Early MLS pacesetters Vancouver Whitecaps increased their unbeaten streak to five games at BC Place on Wednesday night but had to be content with just a point after coming from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Columbus Crew SC.
In an entertaining, end-to-end match from start to finish, ‘Caps striker Octavio Rivero grabbed his fifth goal of the season in the first half to cancel out Kei Kamara’s opener. Kamara added a second for Columbus early in the second half before Darren Mattocks earned a point for the league leaders.
The draw increases Vancouver’s (4-1-1; 13 points) lead at top both of the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings to three points. Columbus (1-2-1; 4 points) remain in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, five points behind leaders D.C. United.
Columbus had the best chance of the opening exchanges and got their reward in the 24th minute when Kamara played a low cross into the box. The ball broke back to Kamara when ‘Caps center back Kendall Waston tackled Ethan Finlay, and the Sierra Leone international coolly slotted home past goalkeeper David Ousted for the opener.
The Crew’s lead was to last just seven minutes as Vancouver stormed back and caught Columbus napping on a throw in. Mattocks made a quick toss to Rivero, who easily shook off the attention of Michael Parkhurst and fired home low past Crew SC ‘keeper Steve Clark.
Columbus came out strong again to start the second half and regained the lead five minutes in, capitalizing on a poor kick out from Ousted that was intercepted by Justin Meram. He ran into the box and squared for Kamara 10 yards out from goal to allow the striker to deftly side-foot home past the ‘Caps keeper.
As the pressure ramped up, the Whitecaps got their reward in the 64th minute when substitute Kekuta Manneh charged on the end of a perfectly timed long ball from Pa Modou Kah. Manneh hit the end line and cut a perfect pass back to Mattocks for his first of the season to level the game once again.
Vancouver then unleashed wave after wave of attacks, with Mattocks having a couple of chances at a winner. But Columbus held firm.
Crew SC had their own late chance to snatch the winner when Kamara played in Finlay, but Ousted was out quick to avert the danger.
Vancouver now head on the road for two games against conference opponents, with the San Jose Earthquakes first up on Saturday evening. Columbus’ travels continue as they make the long trip back east to face the New England Revolution on Saturday afternoon.