Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Miller, red card spur Whitecaps to wild victory over the Revs

Miller, red card spur Whitecaps to wild victory over the Revs

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It was a night of high drama on Saturday at BC Place, as Kenny Miller bagged a brace en route to a 4-3 win over the visiting New England Revolution.

Things started terribly for the Whitecaps, as they conceded twice within 20 minutes, first through Juan Agudelo, who went through unmarked to open the scoring on 10 minutes after latching onto a Chris Tierney through ball.

Then 10 minutes later, Kelyn Rowe doubled New England’s lead, linking up nicely with Diego Fagundez in the area.

The Revs looked far the better team and set for a convincing win when the game’s most crucial moment occurred just four minutes after Rowe’s goal, as Miller made his way behind Andrew Farrell and looked set to shoot, when the defender clipped his leg.

Referee Juan Guzman didn’t hesitate, reaching for his back pocket to dismiss Farrell, and pointing to the spot for a Whitecaps penalty.

“It’s just a clip,” Miller said. “I was getting ready to pull the trigger and put the ball in the back of the net, and he just clipped my heels or my calf. It’s one of them – it’s harsh on him, but by the letter of the law, it’s got to be a sending off.”

Camilo stepped up to take the penalty, and finished coolly into the bottom left corner, for his eighth goal in his last 11 games in all competitions.

Miller brought the score level at two apiece on 39 minutes, lobbing the ball over Stephen McCarthy before running ahead of the defender and sniping a left-footed effort past Bobby Shuttleworth.

Just four minutes later, left fullback Jordan Harvey bombed forward to finish a cross from Russell Teibert, after Nigel Reo-Coker set up the play with a lung-busting run from midfield, before finding Teibert on the right.

On the other side of the half, Miller looked as if he’d put the icing on the victory with a classy half-volley goal in the 68th minute.

“It bounced up,” Miller said. “It kind of sat up nice. I was expecting it actually to run up in front of me, but it stuck. I think it caught the defender out a little bit as well. It’s just a case of hope, hit it, and hope it goes in, and fortunate enough it did.”

That wasn’t the end of the story though, as the Revolution continued to work hard despite their one-man deficit. That effort was rewarded in the 84th minute as Dimitry Imbongo surged forward past central defender Carlyle Mitchell and bagged a goal which brought the visitors within one.

From there, New England continued to press and came close through a stoppage time effort from Rowe, who skied a shot from outside the area with Brad Knighton out of position, and from a Lee Nguyen free kick chance which Knighton did well to save.

“I have no idea,” Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie said when asked about the club’s trouble while in the lead. “It can’t be good for my health, watching these games…right now we just seem to be doing things the hard way.

“But right now we are winning, we’re moving forward and hopefully we’ll get to the point where things are done a little more easily.”

Miller echoed his coach’s sentiments and admitted things could have been better at the back, but was simply relieved to walk away with a result.

“It was hard work and we made it tougher than it probably should have been toward the end,” Miller said. “But we’ve got to take the positives. It’s three points, it’s four goals at home. It keeps that unbeaten record at home as well.”

The Whitecaps return to MLS action on Wednesday as they welcome Chivas USA to BC Place after improving their record to 5-3-3.

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

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