New York Red Bulls 1, Vancouver Whitecaps 1 | CCL Quarterfinal Recap
The New York Red Bulls and Vancouver Whitecaps officially opened 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League knockout stage action for MLS sides on Wednesday with a 1-1 draw in the quarterfinal first leg at Red Bull Arena.
The Whitecaps took the lead, somewhat against the run of play, late in the first half from Kekuta Manneh, but despite Sacha Kljestan having a penalty saved after the restart, the hosts brought the game level from Bradley Wright-Phillips. And while the Whitecaps played the last 20 minutes of the match down a man after Cristian Techera was sent off, they carry a slight advantage into the return leg next week.
- RED BULLS HAVE WORK TO DO: New York did what they needed to do to get a result and give themselves a fighting chance in the second leg. They will have to win or draw 2-2 or higher in Vancouver in order to advance (a 1-1 draw in the second leg will take the game to extra time and possibly penalties), which will not be easy but does give them a chance of pulling it off to advance to the semifinals.
- WHITECAPS HOLD NARROW EDGE: Meanwhile, Vancouver are in a decent position, with the slight edge after this first leg due to the away goals tiebreaker. If they win at home, or draw 0-0, they'll advance and remain alive in the competition as the top seed. Mission accomplished? Hardly. But they've got the advantage through the halfway point of the series.
- HOW'S THE PLAY? For being the first competitive game of the year for both teams, it was a decent showing on both sides. Of course, there were errant touches, and several fouls, including Techera's red-card offense, seemed like the stuff of preseason clumsiness. But considering the time of year and the fact that these teams were thrown into a knockout round series to start the season, it was all around an entertaining return to action.
- NY: CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal, 2nd Leg – at Vancouver (Thursday, March 2; 10 pm ET | UDN, Facebook Live)
- VAN: CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal, 2nd Leg – vs. New York (Thursday, March 2; 10 pm ET | UDN, Facebook Live)