CCL: Red Bulls Yield Goal in Draw With Visiting Vancouver

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

HARRISON, N.J. — THE New York Red Bulls returned to action in the first meaningful game of 2017, drawing with the Vancouver Whitecaps, 1-1, in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match on Wednesday night. Both teams appeared rusty but hungry as a physical game sets up a decisive second leg in Vancouver next week.

New York looked strong in the first half, dominating possession but its opportunities went by the wayside. Several times Daniel Royer and Sacha Kljestan couldn’t find the the net on key chances. Vancouver, which appeared comfortable on the counter, waiting for an opportunity that came in the 39th minute as Kekuta Manneh headed a ball off of Justin Bilyeu for the game’s opening goal.

The second half started stronger for New York as Royer drew a penalty kick in the first minute. Kljestan couldn’t convert as David Ousted was able to make the save despite seemingly being beat low to the middle of the net. The Red Bulls didn’t back down and they were rewarded in the 62nd minute when Bradley Wright-Phillips took advantage of a rare opportunity in front of net, burying a deflected ball from Sal Zizzo’s cross.

Vancouver escaped Red Bull Arena with the all important away goal. The Whitecaps will be shorthanded as Cristian Techera received a red card for a hard foul on Zizzo in the second half.

The two teams will meet again on March 2 in British Columbia to close out the first round of the Champions League knockout stage.

STARTING XI:

New York Red Bulls: Robles; Zizzo, Collin, Long, Bilyeu; Davis, Felipe, Kljestan, Royer (73 Etienne Jr.); Veron, Wright-Phillips (87 Grella)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC: Ousted; Waston, Hurtado (63 Barnes), Nerwinski (76 Williams), Parker, Harvey, Manneh (80 Greig), Laba, Davies, Teibert, Techera

GOALS:

39 (VAN): Kekuta Manneh unassisted
62 (RBNY): Bradley Wright-Phillips unassisted

DISCIPLINE:

41 (VAN) YELLOW CARD: Tim Parker
55 (VAN) YELLOW CARD: Erik Hurtado
70 (VAN) RED CARD: Cristian Techera
80 (RBNY) YELLOW CARD: Sacha Kljestan