VANCOUVER, B.C – The Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Dallas served up a four-goal thriller at BC Place on Sunday afternoon, with the two Western Conference teams settline for the share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw.
Dallas had fought back from an early Darren Mattocks goal to lead 2-1 at halftime after a Blas Perez strike and a Michel penalty. Vancouver pulled themselves level through a Pedro Morales penalty in the 53rd minute but couldn't find a winner despite piling on the pressure due to an inspired performance from FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez.
The draw moves Vancouver (6-4-10) back into the playoff picture in the West as they currently sit in fifth place. Dallas (8-7-6) keep their two-point advantage over Vancouver and have moved up to third in the Western Conference standings with Sunday's result.
The Whitecaps took the game to their visitors from kickoff, with Mattocks looking lively up front and forcing Fernandez into a one-handed save 10 minutes in.
Mattocks was not to be denied, however. He opened the scoring for the Whitecaps a minute later when he ran onto an inch-perfect through ball from Gershon Koffie and drilled it home.
Vancouver wasted a couple of chances to extend their lead and they were punished in the 29th minute when Zach Loyd's header crashed off the crossbar before falling to Perez, who stood four yards out and finished high into the net.
FC Dallas went up 2-1 with six minutes remaining in the first half. Carlyle Mitchell jumped for a long ball into the box with his arm raised and made clear contact with it, giving referee Kevin Stott no alternative but to point to the spot. Michel scored on his penalty kick, but the goal was canceled out at the start of the second half.
Vancouver got themselves back on level terms in the 53rd minute with a penalty of their own. Morales struck home after Moises Hernandez was questionably called for having handled the ball right near the edge of the box.
The Whitecaps pushed hard for the winner during the remainder of the game, but Fernandez was in fine form and kept out chance after chance to earn his team a vital road point.
There is no rest for Vancouver, who now head on the road to face the Chicago Fire on Wednesday evening before having nine days off. Dallas are back in action next Sunday when they travel to Chivas USA, with vital conference points on the line.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Pedro Morales||From the first whistle to the last, the Whitecaps' playmaker made an impact. He took his penalty kick well, and was involved in almost all of Vancouver's attacking plays.|
|2||Raul Fernandez||Was downright heroic in the second half, making incredible saves to keep FC Dallas from falling behind and helping the club earn a hard-fought road point.|
|3||Blas Perez||He was in the right place at the right time on his scoring play, but also did a swell job of fighting for balls and holding them up to allow teammates to get involved.|