Whitecaps blow lead to 10-man Timbers

Up a goal and with a man advantage after the dismissal of Futty Danso, the Vancouver Whitecaps conceded an equalizer with just six minutes to play in controversial circumstances.
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Who says being up a man is an advantage?

It certainly wasn’t for the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, as they let a 2-1 lead slip with just six minutes to play in controversial circumstances.

Substitute Jose Valencia cushioned a Will Johnson long ball down with his hand before beating Andy O’Brien one-on-one and firing past Brad Knighton from close range.

That 84th minute equalizer came just minutes after Futty Danso’s sending off following a collision with Camilo. Danso was the last man back on the play, meaning referee Matthew Foerster had to bring out the red if he thought a foul took place.

“Whether it’s a red card or not, I don’t necessarily think it was,” Rennie said, before saying the call was a bit “harsh.” “Sometimes when the other team goes down a man it doesn’t necessarily help you, because you can have that subconscious relax a little bit and the goal came right after that, and I think we could have dealt with that better.”

Central defender Brad Rusin certainly felt he could have done more on the game-tying play, claiming he could have dealt with Will Johnson’s long ball better.

“I take full responsibility for the second goal,” Rusin told reporters. “At the end of the day, I have to be better and we can’t blame the referees.”

The Whitecaps were in the lead through goals from Camilo and Gershon Koffie. Will Johnson scored for the Timbers from the spot after an O'Brien handball.

With this latest defeat, the Whitecaps maintain their winless record against Cascadia opponents Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders.

“We feel that’s two points lost for us,” Knighton said. “We need to win that game – we’re a man up and one long ball right down the middle of the field beats us. We can’t let the referee make a decision for us.

“We need to take care of business. It’s unfortunate – I thought we played really well today.”

The club, now 3-4-4, is next in action on May 29 in the second leg of the Canadian Championship final. There they’ll take on the Montreal Impact with the tie still scoreless on aggregate. The 10-day break from competition is something Rennie feels will benefit his side.

“It’ll help us,” Rennie said of the break. “We haven’t been able to train a lot for the last number of weeks. It’s just been one game after another. ... Being at home is an important factor, and also the fact we don’t play the Saturday before that game.

“Montreal will have to play and then travel – it’s a long way, and it’s hard – and that’s the one thing I felt disappointed about tonight. The players really deserved a win out of that. They put in a fantastic effort this week. It’s been incredible to see and I think they deserved a little bit more.”