|The Whitecaps' Nizar Khalfan fights for control of the ball with New England Revolution's Kevin Alston during the first half of MLS soccer action at Empire Field in Vancouver Wednesday. (SAM LEUNG, QMI AGENCY)
By the end of the Vancouver Whitecaps’ debut Major League Soccer season, striker Eric Hassli could occupy a full page of the club record book.
The French import, via Zurich FC, scored the club’s first goal in its first win March 19 and registered the club’s first red card a week later. He entered as a second half substitute for Wednesday’s 1-1 tie with the New England Revolution in Vancouver’s first night match at Empire Field.
The teams were scoreless until the 56th minute when Hassli successfully converted the Whitecaps’ first penalty kick, but was immediately ejected with a second yellow card from referee Baldomero Toledo. Hassli, who had an earlier caution for elbowing Kevin Alston in the nose, was booted for removing his jersey in celebration. Toledo outraged the 19,396 fans.
Hassli, the Whitecaps highest-paid player, will miss Sunday’s visit to the Houston Dynamo for earning the dubious honour of being the first Whitecap ejected twice.
And the season is only four games old.
Camilo Sanvezzo drew the penalty kick when he was knocked down by Zak Boggs inside the Revolution penalty area.
The Whitecaps were already playing one-man shorthanded after midfielder Gershon Koffie’s automatic 45th minute ejection for elbowing the Revolution’s Pat Phelan in an aerial challenge near the middle of the park. The Revolution also saw red when A.J. Soares was forced out for fouling Atiba Harris in the 75th.
Whitecap Nizar Khalfan blocked Stephen McCarthy’s 43rd minute header on the goal line to preserve goalkeeper Jay Nolly’s shutout. Revolution substitute Ilija Stolica achieved the 1-1 tie three minutes into injury time to ruin what would have been the 1-1-2 Whitecaps’ second win.