By DAN KARELL
After the Vancouver Whitecaps’ impressive season opener, the team learned just how difficult it is to play on the road.
Playing in unseasonably hot temperatures in Southern California, the Whitecaps were only able to muster a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA on Sunday at the StubHub Center, despite playing with a man-advantage for more than 75 minutes.
Argentine midfielder Agustin Pelletieri was controversially shown a straight red card for a strong challenge made in the 13th minute, forcing Chivas USA to go down to ten men very early in the match. But in the face of the decision from referee Ramon Hernandez, Chivas USA re-grouped and were able to even take a lead just before halftime.
With the Whitecaps struggling in the heat, Chivas USA went up, 1-0 in the 45th minute when Whitecaps midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker turned the ball over in midfield straight to Chivas USA’s Mauro Rosales. Rosales played a pass to Erick Torres on the left and Torres cut inside, firing a strike that wrong-footed David Ousted thanks to a deflection and went in for a goal.
The Whitecaps came out in the second half with a little more determination but they struggled to break down the strong defensive unit that Chivas USA has become. The visitors finally achieved their breakthrough via substitute Kekuta Manneh. Whitecaps forward Darren Mattocks stole a pass and ran on the Chivas USA goal, feeding Manneh into space in the 80th minute for the side-footed finish.
Manneh nearly scored a second goal and a Whitecaps winner in the 86th minute after a lucky deflection in the box but Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy watched Manneh’s shot go harmlessly wide.
Here are the game highlights: