The Vancouver Whitecaps drew FC Dallas 2-2 in their second such draw in a span of 8 days. Here’s our match review from that one, as the ‘Caps suffered some more late heartbreak once again.
After a nice recovery, it was a tough gut punch to take.
Having done so well to come back from down 1-0 to go up 2-1 in the first half, the Vancouver Whitecaps thought they’d snapped a 6-game winless run as they headed into the 90th minute of their road game against FC Dallas, with visions of 3 points in their eyes.
So for them to then give up a late Ranko Veselinovic own goal in the 93rd minute felt like a punch delivered by the heaviest of heavyweights, as it extended the ‘Caps winless run to 7 games.
On one hand, it was good to see the ‘Caps pick up points in back-to-back games for only the 2nd time this year, but on the other hand, they should’ve definitely found a way to head home with all 3 points.
But alas, that has been how the cookie has been crumbling for the Whitecaps as of late, so they now have to find a way to stop this run, putting them on the right track heading into the middle of the season.
Their season is far from over, but it’s starting to hang in the balance here, and lost points like the ones they saw slip away from them in this game has played a big role in that.
To start the game, however, Dallas appeared to get an early boost from their fans, as they came strong out of the gates. They nearly opened the scoring in the 8th minute, as Bryan Acosta tried to sneak in a free-kick from a tight angle, but his powerful strike was palmed out by ‘Caps goalkeeper, Maxime Crepeau.
Continuing on from that strong start, Dallas then had two excellent chances to open the scoring in the 12th minute, as their in-form youngster, Ricardo Pepi, managed to first pick up an excellent left-footed chance after a nice pass, before getting a nice shot off the rebound after Crepeau’s save on the initial shot. Then, despite that second point-blank chance, Crepeau stood strong to that attempt, as well, keeping the game at 0-0 with his heroics.
But while Crepeau managed to stand tall to those early efforts, he would be unable to do much on the eventual opener in the 23rd minute, as Jesus Ferreira managed to whip in a fantastic ball from out wide, and Pepi found a way to sneak between the ‘Caps centre back to meet it first, nodding home his team’s opener.
For the ‘Caps, it was a frustrating goal to concede, as they thought that they’d overcome the early storm, but unfortunately, they were unable to generate anything at the other end, while Dallas’s persistence in their end continued to be hard for them to deal with.
Almost miraculously, though, the Whitecaps then found a way to dig themselves out of the hole that they found themselves in. In the 31st minute, Cristian Dajome found a bit of space out wide, and he whipped in a dangerous ball, but one that fell right to Dallas’s Bressan, in a position where it looked like he’d be able to easily clear it.
Luckily for the Whitecaps, though, he’d somehow be unable to coordinate his legs to clear the ball, letting it roll to an unmarked Lucas Cavallini behind him, and from there, the ‘Caps DP made no mistake with the chance, cutting inside on his right foot and slamming home his 3rd of the season.
It might not have been the most deserved goal for the Whitecaps, both in terms of the state of the game and the goal itself, but they found a way to make their own luck on the goal, which isn’t something they’ve done enough of in 2021.
Then, inspired by that goal, they then almost found a way to pick up the lead a few minutes later in the 35th minute, as Cavallini found a way to snake through the Dallas backline, but he sent his curled shot just over the crossbar.
And then, spurred on by that late chance, the ‘Caps then found a way to claw the game back in their favour right at the end of the first half, as Deiber Caicedo stepped up to take a corner right at the 45th minute, and he delivered in a beauty, finding Andy Rose for a header to give the ‘Caps a 2-1 lead.
Was the lead deserved? Probably not, but the ‘Caps were full value for their two goals after going down 1 early, showing some good fighting spirit to rescue a game that could’ve easily gotten away from them.
Heading into the second half, it gave them the belief that they might be able to get the job done and bring home all 3 points, giving them their first road win of the season.
To do that, though, they needed to find a way to keep Dallas quiet for the next 45 minutes, which was going to be no easy task if they were going to keep pressuring the ‘Caps as they did for much of the first half.
That didn’t change to start the second, either, as Ferreira first came close with a chance from outside of the box in the 48th minute, before Pepi forced a nice block out of Rose in the 51st minute, giving the ‘Caps 2 early tests.
Then, they got their best chance to start the half in the 52nd minute, as Ryan Hollingshead got up highest to a nice cross in, and he sent a header right into the bottom corner, but Crepeau reacted nicely to his attempt, getting down quickly to get a hand to the shot, keeping his teams lead intact through 10 minutes of the 2nd stanza.
