Revs 1, Whitecaps FC 1

Ilija Stolica’s last-gasp equalizer helps the Revs maintain their unbeaten record in dramatic f

VANCOUVER, Canada – Second-half substitute Ilija Stolica scored his first goal of the season deep into stoppage time to help the New England Revolution escape with a 1-1 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday night at Empire Field.

Just four days after mounting one of the most remarkable comebacks in MLS history with three late goals in a 3-3 draw against Sporting Kansas City, the Whitecaps (1-1-2, 5 pts.) had the tables turned as Stolica scored the dramatic goal for the Revolution (1-0-3, 6 pts.) in the third minute of added time. The result helped the Revs maintain their unbeaten record through the first four games of the season.

French forward Eric Hassli scored for Vancouver when he converted a 55th-minute penalty kick, but the game was largely influenced by a trio of red cards as both Hassli and Gershon Koffie were sent off for the Whitecaps and A.J. Soares saw red for the Revs.

There was one change to the Revolution lineup which earned a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers last weekend, backup goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth replacing the injured Matt Reis (R adductor strain) between the pipes. Once again the trio of Franco Coria (L hamstring strain), Ousmane Dabo (R quad strain) and Marko Perovic (L hamstring strain) missed out because of injury.

Vancouver threatened first in the 22nd minute when diminutive Brazilian Camilo sprung Atiba Harris into the left side of the box. Harris held off Ryan Cochrane long enough to fire a quick shot toward the near post, but Shuttleworth got down well to his right to push the ball out for a corner kick.

Much of the first half was bogged down in midfield as both teams lacked decisiveness in the final third, but the game sprang to life as the opening stanza drew to a close.

The action began in the 43rd minute when Revs rookie midfielder Stephen McCarthy nearly broke through for the second straight game. Zak Boggs’ out-swinging corner kick was met well by McCarthy, who powered a header past Whitecaps goalkeeper Jay Nolly, but midfielder Nizar Khalfan was well positioned to clear the shot off the line.

There was more drama two minutes later when Koffie was issued a straight red card for an elbow to the head of Pat Phelan, reducing the hosts to 10 men.

The Whitecaps responded by bringing on Hassli at halftime and moving to a 4-4-1 formation. Hassli – a powerful forward – started the game on the bench after missing last weekend’s thrilling draw with Kansas City through suspension.

Hassli made an immediate impact by converting from the penalty spot in the 55th minute, but instantly turned from hero into villain during his celebration.

Referee Baldomero Toledo pointed to the spot when Boggs was adjudged to have taken down Camilo in the box, and Hassli calmly chipped his penalty kick into the right side as Shuttleworth dove the opposite direction. A brash decision from Hassli to pull his jersey off in the celebration resulted in a second yellow card, however, and the Whitecaps were simultaneously reduced to nine men as they took a 1-0 lead.

New England’s two-man advantage was cut to one in the 75th minute when Soares was issued a straight red card for a sliding challenge on Harris.

Remarkably, Soares’ ejection seemed to spark the Revs to life as they attempted to capitalize on their 10-v-9 advantage. Chris Tierney’s 82nd-minute free kick was headed for the upper right corner before Nolly tipped it over the crossbar, while Stolica had an 85th-minute goal called back for a narrow offside decision.

Stolica eventually did make the breakthrough, however, finishing off a well-worked move with one of the last kicks of the game. Phelan began the goal-scoring sequence with a long diagonal ball into the box which Zack Schilawski nodded down into Stolica’s path. The Serb took one touch with his thigh before blasting the ball into the roof of the net.

Next up for the Revs is a swift return to Foxborough and a home meeting with unbeaten Real Salt Lake on Saturday, April 9. Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m.

New England Revolution at Vancouver Whitecaps FC
April 6, 2011 – Empire Field (Vancouver, Canada)

Scoring Summary:

VAN – Eric Hassli (penalty kick) 55
NE – Ilija Stolica (Zack Schilawski, Pat Phelan) 93+

New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth, Didier Domi, A.J. Soares, Ryan Cochrane (Ilija Stolica 62), Kevin Alston, Sainey Nyassi (Chris Tierney 74), Pat Phelan, Shalrie Joseph ©, Stephen McCarthy (Kenny Mansally 56), Zak Boggs, Zack Schilawski

