Late Pearce Header Secures Point for Red Bulls

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Despite all the attacking talent on the field, Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw between the Vancouver Whitecaps and the New York Red Bulls at BC Place was a night for the center backs.

Martín Bonjour put Vancouver ahead 15 minutes from time, but Heath Pearce equalized in the 86th minute to give both teams a point.

Davide Chiumiento, who was instrumental in many of Vancouver’s attacks throughout the night, set up the opening goal, juking past Dax McCarty before crossing a low ball into the area. Three Whitecaps made an attempt to go for the ball, before it eventually landed at Bonjour’s feet. The Argentine took a touch and curled it into the upper 90 to put Vancouver up 1-0.

Pearce equalized in the 86th minute, rising up unmarked to head home a cross from Joel Lindpere.

The Whitecaps started strongly with 52.7 percent of possession in the first half, and had better of the early opportunities.

In the 12th minute, Chiumiento played a nice one-two with Camilo before attempting an effort from just outside the area, but narrowly missed the top right corner of Ryan Meara’s goal.

Eight minutes, later Camilo thought he’d put Vancouver ahead, sneaking a ball just past Meara. The assistant referee flagged the play down and replays subsequently showed the Brazilian was well offside.

Chiumiento continued to pull the strings, but Gershon Koffie and Camilo could not make the most of their opportunities as New York rode their luck.

In the 41st minute, New York got their best opportunity of the opening period, as Dane Richards found McCarty with a cross, but the midfielder’s header went well wide from close range.

In the 56th minute, Camilo missed a chance from a good position, as Sébastien Le Toux cut the ball back only to watch the 23-year-old scuff an effort wide once again, this time to the right. Almost immediately the fans started chanting Eric Hassli’s name, and seven minutes later they got their wish as Camilo was withdrawn in favor of the Frenchman.

He almost made an immediate impact, turning his marker at the edge of the area before firing a shot just wide to the right of the target in the 69th minute.

A minute later, Richards was sent through on goal by Connor Lade, but Joe Cannon stepped off his line quickly to deny the Jamaican with a sliding intervention.

After Bonjour had put the 'Caps ahead, though, Cannon was powerless to stop Pearce's equalizer, coming courtesy of some slack defending from the players in front of him.

The Whitecaps, now 7-3-4, prepare for five consecutive away matches, starting this Saturday against defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy. The Red Bulls, sitting at 8-4-3, are back in action on Sunday as they host D.C. United.