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Whitecaps rally late to earn tie with Earthquakes

VANCOUVER — Twice the Vancouver Whitecaps fought back, combining with the San Jose Earthquakes for a six goal second half and both teams splitting the spoils.
San Jose Earthquakes' Jeremy Ebobisse, left, chases down the ball as Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper Cody Cropper makes the save during the first half of an MLS soccer game in Vancouver, on Saturday, May 14, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER — Twice the Vancouver Whitecaps fought back, combining with the San Jose Earthquakes for a six goal second half and both teams splitting the spoils.

Erik Godoy scored the equalizer in the 90th minute after a Deiber Caicedo corner floated in and found the centreback free of his marker, sending the 15,087 fans in BC Place screaming in celebration.

“I think it was a fair result as the game was so tight,” the defender said after the match.

Godoy barely celebrated his goal, immediately heading back towards his half to prepare to defend.

Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini said his team was “naive” for the ways they conceded goals, but added the toll of playing a third game in short succession caught up with his squad.

Two of San Jose’s goals came on transition plays with Vancouver’s players caught pushing up the field for a goal.

“We (were) lucky. I don’t think we deserved to be 0-0 in the first half. I think they were the better team,” he said after the match. “We couldn’t find the distance with the third game in six days and that was a factor.”

Jeremy Ebobisse scored twice for San Jose (2-5-4) with his second, and the Earthquakes’ third, coming after Cristian Espinoza beat Vancouver fullback Jake Nerwinski and found his unmarked teammate six yards out.

The two goals means Ebobisse is the first Earthquakes player since Chris Wondolowski to have three-multi goal games in a season.

The flurry of goals in the second half masked a slow performance by both sides in the first, with San Jose dominating possession but failing to do much with the ball.

The Earthquakes finished with 61 per cent possession and 15 shots on goal as Vancouver registered 16.

Lucas Cavallini opened the scoring for Vancouver (2-6-2) and turned provider to set up the second.

Centreback Florian Jeungwirth took a quick freekick after Cavallini was fouled in Vancouver’s half, finding an open Ryan Raposo on the left wing. Raposo cut inside, laying off to Cavallini who played a quick one-two with his fellow Canadian before sliding the ball just beyond the keeper’s outstretched left arm.

Cavallini said after the match he couldn’t remember the goal and downplayed praise from Sartini, who called the striker’s performance “the best game he’s played for the Whitecaps.”

“Each game I’m feeling better and better. I would’ve said it was my best (game) if we got three points,” he said with a smile.

San Jose didn’t take long to pull even, as Espinoza found space down the right side and chipped in a cross to a waiting Jamiro Monteiro to calmly nod in the tying goal.

Vancouver’s attack was caught out in the 73rd minute, with San Jose striker Cade Cowell breaking free of his defender and slid a pass in front of the goal for Ebobisse to put away.

But the ‘Caps found a quick equalizer as Cavallini turned provider. The Canadian international burst down the left wing with his cross inside finding a free Deiber Caicedo, who nudged a pass into the path of Raposo who slotted it home.

Cavallini had a chance to bag the winner only to see his header in the dying seconds of added time hit the post and rebound away.

"We didn't give up and that's the spirit we want to see," Sartini said.

The ‘Caps had won two straight heading into Saturday’s match, including ending their jinx in the Canadian Championship with a win over Valour FC.

San Jose came into the match off a win against Austin FC and a U.S. Open Cup win over the Seattle Sounders.

Vancouver next plays FC Dallas on Wednesday night at BC Place while San Jose takes on Portland in San Jose, Calif.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2022.

Nick Wells, The Canadian Press

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