The New York Red Bulls may have had the edge on the Vancouver Whitecaps in possession, and shots, and good scoring chances, but by the end of Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg, but it was the Whitecaps who left Red Bull Arena with control of the series after grabbing a 1-1 draw.
The Whitecaps scored an early advantage, and picked up an important away goal, in the 39th minute on a headed goal from Kekuta Manneh. The winger nodded a corner off a defender and into the back of the net in front of scarce crowd at Red Bull Arena.
The Red Bulls had a chance to level the contest at one goal apiece in the 48th minute, but newly-minted captain Sacha Kljestan scuffed his penalty kick attempt, watching his attempted chip shot go right into the arms of David Ousted. However, the Red Bulls bounced back in the 62nd minute by way of none other than Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Wright-Phillips, who was paired with Gonzalo Veron up top, scored in the 62nd minute off a Sal Zizzo cross that took a fortunate bounce off his new strike partner.
Cristian Techera set Vancouver back in the 70th minute, as he was sent off for a kick to the groin of Zizzo. Fortunately for the visiting side, it did not concede in the closing 20 minutes to preserve the 1-1 draw.
“We did well today,” Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted said. “They’re a very good team, especially here at Red Bull Arena and the way they play, the create a lot of chances. I think we did what we needed to do today. We got the away goal and we defended well, especially after going down in the 70th minute.”
The two sides will meet again on March 2 at BC Place to determine who will advance to the semifinals of the continental competition.
“We have to go there and score,” Marsch said. “We know that, but you know we always go on the road and look to be the aggressor. It shapes up for another interesting game, because I think they’ll be some tentativeness to both teams and some conservative approach, but you know the game I think will take some twists and turns as it moves on and I think it sets up for a very interesting second leg.”