Going into BC Place on Saturday, it didn't seem like a Colorado Rapids win was incredibly likely. The back four had been knocked about by suspension and injury, the Rapids were coming in with a generally bad all-time record at BC Place, and Vicente Sanchez, their MVP thus far, was sitting at home. It did turn out to be a tough match with the Vancouver Whitecaps, but the Rapids ended the night with the spoils thanks to Jose Mari's goals, Clint Irwin's saves and a rather silly red card from Matias Laba.
Much like the rest of the season's matches for the Rapids, the first half was rather uneventful. Pablo Mastroeni sent his guys out in a diamond 4-4-2 that featured tons of possession ability in the midfield, and the Whitecaps pulled a similar stunt. That left the midfield clogged for the majority of the first 45 minutes and other than some Darren Mattocks runs and an incredible flick from Gabriel Torres that left Deshorn Brown open on net, chances were minimal.
One notable piece of statistical info from the first half showed the Rapids passing the ball on the ground better, but losing the majority of the aerial battles. As the second half started, it looked like Carl Robinson
After that, it looked like the Caps were going to walk the match. Clint Irwin was forced into making a huge stop very shortly after the goal was scored, and the Rapids had to take several minutes of sustained pressure. In the 77th minute, the Rapids finally got the pressure valve to release a bit and found themselves in the right final third for what seemed like the first time in the half. From that, the game changed as a Rapids turnover led to what looked like it would turn into a Caps counter attack. Laba had already been yellow carded in the 55th minute for a foul, and he made a foolish error when he was dragged down by Nick Labrocca and did not receive the call, and grabbed the ball to shove under himself. Having already been carded, he was flashed red.
Only two minutes after the card, Jose Mari happened.
Gabriel Torres, eat your heart out.
Only four minutes after that, Jose Mari struck again from long range with a goal that might not be a goal of the week candidate like his other effort, but was good enough to put the Rapids ahead 2-1. With the man disadvantage, the Whitecaps were only able to get bursts of pressure on late on through some set pieces. After four grueling minutes of stoppage time, which included two fouls called on the Whitecaps in the Rapids' penalty area, the final whistle finally blew to seal a 2-1 victory, only Colorado's second at BC Place since the Caps joined the league.
Next up, however, is a Canadian field that the Rapids have never beaten their opposition at: BMO Field in Toronto. Bring em on.