VANCOUVER, B.C – The Whitecaps hopes to make the 2013 MLS playoffs came to a crashing halt in Commerce City, Colorado as they watched their play-off chances fade into the thin rocky mountain air. The Whitecaps could not muster a single point, against the Rapids as they fell 3-2 to Colorado after an exciting back and forth match in front of 18,103 spectators at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Colorado received a brace from Panamanian Gabriel Torres, and Deshorn Brown added a wonderful chip early in the second half. Kekuta Manneh continued his hot streak with a cracker from distance, and Camilo Sanvezzo briefly squared the game at 2-2 converting from the spot in the second half. Colorado was able to hold off a late Whitecaps push in the second half as Kenny Miller made a brief, and non-eventful appearance off the bench in the 83′ minute.
Looking to set the tone with an early goal, both teams went back, and forth with great pace in the early stages of the first half. Whitecaps hat-trick hero, Kekuta Manneh, had a pair of opportunities that did not find the back of the net or threaten Clint Irwin. Camilo Sanvezzo had a free kick that sailed well over the Rapids net in the 18′, and for the most part nobody could find any finishing touches.
The Rapids were hoping to get their offense going through Gabriel Torres, however Jay DeMerit, and the Caps back four had him soundly covered in the first half. Colorado was unable to create a decent scoring chance off three corners in the first 20′ minutes of the match. A failed Whitecaps clearing attempt in the 22′ resulted in a brilliant scoring chance for Rapids leading goal scorer Deshorn Brown. The Rapids rookie had all the time in the world at the top of the Whitecaps box, but unfortunately for him, his booming shot flew over the Caps net.
Moments later the Jamaican striker was in alone on Caps Danish keeper David Ousted, after racing past Whitecaps right-back Y.P. Lee. Brown tried to send his shot inside the bottom far post, but it rolled wide of the net. Colorado kept coming, and Nick LaBrocca got a decent touch on a ball which sent Ousted diving to the ground to make a huge save. Colorado looked to be pressing for the opening goal… but they couldn’t beat Ousted.
Kekuta Manneh scored an absolute screamer from distance to give the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead in the 32′. The hottest player in Major League Soccer fired a laser from distance that found a home in the top left corner past Rapids keeper Clint Irwin.
The Whitecaps would not take a 1-nil lead into halftime thanks to an equalizing goal by Gabriel Torres in the 41′. Whitecaps centre-back Carlyle Mitchell looked to have his arm around Drew Moor inside the Caps box. Referee Armando Villarreal quickly whistled Mitchell for a foul, and pointed to the spot. David Ousted guessed correctly and dove to his left, however Torres still managed to score.
It did not take long for Colorado to victimize the Whitecaps again. Deshorn Brown scored his team leading 10th goal of the season off a lovely chip up, and over an oncoming David Ousted in the 51′. Carlyle Mitchell miss-timed his jump to the ball, and Brown got the ball and sprinted past a slow looking Y.P. Lee to score. Vancouver was caught playing some horrible defense, and Brown took full advantage against the sleeping Whitecaps back four.
With the playoffs about to be out of reach Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie made a pair of substitutions to try to spark his teams offense. Russell Teibert came on for Matt Watson in the 60′, and Darren Mattocks was brought on in the 66′ for Daigo Kobayashi. Neither player were able to contribute offensively during their time on the pitch.
Jordan Harvey, the only Whitecaps defender to score this season was tripped up by Shane O’Neill in the Rapids box in the 74′ as he rushed towards the Colorado goal. Without hesitation, Villarreal awarded Vancouver a penalty. Camilo Sanvezzo scored his 19th goal of the season to the right of Irwin. The Caps thought they had earned at least one point thanks to the Brazilians clutch goal, but it wasn’t to be.
Only minutes after tying the game Vancouver were on their heels at the Rapids attacked looking to nick a late goal. Gabriel Torres danced Jordan Harvey out of his boots, and fired a booming rocket past Ousted to the top left corner in the 77′ minute. The Whitecaps got caught ball watching at the worst possible moment with their season on the line. Torres made Vancouver pay, and Camilo’s penalty was a long after thought after conceding the winning goal so quickly.
Vancouver played the final 10′ minutes of the match looking shell-shocked, and dejected. Despite having the offensive talents of Kenny Miller, Camilo Sanvezzo, Kekuta Manneh, Darren Mattocks, and Russell Teibert up front searching for that elusive third goal the Whitecaps did not come close to scoring again. The team came up short with too little, too late.
The Whitecaps played a wide open attacking style of football, and got burned by the altitude, Gabriel Torres, and themselves. It will certainly be an interesting off-season in Vancouver, with what is expected to be a winter full of plenty of changes.
Notes: Jordan Harvey picked up a yellow card, and will miss the Whitecaps final match this season on Sunday, October, 27 vs Colorado.