COMMERCE CITY, COLORADO: Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6W-5L-2D) went into the storm and nearly came away with a result on Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
But after a lightning strike that extended halftime, a Lucas Pittinari wonder goal, and a disallowed Pedro Morales free-kick tally at the other end, the ‘Caps fell 1-0 to Colorado Rapids (2W-2L-7D) on a night they probably deserved more.
Carl Robinson’s side put in a strong road performance, outshooting the Rapids 13-10 and forcing goalkeeper Clint Irwin into a number of key saves.
Things just didn’t go their way – and it resulted in their second road defeat of the season.
Saturday’s match was Vancouver’s third in eight days, so it wasn’t entirely surprising that Robinson freshened up his starting lineup with three changes from a week ago.
The most notable inclusion was Homegrown midfielder Kianz Froese, who replaced Cristian Techera on the right wing to make his first MLS start. Gershon Koffie also drew in for Russell Teibert, while Mauro Rosales replaced Morales in an attacking midfield position. This was Rosales’ first appearance since suffering a quad strain on May 9.
In contrast to Vancouver, the well-rested Rapids hadn’t played a game in two weeks prior to Saturday’s contest. But the visiting ‘Caps looked the more dangerous side early.
If it wasn’t for some fine work by Irwin, Vancouver could have had been up one or two in the first half alone. In the 17th minute, Irwin made his first big stop on a Kekuta Manneh strike from the top of the box. Late in the half, he then tipped a Rosales free kick just over the bar. And on the ensuing corner, Whitecaps FC striker Octavio Rivero powered a header off the crossbar.
It was a bright half from the Blue and White, who outshot Colorado 6-1 and aside from a late Dillon Powers opportunity weren’t really troubled defensively.
After a short lightning delay at the break, the ‘Caps kept coming early in the second half. In the 48th minute, Froese found himself unmarked on the right side of the box after a flicked-on Jordan Harvey cross, but missed wide of the near post.
Not long after, the Rapids went the other way and scored the game’s opening goal. It was quite the goal, too, as Pittinari volleyed in a cheeky Gabriel Torres flick from the centre of the box. Moments earlier, the ‘Caps thought Koffie was fouled in midfield but there was no call – and it proved costly.
The goal seemed to give Colorado some life.
Rapids striker Luis Solignac had a pair of chances to double their advantage and Powers ripped a strike from distance, too. But David Ousted, who wore the captain’s armband on the night, shut the door with three fantastic stops.
It appeared the ‘Caps got an equalizer in the 86th minute through Morales, who was subbed on just a few minutes prior. The Chilean curled a perfectly-taken free kick into the top right corner, but the goal was called back for an apparent foul in the box.
The two teams traded late chances as Vancouver threw almost everyone forward, including centre back Kendall Waston, but the Rapids held on to secure the three points.
Next up for Whitecaps FC is a home date with Real Salt Lake a week from today. With the FIFA Women’s World Cup coming to town, that will be Vancouver’s final match at BC Place until July 12.
Speaking of Real Salt Lake, WFC2 are set to host their USL affiliate on Sunday afternoon at UBC Thunderbird Stadium. Whitecaps FC centre back Diego Rodriguez is expected to be in the lineup as he works back from a quad strain.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Octavio Rivero
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
51′ – COL – Lucas Pittinari (Gabriel Torres, Dillon Powers)
Shots: Colorado 10 – Vancouver 13
Shots on Goal: Colorado 4 – Vancouver 4
Saves: Colorado 4 – Vancouver 3
Fouls: Colorado 25 – Vancouver 13
Offsides: Colorado 0 – Vancouver 0
Corners: Colorado 8 – Vancouver 3
24′ – VAN – Kianz Froese
43′ – COL – Sam Cronin
75′ – VAN – Gershon Koffie
79′ – VAN – Kendall Waston
87′ – COL – Kevin Doyle
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 33.Steven Beitashour, 4.Kendall Waston, 44.Pa-Modou Kah, 2.Jordan Harvey; 15.Matías Laba (77.Pedro Morales 77′), 28.Gershon Koffie; 38.Kianz Froese (13.Cristian Techera 62′), 7.Mauro Rosales, 23.Kekuta Manneh (11.Darren Mattocks 70′); 29.Octavio Rivero
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 9.Nicolás Mezquida, 26.Tim Parker, 27.Ethen Sampson
1.Clint Irwin; 16.James Riley, 3.Drew Moor, 44.Axel Sjoberg, 4.Marc Burch; 6.Sam Cronin, 22.Lucas Pittinari; 10.Gabriel Torres (9.Kevin Doyle 63′), 8.Dillon Powers, 15.Juan Ramirez (7.Vicente Sanchez 86′); 21.Luis Solignac
Substitutes not used
18.Zac MacMath, 5.Michael Harrington, 19.Charles Eloundou, 23.Bobby Burling, 33.Jared Watts