Whitecaps tie Philadelphia in entertaining 3-3 draw

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

Vancouver 3 (Hurtado, Mezquida, Morales) – Philadelphia 3 (Casey 2, Le Toux)

The Vancouver Whitecaps raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first half through Erik Hurtado and Nicholas Mezquida before dropping three straight goals in the 2nd half, two to Conor Casey and one to former Whitecap Sebastian Le Toux. The Whitecaps would earn a penalty kick through Darren Mattocks, and Pedro Morales would step up to tie the match at 3-3. David Ousted would make some key saves late to salvage the point for the caps, who are now unbeaten in 7 straight matches.   Captain Jay DeMerit was injured early in the first half with a left foot injury and would be replaced by Andy O’Brien.

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The Vancouver Whitecaps rolled into Philadelphia to take on the Union Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Head Coach Carl Robinson made a couple changes to his winning lineup from last week against Portland, as Nicholas Mezquida came in for Sebastian Fernandez, and Johnny Leveron who came in for Andy O’Brien at the back.

Philadelphia had a couple chances early to go in front, putting a couple of headers over the bar on deliveries in the box in the first 10 minutes. Vancouver though would take the lead in the 18th minute as Pedro Morales started a nice passing play to Russell Teibert, who had time and space to find Nigel Reo-Coker on the right of the box, who’s cross found the head of an open Erik Hurtado who put it past Zac MacMath to give the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead, Hurtado scoring his 5th in 5 games this season.

In the 21st minute David Ousted had to be sharp on a low stop from distance from Vincent Nogueira, stopping the effort. A minute later Jay DeMerit challenge Conor Casey on a header, injuring his left foot in the process. Andy O’Brien would have to come in for DeMerit in the 24th minute as the Whitecaps captain hobbled off the pitch.

The Whitecaps almost made it 2-0 as Pedro Morales found Erik Hurtado wide, who slowed down just enough to pump the ball in the box to find an onrushing Morales, who tried to chip the keeper but his effort was denied. Replays showed the ball hit the hand of a nearby defender who escaped punishment.

Ousted again was called into action in the 38th minute as a Philadelphia free kick was floated into the box. Amobi Okugo rose towards the ball but didn’t actually manage to hit it, unsighting Ousted from the ball in the process. Ousted reacted late to the ball in the box which bounced off him and up towards an oncoming Sheanon Williams but Ousted reacted in time to snatch the ball out of harms way.

The Whitecaps would make it 2-0 on 41 minutes as Nicholas Mezquida lead Erik Hurtado and Nigel Reo-Coker on a counter attack, with Mezquida laying off for Reo-Coker who passed wide left to Erik Hurtado. Hurtado then got past his defender and cut back to Mezquida in the box and he slotted home to double the tally for the Whitecaps a few minutes before the half. The Whitecaps would take a 2-0 lead into the half.

Philadelphia would make their first substitution to start the 2nd half with Michael Lahoud coming on for Zach Pfeffer in an effort to peg a goal back. A few minutes after the restart the Union put pressure on the Whitecaps goal, with their corner kick chances coming close to pegging one back for them, hitting the post on a close range chance from Maurice Edu.

In the 53rd minute Ray Gaddis earned a yellow card for a foul on Russell Teibert, pulling him down after getting beat by Teibert. A few minutes later Erik Hurtado would earn a corner, with Jordan Harvey just missing the net on a header from the corner kick delivery from Pedro Morales, keeping the match at 2-0.

Philadelphia would get a goal back through Conor Casey, who got his head onto a delivery from Cristian Maidana, beating Andy O’Brien to the ball and putting it off the near post and past David Ousted to make the match 2-1.

Both teams would make substitutions in the 65th minute with Sebastian Fernandez coming on for Nicholas Mezquida, and former Whitecap Sebastian Le Toux coming on for Danny Cruz. Le Toux only needed a couple minutes to tie the match at 2-2, as he finished off a counter-attack play from inside Philadelphia’s own half as the Union continued their offensive pressure in the 2nd half. Conor Casey would put the Union in the lead on 70 minutes as he got the ball just outside the box, and given time and space by the Whitecaps defence rocketed a shot past David Ousted and into the net for his 2nd of the game. Philadelphia almost got a 4th on the counter attack, Le Toux getting another chance again but bothered enough by Reo-Coker and his shot would go for a corner.

Darren Mattocks would come in for Matias Laba in the 74th minute to try and get a goal back for the Whitecaps, who were looking to be unbeaten in 7 matches.

Philadelphia kept on attacking, with Ray Gaddis’ shot saved by Ousted before Conor Casey’s 2nd chance effort was blocked by Johnny Leveron to keep the match at 3-2 for Philadelphia.

Darren Mattocks would earn a penalty for the Whitecaps, latching onto a Pedro Morales long ball before being toppled by Zac MacMath, who would earn a yellow card for his efforts. Morales would step up to take the penalty and put it to the right just past the outstretched hand of MacMath to tie the match at 3-3.

In the 85th minute Ousted again came up big as the Whitecaps defence was out to lunch again, this time stopping a shot by Maidana to keep the match tied. Maidana would then come off for Leonardo Fernandes in the Union’s last roll of the dice to try and get the victory. Ousted would have to come up big again as Okugo’s header went towards goal, and Ousted dove to his right to palm the ball away from goal to again keep the match at 3-3.

In stoppage time Maurice Edu had a chance to win it for the Union but he would lift his shot high over the bar to keep the match tied. Johnny Leveron would then get a yellow card as he committed a foul in midfield as the Whitecaps lost the ball in midfield. Both teams would then engage in pushing and shoving in midfield after Morales was percieved to have knicked Sheanon Williams in midfield, earning a yellow card for his effort.

The referee would blow the whistle on an entertaining 3-3 draw, one which both teams felt like they would have won. The Whitecaps are now on a 2 week break for the World Cup, and resume play June 25th at home against Canadian Champions Montreal Impact.

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