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Vancouver Whitecaps draw with Charlotte FC in MLS opener

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC played out a 1-1 draw with Charlotte FC in their 2024 Major League Soccer home-opener at BC Place Saturday.

The Whitecaps ended last season on a good run of form. And the 30,000 fans in attendance Saturday were eager to see if their club could pick up from where the left off last year, particularly without Coach Vanni Sartini on the touchline.

The first 15 minutes were mostly a midfield stalemate, with neither team looking to take the initiative. Charlotte settled first with Kerwin Vargas controlling on the right wing. Referee Scott Bowman pointed to the penalty spot in the 22nd minute after Ranko Veselinovic and Enzo Copetti had a coming together. But VAR called for a review and the decision was reversed.

Both teams failed to capitalize with their attacks, Tristan Blackmon heading wide after the Caps got a free-kick outside the box and Charlotte’s Enzo Copetti unable to convert at the other end.

Charlotte FC open scoring

Kerwin Vargas had been controlling the right-wing for most of the first-half. And in minute 31 his pass across the penalty area took a flick from Brecht Dejaegere into the path of Iuri Tavares who blasted past Yohei Takaoka to open the scoring for the visitors. 

Charlotte had an opportunity to double their tally 10 minutes later, when Ranko Veselinovic was robbed of the ball. Yohei Takaoka pulled off a spectacular save as Copetti tried to put it beyond him.

And the hosts responded just before halftime. Pedro Vite lobbed a high ball into the box for an unmarked Ryan Raposo to slide the ball under Kristjan Kahlina to level the score.

The game could have ended there, as the second-half proved to be a bit of a non-event, aside from a few yellow cards. Both teams, at the end of the day, may feel that this was two points dropped. 

Charlotte FC return to Canada on March 9, with a trip to Toronto FC. Vancouver Whitecaps FC travel down to San Jose also March 9, to play the Earthquakes.

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