From there, the Dallas assault continued to rain down on the ‘Caps, as Acosta once again had a set-piece in a dangerous area in the 56th minute, but much like his attempt in the 1st half, Crepeau stood strong to the Honduran’s effort, doing well to punch his shot out. Less than a minute later, Dallas’s Tafari then had a chance to head home an effort after another nice cross to the back post, but his header would bounce off of the side of the net and out, once again bailing out the ‘Caps.
After that, however, the game settled down, which was bad news for Dallas, but great news for the ‘Caps, who started to comfortably defend their lead. Other than a few half-chances from Dallas that went to waste, the ‘Caps managed to make it to the 78th minute without much trouble, even finding a great chance via a nice Russell Teibert long shot right at the 79th-minute mark.
But then, Dallas continued to push, and with that, the ‘Caps lead disappeared, as Dallas found their breakthrough in the 93rd minute. After a dangerous ball in from a wide area, ‘Caps defenders Rose and Ranko Veselinovic crossed their signals at the near post, and the ball bounced off of Veselinovic and in for the own goal.
Luckily for the ‘Caps, they managed to hold onto the draw, despite some late chances from Pepi and second-half substitute Paxton Pomykal, but despite that, this has to feel like 2 points lost for them.
Having only won once in their last 16 road games, they continue to struggle to get the job done away from home, and that’s costing them valuable points in the push towards the playoffs, with this game being another example of that.
For a team that has spent so much time away from home with the pandemic, it feels harsh to point out, but that’s just the reality of this sport, as they need to find a way to get results in these sorts of games if they want to start making the playoffs on a consistent basis.
Player of the Match: Maxime Crepeau
While it’s been hard to pick a player of the game these last few matches, there was no doubt about who Sunday’s standout performer was, as Maxime Crepeau was electric in goal for the ‘Caps.
With several five-alarm saves, he kept his team in the game both when they were trailing and when they had the lead, playing a huge role in their ability to bring home a crucial road point.
For a ‘Caps team that had only picked up 1 point in their previous 6 games before this one, it was a needed performance from one of their stars, who showed why he was the team’s MVP in 2019.
Now, it’s going to be interesting to see how the ‘Caps cope without him for the next few games, as he’ll depart the team to rejoin Canada for the Gold Cup, meaning that he’ll likely miss at least 3 matches while representing his country.
For the ‘Caps, it’ll be a bittersweet honour to see him start at that tournament, as they’ll certainly wish that he’d stick around for their next run of games, but they’ll know that this is a deserved honour for their man Between The Sticks.
BTSVancity Player to Watch: Lucas Cavallini
Otherwise, we picked Crepeau’s lone Gold Cup ‘Caps teammate, Cavallini, as our player to watch in this game, and he certainly lived up to that title, putting up an entertaining performance up front for the Whitecaps.
From his goal, which proved to be a vital equalizer, to a pedantic yellow card that stood as his 5th of the year, earning him a suspension in the process, he was certainly a player to watch on Sunday, for both good and bad reasons.
Luckily for the ‘Caps, the good mostly outweighed the bad, as he played a pivotal role in his team’s ability to grab a vital road point, but he does need to find a way to avoid getting himself into the referee’s book so often, as his team needs him on the field, not in the stands.
Heatmap of the Match:
Moving onto the heatmap section, it was an okay performance from the ‘Caps in this department, as they did control a lot of the ball in good areas, but one of the important areas they failed to get into was Dallas’s final third, which is one of the more important ones.
Defensively, they just sat back too much, inviting Dallas into dangerous areas, and that proved to be costly, as the late goal showed.
So overall, while it wasn’t the worst heatmap we’ve ever seen, it was indicative of the ‘Caps struggles on the evening, helping explain the result.
xG Plot of the Match:
And much like with the heat map, the xG plot also helps explain what happened quite well, as the ‘Caps were actually in a pretty good position until they sat back after their 2nd goal.
Having done so well to snatch back the lead, they had no reason to do that, and it arguably played a role in their eventual demise.
So now, the ‘Caps will head back to Utah to take on their hosts at their ‘home-away-from home’, Real Salt Lake, in what is officially designated as a ‘home’ game for the Whitecaps.
After that, they’ll get 10 days off thanks to the Gold Cup, allowing them to hit a mini-reset button before a busy rest of July for them.
The bad news is that they’ll likely be without the likes of Cavallini and Crepeau for a good chunk of those games, but if there’s to be a silver lining, it’s worth noting that there’s a chance they return to BC earlier than anticipated, as soon as July 17th for their home game against the LA Galaxy.
There are still a lot of details to work out before then, but that there is even that possibility is positive, as this side certainly could use a bit of good news to pick them up.
Unfortunately, though, this game just didn’t provide that for them, leaving them to rue missed chances away once again, leaving them at the bottom of the Western Conference through 11 games.
Up Next: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Real Salt Lake, Wednesday, July 7th, 2021, 19:00 PDT, 22:00 EDT (Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy)