Canadian rivals Vancouver and Montreal Impact share the spoils in lacklustre derby clash at BC Place.
In the end, neither Vancouver Whitecaps FC nor Montreal Impact found a decisive breakthrough in a goalless draw that saw both clubs return to MLS action after an extended break for the World Cup group stage.
It was a match that left both sides feeling less than satisfied with the result and with the way the midweek game unfolded. Whitecaps FC looked off the pace from the high-tempo, exciting style of play they have offered supporters this season. Struggling Montreal, meanwhile, were wasteful with several quality chances that likely could have earned them a first-ever MLS win over Vancouver.
"It wasn’t very enjoyable watching it. I didn't enjoy watching it and I think the players didn't enjoy playing in it," an honest Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson told reporters post-match. "Bad day at the office - I think we call it. We'll take a point against a team that I think were happy for a point. They could have won it and I think we could have won it in maybe the second half. The performance levels weren't to the standard that we've played already this year, but I'll give them one (bad performance)."
Robinson deployed pace against a makeshift Impact side, who were missing striker Marco Di Vaio and in-form winger Justin Mapp through injury. Kekuta Manneh and Darren Mattocks supported lone striker Erik Hurtado as part of a three-man midfield, but the expected goals never arrived.
"The three speedy guys had a quiet evening," Robinson said. "All of them were below the level that they should have been and I tried to freshen it up, even slightly change the formation, but we'll get back to work tomorrow."
Though a quiet evening for the Whitecaps attack, the Blue & White answered the call defensively to earn a clean sheet. Goalkeeper David Ousted proved essential in those endeavours with some key saves, especially in the first half.
"It's always nice getting saves in," said Ousted. "That said, I was trying to get the guys going forward, but today was not our day."
There was also an admirable rearguard display by stand-in right back Carlyle Mitchell. The Trinidad & Tobago international was drafted into Robinson's starting XI after Nigel Reo-Coker was unable to appear Wednesday night following the birth of his baby daughter in New York.
"We're not talking about players that have got no experience or are new to the league. They're international players," said 'Caps centre back Andy O'Brien. "Mitchell played out of position today for him, but again he showed his athleticism going forward and going back. He did really well."
The Whitecaps now turn their attentions to the weekend and a difficult trip to Colorado to face the Rapids in a key Western Conference clash on Saturday night. That should include the return of starting right back Steven Beitashour, whose World Cup odyssey ended Wednesday with Iran's exit in the group stage in Brazil.
“We are going there to the altitude against a strong Colorado team, a Western Conference rival, so we need to be ready for that game and really be aware that they are going to come at us hard from the start," said Ousted. "So we need a different attitude than today and get at them."