Despite attempting 24 shots and hoarding possession all night, D.C. United suffered a frustrating 1-0 loss on the road against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Despite several threatening opportunities from United — including a late header off the post from Luciano Acosta — it was Yordy Reyna’s first half goal that carried the Whitecaps to the 3 points.
D.C. United, with Wayne Rooney back in the lineup but Acosta still stuck on the bench, began the match with confidence, taking advantage of their opponent’s errors quickly. Within the first 75 seconds, Paul Arriola forced Whitecaps goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau into a crucial save.
United continued to assert themselves, but the visiting side couldn’t convert their early dominance into a lead, which became a theme all night. Eventually, it cost them. In the 18th minute, Russell Teibert dribbled through United’s midfield, creating space for Yordy Reyna to gain possession. Reyna cut inside before firing a bouncing shot that Bill Hamid may have seen late, and United were suddenly 1-0 down.
United attempted to retaliate quickly after Arriola successfully infiltrated the opponent’s half to strike, barely missing wide. The Black-and-Red’s urgency to equalize intensified, and an intelligent pass from Rooney placed Ulises Segura in the perfect position to hold off Ali Adnan. In alone, Segura fired a low shot, but Crepeau got his right foot to the ball, keeping United at bay.
Despite the their opponent’s threats, the home side did not back down. Teibert continued to excel at finding space in United’s half before finding Adnan, who cut inside Jara to curl the ball just barely wide.
Segura set up several scoring chances for United throughout the first half, routinely finding space on the right wing to cross, but efforts from Rooney (blocked), Rodriguez (wide), and Arriola (wide) all went awry.
Shortly after the start of the second half, Vancouver came very close to making it 2-0. A corner from Fredy Montero allowed Derek Cornelius to nod a point-blank shot on goal, forcing force Bill Hamid into a spectacular reflex save.
Moments later, Reyna took advantage of United’s confusion in the midfield, dribbling alone towards the goal before driving the ball past Hamid and into the post.
Ben Olsen threw Acosta into the fray in the 58th minute, and then brought both Emmanuel Boateng and Ola Kamara on for their debuts as United pushed desperately for a goal. However, for long spells, all they really had to offer were set pieces that ended with headers that were blocked or wide.
Eventually, the substitutes started to find the game. Acosta wriggled free in the 83rd minute, getting into the area before going to goal. His shot clipped a Vancouver defender before being saved by Crepeau. Kamara was lurking, but ultimately couldn’t turn to face goal, and the home side got out of danger once again.
United’s last major chances came in the 85th minute. First, Arriola’s bid from a narrow angle clipped Cornelius, going out for a corner. Felipe curled the ball in against his former club, and of all people, picked out a wide-open Acosta. The diminutive Argentine leaped up and headed the ball through a crowd, but United were denied by the foot of the post. Even the rebound was uncooperative, as the ball spun away from Kamara and right into the hands of a grateful Crepeau.
Despite getting seven minutes of stoppage time, United appeared to have nothing left to give, consigning them to a loss against the Western Conference’s bottom club. United (10W-9D-8L) will have to shake it off quickly, as they return home to face their oldest rivals in the first chapter of this year’s Atlantic Cup. United kicks off against the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night at 8:00pm.
MLS Regular Season (Game 27)
Vancouver Whitecaps 1 (Reyna 18)
D.C. United 0
VWFC (4321): Maxime Crepeau; Jakob Nerwinski (Doneil Henry 50), Erik Godoy, Derek Cornelius, Ali Adnan; Andy Rose, Hwang In-Beom, Russell Teibert; Theo Bair, Fredy Montero (C) (Tosaint Ricketts 79); Yordy Reyna (Scott Sutter 90)
DCU (4231): Bill Hamid; Leonardo Jara (Emmanuel Boateng 67), Frederic Brillant, Steven Birnbaum, Joseph Mora; Felipe, Junior Moreno; Ulises Segura (Luciano Acosta 58), Paul Arriola, Lucas Rodriguez; Wayne Rooney (C) (Ola Kamara 74)
VWFC - Teibert 53, Rose 69, Crepeau 96+, Hwang 97+
DCU - Mora 14