VANCOUVER, BC - Vancouver Whitecaps' first ever CONCACAF Champions League campaign got off to a fairly inauspicious start with a 1-1 draw with Cascadian rivals Seattle Sounders at BC Place on Wednesday evening.
After failing to muster even one shot in the first half, Vancouver picked it up a little in the second, opening the scoring through Tim Parker just past the hour mark before poor defending allowed Seattle to claim a share of the points through a Lamar Neagle goal.
Overall, it was a frustrating night for Vancouver, and one that left head coach Carl Robinson looking for positives.
"I'm disappointed that we dropped two points at home," Robinson told reporters after the match. "I think it was an okay game. It was important that we didn't lose. We didn't play great, but we got our noses in front. Unfortunately we switched off at a vital moment. We let them back in with a bad goal but I think it was probably a fair result.
"There was no champagne football today, but there was a lot of hard work and I'll never fault that."
Both teams relied on their depth players for the game, with Vancouver changing their entire starting lineup from the side that comfortably beat Seattle 3-0 in MLS action at the weekend.
It took until the hour mark for the Whitecaps to find their feet, but Robinson insists it was the right decision to go with so many changes, even if it took a long time to find team chemistry.
"Well I hoped it wouldn't take an hour but it probably did take an hour," Robinson admitted. "That happens sometimes when you make that many changes. But it was a win-win. It was important that I got these guys games, with the busy schedule we've got coming up. The group of players in the first team at the moment wouldn't be able to cope with eight games in a month."
The match was an opportunity for those fringe players to show Robinson their worth to his side and the 'Caps coach will be disappointed that few seemed to seize that moment, with Robinson admitting "it gave me a few answers to questions I had in my mind with some players, which was good."
One player who did make the most of his chance was center back Parker. The 22-year-old impressed again and grabbed his first professional goal in the draw, and Robinson was delighted for him.
"It was a mishit, probably, cross from Pedro and great movement from Tim," Robinson said. "He has come close [before] and he gets his reward and we get our noses in front. Obviously the goal's great, but disappointing that we didn't go on and win the game."
That was a view echoed by Parker, who continued Pa Modou Kah's example from the weekend of defenders hitting striker quality finishes. The rookie was delighted to have scored but felt his moment was somewhat tinged with the disappointing end result.
"If we're going to score we're going to have to make it special," Parker said after the game. "It was great to score at home, great to score against Seattle, of course, just a little heartbroken that we didn't get the win."