Vancouver Whitecaps FC (15W-12L-5D) clinched a berth in the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs after playing to a scoreless draw with rival FC Dallas (15W-10L-4D) on Wednesday night at BC Place.
It was a tense match from start to finish between two evenly-matched teams.
A goal simply wasn’t in the cards, however. Budweiser Man of the Match David Ousted made four saves en route to his 12th clean sheet of the season, which is tied for the league-high.
With two matches remaining, the ‘Caps remain third in the Western Conference with 50 points – that matches their club record in MLS.
FC Dallas and LA Galaxy sit first and second respectively with 51 points apiece.
You could sense the enormity of this one in the early going.
There wasn’t a whole lot of space out there either way. Russell Teibert, who drew into the starting lineup in place of Gershon Koffie, did a good job limiting Mauro Diaz’s impact on the game. And rookie centre back Tim Parker looked steady as usual.
At the other end, Dallas proved difficult to break down in their own right. It was a cagey first half, but both sides still managed to create some decent chances.
For Whitecaps FC, a lively Octavio Rivero came close on a pair of early headers, including one that looped onto the top of the crossbar in the 13th minute. Pa-Modou Kah also got on the end of a Mauro Rosales corner in the 19th minute only to see Kellyn Acosta head it away.
Dallas, meanwhile, looked a threat on the counter and forced Ousted into a couple tricky saves – one on Diaz in the 20th minute and one on Ryan Hollingshead in the 25th.
After an early second-half chance from Rosales, who was one of Vancouver’s liveliest players going forward, Ousted came up big again for the ‘Caps. This time, he made a fantastic diving stop on a David Texeira strike from the top of the six-yard box to keep the score level.
Both sides had some late chances – FC Dallas substitute Blas Perez came within inches of scoring in the 90th minute – but there would be no winner on this night.
This was just Vancouver’s second scoreless draw this season.
It wasn’t the result Whitecaps FC wanted, but it was the result they needed to clinch their second straight playoff berth and third in five years.
Whitecaps FC and FC Dallas will meet again a week from today at Toyota Stadium (6 p.m. PT on TSN). The ‘Caps will then conclude the regular season at home against Houston Dynamo on October 25.
Budweiser Man of the Match: David Ousted
Referee: Ismail Elfath