Once again, Sporting Kansas City found itself sitting on a lead at home Wednesday against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Sporting Park.
Unfortunately, as has been the too-familiar pattern during the season’s first half, Sporting KC couldn’t protect that lead in settling for a 1-1 draw instead of the full three points.
Midfielder Oriol Rosell, who pushed up from his usual defensive midfield role with Paulo Nagamura sidelined by an ankle injury, helped Sporting KC grab the lead during the 35th minute.
It was Rosell’s cross into the box toward the right post that right back Chance Myers nodded back toward the middle for Aurelien Collin.
Collin wheeled and tried to put a shot on frame with his left foot, but Vancouver defender Johnny Leveron blocked the shot.
The deflection, however, fell to Collin’s right foot for a swift blast past Whitecaps goalkeeper Brad Knighton that sparked a raucous celebration from the crowd of 20,137, Sporting KC’s 26th straight sellout in MLS competition.
Ahead 1-0 on Collin’s third goal of the season, Sporting KC kept up its suffocating style — at least until the dying minutes before halftime.
With literally second left in the 45th minute, Camilo Da Silva Sanvezzo knotted the game with a slick right-footed free kick from 25 yards out.
Sanvezzo’s tucked the equalizer — his 10th goal of the season, which is tied for the second most in MLS — into the upper right corner over defender Matt Besler, who had been stationed at the right post, but ran off the line at the last second, and well out of goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen’s reach.
Before that, Sporting KC dominated possession had the Whitecaps on their heels, keeping the game in Vancouver’s half of the field and Knighton under constant pressure.
Graham Zusi authored the game’s first shot on goal in the fifth minute when he tried his luck from the top of the 18-yard box.
Sporting KC didn’t create a wealth of dangerous chances during the next 20 minutes, but continued to dictate the game’s terms.
During the 24th minute, Rosell tried his luck from the right edge of the Vancouver penalty box, blasting a knuckler high toward the center of the goal, where Knighton knuckled the ball away.
Seemingly content to protect the road point and try to steal a win on the counterattack, the Whitecaps, who were outshot 24-10 and had only 44 percent of the possession, managed to weather the second-half storm.
Sporting KC’s most significant threat came in the 76th minute when Zusi collected the ball near the top left edge of Vancouver’s box and, when the Whitecaps’ defenders permitted him a moment’s time and space, sent a low, hard roller that pinged off the left post.
Vancouver cleared the rebound, the threat was averted and the draw was assured.