Vancouver Whitecaps’ Kei Kamara, left, and New England Revolution’s Wilfried Zahibo vie for the ball during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Vancouver on Saturday May 26, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver Whitecaps’ Kei Kamara, left, and New England Revolution’s Wilfried Zahibo vie for the ball during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Vancouver on Saturday May 26, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Techera scores hat trick as Whitecaps draw 3-3 against Revolution

Vancouver battles back to tie New England in MLS action

VANCOUVER — He had the game ball tucked under his arm, but instead of a smile there was a look of concern on Cristian Techera’s face.

Scoring his first career hat trick would have been a lot sweeter for the Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder if it had come in a win. Instead, Vancouver followed a familiar script of missing some golden scoring opportunities and giving up goals on defensive errors in settling for a 3-3 draw with the New England Revolution in Major League Soccer play Saturday.

Techera’s third goal came in the 74th minute off a pass from striker Yordy Reyna. Earlier he had scored goals two minutes apart to help the Whitecaps erase a 2-0 deficit.

“I felt extremely happy when we tied the game up, but a little unlucky we weren’t able to win the game,” said the five-foot-two Techera, nicknamed The Bug because of his diminutive size.

“The good thing is we were able to get a point of out it. It’s still that nluckiness that we just can’t overcome that deficit. We’ll get there.”

Techera is the third Whitecap to score three goals in a game. Kekuta Manneh and Camilo Sanvezzo notched hat tricks in 2013.

It was the fourth consecutive game where Vancouver needed to fight back from a deficit to manage a draw. The Whitecaps (4-5-5) are winless in five games and have just one victory in their past nine matches (1-4-4).

Vancouver had several chances to win the game, played before a sellout crowd of 22,120 at BC Place Stadium. Striker Kei Kamara missed two great scoring chances, the first just 30 seconds into the match. Late in the game, midfielder Felipe rang a header off the post.

Head coach Carl Robinson liked the character his team showed and the chances created.

“We didn’t go under,” he said. “It would have been easy at 2-0. The players stuck together. They found a way back.”

What frustrated Robinson were the defensive lapses.

Aly Ghazal, normally a defensive midfielder who played centre back against New England, was guilty of an own goal and a poor pass that helped set up a marker by New England’s Teal Bunbury. Another Revolution goal came after defender Sean Franklin mishandled the ball.

“We need to stop conceding silly, stupid, needless goals,” said Robinson. “That’s just individual detail. I said to the guys maybe the personnel isn’t right or the shape of the team isn’t right.

“At the moment we feel we are getting some bad luck, but I don’t blame bad luck. The defending has not been good enough and we need to address that.”

Striker Cristian Penilla scored once for New England and played a role in an own goal by Vancouver.

New England midfielder Diego Fagundez felt the Revolution (5-4-3) let the chance for a road win slip through their fingers.

“We just let them get another one and get another one,” said Fagundez. “Everything just turned around. It just hits us hard. It’s just an awful feeling right now.

“For us, we just need to be better. We saw the same play three times, and they scored three times the same way.”

Techera’s first goal came in the 49th minute. Defender Marcel de Jong put a cross into the box that Techera banged home with a left-footed shot. After the play, de Jong limped off the pitch with a hamstring injury.

On his second goal, midfielder Russell Teibert set up Techera again in the box. Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner stopped the first shot, but Techera scored on a header.

An unlucky play by Ghazal gifted New England a goal in the 26th minute. Revolution midfielder Gabriel Somi fed a pretty ball to Penilla on the touch line. Penilla made a nice move around a Whitecap then took a shot across the front of the net. A diving Ghazal tried to block the ball, but it deflected into the Vancouver net.

New England went ahead 2-0 in the 48th minute after Franklin couldn’t control a loose ball. Penilla fought off Franklin then scored on a low, hard shot.

It was the last game for Whitecaps captain Kendall Waston before joining the Costa Rican national team, which will play at the FIFA World Cup in Russia next month.

“I just want to enjoy each moment, every little detail,” said Waston. “It’s not every day I can have this moment.

“I want to play. Hopefully I can score and just live it the best I can.”

NOTES: Waston will miss at least three MLS matches while at the World Cup. The Whitecaps are scheduled to play seven games between now and the World Cup final on July 15. … Teibert made his 150th appearance with the Whitecaps in all competitions. … Whitecaps’ goaltender Stefan Marinovic missed his fourth consecutive game with a knee sprain. … The Revolution began a stretch of playing six games in 19 days between Saturday and June 13.

Jim Morris, The Canadian Press