The Vancouver Whitecaps moved up to seventh place in the Western Conference, while the Colorado Rapids fell to eleventh after the Canadians capitalized on a pair of ineffective Rapids passes in their half and scored twice in front of a raucous crowd at BC Place.
Throughout the Rapids’ erratic season, head coach Robin Fraser has insisted, if not begged, that his players perform consistently from start to finish and eliminate the mental lapses that have cost them dearly.
Yesterday’s game was an example of the latter.
The Whitecaps attacked the Rapids’ backline high and head-on. Will Yarbrough played a short ball to Danny Wilson, who had his back to the incoming pressure, in the 14th minute of play. Wilson sent the ball to his far left, where it was met by Steven Beitashour. It was, however, easily intercepted by ‘Caps wingback Julian Gressel. Gressel went to the corner and then cut left to attack Yarbrough. The defender then passed the ball just beyond Wilson’s outstretched arm to an oncoming Ryan Gauld, who rifled the ball past a stoic Yarbrough.
Thirty-six minutes later, Gauld intercepted a Rapids backpass and raced like a thoroughbred. He beat Wilson to the 18-yard line and then punched the ball past Yarbrough. Vancouver wins 2-0.
The Rapids were able to get bodies into the box in the second half but were unable to capitalize on their ability to penetrate.
It wasn’t until Jonathan Lewis snuck in between two of his defenders and unleashed a rocket on goal that it became clear. Gyasi Zardes scored after the ball deflected off Vancouver goalkeeper Thomas Hasal.
Lewis had another chance to score from three yards out a few minutes later. A head down header would have been enough to tie the game. Instead, it was a costly missed opportunity and another long flight home with no points in their carry-on bags.
The Rapids did fire 15 shots, but only four were on target. They outpossessed the White and Blue 57% to 43%, but two fumbled passes cost them the game.
Fraser reviewed the game during his press conference, “Obviously a disappointing loss for us because the goals that we conceded, the individual mistakes that just make it very difficult to come back from.” He went on, “And then having said that, I thought we were much better in the second half and created enough chances to win, and obviously, we didn’t, so all in all, a pretty frustrating day.”
The Burgundy Boys are still vying for a low-postseason spot in the Western Conference. The competition is fierce, as a few teams are still vying for a spot in the October playoffs. In recent weeks, there has been some separation in the 6-11 positions in the standings. From here on out, anything is possible.
The wobbling Rapids will need to regroup in a matter of two days, then mount up to take on 12th place Houston Dynamo Saturday evening at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park.
“This isn’t all doom and gloom,” Fraser said. “This is more disappointment in mistakes we made and not converting some of the chances, and then obviously we get this sort of result, but there were very good moments within the game, and some of those good moments created some really good chances, and obviously we would have loved to finish a few more of those.”
Ralph Priso was next up to the mic. “I think we have nine games. We’re still in it. I think if we win our next game, we’re above Vancouver. If I’m not mistaken, they’re in the seventh spot, so it’s just, train every day like it’s a final, play every game like it’s a final, and we’re still in control of our own destiny, really.” He added, “If we don’t take any missteps and then throw games away like we did today, I mean, we’re still in it, and we still have a good chance to get in the playoffs. You know, I think the thing about MLS is you can be the best team all year, but you know, you lose a couple of games in front of playoffs, you come in cool, and you can not be that great and you go on a run in the last few games come into the playoffs with some momentum and make a deep run… We just have to put a run together and just train well and it’s still possible for sure.”