Substitutes Not Used: Tim Murray, Kheli Dube, Darrius Barnes, Ryan Kinne

STATS*: Shots: 10; Shots on Goal: 6; Saves: 1; Corner Kicks: 7; Offside: 6; Fouls Committed: 10

Vancouver Whitecaps FC: Jay Nolly, Jonathan Leathers, Michael Boxall, Alain Rochet, Blake Wagner, Wes Knight (Eric Hassli 46), Terry Dunfield © (John Thorrington 38), Gershon Koffie, Nizar Khalfan, Camilo (Kevin Harmse 66), Atiba Harris

Substitutes Not Used: Joe Cannon, Bilal Duckett, Davide Chiumiento, Shea Salinas

STATS*: Shots: 6; Shots on Goal: 2; Saves: 4; Corner Kicks: 7; Offside: 2; Fouls Committed: 14

* Note that all statistics are unofficial

Misconduct Summary:

VAN – Atiba Harris (caution) 6
NE – Ryan Cochrane (caution) 14
VAN – Camilo (caution) 25
NE – Zack Schilawski (caution) 40
VAN – Gershon Koffie (ejection) 45
VAN –Eric Hassli (caution) 49
VAN – Eric Hassli (caution) 56
VAN – Eric Hassli (second caution/ejection) 56
NE – A.J. Soares (ejection) 75

Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistant Referees: Jason Cullum, Kevin Duliba
Fourth Official: Drew Fischer
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 48 degrees
Attendance: 19,396

Records:

New England: 1-0-3, 6 pts.
Vancouver: 1-1-2, 5 pts.

NOTES

  • This was the first meeting ever between Vancouver and New England … the teams will wrap the two-game, home and away season series on Saturday, May 14, at Gillette Stadium
  • With the draw, the Revolution remained undefeated in the 2011 season, moving to 1-0-3 on the season for six points … this is just the second time in team history that the club has remained undefeated through four games … in 2005, New England was 7-0-4 after 11 games before suffering its first loss
  • With the draw, the Revs moved to 5-0-4 in first meetings against expansion teams since the start of the 2005 season
  • For the first time this season, the Revolution started the same 10 field players as the previous game … the only change that prevented the same 11 from repeating was goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth coming in for Matt Reis, who remained in Foxborough while rehabbing an adductor strain
  • Bobby Shuttleworth made his seventh career appearance and his sixth career start
  • Bobby Shuttleworth’s start tonight was his first since Oct. 21, 2010, when he drew the starting assignment against the New York Red Bulls in the team’s regular-season finale at Red Bull Arena
  • Shalrie Joseph made his team-best 24th consecutive appearance, which dates back to May 22, 2010 in Toronto … Sainey Nyassi is second on the list with six consecutive appearances
  • When Ilija Stolica came on for Ryan Cochrane, the Revs appeared to move to a 3-4-3 alignment with a backline of Didier Domi, A.J. Soares and Kevin Alston
  • With A.J. Soares’ ejection in the 75th minute, Pat Phelan moved back to center back in the team’s three-man backline
  • Ilija Stolica’s stoppage-time equalizer was the team’s first such goal since Steve Ralston knotted the score in the 95th+ minute at Kansas City on July 29, 2006
  • Zack Schilawski recorded his first-career assist on Stolica’s goal … he has six career goals, but came into tonight’s game without an assist
  • Pat Phelan recorded his second-career assist on Stolica’s goal … he picked up his first career helper at Columbus on May 8, 2010
  • Eric Hassli’s penalty kick was the second PK awarded to an opponent this season, and the second converted … it was the first penalty kick that Bobby Shuttleworth faced as a professional
  • The Revs played with a two-man advantage against the nine-men Whitecaps for 18 minutes before A.J. Soares was red carded himself … the last time New England played against a nine-man squad was Oct. 10, 2010, at Houston … Soares will be unavailable for Saturday’s game against Real Salt Lake while he serves a one-match suspension for his red card
  • Ilija Stolica’s stoppage-time goal was the first goal the Revs scored in the second half in 2011 … the team’s previous four goals all came in the first half – within the first 30 minutes of the game, in fact
  • Tonight’s game was the second of seven games in the month of April … earlier tonight, D.C. United topped the Philadelphia Union in penalty kicks, 4-2, in the teams’ U.S. Open Cup Play-in match … the Revs will now travel to face United at Maryland SoccerPlex on Tuesday, April 26, in another play-in round