Vancouver Whitecaps FC might have needed a fortunate late penalty converted by Lucas Cavallini in second-half stoppage time to secure a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas on Wednesday night at BC Place.

But on the balance of play, Vancouver manager Vanni Sartini finished the evening confident his team had deserved the precious three points they’d earned to close a three-match homestand.

He pointed to the nature of Paul Arriola’s go-ahead goal for Dallas, one that came against the run of play where the US men's national team winger was able to take advantage of miscues from the Whitecaps defense.

He also lauded the nature of his team’s response against an opponent that was unbeaten in its last nine league matches (6W,3D).

“I think we've been the best team the entire game,” Sartini said afterward. “We made a terrible mistake on the goal, and talking about that we were the best team and it was a fact. It was a fact that we were the best team. So we keep have to keep pushing to be a little more intense, and we did.

“I think we could have done much better in the final third. I think we had a lot of crosses where we could have attacked the space much better. But I was very pleased even if we didn't score at the end. To be honest, we made a gift to them for the first goal, they made a gift to us for the 2-1."

Brian White leveled the match with his second goal of the season in the 71st minute. Cavallini converted his penalty for his team-leading third goal after center back Ranko Veselinovic was fouled by Edwin Cerrillo.

Cavallini hammered in a confident penalty that helped Vancouver close their homestand with seven points from nine possible.

“It shows the resiliency of the team and how good we are mentally and physically at the moment,” Sartini said. “But again, I would love to have a game where we are 2-0 at the end of the first half, and maybe we manage the second half. But you know, every game in MLS is very close.”

It’s a Whitecaps side that isn’t about to count itself out of the race for the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs after a slow start.

They still sit last in the current Western Conference table (3W-6L-2D) but finish Week 12 only four points beneath the playoff line. And they’ve rarely had White, Cavallini and Ryan Gauld all on the field together, with White battling some early injury issues and Gauld sidelined the last two games in health and safety protocols.

“We needed to jump back on track in the fight to the playoffs,” Cavallini said. “Today we needed a win and we needed those three points from losing two points last game, but now we're back on track and we've got to keep fighting.”