Late goals from Camilo and Tommy Heineman helped the Vancouver Whitecaps to a 3-2 comeback win over FC Edmonton in Wednesday night’s Amway Canadian Championship semifinal first leg. Two first half goals from Michael Cox and Chris Nurse had initially put the host in the driver’s seat, but the Eddies were ultimately unable to safeguard the result.
The visiting Whitecaps started the game brightly, with a goal in the eighth minute from a Camilo free kick, but Edmonton stormed back with an immediate equalizer courtesy of a point-blank header from Cox. Edmonton then took the lead in the 28th minute through Nurse, whose powerful header from a corner kick left Caps’ goalkeeper Brad Knighton with no chance.
For long periods of the second half, Edmonton bravely defended its lead, but it was controversially undone in the 83rd minute when referee Silviu Petrescu awarded the Whitecaps a penalty kick for a foul on Camilo. The Brazilian made no mistake and with less than 10 minutes left the game was tied at 2-2.
But it only got worse for Edmonton. First, head coach Colin Miller was sent off from the match for excessively voicing his dissatisfaction over the penalty awarded to Vancouver, and then the Whitecaps managed to find the winning goal as Heineman headed home a rebound just before stoppage time.
The odds were always against Edmonton in this tie, and now that it's down 3-2 on aggregate going into the second leg in Vancouver next Wednesday, qualifying to the Canadian Championship appears all the more improbable.
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