Doneil Henry scores, Vancouver Whitecaps fight Philadelphia Union to tie

Philadelphia Union's David Accam, front left, and Vancouver Whitecaps' Doneil Henry, front right, vie for the ball as Ali Adnan, back left, watches during the first half of an MLS soccer game in Vancouver on Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

VANCOUVER — Vancouver Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos felt like his team deserved more on Saturday.

The club captured a single point by battling the Philadelphia Union to a 1-1 draw, but Dos Santos was frustrated after the game.

“Today we lost two points,” he said. “We did enough to win the game, we created enough opportunities. But then if you don’t finish your chances, you’re always playing at the edge.”

Frustration has been building for the Whitecaps (1-5-3) through the beginning of the Major League Soccer season. The club has won a single game and lingers near the bottom of the table.

Defender Jake Nerwinski says the group knew coming in that this year would be a challenge. There had been a massive off-season roster overhaul and a coaching change, but the team never expected to have just one win heading into May.

“We need to be better and we know that we can be. Today’s a perfect example, we should have had three points tonight,” Nerwinski said.

Midfielder Russell Teibert believes that Saturday’s game was one of Vancouver’s best performances this season, despite settling for a tie.

“We were the better team today by far. Everyone can see that. It’s clear. The discrepancy between them and us in the standings, we dominated them today,” said Teibert.

“And for some reason or another, the luck’s just not going our way right now.”

The Whitecaps opened Saturday’s scoring in the 41st minute off a corner kick from left back Ali Adnan. Doneil Henry leapt from a huddle at the centre of Philadelphia’s box and headed the ball in.

“I’m playing and I’m playing consistently,” said Henry, who leads Vancouver with a pair of goals. “So keep expecting more of this.”

The Union’s lone goal came in the 66th minute after Jamiro Monteiro stripped Adnan of the ball and fed it to Kacper Przybylko. The striker blew past Vancouver defenders Henry and Erik Godoy, then beat Whitecaps goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau with a low shot for his first goal in MLS.

“We think we’re in complete control and then we have a little bit of a hiccup and give them a goal,” Henry said. “It’s a bit tough.”

The Whitecaps got a pair of saves from Crepeau and Philadelphia ‘keeper Matt Freese had four stops.

After weeks of coaxing his team to up their possession numbers, Dos Santos saw progress on Saturday. The ‘Caps maintained possession through 51.6 per cent of the game and increased their passing accuracy to 82 per cent.

“We’re becoming the team that we say we want to be, a team that posses the ball, a team that is willing to play out from the back. And we showed that today,” said Teibert.

But Dos Santos still wants more from the team when it comes to offence. He thinks they created enough chances but need to find ways to finish.

“The club lost some important pieces lost season offensively and I don’t think we were able yet to replace them,” he said. “But it’s something that every week, every day we’re very aware and very focused (on).”

The Whitecaps will travel to Colorado to play the Rapids on Friday.

“We need to really start taking points. That’s all I can say,” said Henry. “When we’re in games like this and we’re up, either we keep the lead or whatever it is. But we can’t keep giving up three points, especially at home.”

NOTES: Philadelphia was without their usual goalkeeper Andre Blake, who suffered a right adductor strain in Philly’s 3-0 win over the Montreal Impact last weekend. … Referee Chris Penso handed out four yellow cards, cautioning Reyna, Adnan, Giro and Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya for unsporting behaviour. … Hundreds of Whitecaps fans left their seats in the 35th minute to protest the club’s response to recent allegations of abuse and harassment by a former coach. Saturday marked the second time supporters have held a mid-game walkout.

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