BRIDGEVIEW, IL - Vancouver Whitecaps FC continued their preseason winning ways as they defeated Chicago Fire FC 3-2 on a wet Saturday at SeatGeek Stadium.
It was the first of two matches for the 'Caps on Saturday, as they also play USL Championship side Indy Eleven at 12 p.m. PT with what's expected to be a younger lineup.
In their first match of the preseason against MLS opposition, both teams scored within the first 10 minutes of action before the 'Caps were able to pull away thanks in part to a Lucas Cavallini brace.
Whitecaps FC didn’t wait long to open the scoring as Cristian Dájome poked the ball away from a defender at midfield and raced down the pitch. With no defenders in front of him, Dájome slotted the ball past a rushing Bobby Shuttleworth at the edge of the box to give the ‘Caps an early advantage in the fifth minute.
Not long after, however, a giveaway and foul in the box led to a Fire equalizer via a converted Robert Berić penalty in the ninth minute of play.
After some back-and-forth play, a pressing Vancouver attack led to a Leonard Owusu corner in the 29th minute. Sending the in-swinging ball into the box, an elevating Cavallini headed the corner just inside the far post to give Whitecaps FC a 2-1 advantage heading into halftime.
While a chippy second half saw a more energized Chicago attack, it would be Cavallini again increasing the 'Caps lead. Following a foul on a fast-breaking Dájome in the hour mark, the ‘Caps had a free kick set up just outside the right corner of the box. Stepping up to the ball, Cavallini nestled the left-footed, curling free kick perfectly into the top right corner of the net beating a diving Shuttleworth.
With the masterful free kick, Cavallini’s brace gave the visiting 'Caps a 3-1 edge over the Fire, a lead that would take a hit after a Francisco Calvo headed goal in the 79th minute, but ultimately give Vancouver the victory following a solid outing from Maxime Crépeau and the defensive backline despite an onslaught of Chicago shots to end the match.
The 'Caps open their season on Sunday, April 18 when they host rival Portland Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. live on TSN and AM730.
INJURY UPDATE: Owusu exited the match in the first half with a right hamstring injury.
Marc Dos Santos speaks to me about the positives he saw on the pitch in the #VWFC 3-2 victory over @ChicagoFire. Only negative - the Owusu's injury which pulled him out of the match early on. pic.twitter.com/eaxQrQVy10— Sarita Patel - 'Caps Club Reporter (@VWFC_reporter) April 10, 2021
5' - VAN - Cristian Dajome
9' - CHI - Robert Berić (penalty kick)
30' - VAN - Lucas Cavallini (Leonard Owusu)
60' - VAN - Lucas Cavallini
78' - CHI - Francisco Calvo (Mauricio Pineda)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
16.Maxime Crepeau; 28.Jake Nerwinski, 4.Ranko Veselinovic, 15.Andy Rose, 3.Cristian Gutierrez; 7.Deiber Caicedo (57.Amir Batyrev* 71'), 19.Janio Bikel, 17.Leonard Owusu (27.Ryan Raposo 33'), 31.Russell Teibert; 11.Cristian Dajome (14.Theo Bair 71'), 9.Lucas Cavallini
Substitutes not used
1.Thomas Hasal, 92.Jay Herdman*
*BMO Academy System player