|Bradley Wright-Phillips (99) after his goal. @NewYorkRedBulls.|
The Red Bulls tied the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 on Wednesday night in the first leg of a Quarterfinal series in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League at Red Bull Arena.
It was the first match in 2017 for the Red Bulls, and they will head to Vancouver for the second leg next Thursday, March 2. New York then travels to Atlanta to open the MLS season against expansion team Atlanta United FC on Sunday, March 5.
The MLS home opener is set for March 11, when the Colorado Rapids visit Red Bull Arena.
Vancouver got the early lead in this one when Kekuta Manneh scored off a corner kick in the 39th minute, with assists from Kendall Waston and Cristian Techera. The Whitecaps led 1-0 at halftime.
Bradley Wright-Phillips scored for the Red Bulls in the 62nd minute to even it up at one. The play started with a cross from Sal Zizzo that was brought down by Gonzalo Veron. The ball fell to Wright-Phillips for a finish from the penalty spot.
Vancouver was reduced to 10 men in the 70th minute after Cristian Techera was shown a straight red for a serious foul play. The Red Bulls had chances late, but could not take advantage of playing with an extra man.
It was the first match for Sacha Kljestan as Red Bulls captain, after being named last week. Former captain Dax McCarty was traded to Chicago in January.
Aaron Long earned the start after his MLS contract was announced earlier today.
Mike Grella appeared off the bench as a late sub weeks after having a knee scope.
Michael Amir Murillo made the gameday roster after joining New York on loan from San Francisco FC (Panama) last week.
Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch said of how the 1-1 score line affects the strategy for next week at Vancouver, "Yeah, I mean, obviously the score line is important when you're at halftime which is where we are. We have to go there and score. We know that, but you know we always go on the road and look to be the aggressor. It shapes up for another interesting game, because I think they'll be some tentativeness to both teams and some conservative approach, but you know the game I think will take some twists and turns as it moves on and I think it sets up for a very interesting second leg. Certainly we're going to go there and try to put the game on our terms like we always do and go after them and you know I thought, I knew this was setup to be a dangerous game for us because Vancouver likes to sit back, they like to defend, it's easier to do those things earlier in the season because teams aren't quite sharp, because we're not quite sharp enough, we're not able to capitalize and take advantage of certain situations; then we go down a goal off a set-piece, which we knew would be important, and then we had to push the game. Given everything, I was really happy with the second half. I thought that we actually looked quite good, we were brave and we were more decisive going after the game. That part was good, so we came out of halftime, obviously we missed a penalty but still kept pushing the game and ultimately - given everything - it's not a terrible result so we'll be ready for next week."
Marsch was asked if there was frustration in the locker room, "Yeah, it reminds me a little of our first game against Toronto last year at home here (a 2-0 loss for the Red Bulls), where we had a lot of the possession, we were creating a lot of half-chances, but we weren't sharp enough on the day and at the end of the game we let two plays slip and we end up walking away from that game losing two-zero going 'how the heck did that happen?' Again, for me the overall response in the second half was real positive and we showed some real good moments. We were pretty sharp, we were pretty dangerous, and a little unlucky not to fight more out of it. I think we'll look at that second half and use it to build on for next week."