FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The Vancouver Whitecaps found Gillette Stadium the land of opportunity Saturday night, turning a defensive gaffe by the New England Revolution, a red card and subsequent penalty kick into goals in a 2-1 victory.
Cristian Techera and Octavio Rivero were the beneficiaries for the Whitecaps, netting both goals for Vancouver’s third straight win to vault them into the top spot in the Western Conference with 32 points from 18 games.
Teal Bunbury scored late as New England took the game to the ‘Caps despite being a man down, making for an exciting finish that ultimately ended in disappointment for the home team and a third straight loss to end their 17-match home unbeaten streak. The Revs, however, remain in second place in the Eastern Conference with 24 points from 19 games.
The first opportunity the Revs presented to Vancouver came off of a Mauro Rosales cross into the box from the left side, which missed its intended target on the far side of the six-yard box. It was there that New England’s London Woodberry headed it directly back to the other side of the six in an attempt to clear, but Techera stepped up and left-footed his effort past a charging Bobby Shuttleworth in 18th minute.
The next opportunity was served up on a platter when Andrew Farrell yanked down Techera from behind at the top of the box as the Whitecaps forward received a ball over the top with open space in the box in the 29th minute.
Head referee Allan Chapman pointed to the spot, sending Farrell off with his second yellow. Rivero converted the ensuing penalty kick for a 2-0 Vancouver lead and the luxury of facing the remainder of the match up a man.
While Vancouver didn’t dominate play with the man advantage, they did almost add a third goal before the Revolution’s comeback attempt.
In the 63rd minute, Kekuta Manneh fired a right-footed shot from out side the box that clanged off the far goalpost. But outside of that, it was all New England in the second half, forcing Whitecaps ‘keeper David Ousted to stop eight shots that included a handful of highlight-reel saves.
Bunbury was finally able to get one past Ousted, in the 83rd minute, slotting home a rebound off a free kick into the box.
Things got a bit more exciting when Vancouver defender Steven Beitashore took down Juan Agudelo just outside of the box in the 88th minute. Chris Tierney’s free-kick service was spot on, and Agudelo emerged from the line to get a free header that went just over the crossbar.
And Vancouver were able to ride out the final minutes unscathed for the victory.
Both teams return to action next Saturday night as the Revolution head west for their only match of the season against FC Dallas. Vancouver will venture to Colorado to face the Rapids.