Report and Reaction: Understrength Whitecaps bullish after impressing in entertaining draw in New York

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Report and Reaction: Understrength Whitecaps bullish after impressing in entertaining draw in New York

Sometimes the matches you’re least looking forward to are the ones that serve up the most entertainment, and that was certainly the case in Vancouver Whitecaps’ visit to New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night.

Tired, depleted, and with rotation in the offing, I didn’t expect much at all heading into this one. I certainly didn’t expect a highly entertaining end to end four-goal encounter, but that’s exactly what we got from two makeshift line-ups.

Vancouver’s Scott Sutter and New York’s Brian White exchanged first half goals, before an unfortunate Andy Rose own goal gave the Red Bulls a 55th minute lead. But a Fredy Montero penalty, awarded for a handball after a video review, fired the Whitecaps back level.

Add in Luis Robles picking Felipe’s pocket, amongst a number of strong saves, and near non-stop end to end, and this was one of the most enjoyable ‘Caps games of the season so far. Not to mention an impressive and possibly valuable point taken in the process.

The Whitecaps preparation for this one was far from ideal. An already draining fourth match in 13 days was made worse by the ‘Caps flight from Kansas City being cancelled yesterday, forcing them to charter and get into their New Jersey hotel after 2am.

Marc Dos Santos went with a 5-4-1 formation, making six changes to the starting line-up from the draw in KC, handing Brett Levis his first start of 2019 on the wing and having a clear focus on Saturday Western Conference clash with FC Dallas at BC Place.

New York went with a young starting line-up, making a number of changes themselves, including several homegrown players, and it was the home side that had the best of the early chances, with Derrick Etienne firing just past the far post after a quick Red Bulls counter in the 11th minute.

Joaquin Ardaiz, getting the start as the lone striker up top for Vancouver, was causing a few problems for the New York defenders with his bustling style and as he powered towards goal in the 17th minute, Connor Lade just got a foot on the ball to knock it away as the Uruguayan was about to get off a shot on goal.

And it was Ardaiz’s hard work that saw the ‘Caps take the lead on the half hour mark. Powering past his man once again, he hit the byeline and his attempted pass to Levis was deflected into the path of Sutter, who blasted high into the next from a tight angle at the back post.


#VWFC have taken the lead on the road! #RBNYvVAN https://t.co/RgsGeqkhOS

— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 23, 2019

A fantastic finish and a somewhat unexpected lead for the visitors.

New York nearly got themselves back level two minutes later when Kaku turned superbly at the near post and sent a shot that looked destined for the back of the net, only to see Erik Godoy make a fantastic clearance off the goalline.


Erik Godoy


RBNY 1-1 VAN | #VWFC pic.twitter.com/s8Nz1UCbg1

— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) May 23, 2019

The Red Bulls weren’t to be denied though and did tie it up in the 37th minute when Brian White flicked a header over PC on the goalline, after getting onto another header from Amro Tarek from 12 yards out.

New York pushed for the goal ahead goal for the rest of the half, but Vancouver held on and the teams headed in at the break tied at one apiece.

Vancouver went for a change at the half, bringing Fredy Montero on for Levis and switching to a two up front formation.

Etienne should have done better for the Red Bulls three minutes after the restart when some hesitation between MacMath and Godoy nearly let him nip in, before the ‘Caps keeper collected.

Vancouver should have retaken the lead on a quick 53rd minute counter. Ardaiz sparked a 3-on-2 break, playing in PC, who lofted a wonderful ball to Felipe and the former Red Bull man could only look on in disbelief as Luis Robles got down to his header and turned it away off the goalline and post.

It was a surprisingly open and end to end game and it took a moment of misfortune from Rose to give the Red Bulls the lead in the 55th minute, turning a low Brian White ball across goal past MacMath and into his own net.


We'll take it!!!

2-1 #RBNYvVAN | #RBNY pic.twitter.com/f7hgOgthyb

— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) May 23, 2019

Unlucky for Rose and the Whitecaps, and coming moments after Felipe’s chance, but the Englishman almost made immediate amends heading an Ali Adnan corner goalwards, but Robles pulled off another fantastic goalline save to keep the home side’s lead intact.

Vancouver kept pressing though and were handed a lifeline by a familiar foe – VAR. Sean Nealis, who was having a less than stellar night at the back for New York, was adjudged to have handed in the box after video review. Montero stepped up and buried the spot kick, sending Robles the wrong way to make it 2-2 with half an hour to play.


Cool as you like.

Montero slots it home and we're level again! #RBNYvVAN https://t.co/OwEdwQrfhH

— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 23, 2019

The game continued to swing from end to end and Ardaiz forced another save from Robles after shaking off Nealis in the box. But it was to be his last action of the match after tweaking something on the shot and he was replaced by Lucas Venuto.

The action and pace finally took a bit of a dip in the closing stages, with only half chances created by either side down in the closing minutes.

The Whitecaps almost snatched the victory in the closing seconds of stoppage time when Venuto broke on a one-on-one counter. Robles again kept the ‘Caps at bay with a sprawling save, and Hwang couldn’t get the rebound past the Red Bulls defenders that then packed the box.

With no more goals, Vancouver held on to a secure a fantastic, and well deserved, point. They’ll probably feel they should have taken all three and they could have. But after a travel day from hell and missing some key starters, the fighting spirit and overall performance will delight Dos Santos and give this Whitecaps team a massive boost.

There’s little rest for the ‘Caps. They now head home to face FC Dallas on Saturday afternoon, flying out at 6.30 on Thursday morning. They’ll be tired but they need to recover quickly against a Western Conference rival. If they show the same fighting spirit, they’ll be fine.

FINAL SCORE: New York Red Bulls Vancouver Whitecaps

ATT: 13,035

NEW YORK: Luis Robles; Connor Lade, Sean Nealis, Amro Tarek, Kyle Duncan; Omir Fernandez, Cristian Casseres Jr, Derrick Etienne (Daniel Royer 71), Alejandro Romero Gamarra “Kaku”, Alex Muyl (Sean Davis 71); Brian White (Tom Barlow 80) [Subs Not Used: Ryan Meara, Kemar Lawrence, Michael Murillo, Mathias Jørgensen]
VANCOUVER: Zach MacMath; Scott Sutter, Erik Godoy, Andy Rose, Ali Adnan; Brett Levis (Fredy Montero 46), Felipe Martins, Jon Erice, Victor “PC” Giro (Inbeom Hwang 62); Joaquin Ardaiz (Lucas Venuto 71) [Subs Not Used: Maxime Crepeau, Jake Nerwinski, Russell Teibert, Theo Bair]
STATISTICS:
Possession: VAN 36.6% – NY 63.4%
Shots: VAN 13 – NY 18
Shots on Goal: VAN 7 – NY 3
Saves: VAN 1 – NY 5
Fouls: VAN 12 – NY 15
Offsides: VAN 1 – NY 5
Corners: VAN 6 – NY 9
Duels won: VAN 46 – NY 56
Tackles won: VAN 10 – NY 11

REACTION:

Reaction to follow later tonight….


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