By JUSTIN FERGUSON
The Vancouver Whitecaps have been unbeatable at home so far this season, but Wednesday night’s result at a sold-out Sporting Park in Kansas City proved they can hold their own away from BC Place Stadium.
The Whitecaps faced over two dozen shots from hosts Sporting Kansas City and pulled out a 1-1 tie with their Eastern Conference foes.
SKC went up in the 35th minute on a goal from defender Aurelien Collin, but Vancouver’s Camilo continued his red-hot run of form with a wonderful free kick goal just before halftime.
The hosts made their intentions clear from the opening whistle, pressing high and getting early looks in the final third. Although the Whitecaps defense did a great job of blocking their opponents’ barrage of shots, one of their deflections led to SKC’s opener.
Uri Rosell sent a cross towards the back post for Chance Meyers, who nodded it towards Collin. The defender blasted a shot off of Johnny Leveron and stayed with the play, slotting an open second chance past Brad Knighton to break the deadlock.
Camilo almost equalized for Vancouver minutes later, but his try from deep was saved by Jimmy Nielsen. He would find his eighth goal in seven matches just before the halftime whistle, his free kick from just outside the box curling perfectly into the top right corner of Nielsen’s goal.
The Brazilian midfielder had a few chances to give the visitors the lead in the second half, but the Vancouver chances were outnumbered greatly by a Kansas City offense that seemed destined to score.
The hosts finished with 25 shots, and 15 of those were off-target—a single-match high for MLS clubs this season.
Their best chance of the night came in the 75th minute. After slicing down the middle of the field with some good ball control, Benny Feilhaber’s deflected pass found Graham Zusi on the right side of the box. Zusi fired a low shot that Knighton could not get to, but it was only bound for the post.
SKC kept plugging away, but no more shots directly troubled Knighton as the Whitecaps hung on for the road point.
Vancouver (7-5-5) will look to continue their unbeaten home record this Saturday with a Cascadia Cup match against the Seattle Sounders. Sporting Kansas City (7-5-6) will be at Toyota Park on the following day for a match against the Chicago Fire.
Here are the match highlights: