Highlights: Whitecaps FC 2 - 2 Colorado Rapids
VANCOUVER, BC - Playing the first of four end-of-season home matches, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10W-12L-8D) played to an entertaining 2-2 draw versus Western Conference rivals Colorado Rapids (9W-18L-3D) in Major League Soccer on Sunday.
Second-half goals by Alain Rochat and Kenny Miller cancelled out Omar Cummings’ first-half opener for Colorado, as the Blue and White looked to claim an important win on Bell Pitch at BC Place. However, the Rapids earned their first away draw of the season when substitute Jamie Smith equalized in the dying stages of a thrilling weekend stalemate.
The result ends Whitecaps FC’s five-match losing streak and takes them two points clear of sixth-place FC Dallas in the race for the final MLS Cup Playoff berth in the Western Conference.
Playing an attack-minded line-up, Rennie started the Jamaican international duo of striker Darren Mattocks and midfielder Dane Richards in a 4-3-3 formation, with the speedy pair looking to get in behind Colorado’s backline at every opportunity.
The first half was a well-contested battle between two clubs seeking the promise land of the postseason. Though Whitecaps FC created several chances before the break, Colorado claimed the upper hand after the first 45 minutes.
Though their chances were minimal, Colorado posed a threat in the opening half. On 19 minutes, Jeff Larentowicz drilled a shot just wide of the target, while under pressure from Whitecaps FC defenders.
Larentowicz’s chance served as a warning, and the Rapids made Whitecaps FC’s task more challenging by taking the lead on 34 minutes. Martin Rivero was given time and space to drive towards the Vancouver goal and strike a low shot off the post. The rebound fell kindly to Cummings, who slotted home his sixth goal of the season from a tight angle.
Cummings’ goal was a boost of confidence to Colorado, and on 45 minutes, they almost took a two-goal lead into halftime. Rivero was once again the orchestrator with a well-played corner from the right. His set-piece found Jaime Castrillon, whose goal-bound header was brilliantly saved by Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Brad Knighton.
Trailing by a goal, Rennie made a key substitution when he brought on Miller for centre back Martin Bonjour to start the second half. The Scottish international was influential after the break, even though Larentowicz nearly doubled Colorado’s lead with a glorious chance on 50 minutes.
It was after the hour mark that the match swung in Whitecaps FC’s favour, as the home side scored two goals in four minutes. Vancouver’s equalizer came from a Camilo corner that the Rapids failed to clear on 64 minutes. Gershon Koffie picked up the loose ball on the far side of the Colorado box and neatly eluded Cummings before finding Rochat with a low cross. The defender redirected the ball past Pickens for his second goal of the season.
Then on 68 minutes, Whitecaps FC took the lead with a well-worked goal that saw Koffie pick out Robson with a forward pass in the Colorado half. The midfielder then played an incisive through ball to fellow Scotsman Miller in the Rapids box and the striker’s right-footed finish beat Pickens for his second goal of the season and a 2-1 Vancouver advantage.
The goals brought the game to life, as the ‘Caps pushed forward for a third goal. However, Pickens did well to deny Koffie and Miller in the final ten minutes of the match. Those saves proved decisive, as the Rapids levelled matters when Smith took advantage of a Whitecaps FC defensive mix-up to make it 2-2 with his second goal of the season.
It was another late setback for ‘Caps fans to endure, but it resulted in a dramatic ending to the match. Vancouver substitute John Thorrington put a late header wide of goal, while Cummings forced a crucial save from Knighton in the 90th minute.
Like so many games at BC Place this season, Sunday’s match was full of entertainment, especially in the second half. What will frustrate Whitecaps FC is they did not claim all three points after overturning a first-half deficit.
Whitecaps FC will now prepare for another Cascadia Cup derby clash, as Seattle Sounders FC visit BC Place for the second time this season next Saturday night.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Alain Rochat
Referee: Drew Fischer
34' - COL - Omar Cummings
64' - VAN - Alain Rochat (Gershon Koffie)
68' - VAN - Kenny Miller (Barry Robson)
86' - COL - Jamie Smith
Shots: Vancouver 18 - Colorado 12
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 8 - Colorado 6
Saves: Vancouver 4 - Colorado 6
Fouls: Vancouver 18 - Colorado 22
Offsides: Vancouver 6 - Colorado 1
Corners: Vancouver 6 - Colorado 3
22' - VAN - Dane Richards
29' - VAN - Camilo Sanvezzo
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18.Brad Knighton; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 15.Martin Bonjour (7.Kenny Miller 45'), 6.Jay DeMerit, 3.Jordan Harvey; 28.Gershon Koffie, 4.Alain Rochat, 14.Barry Robson; 20.Dane Richards, 22.Darren Mattocks, 37.Camilo Sanvezzo (11.John Thorrington 75')
Substitutes not used: 1.Joe Cannon, 9.Atiba Harris, 16.Matt Watson, 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 40.Andy O'Brien
18.Matt Pickens; 3.Drew Moor, 22.Marvell Wynne, 34.Tyrone Marshall, 21.Luis Zapata; 10.Martin Rivero (20.Jamie Smith 73'), 4.Jeff Larentowicz, 12.Hendry Thomas (19.Andre Akpan 82'), 23.Jaime Castrillon; 9.Conor Casey (5.Joseph Nane 89'), 14.Omar Cummings
Substitutes not used: 31.Steward Ceus, 2.Hunter Freeman, 8.Tyson Wahl, 13.Kamani Hill