Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Defenders swap goals as Whitecaps draw Red Bulls

Defenders swap goals as Whitecaps draw Red Bulls

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A late equalizer from Heath Pearce neutralized a spectacular goal from Martin Bonjour Wednesday night, as the Vancouver Whitecaps drew 1-1 with the New York Red Bulls at BC Place.

Pearce was allowed to make an unmarked run into the area to get on the end of Estonian international Joel Lindpere’s pinpoint cross in the 86h minute, and his headed effort was the difference as New York battled to a draw despite missing designated players Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez due to injury, as well as their head coach Hans Backe due to personal reasons.

Vancouver’s inability to defend a late corner led to Pearce’s goal, and Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie admitted his side needed to be more diligent in that circumstance.

“On all situations on set plays every single person knows their job,” Rennie said. “Everybody’s accountable for every part of the set play, whether it be who they’re marking or who goes short on a short corner. The minute somebody doesn’t do their job it can cost you a goal — and it did.”

Following the match, Sebastien Le Toux said he didn’t follow Pearce, losing track of him at the vital moment, because he wasn’t supposed to be his marker.

“On the corner we were a little bit sleeping,” Le Toux said. “In the box, I’m kind of marking him and it’s not really my man. He kind of cuts in front of me and heads the ball in. They score and it’s a lack of defence on this one.”

Vancouver’s defensive unit may have turned off on the back end, but it was a centre back who put them up front at the other end of the pitch, as Bonjour scored a cracking effort following a Whitecaps corner. The Argentine took a touch on a ball in from Davide Chiumiento before curling an effort into the top corner of Ryan Meara’s goal in the 75th minute.

“Martin is a really good friend and I’m happy for him,” Chiumiento told reporters following the match. “He deserved his goal and it shows he’s from Argentina. It was a great touch — it was not just lucky. It was quality.”

The Whitecaps only made one change to their starting lineup from the weekend’s 1-0 defeat over the Colorado Rapids, as Camilo stepped in for the suspended Darren Mattocks. The Brazilian had a number of clear-cut chances during the match and was called offside four times throughout the game – at least two of which appeared onside on video replay.

“I thought he did well tonight,” Rennie said of Camilo. “He created himself a lot of chances. On another night he might have scored a couple of goals. Actually, with Camilo we’ve hardly seen him miss any chances. He seems to score most of the ones he gets, so tonight maybe there was a couple he could have done slightly better on but coming back after a couple of games out he looked very sharp and dangerous.”

With the draw, Vancouver’s record now stands at 7-3-5, and the club is setting itself for five consecutive away matches, starting at the Home Depot Center this Saturday against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The late goal from Pearce won’t kill the momentum the Whitecaps have accrued in recent weeks, according to Rennie.

“Momentum is psychological,” Rennie said. “You can use momentum any way you want as a coach. Momentum isn’t actually a real thing. It’s just something you make up in your mind. Momentum if you want to look at it in a positive way for us – we’re looking to get our third win of the month out of four games and that’s what we’re looking to do in the next game and we know when we play at our best we’ve got a good chance against any team.”

Martin MacMahon is a Vancouver-based soccer writer. Follow him on Twitter: @martinmacmahon

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