After 90 minutes, the New York Red Bulls will be wondering how they were unable to win this game and take an advantage into the second leg against the Vancouver Whitecaps in this CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final match.
The home side were the better side for most of the night and after the Whitecaps went down to ten men, the Red Bulls were still unable to get the win. Instead, they will now have to find a way to win in Vancouver and hope that the Whitecaps do not find a goal in that match.
Manneh's goal gives Vancouver the edge in the first half
With both teams in pre-season mode, so to speak, there was not much fluency on display in tonight's game. Both team's lacked cohesive attacking fluency, and thus, did not manage to create much in front of goal. With that being said, however, the Red Bulls did have a majority chances that arose in the first half and actually started the game well when in the third minute, midfielder Daniel Royer found himself in front of goal with some space but his effort sailed wide of the goal. Two minutes later, Bradley Wright-Phillips found Sacha Kljestan in the box with a good cross, but again, the Red Bulls were unable to convert as Kljestan could not find the back of the net.
The next opportunity of the match fell to Royer once more, as he found by Gonzalo Verón open in the box. Unfortunately for him, his effort went just over the crossbar as the game remained at 0-0. Not long after Royer's effort, the Whitecaps struck first.
After winning a corner in the 38th minute of the match, Cristian Techera's corner found the head of defender Kendall Waston who sent his effort goal-ward. Kekuta Manneh was on hand to then redirect the ball into the goal and give Vancouver the lead.
Kljestan then had another go at goal just before half-time but just like the previous attempt, the Red Bulls were not able to convert, and the Whitecaps went into the break with the vital away goal.
A Wright-Phillips goal is book-ended by a penalty save and a red card
The second half did bring some action to the game and the Red Bulls almost pulled one back straight away. Royer was once again in the thick of the action and was brought down by Jakob Nerwinski in the 46th minute to give the Red Bulls the chance to draw level. Kljestan stepped up to take the penalty but his effort was poor and straight down the middle which gave goalkeeper David Ousted the chance to block the shot and keep the Whitecaps ahead. One minute later Kljestan almost made up for his error when his head met the set-piece delivery from Sal Zizzo, but the midfielder sent his header just wide of the post.
Vancouver began to inch back into the game and goalkeeper Luis Robles had to be alert as both Manneh and Matías Laba tried to extend the Whitecaps' lead. Then, like a mirror image of the first half, with Vancouver pressing, the Red Bulls found the equalizer against the run of play. Zizzo got forward well down the right flank and found Verón int he box. The striker could not coral the ball into him but Wright-Phillips was on hand to pounce of the loose ball and rocket it past Ousted and into the top corner of the goal.
Late in the second half, Techera proceeded to give the momentum to the Red Bulls with a cynical high-footed challenge on Zizzo that earned him a straight red card and left the Whitecaps down to ten men with over ten minutes to go.
After that, it was one way traffic as the Red Bulls pushed for a winner. Aaron Long, Aurélien Collin and Sean Davis all had opportunities to give the lead to the Red Bulls but the Whitecaps held firm and managed to see out the game and pick up a valuable away draw.