April 12th, 2024

Vancouver Whitecaps battle to 1-1 draw in MLS home opener against Charlotte FC

By Nick Wells, The Canadian Press on March 2, 2024.

Charlotte FC's Jere Uronen (21) tries to score on Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka (1) as Ranko Veselinovic (4) watches during the first half of an MLS soccer match in Vancouver, on Saturday, Mar. 2, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns

VANCOUVER – A goal from Ryan Raposo in stoppage time salvaged a point for the Vancouver Whitecaps in their season-opening 1-1 draw with Charlotte FC at B.C. Place on Saturday.

Iuri Tavares opened the scoring in the 31st minute for Charlotte, with Enzo Copetti dummying a pass from Brecht Dejaegere, allowing the Portuguese attacker to slam a shot home into the top corner of the net.

The Whitecaps equalized five minutes into first-half stoppage time after a deep cross from Pedro Vite found a wide open Raposo who calmly tucked the ball past a sprawling Kristijan Kahlina.

Vancouver’s best chances of the second half came within minutes of each other, with Kahlina denying Javain Brown along the line before following it up with a save against substitute attacker Fafa Picault.

Picault’s chance came after Charlotte’s Nathan Byrne attempted to clear the ball, only to hit it straight at the U.S. winger allowing him a one-on-one chance that Kahlina pushed away.

Charlotte thought it had a chance to open the scoring in the 22nd minute when referee Scott Bowman awarded a penalty to Enzo Copetti after an alleged foul by defender Ranko Veselinovic.

But the call was overturned by video review to cheers from the hometown crowd of 29,624.

The duo of Brian White and Ryan Gauld, who combined for nearly half of the team’s 55 goals in 2023, struggled to find a rhythm in the game, with missed passes and mistimed runs off the ball.

Vancouver last won the first game of its season in 2021, a 1-0 win over Portland Timbers FC.

NOTES

Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini started serving the first of his six-game suspension, with the Italian forced to watch the game from the stands. “¦ Veteran Whitecaps midfielder Russell Teibert announced his retirement on Friday after 16 years with the team with Vancouver posting a video tribute to their club captain at halftime. “¦ Ryan Gauld was named Vancouver’s 25th captain in club history last week. “¦ Midfielder Jay Herdman, the son of TFC manager John Herdman signed a short-term MLS agreement to make Vancouver’s squad on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Whitecaps: Visit the San Jose Earthquakes next Saturday.

Charlotte: Plays Toronto FC at BMO Field next Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2024.

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