Luke Rodgers made sure New York left with a share of the spoils on its trip to Vancouver.VANCOUVER, B.C. – A full barn of 21,000 fans came to see Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls play the Whitecaps, which ended up in a 101 draw. The weather was stunning and that’s might have consoled 'Caps fans upset that their squad couldn't get the home win.
The Whitecaps started strong and got an early goal, but after giving up one on the counter attack, lost all confidence. NYRB settled into its game and was happy absorbing the Whitecaps' pressure. New York seemed content to walk away with the point.
It was no surprise to the local fans to see the Whitecaps push forward in the opening minutes. Salinas got behind Roy Miller and Eric Hassli did well to get a foot on the ball, but couldn’t direct it towards the goal.
The New York Red Bulls stuck to their game plan -hoofing long diagonal balls up from the defence and catching the Whitecaps on the break. It almost worked in the 9th minute as a Caps attack broke down and De Rosario found Luke Rodgers alone up the right wing. Chiumiento did well to angle him off in the box and Rodgers scuffed the shot across the front of the net.
The first solid attack for either team came in the 15th minute as a Chiumiento, Koffe, and Rochat triangle sent in Rochat behind the defense. His low, hard cross was turned in by Camilo but the linesman had his flag up. It was a close and late call on Rochat, but the correct one.
The Caps had obviously targeted the weak right side of Red Bulls defense and spent a lot of time trying to send Camilo and Hassli in behind. In the 22nd minute they did just that. Camilo was sent into the box and cut in front of Carlos ,who stuck a foot out and down went Camilo. Ref Mark Geiger pointed to the spot and Hassli slotted it in the bottom left corner of Sutton's goal. 1-0 Whitecaps.
After a spell of back and forth play, where the Caps kept trying to catch New York on the break, one of New York’s long balls over the defense worked. A crossfield pass in the 34th minute reached Jan Gunnar Solli, who wrongfooted Alain Rochat, who fell over. The resulting hard low cross was put right on Luke Rodgers' feet. He smashed it in the top right corner. The game was tied up 1-1.
The goal changed the rest of the half, as the Whitecaps suddenly lost the confidence they had gained in the opening minutes. The Caps midfield started backing up as the Red Bulls ran at them. New York was given too much room to shot from distance. but luckily for the Caps, nothing came of it.
The second half started with no changes and both teams seemed happy playing a game of ping pong with each other. Whitecaps tried to send players through on a breakaway, but were called offside. New York tried to send someone through on a breakaway, but the pass didn't get through.
The defense of both sides looked ripe for a blunder and on the 58th minute Chiumiento plucked the ball off of Tainio and fired in a cross. It was horribly misplayed by Tim Ream and the ball fell right on Hassli’s foot on the penalty spot. He chose to one-time it, but slipped on the artificial pitch and Sutton made the save. That was a big chance wasted by the Caps.
New York seemed content with playing out the draw. Both teams looked for the counterattack, but gave the ball back easily. Both teams had poor timing on their runs. Neither was able to break the draw.
The late chance to win it fell to De Rosario as he fired a central free kick just over the bar late in the match. That was as exciting as it gotf.
It was a tame second period compared to the first half, but more so than Vancouver, New York was probably happy with the point. Since the Red Bulls were on the road and missing players, the result was likely satisfying.
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