It was a tale of two halves in Vancouver, one that put everyone to sleep, and one that was completely chaos.
The New England Revolution and Vancouver Whitecaps played out to a 3-3 draw, after a lackluster first half gave way to a five goal explosion in the second half keyed by a hat trick from Cristian Techera.
It was Vancouver who thirty seconds into the match had their first big chance of the game, and it would also be Kei Kamara’s first big miss as well. Kamara settled a ball at the top of the six and seemingly had a wide open net but sent his shot to the near post where a sprawling Matt Turner corralled it.
The rest of the first half was a chess match, with both teams trying to make the most of some half chances. The Revs used their speed on the wings to generate a lot of crosses and cut back passes into the box, but the Caps were able to block several of these out for corners which the Revs created little from. Vancouver to their credit tried all sorts of ways to get through the New England defense but the only shot on target in the first half would be Kamara’s first minute opener.
However, there was a goal in the first half courtesy of an own goal from Vancouver centerback Aly Ghazal. Cristian Penilla darted down the left wing and got to the endline, squaring a pass across the box that Ghazal’s attempted to clear but turned into his own net instead. That 1-0 lead for New England held at halftime.
The second half was the complete opposite of the first, as the goals started flying early and often. Penilla was sprung down the left side again following a turnover and took it himself, converting to the far post to give the Revs a 2-0 lead in the 48th minute. The lead was short lived however, as Techera scored twice in quick succession in the 49th and 51st minutes to level the game.
The second goal was a familar sight for Revs fans, but usually it’s the Revs who cause turnovers in the defensive end and turn them into goals. Matt Turner tried to play out of the back to Andrew Farrell, but after being dispossessed, the Caps sent in a cross to Techera at the back post. Turner made the initial save but the second chance was poked home by the Vancouver midfielder.
New England however would claw back into the lead at the hour mark, when Diego Fagundez played in Teal Bunbury at the near post for the striker’s team leading sixth goal of 2018.
Again, the lead was short lived, as ten minutes later the Whitecaps countered from a Revs set piece and again it was Techera all alone to slot home Yordy Reyna’s pass for his hat trick.
There were other chances in this match for more goals, particularly from Vancouver, as Kei Kamara missed a golden chance at a wide open net midway through the second half. Felipe Martins struck the bar and the rebound eventually fell to Turner in the late stages. Chris Tierney but a cross through the six yard box in the closing minutes that was unable to find a teammate. For the second straight game, substitute Brian Wright had a late penalty shout as he and Ghazal tangled in the box in stoppage time, only to see the referee signal for a goal kick and eventually full time as the 3-3 scoreline held up.
We both should have won and should have lost that game. I suppose a draw is “right”, but it still sucks.— Adam Sell (@ajvsell) May 26, 2018
I’m going to agree with Adam here, a draw is not an unfair result for New England despite scoring three goals. There’s a very good chance the Revs should’ve allowed more and Kei should’ve had at least one if not more. New England held the possession edge for most of the night, ending with a 55-45% split, but it was Vancouver who dominated in the offensive end, with 21 total shots and a 8-4 edge for shots on target.
The backline and Gabriel Somi in particular today got worked in the second half. Adjustments from New England came too late and the backline still looked out of sorts, Brandon Bye getting caught upfield on the set piece that the Caps countered and equalized on and Somi struggling 1v1 as Vancouver repeatedly hit balls over the top to his corner. Diego Fagundez also continued to struggle on set piece service as the Revs generated little from the 12 corners they earned on the night. Too often Diego’s service is floated in and too deep, rather than low and driven towards one of the posts.
It will be a quick turnaround for New England, as they return home for two games this week against the explosive offense of Atlanta United midweek and rivals New York Red Bulls on the weekend.