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June 20, 2012
Pearce's late goal gives Red Bulls a 1-1 road tie with the Whitecaps

Heath Pearce scored his first Red Bulls goal in the 86th minute.
Heath Pearce scored his first Red Bulls goal in the 86th minute.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
VANCOUVER -- Central defender Heath Pearce could not have been more dramatic to score his first Major League Soccer goal.

Pearce headed home a Joel Lindpere cross from the right side in the 86th minute to lift the Red Bulls into a 1-1 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place on Tuesday night.

The scoring sequence started off a short Lindpere corner kick that went to Dane Richards. The Jamaican international international sent the ball back to Lindpere, who cross it into the penalty area to Pearce, who headed it past goalkeeper Joe Cannon.

“It was a great cross and there wasn't much really for me to do in the position I was in," Pearce said. "But I was able to finish it and we're able to leave here with a point. They gave us the space. They were kind of caught off guard for a second there. I saw motioning over to Dane to come out for a short corner and they were caught a little bit flat-footed and we drew a couple of guys out of the box to shut them down and it opened up some space for us on the back post.”

The draw moved the Red Bulls, who remained in third place in the Eastern Conference, to 8-4-3 and 27 points while the Whitecaps moved to 7-3-5 and 26 points.

Since the Whitecaps came into the league as an expansion team last season, the teams have played three draws.

“We knew that it would be a hard game up here," said Red Bulls assistant coach Jan Halvor Halversen, who directed the team while coach Hans Backe missed the game due to personal reasons. "Vancouver has been very good so far this season. For us today it was mostly about having a working attitude on the team, because against Chicago it was a little bit flat giving up easy goals. I’m happy with the team today, with the hard work, and we also scored a goal. So I’m quite happy with this result against Vancouver.”

Added goalkeeper Ryan Meara: "The main thing for us was our fight and our overall work ethic tonight."

Argentine defender Martin Bonjour scored in the 75th minute to give Vancouver the lead.

Bonjour fired home his first goal of the Major League Soccer season, a 17-yard effort, past Meara. A Davide Chiumiento cross from the right side went through several Red Bulls players at the top of the penalty area to Bonjour.

“It was just one of those scrambles in the box and it just fell to him," Meara said. "I have to give him credit, he took the finish and tucked it in the top corner.”

The Red Bulls entered the match without several players.

Among the missing were the injured Thierry Henry, the team captain and striker, and Rafa Marquez, a midfielder, center back Wilman Conde, who was sat out because Backe did not want to play him three times in eight days, and midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy, who could not travel outside the United States due to his green card.

“I think it speaks to the character of the team both home and away that we're getting points and we're doing it in different ways," Pearce said. "We're not always playing the most attractive soccer, and sometimes we’re getting points in an attractive way and sometimes we're grinding it out. That's the stuff that pays off later in the season. It's good to continue to pick up points.”

The first half ended in a scoreless tie, although the Red Bulls suffered a loss that will affect them greatly when they host D.C. United on Sunday. Richards was awarded a yellow card for elbowing Whitecaps midfielder Gershon Koffie in the 14th minute. That meant the Jamaican international would miss the match due to yellow-card accumulation.

Five minutes after Richards' infraction, Lindpere was given a questionable yellow card on a play that looked more like a shoulder charged.

Lindpere tried to test goalkeeper Joe Cannon with a header in the eighth minute, but the veteran had no problems catching that shot.

Kenny Cooper, the lone striker in the Red Bulls' revamped lineup that had rookie Connor Lade at left midfielder, placed another shot on goal, a soft effort to Cannon off Richards' fine right-wing cross in the 34th minute.

The Whitecaps had a number of dangerous opportunities early on, but never tested rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara. Most of their shots sailed wide right or left as Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo was called for offsides on several occasions.

Still trying to break the deadlock, Lindpere sent a shot right at Cannon in the 53rd minute.

Cannon earned his money in the 70th minute as he stoned Richards, breaking in off a fine pass from Lade.

Eight minutes later, Cannon stopped a header by Lade.

Scoring Summary:
VAN: Martin Bonjour 1 (Davide Chiumiento 5, Alain Rochat 2) 75’
NY: Heath Pearce 1 (Joel Lindpere 2) 86’

Disciplinary Summary:
NY: Dane Richards (caution) 14’
NY: Joel Lindpere (caution) 19’
VAN: Eric Hassli (caution) 67’

New York Red Bulls (8-4-3, 27 points) – Ryan Meara (GK), Brandon Barklage, Markus Holgersson, Heath Pearce, Roy Miller, Dane Richards, Jan Gunnar Solli, Dax McCarty, Joel Lindpere (Victor Palsson 91’+), Connor Lade, Kenny Cooper (Jhonny Arteaga 90’)

Substitutes Not Used: Jeremy Vuolo, Jonathan Borrajo, Stephen Keel, Wilman Conde, Ryan Maduro

Vancouver Whitecaps FC (7-3-5, 26 points) – Joe Cannon (GK), Lee Young-Pyo, Martin Bonjour, Jay DeMerit, Alain Rochat, Gerson Koffie (Long Tan 90’), Jun Marques Davidson, John Thorrington, Davide Chiumiento (Jordan Harvey 80’), Camilo (Eric Hassli 64’), Sebastien Le Toux

Substitutes Not Used: Brad Knighton, Floyd Franks, Carlyle Mitchell, Michael Nanchoff

Referee: Chris Penso
Referee’s Assistants: Kevin Duliba, Marco Arruda
4th Referee: Paul Ward
Attendance: 20,060
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