A late, debatable penalty called against Jay DeMerit will be some peoples’ explanation for why Seattle got out of Vancouver with a point on Saturday, particularly after the Whitecaps out-shot the Sounders 24-8 at BC Place. Considering Stefan Frei’s 66th minute contribution to Vancouver’s cause, however, the Whitecaps weren’t without some fortune of their own, breaks that left the Cascadia rivals drawn 2-2 on Saturday.
Vancouver had the better of play over 90 minutes, but two moments within the day’s final half-hour will stick out. The second and most contentious of the plays saw DeMerit called for an 81st minute penalty for jumping over the back of Cam Weaver. While the play may have technically been an infraction (judge for yourself, above), that foul is almost never called. DeMerit should have reasonably expected that player to be called within normal standards.
Fifteen minutes earlier, however, Vancouver was on the receiving end of the gifts, with Frei’s inexplicable, ambitious clearance giving Gershon Koffie an open goal from 35 yards out. Venturing to the right sideline to prevent a goal kick, Frei foolishly cleared the ball back to the middle of the field. After chesting the ball around a Sounder, Koffie hit a left-footed shot into the vacated goal, giving Vancouver a 2-1 lead.
To that point, the game had been mostly Vancouver’s, giving Whitecaps fans even more reason to begrudge Ismail Elfath’s call. But for all the talent evident in plays like Erik Hurtado’s first half goal (just look what he does to Osvaldo Alonso), the Sounders were able to produce plays like Chad Barrett’s opener against the run of play.
The Whitecaps may have had the better chances, but when the dust settled on a crazy final half hour in Vancouver, Seattle had still taken a point from their rivals.