Saturday, March 5, 2011

Whitecaps Open Cascadia Summit With A Draw

In their first meeting as MLS rivals the Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers ended the game in a 1-1 draw.  It was the Whitecaps first match of the Cascadia Summit while the Timbers played their second one in two days.  After defeating the Seattle Sounders on Friday, the Oregon team came into their second game with basically their second unit.  Because of injuries the Caps started seven of their most likely starters when the season starts on March 11th.  

Portland opened the scoring when Jay Nolly mishandled a shot off the post as it bounced right to Ryan Pore who made no mistake by depositing it into the net.  The Timbers carried play for the first 20 minutes until Long Tan and Atiba Harris starting working well as a tandem in the final third.  Harris had a couple of chances missing a clear chance and then hitting the post from about 25 yards out.  The Whitecaps had the control of play when a shot by Blake Wagner was stopped by goalkeeper Aidan Brown but went off defender David  Horst as an own goal.

The second half started again with the Whitecaps in control especially when Russell Teibert came on as a substitute and almost set up Terry Dunfield for a goal in the 67th minute.  There were a number of substitutes late in the second half but this proved to hurt their flow as the Timbers had the chances in the final 10 minutes including a massive stop by Joe Cannon in injury time.

The Caps had their starting backline and central midfield but were missing their starter out wide and their playmaker up front in Chiumiento due to injuries.  Left back Alain Rochat picked up a knock late in the game and was limping off the field with an ice pack on his leg.  The Whitecaps most likely start a second unit against the Sounders on Sunday with a few of today’s starters coming off the bench.  It is unclear how the Sounders will approach the game as they had a day off but the Sounders are one of the deepest teams in the MLS and should be able to field a strong second unit.

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