Highlights: Rapids 2 - 0 Whitecaps FC
COMMERCE CITY, CO – After a closely fought battle, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10W-8L-6D) were unfortunate not to come away with a share of the spoils as they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Colorado Rapids (10W-7L-9D) Saturday in a Western Conference crunch match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Colorado scored a goal in each half en route to the victory, which gives them sole possession of second place in the Western Conference standings.
The 'Caps, meanwhile, drop to fifth place – though they still have two games in hand over the Rapids. Saturday's contest was the first of three meetings between Vancouver and Colorado this season.
Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie went with the same starting lineup from last weekend’s win against San Jose Earthquakes, but there was a return to the 18-man squad for Darren Mattocks. The Jamaican international, who hadn’t played since Vancouver's 3-1 win against Chicago Fire on July 14, took the place of rookie winger Kekuta Manneh on the bench for Whitecaps FC.
The first chance of the match went to Colorado after they were awarded a free kick outside the Vancouver box in the fourth minute. The set piece was floated in but put behind for a corner by midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker. The drilled-in corner found an unmarked Hendry Thomas, who directed a powerful header just over the bar.
The Rapids were looking dangerous early on and created another opportunity on 11 minutes when a well-worked move saw Dillon Powers receive the ball well outside the area before unleashing a fierce effort at goal that went just wide.
In the 16th minute, Whitecaps FC nearly carved out an opportunity of their own as they broke quickly. Camilo controlled a long ball up-field before laying off for striker Kenny Miller, who in turn played the ball to Russell Teibert. The young Canadian international unleashed a long range effort that deflected off a defender and only just cleared the bar.
Vancouver continued to press in the 26th minute. A strong tackle in midfield from Daigo Kobayashi started the play, which led to a neat one-two between Teibert and Camilo. Teibert eventually found himself one-on-one with Colorado keeper Clint Irwin, but was unable to get a shot away before Irwin smothered the chance.
Teibert was in the thick of things again in the 34th minute when he raced towards the box with the Rapids defence standing off him. Just when it looked like the Canuck was about to pull the trigger, he played a ball through the defence to Miller who struck a first time shot that was well saved by Irwin.
The miss proved costly, as two minutes later a cross from Sanchez was met by Rapids striker Deshorn Brown at the back post. The rookie buried a header past David Ousted to give the Rapids the lead.
The teams went in at half time with the Rapids 1-0 up and they looked to double that lead early after the break when Thomas unleashed a powerful effort from well outside the box on 47 minutes. The shot fizzed past the post, although Ousted looked to have it covered.
There was a chance to make it a debut to remember for Colorado’s new Designated Player Gabriel Torres. The Panamanian international received the ball in the Vancouver half and raced towards goal but Ousted alertly left his line to collect the ball from Torres’ feet.
With time running out for Whitecaps FC to find a way back into the game, Mattocks was brought on to try and inject some pace into the attack and the change almost paid immediate dividends on 66 minutes. Reo-Coker played the ball through to Camilo, whose flick-on released substitute Mattocks. The Jamaican raced through the Colorado defence and found himself one-on-one with Irwin but his finish was well kept out by the Rapids’ keeper.
With 10 minutes remaining, Colorado wrapped up the points when substitute Edson Buddle made a telling difference of his own. The veteran striker lined up a shot from just inside the area that took a deflection off defender Johnny Leveron to wrong foot Ousted and make it 2-0 to the Rapids.
A minute later, Colorado looked to have a third as they broke quickly from a Whitecaps FC corner. Martin Rivero sent goalscorer Brown clear on goal, but Ousted stood up and produced a fine save to keep the score 2-0.
Despite some late pressure, the 'Caps were unable to find a way back into the match as Colorado extended their unbeaten run to nine matches. After putting in a hardworking shift, midfielder Gershon Koffie was awarded the Budweiser Man of the Match award. It was his second straight match as a holding midfielder.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Gershon Koffie
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
36' - COL - Deshorn Brown (Vincente Sanchez)
79' - COL - Edson Buddle (Nick LaBrocca)
Shots: Colorado 17 - Vancouver 9
Shots on Goal: Colorado 5 - Vancouver 3
Fouls: Colorado 11 - Vancouver 11
Offsides: Colorado 1 - Vancouver 5
Corners: Colorado 5 - Vancouver 5
51' - COL - Deshorn Brown
71' - VAN - Jordan Harvey
31.Clint Irwin; 22.Marvell Wynne, 3.Drew Moor, 27.Shane O'Neill, 15.Chris Klute; 24.Nathan Sturgis, 12.Hendry Thomas; 7.Vicente Sanchez (10.Martin Rivero 63'), 8.Dillon Powers (2.Nick LaBrocca 76'), 26.Deshorn Brown; 30.Gabriel Torres (9.Edson Buddle 78')
Substitutes not used: 18.Matt Pickens, 6.Anthony Wallace, 23.Jaime Castrillon, 33.German Mera
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
22.David Ousted; 12.Young-Pyo Lee (29.Tommy Heinemann 83'), 24.Carlyle Mitchell, 16.Johnny Leveron, 2.Jordan Harvey; 13.Nigel Reo-Coker, 28.Gershon Koffie, 14.Daigo Kobayashi (8.Matt Watson 61'); 31.Russell Teibert, 7.Camilo Sanvezzo, 9.Kenny Miller (11.Darren Mattocks 61')
Substitutes not used: 18.Brad Knighton, 19.Erik Hurtado, 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 40.Andy O'Brien