VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact served up a 0-0 draw at BC Place on Wednesday evening, in what was at times a fairly lackluster encounter in both sides' first game back after Major League Soccer's World Cup break.
There was little of the World Cup excitement on display in an all-Canadian clash that never really reached the heights hoped for on such occasions, with both teams looking a little rusty after more than two weeks off.
Montreal hit the woodwork twice, and Vancouver once, in a livelier second half but neither team could find the crucial breakthrough and had to settle for a share of the points.
The draw sees Vancouver (5-2-7) extend their unbeaten streak in MLS to eight games and move into a three-way battle of third place teams on 22 points in the Western Conference, alongside Colorado and Dallas. Montreal (2-7-5) stay rooted to the foot of the Eastern Conference, seven points out of the playoff places.
Montreal looked the more dangerous side in a first half devoid of any real chances, with the teams mustering just three shots on target between them. The visitors were happy to sit deep and hit on the break, as Vancouver controlled possession but couldn't get their fast-paced attacking engine out of first gear.
It was a livelier start to the second half and the Whitecaps continued to run without finding any way through an Impact defense that had a fairly comfortable evening.
Montreal came close to taking the lead in the 76th minute when Maxim Tissot's looping effort crashed off the bar, but Vancouver responded in kind when Carlyle Mitchell flicked a header goalbound from a corner. Impact 'keeper Troy Perkins' sprawling save fell to Jordan Harvey and the left back crashed a shot off his own off the crossbar.
The woodwork came to the Whitecaps' rescue again in the 83rd minute when Jack McInerney headed a free kick off the right post, with Ousted rooted to the spot.
Vancouver now go on the road for a crucial Western Conference clash at Colorado on Saturday, in a game which could have big implications on the final playoff places come the end of the season. Montreal head home for an all-Eastern Conference clash with Houston Dynamo on Sunday evening.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Troy Perkins||Wasn't terribly busy on the whole, but made some important second-half saves to guarantee the Impact a valuable clean sheet and road point|
|2||Carlyle Mitchell||The young Trinidadian deputized superbly at right back. His attacking play could've been stronger, but he barely put a foot wrong on defense|
|3||David Ousted||What Perkins did in the second half, Ousted did in the first, with no save more impressive than his twisting stop on a deflected shot just minutes into the game|