Cristian Techera may have been the star of the show, but both teams ended up sharing the spotlight – and some regrets – as Vancouver Whitecaps FC came back on two separate occasions to tie the New England Revolution 3-3 on Saturday.
Techera scored a hat trick for the home side, his first as a professional. But that was partially obscured in what was a wild match, featuring five second-half goals, an own goal and the hat trick.
In particular, the draw, Vancouver's fourth consecutive stalemate, left both sides wishing they could have done more to seal a victory.
“The game’s about winning," Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson told reporters after the game. "People talk about styles, philosophies, entertainment. If we win 1-0 and it’s a boring game, the pessimist would say it’s not good enough. If we score three goals and draw 3-3, it’s entertaining and people go away happy, but I want to win games of football."
New England head coach Brad Friedel felt similarly, and lamented his side letting Techera fire Vancouver back into the match when the Revolution were ahead 2-0 As the road team he conceded a point on the other side of the continent was a decent haul, though.
"Second half, after we got the second goal, the mentality of our players was something that you don’t normally see, it's just truly remarkable stuff to see yourselves concede two goals in such quick fashion," he explained. "Then we showed great character again to go 3-2 up, and then Vancouver piled on a lot of pressure.
"I think it’s safe to say we should have done a much much better job at closing out the game at 2-0, but I guess we’ll always try to work on the things we did poorly and we’ll always try and take positives out the games, so scoring three goals on the road and gaining a point, we’ll take a positive out of that. Conceding three goals and just the concession of goals we’ve had on recent matches hasn't been good enough.”
If the game was entertaining by virtue of its topsy-turvy nature, Robinson still rued the defensive miscues the Whitecaps displayed on multiple occasions.
“We’ve need to stop conceding silly, stupid, needless goals, and that’s just individual detail," Robinson said. "I said to the guys, maybe the personnel isn’t right, or the shape of the team isn’t right. At the moment, we feel like we’re getting some bad luck, but I don’t blame bad luck. The defending has not been good enough and we need to address that.”
But if the defensive lapses opened the door, then the attacking players walked right through it, with Cristian Penilla and Teal Bunbury scoring for New England to join Aly Ghazal's own goal, squaring off against Techera's three goals on the night. The Uruguayan was pleased with the milestone night but didn't fully celebrate, given the result.
“I felt extremely happy that we tied the game up but unlucky that we weren't able to win the game," he said. "But we’ll get there.”
With both teams sitting in the final spot above the playoff line in their respective conferences, they head back into training for the next match looking to sharpen up and turn future ties into wins.
“I told my wife I wanted to win before I left," Vancouver defender Kendall Waston said, referencing his imminent departure with the Costa Rican national team for the World Cup. "I know there are a lot of guys working hard everyday, they’ll all push each other hard. We have great players. Hopefully we can get some wins before the break.”