Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Hertzog’s first Whitecap goal earns his team a draw in San Jose

Hertzog’s first Whitecap goal earns his team a draw in San Jose

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Corey Hertzog took advantage of his first Vancouver Whitecaps start on Saturday, bagging the equalizer as his side drew 1-1 with the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium.

The 22-year-old’s 62nd-minute effort came in strange circumstances, as two Earthquakes left the field to change their boots.

Defender Victor Bernardez and forward Alan Gordon were the two missing men, and the San Jose bench was clearly incensed by referee Fotis Bazakos’s decision not to wave the players back onto the field of play.

Not that Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie was complaining.

“I don’t first of all (know) if they had permission to leave the field,” Rennie said on the radio broadcast following the match. “You shouldn’t leave the field unless you have permission. Maybe they did. Then it’s up to the referee to bring them back on when he sees fit to do that.

“At the same time, it’s very unusual that two players would go off on the same time to change their shoes. Usually if there’s two guys who need to do it, only one would do it at a time – so that’s not our fault.”

Hertzog’s equalizing goal cancelled out an 18th-minute strike from Chris Wondolowski, last season’s golden boot winner. On the play, Wondolowski put pressure on the ball and Shea Salinas stepped in to take control before quickly finding Gordon. The striker then set Wondolowski up by hitting a one touch pass, and the poacher took a touch with his left before striking home with his right foot to beat Joe Cannon.

“That’s typical of how we were doing in that first spell,” Rennie said. “We were giving away bad possession in our own half. They were tight on [Jun Marques Davidson] in that position, so it wasn’t really on for him there. In that position, when we’re under pressure, especially on a small field we need to be able to play it into the channel and press the ball in that area.

“That’s a mistake which we own up to and for me, the most important thing is how we reacted, and we reacted very positively. I think we were nearly 58 percent possession tonight against the Supporters’ Shield winners on their own field and that’s another good sign of us making progress.”

In the game’s dying moments, Sam Cronin hit the post and Wondolowski was robbed on the rebound as a Vancouver defender blocked his effort from close range. Cannon also was called upon to make a save in second-half stoppage time with a smart reaction save from a corner kick.

“I don’t know if last season we would have stood up to that kind of pressure,” Rennie said. “But this is a different group of players. There’s players in there that have a lot of character, a lot of heart, and a lot of determination to do well for the Whitecaps.

“Also, some good power, some good strength, and they really threw their bodies in the way of things and made it difficult for San Jose.”

The match saw Rennie make three changes to his starting eleven that lost to Chivas USA the previous weekend, as Russell Teibert came in for Gershon Koffie in midfield, Hertzog replaced Darren Mattocks up top and Erik Hurtado came in for Camilo.

For Teibert, the start was the Niagara Falls, Ont. native’s first of the campaign.

“It just shows how deep our team is,” Teibert said of the changes. “If you do work hard in training and do well in the reserve games you will get your chance. I think the coaching staff is willing to play young players.”

With the result, the Whitecaps move to 2-2-1, and next play Real Salt Lake on Saturday at BC Place.

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