Kendall Waston headed home a brace for Vancouver Whitecaps, but Daniel Royer grabbed two of his own as the visiting New York Red Bulls started and finished strongly at B.C. Place to come away with a point after a 2-2 draw.
The Whitecaps had done well to bounce back from a lacklustre start, putting in a strong second half to seemingly come away with a much needed three points against one of the best teams in all of MLS this season. But it was the same old, same old as the ‘Caps switched off in the closing minutes to give up an equaliser, and drop what could prove to be two massive points come the end of the season.
Carl Robinson rang the changes once more after the ‘Caps recent busy spell, giving Erik Hurtado the start up front and making five changes to the team that lost heavily to Toronto FC in Wednesday’s Canadian Championship final.
It wasn’t the ideal opening five minutes for the home side as the Red Bulls opened the scoring when Bradley Wright-Phillips split the gap between Nerwinski and Marinovic with a pass that Royer easily slotted in as the two Whitecaps got in each other’s way.
Tim Parker, in his return to BC Place, almost scored in the 18th minute with a header on a set piece but it was sent right into the hands of Marinovic.
Vancouver simply didn’t look at the races in the early going, but three minutes later the ‘Caps finally set up a decent chance after some fine passing between Yordy Reyna, Alphonso Davies, and Brek Shea had the Peruvian with a shot in that was deflected over the bar by a great save from Luis Robles.
While the remainder of the first half saw Vancouver create a few half chances, it was the visitors who were the more dangerous of the two.
That changed in the 42nd minute when Waston, after weaving through Red Bull defenders got between Parker and Robles to powerfully head in a Reyna corner and make the match even going into the break.
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) August 19, 2018
The opening five minutes of the second almost proved to be as disastrous as the first half for the ‘Caps when Alex Muyl headed the ball off the bar and then was almost bundled in over the line by Tim Parker.
Only a few minutes later Marinovic had to come up with another massive stop when he found himself one on one with Wright-Phillips in the box and denied him with a kick save.
The Whitecaps started to push back with a couple of rushes up the field. One ended as a corner on the hour mark which was swung in perfectly Felipe for Waston to rise up once again over his former defending partner Parker to grab his second of the match and to put the ‘Caps ahead.
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) August 19, 2018
For the remainder of the second half it was Vancouver who were the aggressors, looking the more likely to add to the scoreline, and it looked even better when the visitors lost a man to a second yellow after Michael Murillo saw red in the 84th minute for his second foul on Alphonso Davies, the first of which 15 minutes earlier was worthy of a sending off on its own.
But it was New York, however, who found the back of the net again in the last minute of normal time when Royer connected on a free kick from Tyler Adams at the far post to pull the Red Bulls even.
Heartbreaking for the Whitecaps but the way the team have defended this season, not exactly unexpected.
You can look at this one as a point gained against on of the top teams in the league this year, and a fighting one after going down to such an early goal. That may be true, but you have to view this one as two points thrown away with so little left in the match and the poor defending that led to both the Red Bulls’ goals.
With the Western Conference playoff picture incredibly tight, every point is vital for Vancouver right now, and with some tricky road games ahead, they need to get the job done in their remaining home matches to stand any chance of being involved in the postseason.
