KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Camilo Da Silva Sanvezzo scored a gorgeous free-kick goal just before halftime as the Vancouver Whitecaps earned a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday in Major League Soccer action.
The tie ends Vancouver's three-game win streak, but coach Martin Rennie's squad still snagged a precious point.
Of course, during much of the first half, it didn't look like Vancouver, which had a tough time even possessing the ball, would net another positive result.
With the Whitecaps controlling well below 40 per cent of the possession and rarely penetrating more than a few yards into the attacking half, it seemed inevitable during the opening 35 minutes that Sporting KC would find the lead.
Indeed, All-Star defender Aurelien Collin gave the two-time reigning Eastern Conference champions the lead in exactly the 35th minute.
Fellow defender Chance Myers nodded a cross from Oriol Rosell into the middle of Vancouver's box, where Collin's first attempt — a wheeling, left-footed shot — was blocked by Whitecaps defender Johnny Leveron.
Unfortunately for Leveron, the deflection fell right back into Collin's wheelhouse for a right-footed drive and his third goal of the season.
Vancouver, which attempted two shots in the opening 25 minutes — and neither was on goal or presented any real challenge to Sporting KC's defence — continued to absorb pressure until the final five minutes.
Eventually, the Whitecaps earned a free kick from 25 yards in front of goal during the 44th minute and with literally seconds remaining before halftime, Da Silva Sanvezzo drew Vancouver even with a perfectly struck rocket into the upper right corner.
The goal was Sanvezzo's 10th of the season, which is tied for the second most in MLS.
Vancouver dodged a bullet in the 76th minute when its defence failed to pressure Sporting KC all-star midfielder Graham Zusi after he collected a ball at the top left edge of the penalty box.
Given adequate time and space, Zusi, an MLS MVP finalist last season and a rising star for the U.S. men's national team, rolled a low, hard shot toward the left post.
Knighton was beaten, but Zusi's shot bent just enough that it pinged back into play off the post and was cleared from danger as the Whitecaps remained level at 1-1.