VANCOUVER — Head coach Carl Robinson likes his team’s character, he’s just frustrated over how the Vancouver Whitecaps are being forced to show it.
Forward Yordy Reyna tied the game in the 64th minute and assisted on Vancouver’s opening goal as the Whitecaps battled back from one down for a 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes Wednesday night. It was the second consecutive Major League Soccer game where the Whitecaps had to settle for a draw despite controlling much of the play.
The Whitecaps had plenty of scoring chances but lacked the finish to put the Earthquakes away.
"It’s a good trait to have, character in your team," said Robinson. "We certainly have that.
"What we need to instill in the team is a little bit of quality."
While Robinson wanted to remain positive, Whitecaps captain Kendall Waston didn’t bother to hide his vexation.
"I’m frustrated again," said Waston. "We wanted to win."
Vancouver (4-5-3) needed a goal from Waston late in injury time for a 2-2 draw against Houston Friday night. The Whitecaps are 1-4-2 in their last seven games.
The Whitecaps had nine shots on target against San Jose compared to three for the Earthquakes. Striker Kei Kamara, forward Brek Shea and midfielder Felipe all had first-rate scoring opportunities but missed the net.
"We continue to create chances, we just didn’t take them," said Robinson.
"It’s not just one person, it’s three or four of the guys. It’s concerning. You have to go back to work. If we weren’t getting the chances I’d be a little more worried."
Cristian Techera scored the other Whitecaps goal.
Striker Danny Hoesen, on a disputed play, and defender Nick Lima scored for San Jose (2-5-3). The Earthquakes have one win in their last nine games (1-5-3).
Lima put the Earthquakes ahead 2-1 in the 53rd minute. The Whitecaps gave too much space to midfielder Valeri Qazaishvili, allowing him to dribble into Vancouver territory. He dished off to Lima, who scored his first goal of the year on a bending shot.
Reyna tied the match after left back Marcel de Jong sent a long ball into the box. Reyna headed a shot that bounced off the back of San Jose defender Shea Salinas, a former Whitecap, and past Earthquakes goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell.
Robinson was impressed by Reyna’s performance.
"Seeing the way he played today will help us," he said. "I thought he was terrific. He was lively, he was sharp. He was in attacking areas, getting shots off or creating chances.
"He could have got three goals on another day. We need Yordy to come up big for us at certain moments."
Vancouver opened the scoring in the 19th minute on a pretty three-way passing play. Midfielder Felipe feathered a ball to Reyna. He slipped a pass to an open Techera, who beat Tarbell with a low shot.
Hoesen tied the game in the first minute of first-half injury time. The Netherlands native got behind the Whitecaps defence, took a long pass from Florian Jungwirth, and lifted a shot over Brian Rowe for his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
The crowd of 17,357 at BC Place Stadium booed loudly as the Whitecaps argued the play was offside. Video replays showed it was a close call.
Felipe said mental lapses are hurting the Whitecaps.
"For 42 minutes we controlled the game and created a lot of chances," he said. "We had opportunities to score two or three goals, but we didn’t.
"As it has happened this year, one chance for the other team and they scored a goal."
Lima said it was a positive result for the Earthquakes, who have a win and a draw in their last two games.
"I think there were moments where we were really strong," he said. "We put them, on their back foot.
"I think there were a few times where we lacked a little creativity in the final third, myself included. Overall, we put out a good performance. It was a good effort and I’m proud of this group."
Robinson said the Whitecaps are often their own worst enemy.
"There was lots of good stuff," he said. "There were too many individual errors which led to goals, a lack of concentration when we are in control of the game.
"When you do that, and you get punished it stings and hurts. We continue to create chances, we just didn’t take them."
The Whitecaps leave Thursday to play FC Dallas Saturday.
NOTES: Waston, who was named to the Costa Rican World Cup team earlier this week, made his 100th MLS regular-season appearance and 99th start. â€¦ The Whitecaps used a 4-4-2 formation for the third consecutive match. â€¦. De Jong signed a contract extension Tuesday through 2019 with an option for 2020. â€¦ San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski didn’t start for the third time this season.