Vancouver 1 (Koffie), Edmonton 1 (Ameobi)
Gershon Koffie played the goat just four minutes into the match as his giveaway at the edge of the Whitecaps 18-yard box gifted a goal to Edmonton’s Tomi Ameobi. FC Edmonton would keep the Whitecaps at bay for the next 80-plus minute before Koffie turned into the Whitecaps hero, faking out a defender before poking the ball home from the edge of the six yard box just two minutes from time. The Whitecaps were granted a lengthy six minutes of added time but were unable to find a match winner, as Edmonton currently lead the two-leg series on away goals rule.
The Vancouver Whitecaps played host to FC Edmonton Wednesday night under an open dome at BC Place. This was originally supposed to be the 2nd leg of the Canadian Championship semi-final but after the 1st leg in Edmonton got postponed due to snow tonight’s match became the first of the two leg tie.
Whitecaps Head Coach Carl Robinson rung in the changes and gave a number of fringe players starts, including Paolo Tornaghi in goal making his Whitecaps debut. On defence was Ethan Sampson, Tim Parker, Christian Dean, and Sam Adekugbe. Gershon Koffie and Deybi Flores held defensive midfield duties with Erik Hurtado and Kianz Froese flanking Nicolas Mezquida in midfield. Darren Mattocks was chosen as the main striker after an impressive substitute performance against Philadelphia on the weekend.
Only 4 minutes into the match and Gershon Koffie served up the ball to Toni Ameobi on a silver platter just outside the box. Ameobi would make no mistake, placing his shot past an onrushing Tornaghi to give FC Edmonton an early 1-0 lead.
The Whitecaps had another player come off injured early in the match, as Sam Adekugbe had to be helped off the pitch, leaving while putting no pressure on one of his legs. Jordan Harvey came in to replace him on 15 minutes at left back. Adekugbe’s injury would be later revealed as a right ankle sprain.
In the 26th minute Johann Smith would earn a yellow card for FC Edmonton as he fouled Ethan Sampson at the edge of the Edmonton box. The resulting free kick would result in a Whitecaps header on goal that went wide of the mark.
In the 37th minute the Whitecaps would have their best chance of the half thus far, with a long ball eventually falling to the feet of Kianz Froese, but he could only manage to shoot wide short side from the edge of the 18.
The Whitecaps would come out strong to start the 2nd half, with Eric Hurtado getting the best chance on goal on 49 minutes as he cut inside the box towards the penalty spot and hit a shot on goal, forcing save from Edmonton keeper Matt Van Oekel.
Right after that at the other end, Deybi Flores earned a yellow card for a foul on the Whitecaps’ end of the pitch, but no harm would come of the Edmonton possession.
On 58 minutes Darren Mattocks tested VanOekel from almost the same spot as Hurtado, with the Edmonton keeper up to the task again. Gershon Koffie would then earn a yellow card for breaking up the Edmonton counter attack in midfield.
On 60 minutes Robert Earnshaw would come on for Nicolas Mezquida as the Whitecaps looked to make the match level.
On 66 minutes Hurtado would have another chance in on goal as the ball would bounce off Darren Mattocks and towards goal. Hurtado was all alone to the right of Van Oekel but rushed his chance and put it wide of the target.
On 73 minutes Kekuta Manneh would come on for the injured Deybi Flores, who limped off with help from the trainer. Flores’ injury was a right calf cramp.
Edmonton would finally make their first substitution on 79 minutes as Tomas Granitto would come on for Daryl Fordyce.
Gershon Koffie would make up for his mistake on 88 minutes as the ball ended up in the box and at the feet of Koffie at the edge of the 6 yard box. Koffie would fake out a defender before poking the ball past Van Oekel to tie the match 1-1.
The fourth official put up 6 minutes of added time at the end of the match, to the delight of the home crowd which smelled a win in the offering.
In added time the ball would bounce kindly to Robert Earnshaw, but all he could do was manage to rifle it against the side netting. That was the best chance for the Whitecaps as the match would end 1-1. The Whitecaps will play the 2nd leg of the Canadian Championship semi-final next Wednesday in Edmonton, but will host Cascadia Cup rivals Seattle Sounders before that Saturday afternoon.