Red Bulls tie expansion Whitecaps 1-1

Associated Press
Vancouver Whitecaps' Gershon Koffie, left, forces New York Red Bulls' Jan Gunnar Solli off the ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, May 28, 2011. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Luke Rodgers scored in the 34th minute to help the New York Red Bulls tie the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 on Saturday in front of a capacity crowd of 21,000.

The Red Bulls (4-2-6) earned the point despite missing key stars, including French striker Thierry Henry, who were injured or away with national teams. However, their winless skid stretched to five games.

Eric Hassli scored for Vancouver (1-5-6). The Whitecaps are winless in 11 games.

Henry, MLS' second-leading scorer with six goals, has a knee injury, while defender Rafa Marquez (Mexico) and midfielder Dane Richards (Jamaica) have already joined their national sides for the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament. Moroccan midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy couldn't leave the U.S. because of visa issues.

As a result, Red Bulls coach Hans Backe moved Canadian midfielder Dwayne De Rosario up to striker.

But New York spent most of the first 10 minutes retreating. In the 16th minute, Vancouver had a goal by Camilo disallowed by an offside call.

Hassli scored on a penalty kick in the 23rd minute, beating goalkeeper Greg Sutton with a low shot to the right corner. The goal was Hassli's fourth of the MLS season.

Rodgers tied it, putting home Jan Gunnar Solli's through ball from inside the 18-yard box. As four defenders failed to mark him, Rodgers ran onto the pass and one-timed it past helpless goalkeeper Jay Nolly.

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