The Whitecaps blew another opportunity to collect a full three points, in front of over 21,000 at Empire, by missing on their chances in the final third and settling for a 1-1 draw. It was typical indecisiveness and that lack of touch in the final pass that caused the Caps to miss out on the goal that could have earned them a second victory. The Whitecaps opened the scoring with a penalty kick conversion by their DP Eric Hassli in the first half which was answered soon after by the Red Bulls striker Luke Rodgers.
Except for Wes Knight coming in for Leathers at right back the Whitecaps were able to start the same eleven for third straight game and it showed in their play right from the beginning. Hassli was involved early on as he just missed a volley off a cross from Salinas and then almost set up Camilo in the box for another chance. After a couple of missed shots by the Red Bulls, Empire exploded as Camilo was able to convert a cross from Rochat but it was waived off as Rochat was in an offside position. Camilo came right back with another chance as he passed it back to Hassli who left it for Chiumiento but again there was no conversion.
After a back heel pass from Chiumiento, the Brazilian striker again had the ball in the box but was brought down by a Red Bull defender and a penalty kick was called. Vancouver’s designated player took the ball at the spot and fired a shot low on the left side past goalkeeper Greg Sutton. The Caps did not enjoy the lead long as eleven minutes later Rodgers, after knocking over Rochat, one-timed a volley past Nolly to even the score. The visitors came close a couple of times to go ahead before the half but missed on their opportunities.
The second half started with the Caps creating a couple of chances to grab the lead but they weren’t of any quality. Then in the 59th minute Chiumiento stole the ball from a Red Bull defender and then was able to cross the ball into the box which found Hassli. Unfortunately Hassli’s first time shot was kick saved by Canadian international goalkeeper Greg Sutton. Chiumiento again was able to create a chance as he sent Terry Dunfield on a clear breakaway but the central midfielder, in his last match before the Gold Cup, allowed Tim Ream to catch up which forced a weak shot wide of the net. The Red Bulls had two of the better chances in the last ten minutes as a volley from Matt Kassell was pushed wide of the top corner by Nolly and a free kick by De Rosario from just outside the box missed by only a couple feet. As the three added minutes were winding down Hassli had one more opportunity from outside the box but the striker missed the shot over the bar.
It was another home match at Empire for the Whitecaps and another draw that could have and probably should have been a full three points for the home squad. Unfortunately that has been the story at Empire for the Caps, a lot of should haves and could haves. The meeting with the Red Bulls had many of the same elements that have cost Vancouver points in the past home fixtures. The biggest for the team is continual struggles of not only with finishing their chances but also creating more opportunities by making that final pass. Too many times the passer and the receiver are on two different wave lengths which cause a solid run of passes through the midfield to fizzle when getting near the box.
The backline had their one slip up as this time it was Rochat who was knocked down allowing his mark to get away to even the score. The central midfield combo of Dunfield and Koffie, while doing an excellent job of tackling, once again did not provide any creativity and service going forward. The Whitecaps will have little time to correct these issues in training as they start on a three game road trip starting with a visit to Los Angeles to face Chivas USA.