VANCOUVER — Christian Bolanos and Diego Rubio traded goals in the first half before Vancouver went down to 10 men as the Whitecaps and Sporting Kansas City played to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night.
Bolanos, who joined the Whitecaps in the off-season, scored his first in Major League Soccer off a Cristian Techera corner in the 14th minute that he deftly slotted into the top corner with a left-footed volley past a helpless Alec Kann in the Kansas City goal.
A veteran of two World Cups with Costa Rica, Bolanos was mobbed by teammates as Vancouver (3-4-2) celebrated in front of its supporters section.
But that joy was short-lived as Sporting (4-4-1) equalized 13 minutes later when Rubio also buried his first in MLS off a scuffed shot from Kansas City's Lawrence Olum.
The Whitecaps pleaded for offside, but replays showed that Rubio was level with Vancouver's defenders when Olum made contact.
After each team had a good chance towards the end of the first half, Vancouver went down to 10 men in the 51st minute when a poor back pass from Tim Parker to goalkeeper David Ousted forced fellow defender Kendall Waston to take Rubio down for his second yellow card.
The Whitecaps also had a player sent off in a 2-1 loss at Sporting in March. After Waston's dismissal, Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson was forced to sacrifice captain Pedro Morales, who was just back from a hip injury following a three-game absence, for Pah-Modou Kah to shore up the backline.
Kansas City countered by bringing star striker Dom Dwyer on for Rubio, who was himself on a yellow, as well as midfielders Brad Davis and Graham Zusi in hopes of pushing for the three points.
The visitors controlled the play from there, but never really threatened Ousted's goal despite their numerical advantage as Vancouver did well to hold on and even came close to snagging an unlikely winner on a late free kick that floated into the Sporting penalty area.
Both teams are in the middle of a stretch of three games in eight days. The Whitecaps snapped a string of getting shut out in three straight games, including back-to-back losses, with a 3-0 home victory over FC Dallas on Saturday.
Kansas City — which opened the season with three consecutive victories, but came in having dropped three in a row — fell 1-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.
The Whitecaps visit New York City FC on Saturday, while Sporting travels to meet the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday.
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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press