“1-0. Up a man. Game needs to be finished off. Period. #frustrationfrustration.”
That's a tweet from captain Jay DeMerit (@D6MERIT) after Vancouver played to a 1-1 tie at New York, and it's really all that needs to be said after they failed to seal their first away win this season despite entering the second half with a one-goal lead and a man advantage.
“It just ended about 15 or 20 minutes ago, so I’m still kind of reeling,” Joe Cannon told MLSsoccer.com by phone following the match. “Just a devastating result, really. Up a goal, playing very well, creating chances, and then even being up a man.”
Red Bulls right back Jan Gunnar Solli was given his marching orders at the end of the first half for fouling Camilo Sanvezzo, who looked through on goal. But despite playing 11-on-10 for the second half, the ‘Caps just couldn’t finish the job.
“It’s just that if we were going to win one on the road, that was probably going to be our best opportunity,” Cannon said. “We have two more [away] games, but you have to think that if you can’t beat a team when you’re up a man and up a goal, it’s going to be a really big uphill battle when you go to places like LA and Dallas.”
Things looked bright for the ‘Caps early on, with Camilo scoring what appeared to be a good goal in the eighth minute, only for referee Terry Vaughn to disallow it, citing a foul.
While the Vancouver players could have put their heads down after the tough call, they responded by generating a number of quality opportunities. In the 23rd minute, the Whitecaps were rewarded for their effort when Davide Chiumiento put his team ahead.
Once again, Camilo was central to the play, beating two Red Bulls defenders before finding Chiumiento, who cleverly chipped the ball up to himself before volleying it past a helpless Bouna Coundoul from close range.
“[Camilo] gave me a great assist,” Chiumiento said. “I know I was in the box, and in the box you have to turn fast, so I did one touch and I turned and shot directly in the goal. I was happy, but about 10 minutes before, I had the great chance when I started from midfield with the ball and I was one-against one against the goalkeeper. It was another great chance to score, but personally, I am really happy because I played in my position and I felt really comfortable.”
Indeed, Chiumiento was lively throughout the match, creating chances for himself and others, and it was his substitution due to injury in the 57th minute which seemed to take the imagination out of the Whitecaps attack.
“We found a lot of space with Davide like we thought we would and he made a real difference in the hole and distributed, and Camilo and Shea [Salinas] got involved in the game,” head coach Tom Soehn said. “I thought the first 10 minutes of the second half went well, and it hurt when Davide went out because he was a big difference today. But at that point, our mentality went down and they actually controlled the tempo of the game, which can’t happen when you’re a man up.”
Ultimately, that lapse in mental focus cost the team, as Red Bulls second-half substitute Juan Agudelo eluded his marker John Thorrington before getting on the end of a Rafa Márquez cross to score what was ultimately the equalizer in the 1-1 draw.
“[Agudelo] snuck in the back side,” Soehn said. “I’ll have to watch it again, but it looked like John didn’t see him and Agudelo had a good run and a good finish.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @martinmacmahon