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Historic night for Vancouver Whitecaps ends in draw against Seattle Sounders

The Whitecaps' CONCACAF Champions League debut got off to a sloppy start

Vancouver Whitecap Darren Mattocks moves the ball between two Seattle Sounders en route to a draw.

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

Vancouver Whitecap Darren Mattocks moves the ball between two Seattle Sounders en route to a draw.

The Vancouver Whitecaps made club history on Wednesday, but one defensive lapse dampened the occasion.

It took the Whitecaps 61 minutes into Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League match against rival Seattle Sounders FC to register their first shot on goal in a mostly sloppy contest, but the floodgates finally opened, at least temporarily, for both teams after that.

Immediately after Erik Hurtado's breakthrough opportunity was sent out of play to set up a Vancouver corner kick, his teammate and rookie centre back Tim Parker got the host Whitecaps on the board with a slick back-heel deflection off the set piece, finally giving the crowd of 19,683 fans at BC Place Stadium something to cheer about after a dreary opening half.

However, the Whitecaps, playing in their first-ever CONCACAF Champions League competition and fielding an entirely different starting lineup than the one that was so dominant at CenturyLink Field over the weekend, settled for a 1-1 draw.

"We got our noses in front. First goal was always going to be crucial. When you're at home and you get in front, it's important you stay switched on," said head coach Carl Robinson, as he then broke down Seattle's tying goal.

"Timmy, obvious goal is great, but disappointing we didn't win."

Robinson defended his lineup decisions afterward, saying the playing time for those players was a reward for their training and he believed that lineup could win them the game.

Getting their noses in front seemed like something of a miracle at the time. Vancouver went the entire first half without a single shot attempt. Mercifully, the first half ended right at 45 minutes.

Still, the Whitecaps struggled to manufacture anything in the second half until Parker was able to convert his chance.

Production from their centre backs has seen a sudden increase in recent weeks, as has goals from set pieces.

On Saturday in Seattle, veteran central defender Pa-Modou Kah scored twice for Vancouver, earning him a number of league recognitions.

Parker's goal on Wednesday -- his first as a professional -- was a beauty, as he got into the open and tipped the delivery from Pedro Morales off the far post and in. The rookie has come close before, but finally capitalized on this occasion.

"It was great to score at home, great to score against Seattle. Just a little heart-broken we didn't get the win," said Parker.

But the Sounders countered shortly after, courtesy a baffling defensive gaffe from the Whitecaps, who fielded a lineup of players that typically aren't frequent starters in MLS competition.

A wide-open Lamar Neagle, left untouched and without a Vancouver defender anywhere near him, buried his chance in front of goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi in the 72nd minute to even the score.

The Whitecaps, sitting at the top of the MLS Western Conference standings, resume regular season competition on Saturday, as they host Real Salt Lake.

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