Even that may not be enough. With matches against the worst team in the West coming up over the next two weeks, anything less than six points will put the ‘Caps ever further behind those teams currently above them in the standings. The room for error is getting less and less each passing week.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 – 2 New York Red Bulls
VANCOUVER: Stefan Marinovic; Jake Nerwinski, Kendall Waston, Aaron Maund, Brett Levis (Nicolás Mezquida 66); Alphonso Davies, Felipe, Efraín Juárez (Russell Teibert 46), Brek Shea; Erik Hurtado (Kei Kamara 76), Yordy Reyna [Substitutes not used: Brian Rowe, Sean Franklin, Anthony Blondell, Cristian Techera]
NEW YORK: Luis Robles; Michael Murillo, Tim Parker, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence; Sean Davis (Brian White 82), Tyler Adams; Alex Muyl (Derrick Etienne, 63), Alejandro Romero Gamarra (Andreas Ivan 74), Daniel Royer; Bradley Wright-Philips [Substitutes not used: Ryan Meara, Connor Lade, Cristian Cásseres Jr., Fidel Escobar]
Possession: VAN 49.2% – NY 50.8%
Shots: VAN 10 – NY 13
Shots on Goal: VAN 3 – NY 6
Saves: VAN 4 – NY 2
Fouls: VAN 16 – NY 18
Offsides: VAN 1 – NY 2
Corners: VAN 8 – NY 5
Duels won: VAN 61 – NY 55
Tackles won: VAN 12 – NY 10
On the match:
“We’re disappointed we conceded in the last minute off a set piece, which I think was a dubious call for the free kick anyway. But we need to be better defending the back post. We knew what they’d do, we needed to move our line across a little bit and we switched off at the back post. So disappointed, for them, because the second 45 [minutes] I think we put on a really good performance. First half I thought we were awful. We were off it, we looked leggy, we looked lethargic, and we were probably lucky to be 1-1 at the break. So a tale of two halves probably.”
On why the team has conceded so many goals during the season:
“If I knew, obviously I’d try to rectify it. We’re working day-to-day on trying to get that right. I think we defended very well against a very good team by the way. I think when you look on it and reflect on it, it’s a very good point for us. We’re disappointed we conceded in the last minute, but after the first half performance if you’d have said we would have drawn the game I probably would have took a point, because I thought they were the much better team in the first half. But I think it’s just individual errors we’re making. It’s not just one person, it’s across the board. When you make an error you always want to maybe stay in your position rather than be positive, and play on the front foot, which is what I said to them at halftime. Sometimes it just comes down to a lack of confidence in decision making, I think that’s what’s happened too much this year.”
On Kendall Waston’s performance:
“He was great, and he’s upset in there because the [tying] goal [for the Red Bulls] had come from him winning a header. Because he’s so big and strong and physical, he’s got to go and head the ball, so he asked the referee why. But obviously his two goals are great for him and great for us, because we got a valuable point. But you can’t take that out of the game, him challenging for the ball, because it’s not his fault how big he is – it’s probably his parents.”
On being nervous when they went down to ten men:
“No, I wasn’t nervous. Actually watching after 20 minutes of the first half, I wish we were playing with ten men, because we needed a kick up the backside, because we were a little bit lethargic, I think is the right word. We were just off it, we were second to every drop down, we weren’t winning headers, and we were slow in our play. But sometimes that’s mental fatigue. If you think about the last three or four weeks we’ve had, it’s been very, very tough for them. So I didn’t want to say too much to them after the game, because they’re sick of hearing my voice at the moment for the last four weeks, because we’ve been on the road, and we’ve got some good points. So I’ll take it as a positive point against a very good team. Chris has done a great job since he’s come in, that’s why they’re challenging for the [Supporters’] Shield.”
On his two goals:
“I would rather win than score one or two goals to be honest. Today was much that, it was a little bit difficult with the way we didn’t perform as how we would want to. But one point still helps us to continue to fight to get in the playoffs and now we’ve got to prepare everything for the next match.”
On conceding late goals:
“Sometimes it’s concentration. It’s part of the game. We don’t want those things to happen but they happen.”
On playing Tim Parker:
“It’s not [about] Tim. I like to play every game, everybody or against anyone for me is nice. But with Tim, inside the game, inside the pitch to be honest I didn’t care about him but outside again we are friends. He wasn’t marking me man-to-man so it was a little bit different.”
On getting one point rather than three:
“We were there until the end and they score. It’s hard, it’s difficult to handle it but we need to keep going to the end. We’ve got to maintain it (momentum) with a strong mindset. Until the end we’ve got to continue fighting because nothing is impossible and now these last nine games are all finals because now we’ve got to try and get in the playoffs.”
On today’s result:
“It’s really disappointing. We didn’t really play well in the first half and maybe deserved to be down a few more. But we came back and tied them, and in the second half, I think we outplayed them, and we played really well. I thought we deserved to win. It’s just really upsetting. Two mistakes can cost you three points.”
