Sometimes, a scoreline just does not reflect the nature of the game.

The Vancouver Whitecaps, who dominated for large parts of the game and had 19 shots, could not find a way past the San Jose Earthquakes.

The Earthquakes had three shots and scored with their only one on target.

Head coach Vanni Sartini called his team “unlucky”.

“We had seven, eight great chances to score,” Sartini said. “We should have done better, I would say, in at least two or three occasions.”

So it goes.

Only one of the two Canadian internationals the Whitecaps picked up just before the closing of the summer transfer window started. Richie Laryea took up the right wingback position, a role familiar to him. Sam Adekugbe started on the bench.

Interestingly, Sartini also chose to place Ryan Gauld on the bench. Much of the creative work for the Whitecaps would be expected to flow through Pedro Vite. The Ecuadorian has shone over the last few months.

Early conservative play for both sides was expected. Both San Jose and the Whitecaps had not played for a couple of weeks after their respective elimination from the Leagues Cup.

But the Whitecaps quickly found their feet again.

Starting in the 12th minute, Laryea had the first opportunity. His run down the right and into the 18-yard box with the ball gave him the opening for the first shot of the match. The save was spilled by Daniel De Sousa Brito, giving Sergio Córdova the opportunity to pounce. However, the shot did not get far.

Chances continued to fly for the Whitecaps with Brian White being involved. His pass into the path of a running Córdova a couple of minutes later forced a quality save from Brilo. White headed a fantastic Vite cross moments later, only to be denied by Brilo’s outstretched hand.

While the Whitecaps pushed, the Earthquakes were starved for anything going forward. And for 42 minutes, that was how the match played out.

But in the final minutes of the half, San Jose broke through the Vancouver ranks and hit on the counter. Caught with too many players forward, the Whitecaps had only Ranko Veselinović and Tristan Blackmon to try and stop five men.

“We were positioned very well and made a conceptual mistake in the sense of trying to win the ball immediately with Andrés [Cubas],” Sartini said. “Because if you cannot win the ball, you have to delay. And then we would have been three against four, and so we could absorb the run of [Cade] Cowell. And the goal wouldn’t have happened.”

Unfortunately, Blackmon was not able to get a heel on the cross as the ball found its way to Jeremy Ebobisse in the 6-yard box. His redirection gave San Jose the 1-0 lead heading into the break.

The Whitecaps started the second half by bringing on Adekugbe for Laryea, giving each new man half to shine. With that, they got to work.

Raposo thought he had tied it up in the 57th minute, but the cross from White was offside.

Gauld came on towards the final 20 minutes to try and affect the match. He came close with a smart counter-attack pass to Cordova. The Venezuelan cut it back for White, but the American striker left it for a second attack.

Only there was no one trailing.

San Jose would hold onto their 1-0 lead, a goal from their only shot on target. The Whitecaps, who had eight on target, were left wondering how this one got away.

Debuts for Laryea, Adekugbe

Both new additions to the Whitecaps were given 45 minutes in front of the home fans at B.C. Place. Sartini split their time evenly: the first half for Laryea and the second for Adekugbe.

“I think [Laryea and Adekugbe] did well,” Sartini said. “They both pushed, pushed, pushed. So, hopefully, they can improve their condition this week and maybe both start next week.”

Up next

The Whitecaps start their seven-match road trip in Portland to face the Timbers. That match is on Saturday, Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m.