Categories: Canada & WorldSports

Whitecaps fall 4-3 to Earthquakes at MLS is Back tournament

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Substitute Shea Salinas scored in the 98th minute as the San Jose Earthquakes rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to defeat the Vancouver Whitecaps in a wild 4-3 win Wednesday at the MLS is Back Tournament.

Goals by substitute Chris Wondolowski, in the 72nd minute, and Oswaldo Alanis, in the 81st, tied the game at 3-3.

Vancouver was reeling during the nine minutes of stoppage time before Salinas administered the coup de grace. The former Whitecap dribbled through the Vancouver defence, got a fortunate bounce and knocked the ball past goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau.

The Earthquakes dominated possession and had eight corners in the first 30 minutes but found themselves down 2-0 to the opportunistic Whitecaps, who led by two despite having just one shot on target.

Ali Adnan and Cristian Dajome scored for Vancouver, which also benefited from an own goal.

Andy Rios also scored for San Jose, which had plenty of the ball but lacked clinical finishing most of the night against a depleted Whitecaps side. Still, Crepeau had a busy night.

Adnan, Vancouver’s Iraqi international left back, opened the scoring in the seventh minute, curling a shot past a diving Daniel Vega from just inside the penalty box.

Vancouver made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute on an own goal when Dajome, after a San Jose corner went horribly awry, stole the ball from Brazil’s Judson and fed Yordy Reyna behind the Quakes defence. Reyna tried to slip the ball back to Dajome in the box but instead it bounced off Judson’s leg into the goal.

San Jose came on in waves and Rios cut the lead to 2-1 in first-half stoppage time off the Quakes’ 12th corner of the half, deflecting the ball in with a delightful flick of his foot with his back to goal.

Dajome capitalized in the 59th minute when a dreadful pass from Vega went straight to David Milinkovic, who found the Colombian alone in front for his first MLS goal.

The 37-year-old Wondolowski made an impact off the bench, flicking in a header to cut the lead to 3-2. The goal was the 160th of his career, adding to his MLS-record regular-season total, and his 14th against Vancouver.

Alanis then rose high to score off San Jose’s 19th corner, which tied a league record, to tie the game.

The Quakes outshot Vancouver 31-7 and also led the Whitecaps 11-2 in shots on target. San Jose also set a league mark with 22 corners and had 67.9 per cent possession. The Whitecaps lived dangerously on defence but made the most of their few chances at the other end, helped by San Jose blunders.

Vancouver was the last team to see action at the tournament, taking the field at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex after Orlando City and Philadelphia had already qualified for the knockout rounds.

The Whitecaps were originally slated to open July 9 against FC Dallas but the game was scrapped when Dallas withdrew due to a rash of COVID-19 positive tests.

San Jose opened the tournament last Friday with a 0-0 tie with the Seattle Sounders.

It was 26 C at the 9 p.m. ET kickoff after showers swept through the area.

After Vancouver went ahead, Crepeau made a fine save in the ninth minute to deny Jackson Yueill. Crepeau then had to deal with a powerful Cristian Espinoza shot.

Crepeau had to be sharp again in the 26th minute, clawing away a looping long ball from Espinoza that was destined for the top corner. The Whitecaps ‘keeper was fortunate in the 41st minute when a deflection off a defender following a corner went right at him.

San Jose outshot Vancouver 17-4 in the first half and had 73.4 percent possession.

Espinoza was yellow-carded in the 56th minute when he returned the ball for Vancouver throw-in head-high, hitting Adnan who tumbled theatrically to the turf. The card remained yellow after video review.

The Whitecaps are missing some key pieces at the tournament.

Forwards Lucas Cavallini, Fredy Montero and Tosaint Ricketts, defender Andy Rose and defender/midfielder Georges Mukumbilwa did not make the trip to the Florida tournament for personal or medical reasons.

Cavallini, Ricketts and Rose all started in Vancouver’s last league outing — a 1-0 win at the Los Angeles Galaxy on March 7 — while Montero came off the bench.

READ MORE: Young Vancouver Islander catches eye of Vancouver Whitecaps

Wednesday’s starting 11 came into the game with a combined 29 MLS regular-season goals with Reyna accounting for 19 of those.

Backup goalkeeper Bryan Meredith left the team Tuesday to be with his family in New Jersey after the death of his mother Beth. Whitecaps player wore black armbands with B.M. on them with fullback Jake Nerwinski walking out holding Meredith’s jersey with Beth Meredith’s name written under the number.

Janio Bikel (adductor strain), who started at right back against the Galaxy, and defender Eric Godoy (quadricep strain) were injured in training Sunday.

Whitecaps midfielder Leonard Owusu, 23, made his first start while centre back Ranko Veselinovic, 21, made his MLS debut.

Captain Russell Teibert made his 200th first-team appearance. Whitecaps midfielder Patrick Metcalfe, a 21-year-old from Richmond, made his MLS debut off the bench.

Vancouver plays Seattle on Sunday before facing Chicago, which replaced Dallas in Group B, on July 23.

Group games at the tournament count in the regular-season standings, leaving Vancouver at 1-2-0 and San Jose at 1-1-2.

The Canadian Press

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