Whitecaps FC earn big 2-1 victory over Eastern Conference leading New York Red Bulls
HARRISON, NJ – With the odds stacked against them, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (4W-4L-4D) responded by earning their first road victory of the season, coming back for a big 2-1 victory against Eastern Conference leading New York Red Bulls (7W-5L-4D) at Red Bull Arena on Saturday.
A second half own goal gave New York the lead, but tallies from Jordan Harvey and Kenny Miller gave the Blue and White all three points.
Head coach Martin Rennie made three changes to his starting lineup from this past week's Amway Canadian Championship final second leg with Greg Klazura, Jordan Harvey, and Matt Watson drawing in for Young-Pyo Lee,Gershon Koffie (quad strain) and Nigel Reo-Coker (suspended due to yellow card accumulation).
Highlights: New York Red Bulls 1 - 2 Whitecaps FC
On five minutes, the Red Bulls had their first chance of the match as Thierry Henry got in behind the 'Caps defence and fired a short shot that was caught by Brad Knighton.
In the 15th minute, Fabian Espindola broke down the left wing and fired a shot from an awkward angle as it was easily was stopped by Knighton.
Five minutes later, on 20 minutes, Juninho shot a rocket from 30 yards out, but the ball sailed over the crossbar and out.
On 31 minutes, a perfect cross into the 18-yard box by Henry landed at the feet of Espindola, but the Argentine striker was well marked by Andy O'Brien and was not able to finish.
In the 44th minute, Johnny Leveron had a chance for the 'Caps as he fired a free kick that narrowly missed the net high.
With New York dominating possession in the first half, the 'Caps looked to rebound in the second half.
Just five minutes into the second half, in the 50th minute, Henry was in alone in the box and his shot found the right post, but he was flagged offside. However, just one minute later, Henry sent Jonny Steele in on the left side and the midfielder's pass bounced off Klazura and into the net to give the Red Bulls a 1-0 lead.
Just minutes later, Klazura went down on the pitch and was immediately subbed off for Lee, who seemed to provide a spark for the visitors.
Rennie's boys were not to be beat on this day though and showed their resolve to pick themselves up and get back into the match.
The equializer came on 58 minutes as Harvey found a loose ball in the box and smashed it emphatically into the top corner, taking out his frustration from Wednesday to level the match at 1-1.
In the 69th minute, a turnover led to Camilo having a great chance to give his side the lead, but his shot outside the box was stopped by Luis Robles.
The match took another turn in favour of the 'Caps later on. A hard takedown of Kenny Miller by Jamison Olave in the 74th minute led to his second yellow card of the match, giving the 'Caps a man advantage for the remainder of the affair, which proved to be a decisive factor in the final 15 minutes.
That man advantage helped the 'Caps get their winner in the 83rd minute, as the Blue and White took the lead when Russell Teibert made a beautiful cross into the 18-yard box, where Miller leaped past his defender and headed the ball into the net to give the 'Caps a 2-1 lead.
Vancouver had a pair of chances to put the match away but were denied to keep the finish tense.
On 88 minutes, second half substitute Kekuta Manneh nearly scored as he was alone on Robles, but his slow tap could not reach the net.
In added time, in the 92nd minute, Teibert received a beautiful pass from Miller, but his eventual shot went over the crossbar.
On 95 minutes, with seconds remianing, the Red Bulls nearly netted a late equalizer when Peguy Luyindula had a chance inside the box, but Knighton was there to snag his weak lob effort.
In the end the 'Caps were able to hold on to their lead as they walked out of Red Bull Arena with a 2-1 win, giving New York their first loss since April 13 and awarding the ‘Caps with their first road win of the season.
"It’s a big thing to come back so quickly from a disappointment like that and come to a tough place like this," said Rennie after the match. "I thought it showed great character from the players, they worked really hard, it was hot conditions as well today, and really, you know, in the end we could’ve made it easier for ourselves, but, you know, in the end we’re just happy to get the win."
Next up, the Blue and White head to Seattle to face Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, June 8 at CenturyLink Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.