New York City FC headed to BC Place on Wednesday evening, undefeated in five and on the back of four straight wins. Vancouver Whitecaps were winless in three and coming off the back of a thumping in Chicago. There could only be one result, right? Not so fast.
In a match of twists and turns, and the proverbial game of two halfs, the ‘Caps came out strong, going ahead just three minutes in from a cool Fredy Montero finish. But by half time a Maxime Chanot goal, a David Villa penalty, terrible defending, and controversial refereeing, all conspired to give NYC a 2-1 lead.
It looked to be a long way back for the Whitecaps, but they came out like a different team for the second half, taking the game to visitors and getting back on level terms nine minutes after the restart from a sweet Jordan Harvey finish at the back post.
You felt either team could go on and win this now, but as the game seemed to be heading to a drawn conclusion, super sub Yordy Reyna bulleted home a diving header from a fantastic Jake Nerwinski cross with two minutes remaining to secure all three points for Vancouver.
The win catapulted the Whitecaps back into the playoff places with some games in hand over all the teams above them. Shame there’s now a two week break really.
AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was there to capture all the action before, during and after the game. Here’s his “Story In Pictures”, with a full Flickr slideshow at the end.[Also check out Tom’s website www.residualimagephotography.com for more of his photos and work].
Your Whitecaps starting XI
Three minutes in and Fredy Montero shows his quick thinking and cool head to pounce on a NYC defensive slip and head to goal
Wrongfooting Eirik Johansen to fire the ‘Caps into an early lead
It was a lead that was to last till the 34th minute when a defensive blunder, and a spill by David Ousted, allowed Maxime Chanot to poke home the equaliser from a couple of yards out
Another costly Vancouver mistake, which the visitors gratefully received
Worse was to follow six minutes later when Tommy McNamara went down holding his face after a perceived swinging arm from Kendall Waston
And the big man couldn’t believe it as the penalty was awarded – neither could we!
Especially since McNamara had clattered Ousted on the way through
David Villa stepped up for the spot kick, sending Ousted the wrong way for his 12th of the year
And as tensions rose at half time, it looked to be a long way back now for the ‘Caps
But back they came just nine minutes after the restart when Christian Bolanos sent in a pinpoint curling cross to an unmarked Jordan Harvey at the back post
And the left back scored his first of the year with aplomb, and the sweetest of first time volleys
While at the other end, pensioner Andrea Pirlo’s hip gave out in the box for the second time of the match
And our hearts skipped a beat when we thought the already booked Montero would do a Mati Laba and get sent off for grabbing the ball after a foul. Thankfully this time, it was an actual free kick
Then with the game seemingly heading to a draw, a neat interchange between Jake Nerwinski and Cristian Techera saw the right back power forward
Whipping in a perfect cross to an unmarked Yordy Reyna 12 yards out, who bulleted home a header past Johansen for the winner
Reyna’s first MLS goal on his home debut. What a start!
Old friends Robbo and Patrick Viera are all smiles at the final whistle
And so it David Ousted as he does the Humba with Curva Collective, and he’s loud enough without a megaphone!
You can see all of Tom’s photos from the game HERE and in our full Flickr slideshow below: