Whitecaps draw D.C. United to remain undefeated

The Vancouver Whitecaps remained undefeated after three games as they battled D.C. United to a 0-0 draw in Major League Soccer play Saturday night in Vancouver.
Vancouver Whitecaps' goalkeeper Joe Cannon, second left, stops D.C. United's Emiliano Dudar's, right, shot as Davide Chiumiento, left, and Young-Pyo Lee defend during the second half in Vancouver on Saturday. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

This time, Joe Cannon got full credit for the shutout.

The Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper helped his club remain undefeated after three games as they battled D.C. United to a 0-0 draw in Major League Soccer play Saturday night.

Cannon preserved the deadlock with three outstanding second-half saves as the Whitecaps (2-0-1) recorded their third straight shutout before a crowd of 19,394 at B.C. Place Stadium.

"First half, it was kind of lonely," said Cannon. "Then the second half was much busier. I don't know what happened to our shape and why they got the chances they did. We were fortunate to come out with a result tonight."

Cannon was troubled that, despite playing its second game on the West Coast in seven days, D.C. appeared to want a win more than the Whitecaps in the final 10 minutes.

D.C. (0-2-1) recorded its first point in the young season. United's Canadian scoring star Dwayne De Rosario said his club delivered a much better effort than its previous two losses.

"It's a big point against a team that's doing very well right now," said De Rosario, a 33-year-old Toronto native. "If you look at the chances, I think we had better chances."

De Rosario said Cannon, with whom he won an MLS Cup in 2001 when they were members of the San Jose Earthquakes, was the difference in the game. Cannon secured the clean sheet by foiling De Rosario in the 84th minute, on a shot from close range.

"I went near-post," said De Rosario. "Cannon's a good 'keeper. He's very good at cutting the angles off. I thought I could beat him. I didn't really have much of an angle for the far post, because the defence was closing it down there. He made a great save with his right hand."

This marks the first time in Vancouver's brief MLS history that it has recorded three consecutive shutouts. Last season, the Whitecaps only managed two in a row while recording a total of five.

Cannon has recorded two of the three Vancouver shutouts. The other was officially a team shutout after Cannon pulled himself out of last weekend's 1-0 win over Chivas USA in Carson, Calif., because of a quadriceps injury. He was replaced by backup Brad Knighton, who got credit for the win.

"I thought this week was a little bit more challenging, because I didn't get a full week of training in," said Cannon. "I kind of took the first two days off, and then it was light. But I was happy. I rested well and I felt really good out there today."

But Cannon and coach Martin Rennie were both disappointed the Whitecaps could not produce a win. Vancouver controlled most of the play in the first half, but struggled in the late going.

Rennie said it's important the Whitecaps are not allowing goals against. But they have to do better on the attack.

D.C. goalkeeper Joe Willis, who started because No. 1 Bilal Hamid was away playing for the U.S. under-23 team at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament, was not credited with a single save on the night.

"There's lots of room for improvement," said Rennie.

But, he added, the team has to take the single point as a positive.

Vancouver's primary concern was keeping the ball away from De Rosario, who topped the MLS scoring chart in 2011 with 16 goals and 12 assists while playing for three different teams — Toronto, New York and D.C. — and was named the league's most valuable player.

Eric Hassli had Vancouver's best scoring chance, in the 30th minute, as he headed a cross from Brazilian forward Camilo into the side of the D.C. net.

Soon thereafter, Hassli, who had several disciplinary problems last season, received a yellow card for a hard tackle on Maicon Santos. A scuffle ensued between Hassli and other D.C. players, but referee Kevin Stott maintained control.

Two minutes later, Santos took a yellow card for taking down Vancouver defender Alain Rochat.

Vancouver's defensive troubles began when they lost Rochat in the 57th minute after D.C. goalkeeper Willis inadvertently collided with the back of his legs following a Whitecaps corner kick. A Whitecaps spokesman said Rochat suffered a sprained left knee and his status is day to day.

In the 67th minute, Cannon made a sensational save as he stretched and got his arm on Hamdi Salihi's header off a corner kick. Whitecaps midfielder Davide Chiumiento then headed the rebound off the goal-line and out of harm's way.

"I didn't know who was there on the post," said Cannon. "So, whoever was there, thanks. I'll give him a kiss or something."

In the 77th minute, Cannon dove to stop a hard Danny Cruz shot from the side of the 18-yard box, setting the stage for his final big save of the night on De Rosario. But D.C. coach Ben Olsen had no complaints about his team's lack of goals.

"I felt that the fight was there, and the soccer was pretty good at times, too," said Olsen.