FOXBOROUGH, MA - as 54,000 fans packed BC Place to watch the Canadian Women's National Team face England in a World Cup quarterfinal match, the temporarily exiled Vancouver Whitecaps took the the soggy turf at Gillette Stadium looking to extend their road winning streak at the expense of the New England Revolution.
Whitecaps fans, at least, were not disappointed, and neither was Jordan Harvey, who was celebrating a win in what was his 200th MLS appearance.
Vancouver manager Carl Robinson faced challenges with his line up tonight because several first team regulars including Kendall Waston, Pedro Morales, and Russell Teibert were all unavailable due to either injury or suspension.
Robinson has worked hard to build a squad deep with experience, and tonight Robbo looked to centre back Tim Parker and midfielder Deybi Flores to step up and fill in for their absent teammates. Two additional changes saw the switch of Cristian Techera from the wing to an attacking midfield role, and the reintroduction of Mauro Rosales to Robbo's starting XI.
It was a tough opening fifteen minutes for Vancouver, who were on the defensive often as the Revs pressed to find an early goal. Despite the early pressure the Revs were denied twice by the sublime skill and cat-like reflexes of Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted, who once again proved that he is indeed one of the top goalkeepers in Major League Soccer.
He [Ousted] was outstanding and he's been outstanding all season. He comes up with big saves at the right times. That's what we pay him for and it's important he does that. I think he'll be disappointed with the goal that went through his legs, but he made six or seven top saves and he let in one, but I'll give him that.
~Carl Robinson, Whitecaps FC Head Coach
In the tenth minute Ousted came off his line to cut down the angle on Teal Bunbury, who came rampaging into the Caps' area via the right channel and put a hard shot on target. Two minutes later it was once again Ousted to the rescue when he denied London Woodberry by virtue of a spectacular diving save to prevent the New England defender scoring at the far post.
In the eighteenth minute completely against the run of play Vancouver opened the scoring, thanks to a heads up play from Techera and some ball watching by New England. Mauro Rosales whipped in a cross from the right wing, and it was poorly dealt with by a number of Revolution players including Scott Caldwell. Techera pounced on the ball and hammered a shot past Bobby Shuttleworth to give Vancouver an unlikely early lead.
The big talking point in the first half came at the half hour mark when defender Andrew Farrell, who had already been booked for a foul on Octavio Rivero, pulled down Techera just as the diminutive Uruguayan sped into the New England 18-yard box. Referee Allen Chapman immediately pointed to the spot, and reached into his back pocket to get out his red card and send Farrell off for an early shower.
Interestingly Farrell has previously been sent off in a match against the Whitecaps. On June 15th, 2013 these two teams played a match at BC Place - a match that the Whitecaps eventually won by a score of 4-3. In the 23rd minute Farrell was shown a straight red card for committing a professional foul when he hacked down former Whitecaps striker Kenny Miller inside the New England area.
Vancouver, who were already down by a score of 0-2 that evening, looked as though they may be handily defeated by the Revs. Instead Camilo stepped up to score from the spot, and it was a goal which served to be the catalyst for a cascade of four unanswered goals as Martin Rennie's Whitecaps defeated the 10-man Revolution.
But I digress.
Tonight's spot kick was smashed home by Rivero for his seventh goal of the 2015 MLS season. No doubt that Whitecaps fans everywhere will hope that the Uruguayan's goal tonight will give him the confidence to get back on track and rediscover his scoring touch.
In the second half it was the Whitecaps who came out of the locker room looking for an early goal, and their efforts were nearly rewarded by Kekuta Manneh, and shortly thereafter by Flores, but alas to no avail.
The Whitecaps continued to press forward and in the sixty-fourth minute Manneh pinged a hard shot off the far post of Shuttleworth's goal. The young Gambian created room for the shot after a setting himself up with a great first touch on the ball and a mesmerizing run, but was not rewarded for his efforts.
We just couldn't get the third goal. We had numerous chances for the third goal, and we made it probably too close and more interesting than we needed to.~Carl Robinson, Whitecaps FC Head Coach
In the eighty-third minute Teal Bunbury, who looked the most likely of the Revolution players to find a way on to the score sheet all evening, took advantage of a poorly cleared free kick to put the ball behind Ousted and spoiled the Great Dane's clean sheet.
The Whitecaps, however, almost restored their two goal advantage immediately after Bunbury's goal, but substitute Darren Mattocks saw his attempt on goal cleared off the line by some frantic defending by the Revs.
By the time Chapman blew his whistle for full time it was the Whitecaps who managed to hold on to the victory. During their time away from Cascadia over the past month the Caps have amassed an impressive record of (W3-L1-D0) and have won an unprecedented three straight road matches.
The Whitecaps will bring their road trip to a close next Saturday, July 4th when they travel to Commerce City, CO where they face the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park at 6pm PDT (TSN, TSN 1410AM).
Budweiser Man of the Match: Cristian Techera
Referee: Allen Chapman
18' - VAN - Cristian Techera
31' - VAN - Octavio Rivero (Penalty kick)
84' - NE - Teal Bunbury
Shots: New England 16 - Vancouver 12
Shots on Goal: New England 9 - Vancouver 6
Saves: New England 3 - Vancouver 8
Fouls: New England 17 - Vancouver 15
Offsides: New England 0 - Vancouver 3
Corners: New England 11 - Vancouver 2
20' - NE - Andrew Farrell
29' - NE - Andrew Farrell
33' - VAN - Jordan Harvey
41' - NE - Diego Fagundez
54' - NE - Teal Bunbury
82' - VAN - Darren Mattocks
88' - VAN - Steven Beitashour
90' + 1' - VAN - Nicolas Mezquida
29' - NE - Andrew Farrell
New England Revolution
22.Bobby Shuttleworth; 28.London Woodberry (30.Kevin Alston 46'), 2.Andrew Farrell, 23.Jose Goncalves, 8.Chris Tierney; 6.Scott Caldwell, 16.Daigo Kobayashi (11.Kelyn Rowe 62'); 10.Teal Bunbury, 24.Lee Nugyen (17.Juan Agudelo 77'), 14.Diego Fagundez; 9.Charlie Davies
Substitutes not used
18.Brad Knighton, 4.Steve Neumann, 5.Jeremy Hall, 7.Sean Okoli
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 33.Steven Beitashour, 26.Tim Parker, 44.Pa-Modou Kah, 2.Jordan Harvey©; 15.Matías Laba, 20.Deybi Flores; 13.Cristian Techera, 7.Mauro Rosales (9.Nicolás Mezquida 83'), 23.Kekuta Manneh (11.Darren Mattocks 74'); 29.Octavio Rivero (19.Erik Hurtado 79')
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 18.Diego Rodríguez, 31.Russell Teibert, 38.Kianz Froese