The play was bright and energetic. The dribbles were threatening. The defenders made critical tackles. And the game was fairly even and entertaining throughout, with both teams playing open, attacking soccer. But ultimately, it was another sad road trip for the Colorado Rapids, who lost 2-1 to the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place. The Rapids fell behind early, equalized just before the half, coughed up another goal right out of the locker room to start the second half, and would ultimately get back on the bus to the team hotel without finding the equalizer. I imagine that feeling is pretty familiar at this stage.
Vancouver leapt out to an early lead in just the 4th minute.. Yordy Reyna curled a 30 yard cross from the left side to the far post and found Fredy Montero’s head. Montero split the defenders, Axel Sjoberg and Mekeil Williams and found the bottom right corner past a furious Tim Howard.
The Whitecaps were getting the better of the chances through the first half, and looked to be on the verge of adding a second goal on several occasions, including a through-ball that ended in the mitts of Tim Howard in the 26th minute.
The Rapids got one back in the 45th minute. Mekeil Williams lifted a good cross from the left side into the box. Rather than deal with it decisively, Caps defender Tim Parker tapped it right to the feet of Dom Badji, who gathered it and nutmegged keeper David Ousted to knot the game at 1-1 going into the half.
The Rapids fell behind just after they returned to the pitch from halftime. Fredy Montero received the ball on the left side and held it up. With Watts and Miller standing off a touch on Montero, he lofted a chip to the top of the box, right to the feet of Yordy Reyna. The speedy Peruvian accelerated past Sjoberg and Around Tim Howard, and the Caps were up 2-1.
A few minutes later, at the 62nd and 66th minutes, the Rapids would bring on Stefan Aigner and Alan Gordon for Josh Gatt and Marlon Hairston. In the 75th Nana Boateng came on for Jared Watts as well.
The Rapids pressed for an equalizer with great effort in the final 30 minutes, and showed a lot of energy, but ultimately couldn’t find the goal. The best chance was a ball that bounced around until it came loose to Micheal Azira just outside the box. Azira hammered a threatening shot, but Ousted saved it confidently. There were a few additional shots later in the half, but none was taken in a dangerous position or created any difficulty for the Whitecaps keeper.
The Rapids loss was their 12th on the road this season, and dropped the team’s overall record to 7-5-17 (WTL). They play a pair of matches this week against two teams that looked playoff-bound until recent stumbles have put them in jeopardy of missing the post-season. They play on the road against an FC Dallas team that hasn’t won a game in two full months, and at home next Saturday against Montreal, a team only one spot below the red line. Can the Rapids pull off a win and play the role of spoiler against either of these teams?