Weeks pass, but some things don’t change.

The Vancouver Whitecaps scored, showed promise, conceded, missed chances, gave up more chances, and ultimately had to settle for a fourth straight week without a win to start their 2023 season.

Canada’s three Major League Soccer teams went from winless over the first three weekends of the season to undefeated during the fourth weekend of the season, but the Whitecaps couldn’t make it a clean sweep of victories on Saturday night.

It started well, as it had done last week.

The Caps came out threatening and firing and took the lead in a game for the third time this season, this time thanks to an extraordinary act of aerial contortionism from Tristan Blackmon. The defender twisted mid-air to direct home Julian Gressel’s free-kick and give Vanni Sartini’s side a not-altogether-expected lead in the LA Galaxy’s home opener.

That was Gressel’s third MLS assist of the season (fourth in all competitions) and he is truly Sartini’s chief creative architect, having set up all of Vancouver’s four league goals so far this season other than the own goal that gave them a point last weekend against FC Dallas.

But, as has happened every time the Whitecaps have taken the lead in league play this season, they soon gave it up. Against a Galaxy side missing both Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández and Douglas Costa, it was an unlikely source that brought the hosts an equalizer: Kelvin Leerdam, with his first MLS goal since 2020, took advantage of chaotic Caps defending and a rare black mark against the name of weekly standout performer Yohei Takaoka in goal to bundle home a spilled ball with seconds to go before the half-time whistle.

“It’s communication between the back line,” Blackmon pinpointed as the culprit for the concession. “No fingers pointed. At the end of the day, we’re talking back there even through a moment like that. Unfortunately, it ended up in the back of our net. It’s something we will work on.”

Another tough moment also came before the break, when winter signing Sergio Córdova was forced off the field through injury. Sartini said postgame that the problem was with his hamstring and that he will be evaluated tomorrow. The head coach does not want the 25-year-old to travel to Saudi Arabia with the Venezuelan national team during the upcoming window. What happens with that remains to be seen.

Back to the game and, in truth, from that point, though Brian White spurned a one-on-one chance and Javain Brown’s wayward cross hit a post late on, Galaxy looked the more likely to win it.

Before they had even equalized, Riqui Puig had seen a goal disallowed because Dejan Joveljić was offside, and Galaxy were denied a second time when Joveljić’s finish was ruled out after it transpired the ball had hit his arm as he attempted to control it.

Throw in the fact that Takaoka pulled off two typically excellent saves from Joveljić, and things could have been far worse. Ultimately, if your opponents put the ball in your net three times, you’re probably inclined to just count your blessings that only one counted, take the point on the road, and move on.

The problem is that the longer the wait for the first win goes on, the sourer the mood threatens to turn.

“We wanted the win,” said Blackmon. “We were able to defend decently and kept it a tie but we need to continue to fight and turn these results into wins.”

Sooner rather than later, preferably.