VANCOUVER -- Its early yet, but the Vancouver Whitecaps are showing signs that they will be more of an attacking team this season. Nike Air Force 1 07 Soldes . Kenny Miller scored two goals as the Whitecaps opened the 2014 Major League Soccer campaign with a 4-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday before a sellout crowd of 21,000 at B.C. Place Stadium. "Were absolutely delighted with the way weve played," said Miller. "A lot of the things that we worked on in the pre-season really came into fruition today." The Whitecaps had been concerned with how their offence would shape up after losing 2013 MLS scoring leader Camilo Sanvezzo to a Mexican League team this off-season. Miller scored on a penalty-kick in the 34th minute and a breakaway in the 70th while second-half substitute Pedro Morales had a goal and an assist. Sebastian Fernandez also scored for the Whitecaps, who missed the playoffs in 2013. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored for New York with only two minutes left in the game. The Red Bulls placed first overall in the regular season last year but were ousted early in the playoffs. Carl Robinson, who pledged during the pre-season to put more offence in Vancouvers game, posted his first regular-season win as Vancouvers head coach following two years as an assistant to Martin Rennie. "I think it was written in the stars, the way the first game came out, and it was my old team, things like that," said Robinson, a former Red Bulls player and assistant coach. "But its just the beginning." Despite starting eight returnees, Robinson succeeded in his quest to create more scoring opportunities from mid-field as new midfielders Fernandez and Morales also hit the scoresheet. Vancouvers midfield play has been the subject of intense criticism the past two seasons. But the Whitecaps controlled play in the middle of the pitch for most of the game, generating several chances in the first half that were missed or stopped by New York goalkeeper Luis Robles, who kept the score lower than it could have been. Vancouver had 10 shots on target compared to New Yorks four. The Whitecaps put six shots on target in the first half. "Its what the boss (Robinson) wants," said Miller. "He wants them to be up against it. He wants us (forwards) to be pressing from the front and working hard." The Whitecaps remained unbeaten in five all-time meetings with the Red Bulls, who only put four shots on target in the game. The Red Bulls showed signs of fatigue in the second half after a long travel day from the East Coast on Friday. But defender Richard Eckersley, who made his regular-season debut along with fellow fullback Bobby Convey after an off-season trade from Toronto, said the long trip was not a factor. "We cant use excuses," said Eckersley. "We got well beaten today." Miller opened the scoring on a penalty-kick in the 34th minute as he sent a shot into one corner while Robles went the other way. The spot kick was awarded after Eckersley was called for a hand-ball in New Yorks box off a Matias Laba shot. Fernandez, a 24-year-old Montevideo, Uruguay native, who played with Perus First Division champion Universitario de Deportes last season, gave the Whitecaps a 2-0 lead early in the second half. He fired a shot from about 25 yards out into the top right corner of the net in the 49th minute. "It was just a good strike," said Eckersley, who was marking the Whitecap closely on the play. "What can you do?" Robles got his hand on the shot, but could not stop the ball from going in. Vancouver went ahead 3-0 as Morales sent Miller a long lead ball from deep in Vancouver territory. Miller ran onto it well beyond defenders and lobbed a bouncing ball over a helpless Robles. "I think weve seen, with (Morales) coming on, his vision -- his awareness in whats going on," said Miller. "There were a couple little flips out of the corner. Thats not by chance. He knows theres a guy in space and, obviously, that pass on my second goal was a sublime pass. But hes finished as well. "Weve seen flashes of him playing (25) minutes, but Im really excited about, hopefully, playing alongside him a lot more," said Miller. Morales, a 28-year-old Chilean who played in Spains La Liga the past two seasons, put the Whitecaps ahead 4-0 in the 89th minute as he fired in Nigel Reo-Cokers rolling pass from the right flank from outside the New York box. The only disappointed Whitecap, albeit slightly, was goalkeeper David Ousted, who had a quiet second half before Wright-Phillips spoiled his shutout bid. Ousted, who robbed Peguy Luyindula in the 12th minute, deflecting a hard shot off a goalpost and out of play, said the game was one of his easiest since he joined Vancouver midway through 2013. "Too bad about the (missed) clean sheet," he said. "We wanted a clean shot and I thought we deserved one." But Ousted was still pleased with Vancouvers offence and a steady defensive effort against a New York lineup that included star Australian striker Tim Cahill. "It was one of those games where I thought we were in control," he said. Notes: The Red Bulls will host their home opener next Saturday against