Action from the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal, first-leg match between the host New York Red Bulls (white jersey) and the Vancouver Whitecaps on February 22, 2017, in Harrison, New Jersey, USA. (Photo: Mexsport)
HARRISON, New Jersey – Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his first Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League goal to lift the New York Red Bulls into a 1-1 draw with the ten-man Vancouver Whitecaps in the first leg of the 2016/17 quarterfinals at Red Bull Arena on Tuesday night.
The Red Bulls played with a man advantage for the final 20 minutes after Vancouver’s Cristian Techera was dismissed for kicking defender Sal Zizzo in the groin in the 70th minute.
Vancouver grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute. Costa Rica international Kendall Waston flicked on Cristian Techera’s left-sided corner kick for Kekuta Manneh, who headed off the body of Red Bulls defender Justin Bilyeu and into the left side of the net. It was Manneh’s first SCCL career goal.
Two minutes into the second half, the Red Bulls botched a golden opportunity to equalize as defender Christian Dean tripped Daniel Royer in the penalty area on Sacha Kljestan's corner kick.
Kljestan, who scored twice during the SCCL group stage, took the ensuing spot kick, but goalkeeper David Ousted, diving the wrong way, made a kick save. Wright-Phillips booted the rebound over the net.
New York, which enjoyed possession for long stretches in the second half, finally knotted things in the 62nd minute. Overlapping on the right side, Zizzo sent a cross that hit Gonzalo Veron in the middle of the box. Wright-Phillips quickly gained possession and drilled a shot into the top right side of the goal for a 1-1 tie.
The Red Bulls had two close encounters in the opening half. Royer headed Veron's left-wing cross just over the net in the 34th minute and Kljestan's 20-yard free kick sailed wide left in the 45th minute.
The Whitecaps played without four key attacking players. Yordy Reyna (foot) and Nicolas Mezquida (right hip irritation) and Costa Rica international midfielder Christian Bolaños (knee) are sidelined for a few weeks with injuries. Recently-acquired striker Fredy Montero is not match fit, but is expected to play in the second leg at BC Place in Vancouver on March 2.