67.Alphonso Davies 77’), 77.Pedro Morales ©; 9.Masato Kudo (19.Erik Hurtado 83’)
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 14.Cole Seiler, 30.Ben McKendry, 33.Marcel de Jong
Orlando City SC
1.Joe Bendik; 12.Kevin Alston, 3.Seb Hines ©, 44.David Mateos, 14.Luke Boden; 17.Darwin Ceren, 5.Servando Carrasco; 13.Hadji Barry (22.Antonio Nocerino 84’), 19.Julio Baptista (7.Cristian Higuita 79’), 18.Kevin Molino; 9.Cyle Larin
Substitutes not used
36.Earl Edwards, 2.Tyler Turner, 16.Devron Garcia, 23.Conor Donovan
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