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Whitecaps forced to settle for 1-1 draw in Montreal

MONTREAL — An 80th-minute equalizer from Matia Coccaro helped CF Montreal secure a 1-1 Major League Soccer draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night at Stade Saputo.
Vancouver Whitecaps' Ryan Gauld, left, challenges CF Montreal's Joaquin Sosa (3) during first half MLS soccer action in Montreal, Saturday, July 6, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL — An 80th-minute equalizer from Matia Coccaro helped CF Montreal secure a 1-1 Major League Soccer draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night at Stade Saputo.

Brian White, with his fifth goal in the last three games, opened the scoring for Vancouver (9-7-4), while Coccaro’s marker capped off a second-half charge that helped Montreal (5-9-7) remain unbeaten at home in their last six games.

“Sometimes it’s as if the guys pick one half where we’re not lacking and the other where we pay well, but I have faith that we can apply ourselves and start every half the same way,” said Montreal coach Laurent Courtois. “If we can get into the half still at 0-0, then we’re in a great position to be positive.”

The first chance came Vancouver’s way at the 20-minute mark when Fafa Picault found space in behind and sent a beautiful chip off the underside of the crossbar. The flanks would continue to be a problem area defensively for Montreal, leading to them conceding the opening goal from the left side.

After a lapse in concentration, a deflected cross from Ryan Gauld found an unmarked White at the first post, giving the visitors the lead.

“I just think we needed to be closer together when we pressed, and I personally could’ve stayed wider to make sure that I can stay on Fafa and Lassi (Lappalainen) can stay more in the middle,” said defender George Campbell. “In the end I just think we need to press better as a collective, myself included.”

Montreal began the second half with far more attacking intent, hitting the post just two minutes after the restart and generating multiple high-quality scoring chances, but still lacked the finishing touch.

On more than one occasion, Montreal’s build up play would have them find dangerous possession in and around the penalty area but would end up getting nothing from it due to an extra touch or a pass too many.

“There are moments when you’re near the area and you want to make that extra pass as if there’s this concern to get settled before trying something, but we need to just get it in the box cause chaos sometimes,” said Courtois. “We can’t always worry about being perfect.”

With so many numbers committed forward, Montreal was susceptible to the counterattack as the Whitecaps almost doubled their lead if not for a desperation goal-line save from defender Ferando Alvarez. That wouldn’t stop Montreal from looking for an equalizer, but they would come up short after squandering another chance.

After being played through on goal, substitute Ruan Teixeira was alone with the keeper, but took one touch too many and sent the shot wide. As the possession and territory continued, Teixeira would finally make up for his miss in the 80th minute by delivering a perfect cross to Coccaro, who headed home his first goal since returning from injury, tying the game at 1-1.

Announced attendance was 19,619.


Whitecaps: Play Pacific FC in a Telus Canadian Championship semifinal match on Wednesday in Langford, B.C.; visit St. Louis City in MLS match next Saturday.

CF Montreal: Hosts Atlanta United FC next Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2024.

Elias Grigoriadis, The Canadian Press

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