Amway Canadian Championship Semi Final, First Leg
FC Edmonton 2 Vancouver Whitecaps 3
FC Edmonton came within eight minutes of upsetting the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Amway Canadian Championship semi final first leg played at Commonwealth Stadium.
A disputed 81st minute penalty call that earned Eddies coach Colin Miller a red card for his protests led to Camilo Sanvezzo tucking away the spot kick to equalize against the NASL underdogs. And two minutes from time, Tommy Heinemann struck from close range after a corner to earn the MLS visitors a narrow 3-2 win to take home for the second leg on May 1.
FC Edmonton’s first home game of the 2013 season, following a three-game road trip to open the NASL spring campaign, saw them go behind after five minutes but lead 2-1 at halftime, an advantage they held until the dying minutes.
Sanvesso’s early goal was leveled three minutes later when Michael Cox beat his marker in the air and headed past Brad Knighton. Cox had seen an effort saved a minute earlier by the former Carolina Railhawks keeper whose crossbar was then cleared by a Robert Garrett shot with a quarter of an hour played.
Having sustained some Whitecaps pressure, Edmonton took the lead after 28 minutes through a Chris Nurse header on the end of a Lance Laing cross from the right side of the six yard box that nestled in the bottom right corner.
Cox saw another chance blocked and then on the stroke of halftime Lance Parker was called into action to deny Vancouver’s Darren Mattocks, who was also lively throughout the second half.
Cox went close again after 52 minutes and Neil Hlavaty saw his left footed shot from outside the box saved ten minutes later and Shaun Saiko also drew a save from Knighton.
But with former West Ham and Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker making his presence felt, the Whitecaps pressed for the equalizer and the game-changing penalty award gave the visitors a chance to draw level. Sanvezzo picked himself up to tie the game from the spot and Heinemann cruelly stole the win in the 88th minute.
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