Whitecaps angry after settling for 1-1 draw with Dallas

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps came in to Saturday’s match against FC Dallas searching for their first win of the Major League Soccer season, but it failed to materialize after a 1-1 draw.

Vancouver has previously taken the lead in its first two regular-season matches of the season only to fall behind.

This time, it was their turn to go behind first after a deep cross in the fifth minute found a rising Sebastien Ibeagha who glanced a header beyond Vancouver’s goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka.

“I think we should be pissed, we should be frustrated, we should be angry because if we say we should be happy with a point we have the wrong mentality because we should have won,” said Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini after Saturday's result at BC Place.

Vancouver should have had five points at this time, instead of their solitary one, Sartini added.

Despite a 5-0 hammering of their CONCACAF Champions League opponents Real CD Espana mid-week, the Whitecaps have struggled to convert chances in regular season MLS matches.

Coming in to the game, Vancouver had fallen 2-1 to both Real Salt Lake and the San Jose Earthquakes.

“It’s a matter of being clinical. I know those guys will score their goals this season. It will come as long as we keep being able to produce those chances that we are,” midfielder Julian Gressel said after the match.

It was the first goal of Ibeagha’s career and FC Dallas nearly had a second moments later when an onrushing attacker was denied by the Whitecaps goalkeeper.

The Whitecaps (0-2-1) found an equalizer after a deep throw-in from Jervain Brown filtered through a packed 18 yard box was turned in by Dallas’ Paul Arriola in the 34th minute.

“We practised that. … We just have to execute it like we did and get goals,” Brown said.

Despite pressure throughout the second half, Vancouver couldn’t find a way to get a ball past Dallas’ goalkeeper Maarten Paes.

Striker Brian White was denied by two big saves from Paes in the first half while Ryan Gauld fired his own attempt just wide shortly after the start of the second half.

“I think we had a very good game,” said Dallas head coach Nico Estevez. “I think we should have been more aggressive and determined to score a second goal.”

Vancouver started to exert more pressure with the introduction of Venezuelan striker Sergio Cordova at the half.

Cordova was a marquee signing in the off-season, arriving from German Bundesliga side FC Augsburg after spending last season on loan with Real Salt Lake where he scored a team-leading 11 goals.

Cordova was inches away from finding the end of a diagonal cross from Ranko Veselinovic just before the end of the match to snatch the winner but it just eluded the tip of his boot.

“He’s a guy that brings a lot to our team. A lot of power up front, a lot of danger I think. He almost scares defenders a little bit I feel like and that’s something pretty good to have,” Gressel said.

The Caps are next in action on Wednesday in Honduras for the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League matchup with Real CD Espana before a quick turnaround to play the L.A. Galaxy on Saturday.

Vancouver hammered their Honduran opponents 5-0 in the first leg and Gressel said the team has one goal when playing the second leg.

“Well in Honduras, (our aim) is to advance. We’re up 5-0 and that’s obviously a very good cushion to have,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 11, 2023.

Nick Wells, The Canadian Press