Colorado, while the Whitecaps visit Chivas U.S.A. in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, Calif., on Sunday. ... The Whitecaps have won all four of their MLS season openers. a Ex-English Premier League star Thierry Henry, who does not like playing on artificial turf, did not make the road trip with the Red Bulls. a Ousteds high punt in added time got caught up in the B.C. flag hanging from the bottom of the giant scoreboard at midfield. a The game was officiated by replacement officials as MLS regulars were locked out due to a labour dispute. Air Force 1 Low Blanche . But Josh Bailey scored the shootout winner to lead the Islanders to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens in a battle of the Eastern Conferences two worst teams. Air Force 1 Low Utility Pas Cher . According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, the New York Rangers winger skated with extras and goalies today.The buzz in Toronto last weekend surrounded UFC 165 on Saturday night, but earlier in the day the promotion opened up their hearts for the "Rally for Kids with Cancer" charity event downtown in the city. Participating in this event on behalf of the UFC was none other than Canadian lightweight T.J. Grant (21-5). I had a chance to catch up with the Cole Harbour native to discuss a variety of topics including his health, the UFC lightweight division and TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia. "(The UFC) does a great job of helping us give back and setup charitable functions every time theyre in new Canadian cities – for me to be able to come here and do this, its pretty awesome." Grant told TSN.ca "Im happy to have the opportunity to come here and to have UFC choose me -- Cancer has touched me, its touched everybody, its an awesome cause and Im just fortunate to do (Rally For Kids With Cancer)." While Grant was in good spirits, last week he broke the unfortunate news that hes still not ready to compete inside the octagon. Back in July, the 29-year old suffered a concussion while practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu in training and is still feeling the effects. "Its getting better I mean every day Im making progress -- I really feel like Im going to be back very soon." Grant earned a lightweight title shot back in May, as he made short work of former title challenger Gray Maynard at UFC 160. The concussion kept him out of action for that championship match at UFC 164 and now will be absent versus newly crowned champion Anthony Pettis at UFC on FOX 9. "Its just hard to commit, I know the (title fight) was three months away but theres still that unknown. I didnt want to make a bad decision for the long term so it doesnt hurt to wait it out." One of the topics of discussion has been if Grant will lose his title shot due to being inactive. "I dont feel like I have to reprove myself. You can never predict whats going to happen with the title. Who really knows? Im just taking it one step at a time and getting healthy." ;Being from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, we had to discuss if he knew Sidney Crosby, who ironically also suffered a concussion that kept him out of most of the 2011 NHL season. Air Force 1 Haute Femme. "Hes younger than me; I have some friends that were friends with him. I never really met him or anything. Hes a great guy from what I hear, Im happy for his success." "I know the dangers of repeated concussions. I just want to heal man, thats all Im trying to do." Replacing Grant in that title fight against Anthony Pettis in December is Josh Thomson, who most recently became the first man to finish TUF 5 champion Nate Diaz inside the octagon at UFC on FOX 7. "I think that hes probably the guy I would have picked just because of where hes ranked in the division -- Hes a great fighter, I think that those two guys are going to have a good scrap." The UFCs decision to pick Thomson in that title fight has sparked much debate, but Grant believes fighters who finish their opponents dictate title shots. "If youre fighting boring fights and youre barely winning, holding guys against the fence, (UFC) is going to do everything in their power to not give them a title shot. Unless you beat absolutely everyone." "I (finish fights) because for me, thats the only way to do it. Youve got to go in there and impose your will, the best defence is a good offence and thats just the way I am." In addition this weekend, the tryouts for TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia took place at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in downtown Toronto. Grant sees this as a great platform to showcase many up and coming Canadian fighters. "There are so many talented fighters from Canada; theyre going to have an opportunity to really jump start their career with The Ultimate Fighter." "It kind of opens the door; you get thrust on such a big spotlight. Im happy that its happening its great that they are having a Canadian team and Canada will be represented well. They have a lot of talent." Support TJ by following him on Twitter (@TJ_Grant) ' ' '
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