Vancouver Whitecaps FC thought they were going to win their first game of the 2019 MLS regular season on Friday, but a penalty dashed those hopes as they played the Chicago Fire to a 1-1 draw at SeatGeek Stadium.
In spite of the Fire controlling the play from the start, Vancouver took the lead and found an immediate boost, as the teams split possession in the final 35 minutes of the match, battling for a result. In the end, Chicago were able to share the spoils.
The Whitecaps took the lead completely against the run of play in the 53rd minute, as Fire goalkeeper David Ousted overran a floating cross and pushed the ball into the path of Yordy Reyna, who shot it into the open net.
It looked like Vancouver would hold on for their first win but Doneil Henry was called for a handball following Video Review and Nemanja Nikolic tied up the game for the Fire from the penalty spot in the 84th minute. Maxime Crepeau then made a game-saving save for the Whitecaps four minutes later from point blank range to keep the game tied.
- THE BIG PICTURE: The result was probably fair to both sides, even if Chicago controlled large swathes of the match but lacked a finishing touch. Both teams could have used a victory here, especially the Whitecaps, whose winless start to the season now stretches to six games.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The late penalty call and goal swung the result, but the opener really got the game, which had been pretty sleepy before that, going at full tilt.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Fire left back Jeremiah Gutjahr has gotten off to a quietly strong debut to his MLS career this season, and put in a good two-way shift on the night.