Argentine Bonjour opens Whitecaps account in style

Martin Bonjour celebrates his goal

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VANCOUVER, B.C. – They don’t make center backs the same way in South America.

Martín Bonjour’s first goal as a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls was taken as coolly as any striker around, as he took a touch before firing a curling effort into the top right corner past a helpless Ryan Meara.

“Martín is a really good friend and I’m happy for him,” Davide Chiumiento told reporters following the match. “He deserved his goal and it shows he’s from Argentina. It was a great touch – it was not just lucky. It was quality.”

GOAL: Bonjour lashes it home

Chiumiento himself played a big part in that goal, juking past Dax McCarty before hitting a low cross into the box. Three Vancouver players attacked the Swiss-Italian’s service before the ball fell to the goalscorer.

“I have to say thanks to him for my assist because he did everything,” Chiumiento said. “It was an important goal. It shows that if sometimes offensive players can’t score in a game, we have still defenders that have qualities to do it.”

Bonjour’s opener, however, was eventually undone by a headed goal from Heath Pearce four minutes from time. The defender snuck into the box following a corner to get on the end of a cross from Joel Lindpere to salvage the point for the Red Bulls.

“In that last little part of the game you need to play the ball down the sides a lot more and you have to have runs that go from the center and out to the sides,” head coach Martin Rennie told reporters. “If the ball’s out on the sides it’s maybe a throw in, a goal kick. Could be a throw in for us, could be possession for us. It’s not dangerous – the ball isn’t going to get cut out in those areas and they’re not going to counter us.”

The way in which Pearce was allowed to get in on goal unmarked was also something that concerned Rennie.

“On all situations on set plays every single person knows their job,” Rennie said. “Everybody’s accountable for every part of the set play, whether it be who they’re marking or who goes short on a short corner. The minute somebody doesn’t do their job it can cost you a goal and it did.”

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.