VANCOUVER, BC – Three days after making history in the CONCACAF Champions League, Vancouver Whitecaps FC played to a scoreless draw with Philadelphia Union on Sunday night in their Major League Soccer regular season opener at BC Place.
It was a composed defensive performance from the ‘Caps, who will be happy to have kept a clean sheet in their second straight outing. At the other end of the park, the Union proved difficult to break down despite some more sizzle from 16-year-old Alphonso Davies, who wowed the crowd of 19,083 with some exciting runs down the flanks.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson freshened up his lineup with five changes after Thursday’s historic Champions League win over New York Red Bulls.
Notably, centre back Christian Dean drew into the lineup in place of the suspended Kendall Waston, making his first MLS appearance since August 2015 after missing all of last season due to injury. And Dean did not put a foot wrong, earning Budweiser Man of the Match honours.
Newcomer Sheanon Williams also replaced Jake Nerwinski at right back to make his Whitecaps FC MLS debut – against one of his former teams, no less.
The new-look ‘Caps back line, which also featured Tim Parker and Jordan Harvey, looked solid from the get go. Aside from a Fabinho cross from the left that Harvey cleared at the back post in the 16th minute, Philly didn’t have much of a sniff in a cagey opening frame.
Vancouver looked a little more dangerous at the other end of the park, with Davies flying up and down the left flank. Davies, in fact, helped set up the best chance of the first half in the 25th minute. The 16-year-old cut in from the left and picked out Cristian Techera, who played a quick one-two with Erik Hurtado before firing a low strike wide from the centre of the box.
The Union had a couple breaks early in the second half, but Whitecaps FC came closest to breaking the deadlock on a 66th-minute corner. Techera provided the service from the left and Harvey connected on a volley at the penalty spot, but Union right back Keegan Rosenberry kept the score level with a superb goalline block.
Robinson brought on newcomers Brek Shea and Fredy Montero just before the hour-mark, and Nicolas Mezquida a little later, as the ‘Caps pushed for a late winner. But it was not to be.
Next up for Whitecaps FC is a trip to San Jose for their first road match of the 2017 MLS regular season next Saturday at Avaya Stadium (7 p.m. PT – TSN 1/3 and TSN 1410 radio). The ‘Caps will then make the trip to Monterrey, Mexico for the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals vs. Tigres UANL on Tuesday, March 14.
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 $200.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Christian Dean
Referee: Sorin Stoica
Possession: Vancouver 45.4 % – Philadelphia 54.6%
Shots: Vancouver 12 – Philadelphia 7
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 1 – Philadelphia 5
Saves: Vancouver 5 – Philadelphia 0
Fouls: Vancouver 9 – Philadelphia 12
Offsides: Vancouver 2 – Philadelphia 1
Corners: Vancouver 2 – Philadelphia 3
55’ – VAN – Matias Laba
80’ – PHI – Fabian Herbers
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 25.Sheanon Williams, 26.Tim Parker, 22.Christian Dean 2.Jordan Harvey ©; 13.Cristian Techera (11.Nicolás Mezquida 77’), 15.Matías Laba, 8.Andrew Jacobson, 67.Alphonso Davies; 23.Kekuta Manneh (12.Fredy Montero 59’), 19.Erik Hurtado (20.Brek Shea 59’)
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 28.Jake Nerwinski, 31.Russell Teibert, 77.Mauro Rosales
18.Andre Blake; 12.Keegan Rosenberry, 5.Oguchi Onyewu, 16.Richie Marquez, 33.Fabinho; 6.Haris Medunjanin, 21.Derrick Jones; 14.Fabian Herbers, 11.Alejandro Bedoya ©, 13.Chris Pontius (22.Fabrice-Jean Picault 71’); 27.Jay Simpson (17.C.J. Sapong 61’)
Substitutes not used
23.John McCarthy, 2.Warren Creavalle, 4.Ken Tribbett, 10.Roland Alberg, 28.Raymon Gaddis