FOXBOROUGH, MA - In their lone regular season meeting of 2012, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (5W-3L-2D) suffered a 4-1 away defeat to Eastern Conference side New England Revolution (4W-6L-0D) in Major League Soccer on Saturday evening.
Though they took the lead early through Eric Hassli, Whitecaps FC saw their best run as an MLS club come to a crashing halt in front of 12,112 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, after New England scored four unanswered goals to earn a second straight victory versus Vancouver. Former Whitecaps FC player Lee Nguyen scored the Revolution’s first and fourth goals of the match, while Saer Sene struck New England’s winner and Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph had the home side’s third goal before the break. Saturday’s defeat ended Whitecaps FC’s winning streak in MLS at three matches and five games in all competitions. New England, meanwhile, extended their undefeated home record versus Canadian-based MLS clubs to eight matches (6W-0L-2D).
“I felt that we were a little bit flat tonight,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “We obviously started the game really well by scoring an excellent goal. But even at that moment, I didn’t feel particularly excited about it, because I just thought we were a little bit flat. We’re in the midst of doing a lot of games just now and we’ve been doing well and we’ve been adjusting the team to win every game. Tonight, however, I didn’t get it right with the combinations I put out there, and as a result, we didn’t get the win.”
Halfway through a very busy month of action, Rennie made four changes from the line-up that started last weekend’s league win over San Jose Earthquakes. Carlyle Mitchell earned his first MLS start of the season at centre back, while Jordan Harvey returned to league action at left fullback, as captain Alain Rochat moved to the centre of the Vancouver backline. Hassli and Davide Chiumiento also earned starts in New England after playing in midweek.
On a warm evening in Norfolk County, the first-half action quickly turned up to the evening’s temperature, with four goals scored before the break. It was the visiting ‘Caps that drew first blood shortly after Sebastien Le Toux had the first chance of the match. On five minutes, a fine attacking move saw Chiumiento slip a through ball to Le Toux towards the New England byline. His cutback found Hassli in front of the Revolution goal, and the big Frenchman struck his first-time shot through the legs of New England goalkeeper Matt Reis for his second goal in as many league matches.
However, that lead lasted around a minute, as Nguyen levelled matters against his former club with a fortuitous finish following a scramble in the Whitecaps FC box. It was the United States international’s first goal in MLS. New England’s equalizer spurred on the home side, with Clyde Simms going close with two strikes on 10 and 20 minutes respectively.
The Revolution’s match winner came on 24 minutes through a fine turn and finish from Sene. Nguyen played his part in slipping the ball into the French striker’s path before he eluded the attentions of Rochat and finished low past Cannon for a 2-1 New England lead. That soon became three Revolution goals inside half-an-hour of play, as Joseph was in the right place in the Vancouver box to finish his second goal in as many matches versus the Blue and White. On 33 minutes, Sene’s cross from the right deflected off of Mitchell’s legs to the New England captain, who struck home from close range for a 3-1 Revolution advantage at halftime.
Facing a two-goal deficit, Whitecaps FC looked brighter in the early stages of the second half, with Rochat forcing a good save from Reis with an indirect free kick on 57 minutes. Rennie also brought on midweek goalscorer Darren Mattocks and Etienne Barbara as substitutes, with the Maltese international making his MLS debut after replacing Budweiser Man of the Match Gershon Koffie in the late stages.
Instead, it was New England that ended any hopes of a Vancouver comeback on 72 minutes, as Nguyen stunned his old club with a well-taken second goal. From a Chris Tierney throw-in, the Revolution midfielder struck a half volley that flew past Cannon and into the net for a 4-1 Revolution lead.
The scoreline proved insurmountable for Whitecaps FC, even though Mitchell went very close to scoring with a header on 79 minutes, while Reis denied Le Toux three minutes into second-half stoppage time. The final whistle wrapped up a disappointing evening for Whitecaps FC in New England, with Rennie’s side needing to pick themselves up before Wednesday night’s first leg in the Amway Canadian Championship final versus MLS rivals Toronto FC on Bell Pitch at BC Place. The Revolution will take this latest victory into an important Eastern Conference home clash versus Houston Dynamo next Saturday.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Gershon Koffie
5' - VAN - Eric Hassli (Sebastien Le Toux, Davide Chiumiento)
6' - NE - Lee Nguyen
24' - NE - Saer Sene (Lee Nguyen)
33' - NE - Shalrie Joseph
72' - NE - Lee Nguyen (Chris Tierney)
Shots: New England 18 – Vancouver 9
Shots on Goal: New England 7 – Vancouver 5
Saves: New England 4 – Vancouver 3
Fouls: New England 18 – Vancouver 16
Offsides: New England 3 – Vancouver 0
Corners: New England 0 – Vancouver 3
44' - VAN - Gershon Koffie
45+2' - NE - Shalrie Joseph
61' - VAN - Omar Salgado
64 ' - VAN - Darren Mattocks
83' - NE - Stephen McCarthy
90' - VAN - Eric Hassli
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Joe Cannon; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 19.Carlyle Mitchell, 4.Alain Rochat, 3.Jordan Harvey; 28.Gershon Koffie (8.Etienne Barbara 80'), 27.Jun Marques Davidson (26.Floyd Franks 89'), 20.Davide Chiumiento; 7.Sebastien Le Toux, 29.Eric Hassli, 17.Omar Salgado (22.Darren Mattocks 62')
Substitutes not used: 18.Brad Knighton, 13.Michael Nanchoff, 15.Martin Bonjour, 16.Matt Watson
New England Revolution
1.Matt Reis; 30.Kevin Alston, 5.A.J. Soares, 26.Stephen McCarthy, 8.Chris Tierney; 22.Benny Feilhaber, 19.Clyde Simms, 21.Shalrie Joseph, 24.Lee Nguyen (80.Fernando Cardenas 80'); 39.Saer Sene (14.Diego Fagundez 72'), 23.Blake Brettschneider (99.Alec Purdie 85')
Substitutes not used: 34.Bobby Shuttleworth, 4.John Lozano, 25.Darrius Barnes, 32.Bjorn Runstrom