Cristian Techera and Chris Wondolowski traded goals at Avaya Stadium as Vancouver Whitecaps FC (15W-12L-4D) and the San Jose Earthquakes (12W-12L-8D) drew 1-1 on Saturday evening.
With the draw, the ‘Caps earn their 49th point to momentarily stay in second place in the Western Conference standings but will have to wait at least a few more days before they get another chance to clinch for their second straight MLS Cup Playoffs.
Head coach Carl Robinson made two changes to his XI from last Saturday’s match against New York City FC with right back Steven Beitashour in for Jordan Smith and striker Octavio Rivero in for Darren Mattocks. The ‘Caps also had a slight adjustment to their usual formation, with Kekuta Manneh positioned in the middle behind Rivero, while Mauro Rosales played on the right side.
The ‘Caps started the match on the front foot. In the fourth minute Jordan Harvey joined the attack on the left side and ripped a strike across face of goal but Quakes goalkeeper David Bingham dove and parried the attempt away.
On the other end, the Quakes got their first pair of half-chances from Wondoloski and Shea Salinas, however Tim Parker and Matias Laba were there for Vancouver to stymie the threats.
Rosales, who recorded a goal and an assist in the ‘Caps 3-1 win over San Jose last July 26, was active as well. The Argentinian midfielder placed a neat cross in the 14th minute but Harvey could not put enough behind the header. In the 26th minute, Rosales created another chance when he played a through ball to Kekuta Manneh, but the ensuing strike missed just wide left of the far post.
On 39 minutes, Techera would capitalize. After initially laying off the play while he situated himself onside, the Uruguayan winger possessed the ball in traffic inside the box and craftily evaded a pair of San Jose defenders, before launching a shot that deflected past the goalkeeper’s outstretched arms to put the ‘Caps ahead before halftime.
The home side, who entered the match a point outside of the playoff picture, would answer in the second half. After receiving a through ball over the top on the right side, Cordell Cato pushed forward and got a shot off. After making the initial save, Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted saw the ball get away from him as he tried to smother it. Wondolowski pounced on the rebound and put the ball into the back of the net to draw the match level in the 62nd minute.
Both sides had chances to edge ahead late in the match. First was San Jose striker Tommy Thompson, who was inserted for defender Marvell Wynne in the 74th minute to provide offence. Thompson found space along the left but Ousted was there to deal with the effort. On the Vancouver side, the visitors played the ball with pinpoint passing before Harvey’s attempt went straight into the Quakes goalkeeper’s gloves.
The ‘Caps had another glorious chance in the last minute of added time when Manneh and Techera got loose on a breakaway, but Bingham closed the gap before Manneh could shoot to thwart the ‘Caps hopes of clinching a playoff spot this weekend.
Whitecaps FC face a quick turnaround as they host FC Dallas at BC Place on Wednesday, October 7 – tickets are still available.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Cristian Techera
Referee: Sorin Stoica