It was a night for Jesus Ferreira as he and the rest of his FC Dallas teammates beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 at Toyota Stadium.
For the Whitecaps, it was the second mid-week match in a row, playing four matches already in May. Looking ahead, they still have another four to go in their grueling schedule
Unfortunately, the hectic schedule played a role in Vanni Sartini’s starting lineup as Ryan Gauld and Tristan Blackmon were both left in Vancouver, nursing injuries.
“That’s natural,” Sartini said of his players feeling the effects of the schedule. “We want every time to field the top performers. So, of course someone can be tired.”
The opening 15 minutes were all FC Dallas. Diligent in their build-up, it culminated in decent opportunities from both Jáder Obrian and Ferreira.
Yohei Takaoka was made to work to palm away Ferreira’s attempt, and the Whitecaps were lucky to still be in a scoreless match at this point.
However, only a few minutes later, Maarten Paes gave Vancouver a gift. The goalkeeper’s pass was errant as White put him under pressure. The ball bypassed the centre-back, allowing Vite to jump on it and slot in the easy goal into a wide-open net.
“I say it all the time guy, Brian [White] is very, very good at [applying] pressure,” Sartini said. “He went to press on the back pass to press the goalkeeper. I want to also say, Pedro too. Pedro had a fantastic game, to be honest. And I’m happy that he scored the goal today even if we lost, because he deserved it.”
But Dallas persisted and was rewarded for their efforts in the 37th minute. Ferreira was the beneficiary of some quality play by Obrian as he chested the ball down, brought it into the centre and played the pass to the open striker.
Ferreira’s goal was his seventh of the season and well-deserved.
And like thieves in the night, the Whitecaps were lucky to have a goal from their only shot of the first half.
FC Dallas continued their dominance on the ball with another goal from Ferreira in the 53rd minute. Defensive errors by the Whitecaps contributed to the goal, but the Dallas striker had to be commended for his composure on the ball to get around Javain Brown and into space for the shot.
Substitutions to bring on Simon Becher and Déiber Caicedo gave the Whitecaps an attacking edge with just under half an hour to go, but Dallas was able to squeeze the life out of the match and hold on for the win.
The Whitecaps did have a penalty shout in 64th minute as Alessandro Schöpf poked a toe on the ball beyond Paes. The goalkeeper’s brought the midfielder down in the box, but VAR did not see enough to overrule the on-field call.
But both Sartini and Schöpf saw it differently.
“It’s very frustrating because last week we lost and deserved to lose. This week we didn’t deserve to lose,” Sartini said.
Schöpf said he believed “100 per cent” that VAR would overrule the referee.
“It’s a clear penalty for me,” he said. “The keep came too late. I was before him on the ball. I touched the ball and he, only coming with his body into mine. So yeah, for me, it’s a clear penalty.”
There is not a lot of turnaround for the Whitecaps as they will face the Seattle Sounders on Saturday. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at BC Place as the team hopes playing at home will help them get back to winning ways.