Heading into this game, there was the belief that the Vancouver Whitecaps and New York Red Bulls would bring entertainment. They did not disappoint.

This game ended in a 1-1 draw but it was intense. It was one of those games that it was hard to not have your eyes glued to the screen. It was one of those games that made you happily eat your popcorn like Michael Jackson did in the Thriller music video. For fans of both teams, this game made their hearts calm and beat rapidly fast like Homer Simpson’s when Mr. Burns was being very passive-aggressive with him.

Yet it was another game where the Whitecaps did not lose on the road. While the road winning streak ended, the ‘Caps put a valiant effort in New York….er….Harrison, New Jersey. Let’s go over this game which was intense as an episode of The Sopranos. (Author’s note: I’ve only seen a few episodes and hopefully, I’ll watch it all one day.)

What we learned

In my preview for this match, it was stated the Red Bulls are a possession-based team that plays with high intensity and with a high press. Right from kickoff the Whitecaps got a taste of that.

Lewis Morgan nearly opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game. However, he was foiled twice by Yohei Takaoka. The Japanese goalkeeper was on his game. It was a busy night for him as he was making big saves off the likes of Morgan and Emil Forsberg.

The Red Bulls had a big chunk of the possession (59%) in this match. This game could’ve been a blowout and the Whitecaps would’ve been on the plane back to Vancouver all sulky. But the Red Bulls were like many romance mangas nowadays, taking forever to get to the moment everyone was waiting for. No not a kiss or a confession, a goal.

Vancouver fought off the Red Bull’s pressing quite well. There were a few nervy moments such as Mathias Laborda moving too high and leaving the Red Bulls space or a turnover from Sebastian Berhalter (who by the way, still did a decent job filling in for the suspended Andres Cubas.) and Pedro Vite. But they defended well. Ranko Veselinovic and Tristan Blackmon were menaces with their clearances and even the likes of Ali Ahmed were tracking back and preventing the Red Bulls from generating shots.

The eyes were all set on Brian White as it was his return to Red Bull Arena and he was on the verge of Whitecaps history. He did it. Brian White is now the Whitecaps’ all-time leading scorer in their MLS era with 44 goals across all competitions and has surpassed Camilo Sanvezzo.

It was written in the stars. White used his poaching ability to find Ryan Raposo’s low cross and he broke the record against his former club, in his home state in front of 60 family and friends. If MLS was scripted, that is fairytale movie stuff. Fortunately for us, MLS isn’t scripted but you can’t help but feel happy for White.

However, the Red Bulls were not going down quietly. Their high intense pressing continued and at times, they swarmed the Whitecaps’ box like bees. Eventually, they got on the board as Takaoka couldn’t fully grasp Forsberg’s corner and Morgan scored one of the easiest goals of his career. It felt like the Whitecaps defence disappeared there.

Vancouver got some more chances after White’s goal but Red Bulls goalkeeper Carlos Coronel stood his ground or the shots didn’t hit the target. Berhalter took two close-range free kicks but both ended up hitting the target. No disrespect to Berhalter, but you can’t help but think that Gauld or Sam Adekugbe should’ve taken at least one of those. Would they have gone it? Maybe or maybe or not.

For the second straight match, the Whitecaps had an opportunity to go for the win as Noah Eile decided to take a break from soccer and decided to play basketball around the 75th minute. Perhaps he was thinking about tomorrow’s New York Knicks game or something.

Unfortunately, the Whitecaps lacked the killer instinct against the 10-men Red Bulls. Fafa Picault and Damir Kreilach were brought on late but it wasn’t enough. It was nice to see Picault back on the pitch but perhaps he hasn’t fully recovered from his back spasms as he didn’t look as dynamic as he did before the injury.

But given the fact that the Red Bulls are one of the best teams in MLS and they looked so dangerous, you can’t complain too much about getting a point.


Takaoka ended up making nine saves on Saturday night. It is safe to say that it was his best game of the season.

What was said

“That was very intense,” said Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini after the game. “I think at the end, the point is kind of fair…it’s not a bad result for sure. Coming here and getting a tie is fair, to be honest.”

“We had two big chances, one with Brian that the shot was deflected but it was deflected in front of the goal. One with Mathias on the corner that was blocked. In the end, we had the big, big chances. It’s not like you need 10 shots on goal to score but we had at least three chances in front of goal that we could’ve done a bit better.”

Sartini also spoke about White breaking the club’s goal-scoring record.

“I think he did really well,” he said. “Brian was supposed to do the first pressure and it’s a very hard job. I’m grateful this team (The Red Bulls) doesn’t play short. On the first pressure, they kick the long ball so you need to run back and be ready to attack the space. He did it fantastically, the first goal is exactly what we want when the ball is wide and he has to attack the first post.”

White spoke about breaking the Whitecaps MLS era goal record.

“I wasn’t really thinking about the record until Ryan (Raposo) gave me a little smile and congrats,” he said. “I was just really focused on getting points for the team. This was just one goal down and we were pushing for the second one.

White also revealed that he spent some time out on the pitch after the game to reconnect with friends and family.

“It means a lot to have so much support and love from friends and family in the area to come out to the game,” he said. “It means the world to me.

White also talked about being humble.

“I’m not the one who really craves the spotlight or the attention,” he said. “But it is something that comes with the job. It is something you have to handle. I do my best to represent myself, the club and my family. Hopefully, I can do that and continue.”

Best of Twitter

Best Thatcher Demko impression

It’s early but at this point, Takaoka has to be in the conversation for goalkeeper of the year. Out of all the goals he has given up, there isn’t one that makes you think: “He should’ve had that one.” Perhaps he could’ve handled Forsberg’s corner kick better but I think he shouldn’t be at fault too much for that.

Best home away from home

It is quite funny how the Whitecaps have been much better on the road than at home so far this season. In the past, away games were tough and they would often win at home, especially since Sartini took over.

Now they need to polish up their home cooking starting next Saturday against Austin FC.

Best hype

It’s crazy that White has scored over 50 goals in his MLS career and has never taken a penalty. After all, he doesn’t need to since Gauld is the designated penalty taker and one of the best in MLS when it comes to spot kicks. White is a hard worker and he wants to work for his goals. He does that very well.

Also, I have been seeing numerous edits of this video on Twitter but this has to be the best one yet. Apparently, the original video is of rapper Lil Yachty walking out to perform his song “Coffin” at some music festival.

I never liked Lil Yachty myself but I do like his latest album Life Starts Now. It is a departure from trap and he decided to make psychedelic rock. Props to him for making such a big left turn.

Best local coverage

It was nice to hear Blake Price and Paul Dolan calling the game on MLS Season Pass. It was also great that they made the trip to New Jersey to call the game in person.

For once, it was nice to watch a Whitecaps away game with local commentary and not commentators that don’t know much about the Whitecaps, mispronouncing Veselinovic or Takaoka or talking about Lionel Messi and what he ate throughout the game.

Wrap up

As mentioned Austin FC is up next. On May The Fourth, they come to BC Place and kickoff is at 7:30 pm.

The Whitecaps will want to let Austin know BC Place is where the fun begins.