The Vancouver Whitecaps moved into 7th place of the Western Conference, while the Colorado Rapids dropped to 11th place after the Canadian side pounced on a pair of impotent Rapids' passes in their half and scored twice before a spirited crowd in BC Place.
Throughout the Rapids' erratic season, head coach Robin Fraser has insisted, if not begged, that his field players perform consistently from start to finish and ditch the mental lapses that have cost them dearly.
Yesterday's match was yet another example of the latter.
The Whitecaps came out pressing high and head-on at the Rapids' backline. In the 14th minute of play, Will Yarbrough played a short ball to Danny Wilson, who had his back to the incoming pressure. Wilson flicked the ball to his far left towards Steven Beitashour. However, it was easily intercepted by 'Caps wingback Julian Gressel. Gressel went to the corner, then left turned cut in to attack Yarbrough. The defender then placed the ball just beyond the outstretched Wilson to an oncoming Ryan Gauld, who rifled the ball right past a stoic Yarbrough.
Thirty-six minutes later, Gauld picked off a Rapids' backpass and went to the races like a thoroughbred. He outpaced Wilson to the 18 and then punched the ball past Yarbrough. Two-nil Vancouver.
In the second half, the Rapids managed to get bodies into the box but could not capitalize on their ability to penetrate.
It wasn't until Jonathan Lewis squeezed in between two of his marks and unleashed a rocket on goal. The ball deflected off Vancouver's keeper, Thomas Hasal, right to Gyasi Zardes, who drilled it in.
Minutes later, Lewis had another chance to score from just three yards out. All it would have taken was a head down header to tie the game. Instead, the attempt amounted to a painful missed opportunity and another long flight home without points in their carry-on bags.
The Rapids did get off 15 shots; however, only four were on target. They out possessed the White and Blue 57% to 43%, yet the two passing fumbles cost them the match.
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 continued, "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 in the hunt for a low playoff spot in the Western Conference. The competition is stiff as a handful of teams are still vying for an invitation to October's playoffs. There has been a little separation in the 6-11 positions in the standings in weeks. Anything can happen from here on out.
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 is not doom and gloom," said Fraser. "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."