Despite having the man-advantage for the entirety of the second half against the Vancouver Whitecaps, the New England Revolution waited until stoppage time to find the equalizer, as they earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw Wednesday night at Empire Field in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Whitecaps scored first in the 56th minute thanks to an Eric Hassli penalty strike, while Ilija Stolica leveled it in dramatic fashion during the 93rd minute.
With the draw, the Revs (1-0-3, 6 pts.) avoid the loss column for the fourth time in a row and earn a share of the top spot in the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia Union (2-1-0, 6 pts.). The draw pads Vancouver's point total (1-1-2, 5 pts.), but keeps the Whitecaps idle in fourth in the Western Conference standings.
Reis out, Shuttleworth in. For the first time this season, backup goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth got the nod in net. Starting keeper Matt Reis, who's battling an abductor strain, stayed in Boston for the trip to Vancouver. Shuttleworth performed well, and with the exception of the Hassli penalty, kept the Whitecaps from crashing through the Revolution net.
Fast start absent. For the first time this season, the Revolution didn't find a goal in the first half. In their first three games of the season, all four of their goals arrived in the first half -- and all before the 23rd-minute mark. In fact, Stolica's 93rd-minute goal marked the first goal scored in the second half all season for the Revs.
Seeing red. Referee Baldomero Toledo issued three red cards Wednesday night. Vancouver's Gershon Koffie (44th minute) and Eric Hassli (yellows in the 49th and 56th minutes) left Vancouver with nine men before the hour. In the 75th minute, the Revolution saw red when AJ Soares was dismissed, leaving a 10-on-9 situation in the closing minutes.
Domi adds bite. Left back Didier Domi did his part to help the attack with several threatening runs and a collection of keen passes into the Vancouver end. The French international continues to enhance the team's offensive form in the attacking third.
Joseph steers his club to another result. It might sound like a broken record, but Shalrie Joseph's importance to the club cannot be overstated. Whether it's organizing the attack or spearheading it, the Best XI midfielder's presence makes the Revolution a side to be reckoned with during any given match.
Schilawski silenced. Striker Zack Schilawski, who led the team in total shots going into the match, was invisible for much of the night, as the Revs seemed to rest their hopes on Shalrie Joseph's attacking runs.
Stolica makes a stunning 2011 debut. After scoring three goals and adding life to a limp Revolution attack last year, striker Ilija Stolica made his first appearance of the 2011 season when he came on in the 62nd minute for Ryan Cochrane. He nearly had two goals on the night after an 85th-minute strike that beat Jay Nolly was whistled offside.
Revs remain unbeaten in first encounters. Wednesday night's draw kept the Revs record unblemished (5-0-4) in first encounters against expansion opponents since 2000.
No rest for the weary. After Wednesday night's game, the Revs head back home and must hurriedly prepare for their fiercest opponent to date -- Real Salt Lake, who boast a 2-0-0 record and are en route to the CONCACAF Champions League Final after beating Saprissa 3-2 on aggregate goals. The match kicks off at Gillette Stadium on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.