Two late goals from the Vancouver Whitecaps made for a comeback 3-2 win against FC Edmonton on Wednesday night at Commonwealth Stadium in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal tie between the sides.
Substitute Tom Heinemann scored the game winning goal in the 88th minute. Nigel Reo-Coker beat his marker on the right, sending a ball into the box which Edmonton defender Edson Edward headed toward his own goalkeeper, Lance Parker. Parker did well to react and prevent an own-goal, but Heinemann was there for the rebound, knocking into an unguarded goal.
That followed Camilo Sanvezzo’s game-tying goal five minutes earlier, as the Brazilian stepped up to the penalty spot to convert a PK he’d controversially earned just moments before, sending the ball straight down the middle.
That was Camilo’s second goal of the match. The diminutive attacker opened the scoring from a free kick in the fourth minute, finding the back post as Parker was frozen to his line waiting for a deflection that never came.
In between, Edmonton responded with two goals of their own, and held a 2-1 lead for the majority of the game. The first came when center forward Michael Cox headed home after a misplay from central defender Andy O’Brien. The former Ireland international headed a ball backward into the path of an on-rushing Cox, who beat goalkeeper Brad Knighton to ball then sent a floating header into the net.
In the 28th minute Chris Nurse put Edmonton in front with a well-taken header, as he nodded home under little pressure from a Lance Laing corner.
Moments later Laing was again involved in a set-up, this time finding Daryl Fordyce alone in the area, but the Irishman’s powerful shot went straight off Knighton’s face and was eventually cleared to safety.
Vancouver conjured three good looks at an equalizer. Two came from Darren Mattocks headers, one on each side of the half, that were both saved well by Parker. O’Brien, pushed up on a set piece, got his head on a cross as well, but Parker was once again up to the task.
These teams square up again in the second leg of this semifinal May 1 at BC Place. Before then, the Whitecaps play FC Dallas on Saturday at BC Place, while FC Edmonton play a home game Sunday at Clarke Stadium.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Tommy Heinemann||Give 'em a target to aim for, and your team's crosses suddenly become much better. Heinemann ain't pretty, but he sure is effective.|
|2||Lance Laing||Up and down that left flank all night, Laing was a dominant force on both sides of the ball, and often provided the sole outlet when Edmonton were pinned.|
|3||Camilo Sanvezzo||Arguably didn't "deserve" either goal. Offside could have been called on the first, and the second sure looked like a dive for the PK. But in the words of William Munny, "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."|