On the challenges on the defensive end:
“If we had the answer, I don’t think we’d be struggling that much. I think it’s just staying locked in. We just need to be locked in on defensive set plays. We’ve gone 50 per cent when we should be going over 100 per cent.”
On the Red Bulls’ first goal:
“I take blame for that goal. As a defender, I need to clear that. I need to take charge even if I think that Stef could get it. I know it’s hard for him to come out that far, dive and hold on to the ball. I learn from that, and next time, I’ll just hit the ball as hard as I can. It all happened fast. We were just both leaving it for each other, I think, and we didn’t take charge, and that’s what happened.”
On the feeling in the locker room:
“We’re disappointed. It’s one of the best teams in MLS and I thought we played better than them. I thought we deserved three points, so we’re disappointed.”
On playing against Tim Parker:
“He’s a good friend. It’s fun to play against one of your buddies. We go all out when we’re on the field, but when we’re off the field, we’re friends again.”
NEW YORK RED BULLS
On the match:
“It’s a strange one because we thought in many ways we controlled the game in the first half, especially coming right before halftime giving up the set piece goal, It’s disappointing for sure. But we’re still ok. They’re dangerous on set pieces, they’ve always been with Waston. We give them a lot of credit. We knew coming in that’d be a difficult challenge, even if Kei was in there. But look, it’s always a challenge, set pieces with Vancouver.”
On playing five games in two weeks:
“We’re always thinking about the big picture and trying to size up what’s ahead while having an eye on one game at a time. To come to Vancouver and start our tough stretch with a hard-fought point, down a man, the way we did it I thought was a great way to kick things off here.”
On what Tim Parker had meant to the team:
“Tim has clearly made us hard to score on, arguably one of the best defences in the league. The partnership with him and Aaron [Long], they understand each other, they work well together. And Tim is just a real guy, and a tremendous soccer player. Especially for the way we play, his ability to run and read situations, and good in the air. And then it comes back to his courage, and he’s always up for it. He had another great game today, so we’re thrilled with Tim. He’s had a tremendous year and he’s helped us in a big way.”
On the match going back and forth:
“On the road it’s hard to get momentum. We got a good goal early we were able to take advantage I think of most of the first half. They got a goal on a set piece, that’s kid of how things go sometimes and you’ve got to ride out the momentum train.”
On his first return to BC Place:
“Walking into the stadium was a little weird for me. It was good to be back.”
On importance of the result:
“To get a point in the last few minutes like we did is very important for how our season is going to play out. We’re in the Supporters’ Shield race, and getting a point here instead of walking out without anything is big.”
On the Red Bulls-NYCFC rivalry ahead of Wednesday’s derby match:
“It’s intense and you can feel it. The fans completely buy into it so it’s something we take seriously as a club.”
On his future:
“I’m really happy in New York. If Europe ever came knocking, I think it’s every player’s dream. For me at the moment, I’m just really happy to be in New York.”
On the reception he received from the BC Place crowd:
“It was definitely really nice to hear.”
On former backline partner Kendall Waston’s goals:
“Kendall’s always been great in the air. We had the idea that they’re going to be able to hurt us in set pieces and we weren’t able to take care of that tonight.”
On the team’s mentality:
“I think it was really important to bounce back and at least get a point out of this game, I think we’ve been the better team today, I think we controlled most parts of the game but haven’t been the best at set pieces on the day. I think more was possible but it was still great to bounce back late in the game”
On his form:
“I think it’s just about little things and details. I think I’m doing the same things as at the beginning of the season, I’m always trying to work hard and I know the opportunities will come and we’ll always create chances. I think I’m more calm when I get the final chances to score. But there are not big changes to the beginning of the season.”
On Alphonso Davies:
“Great talent, unbelievable player. It’s great for the league to see him make the move to Bayern Munich. I’ve played with David Alaba for a couple of games and see similarities between Davies and Alaba. He’s a talented player and I just hope he makes a great career.”