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Miller goal completes Whitecaps comeback in win over Red Bulls

KennyMiller (Whitecaps)


HARRISON, N.J.– The New York Red Bulls entered their 23-day break in June with a performance they’d like to quickly forget.

Defender Jamison Olave was shown a red card in the 75th minute, and two defensive miscues helped the Vancouver Whitecaps comeback from a goal down in the second-half, and earn a 2-1 victory over the Red Bulls in front of 19,969 fans on Saturday night at Red Bull Arena.

Whitecaps forward Kenny Miller scored the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute in his first game back after missing the prior seven with injury. The result gives the Whitecaps their first road victory of the season, and ends the Red Bulls seven-match unbeaten run.

“I’m shocked, I can’t believe it,” Red Bulls midfielder Juninho said via a translator. “I can’t believe we lost that game, we completely dominated the first half, we managed to go up 1-0 early in the second half and in a matter of three to four minutes, we lost the game.

Controlling the match in the first half, the home side were the closest to scoring on a number of occasions, with midfielder Johnny Steele and Thierry Henry each having chances on goal. While the pair couldn’t finish their opportunities, there were numerous crosses and passes from the wings that failed to find a target.

In the second half, the Red Bulls looked to have lady luck shining down on them. As they have done all season, Henry and Steele combined well down the left flank, producing the first goal of the match.

Just six minutes into the second half, Henry played Steele into the box. The Northern Irishman’s cross into the middle was deflected by Whitecaps defender Greg Klazura past his goalkeeper Brad Knighton for a 1-0 lead to the Red Bulls.

It wasn’t long before the Whitecaps tied the match. Red Bulls midfielder Eric Alexander failed to clear a cross following a corner, and the ball fell right to the feet of Whitecaps defender Jordan Harvey, who blasted a shot past Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles in the 58th minute to level the scoreline.

The match changed in the 75th minute, when Olave was shown his second yellow card and subsequent red card for a challenge from behind, leaving the Red Bulls without their enforcer in the back.

It proved to cost the home side dearly, as Miller completed his return to the field with a powerful header past Robles, beating Red Bulls defender Kosuke Kimura in the air in the 83rd minute to give the Canadian side a lead they would not relinquish.

“When the ball leaves the (crosser’s) foot, you know exactly where it’s coming,” Red Bulls manager Mike Petke said about the goal. “If you stare at the ball, it’s easy for someone to step in front.”

Substitute Peguy Luyindula nearly tied the match in the fifth minute of stoppage time, pouncing on a ball in the area, but his chip attempt fell safely into Knighton’s awaiting hands.

“At the end of the day, we’re not in a bad position,” Henry said. “We’ve got to work and do a bit better than what we are doing at the time. Hopefully maybe sometime when you lose, people wake up.”

After Saturday night, the Red Bulls don’t play another league match until June 23, in a road match against the Philadelphia Union, though there is a U.S. Open Cup game against the New England Revolution on June 12 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. With a long break for the first-team players, they’ll have to quickly find a way to forget about the loss and re-focus on the second half of the season.

“We’re going to have to try to see how we can work and play better, erase the mistakes that we’ve done in the first half of the season, and make sure we come back stronger,” Henry said. “(The break) is going to give us some amount of time to work and play better.”



Prior to the start of the match, former players Juan Pablo Angel and Amado Guevara were given an ovation as they walked on the field.


With the one-match suspension for the red card, Jamison Olave won’t be eligible to return to MLS action for the Red Bulls until June 30, when the Red Bulls host the Houston Dynamo.


Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara was on the substitutes bench for the first time this season, after playing 90 minutes in the mid-week U.S. Open Cup victory over Reading United.

Here are the match highlights:


      • I don’t know. It’s probably only fair Sam gets a start, though. We can’t really say Alexander has staked his claim to the spot. It’s seems like Petke likes to create competition for each position so it will probably happen.

        On another note, does Espindola have a right foot?

  1. This was a maddening game from the Red Bulls standpoint. They clearly dominated play but just couldn’t finish. Henry missed a clear cut chance early on which would have totally changed the tone of the game. We thought after they got up 1-0, they should be able to hold on at home but the red card basically turned the game around. I still think this is the best Red Bulls team in a long while. They seem to have enough all around technical ability to possess the ball and create chances. The last few years, they simply could not possess. I think Juninho has a lot to do with that. However, despite all the possession, they can seem to finish. Henry has missed a lot of chances where in years past, they were automatic goals. Luyindula is a strange player: creates a lot chances and seems to wreak havoc on defenses, but the guy just can’t finish. All in all, the only guy who didn’t play that well was Alexander. But I still believe in him. I think he has the skill and pace to be a threat; the only thing he is missing is his confidence. Stick with him.

  2. This was the first time in the ‘Caps 3 year history that they’ve ever had a 2-1 lead on the road.. not just winning 2-1 but actually making the score 2-1 at any point in the game. Before tonight, they’d only ever held 1-0 leads on the road.

  3. The next time Luyindula does something useful on offense will be the first time. He wastes good chances like a leaky faucet wastes water.

    • Luyindula also creates a hell of a lot of chances and his play other than finishing is superb, once he gets one goal he will start banging them in

      • I guess. But he’s a striker. Finishing is what he’s supposed to do. And si far he’s been terrible at it. He’s the French Disconnection.

      • I didn’t watch the whole game so maybe I shouldn’t comment but I thought he was terrible too

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