Jim Curtin handed a first MLS start to Matt Freese and Kacper Przybylko as the Union came from behind to earn a point in a 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday afternoon. Both Freese and Przybylko made their debuts last weekend as substitutes in the Union's 3-0 drubbing of Montreal Impact. Auston Trusty returned to the lineup following a one-match suspension and David Accam re-entered the lineup with Cory Burke missing out for personal reasons.
Freese was involved in the action early, playing the ball out with his feet and falling on one ball into the box. The Union generated the first big chance of the half when Brenden Aaronson’s corner kick was headed back across goal and cleared off the line.
Vancouver responded through dangerous winger Yordy Reyna. The Peruvian collected a curled ball on the right side of the box and fired it against the outside of the post.
In the 24th minute, Jack Elliott sprayed the ball into the left corner for David Accam. The attacker cut to the endline and blazed a cross into the six yard box. Ale Bedoya and Ali Adnan stretched for the ball and Bedoya was cautioned for being second to it.
Reyna was back at it minutes later when he arrived at the far post and forced Freese to fly out of his goal to smother a good chance.
In the 34th minute, Jamiro Monteiro drove toward the Vancouver box and found Accam breaking free but the Ghanaian lifted his shot over the bar.
The Whitecaps opened the scoring in the 40th when Doneil Henry broke free on a corner and powered a header past Freese. The ball in was a good one and Henry moved around a pick to find space to drive home the goal.
The second half began in a more open fashion and Przybylko found himself free at the back post for a header from a long Medunjanin free kick. He punched the look wide but would prove to be a dangerous presence in the second half.
First it was Reyna back on the attack, collecting the ball from Venuto and ripping a strike at Freese.
Fafa Picault came into the game for Aaronson, moving the Union into a 4-3-3 shape.
It was in that shape that Przybylko found himself on the right after a poor back pass, running onto a loose ball behind the defense. The big striker picked his spot at the far post and laced home his first MLS goal.
Vancouver looked for an immediate response from Venuto who broke through the defense alone. Auston Trusty, recalling his first-ever start, ran down the play from behind and cleared the danger. Venuto was immediately involved again, using the outside of his foot to curl a shot just around the far corner of Freese’s goal after Trusty’s clearance was partially blocked.
Przybylko popped up once more in the 75th, running onto a deflected pass from Mbaizo and firing on net, but Maxime Crepeau covered his goal well. On the ensuing corner kick, Elliott nearly found the ball in space at the back post but was slightly ahead of the play.
The Whitecaps began pouring numbers forward and once more Venuto proved the danger man. A lucky touch took him past Trusty near the endline and his cross was only cleared out of the six yard box by an alert Mbaizo.
Jim Curtin called on Warren Creavalle to help close out the game and the Union fought off a late push to grab an important road point.
Now the Union prepare for a midweek match with FC Cincinnati followed by a May 4th showdown with the New England Revolution. Both matches will be at Talen Energy Stadium so get your tickets now!