Three goals against the league’s leading defence. Fighting back three times to claim a point. Fantastic stuff. Or at least it would have been for Vancouver Whitecaps if it hadn’t been for the fact that they needed to score four to see off Colorado Rapids and keep their playoff hopes in the last throes of life.
The writing on the wall came early, when Dominique Badji capitalised on some more horrendous Whitecaps defending to slot home the Rapids’ opener, just eight minutes in.
And talking of horrendous, that’s a pretty apt word to sum up the ‘Caps first half performance. No passion, no fight, no urgency, no hope given. Unacceptable was the view of David Ousted and Carl Robinson after the match. You can’t disagree in the slightest.
The second half was better, but then that wouldn’t be hard, as the teams swapped goals like they were jerseys.
Kendall Waston headed the ‘Caps level six minutes in, before being sent off five minutes later. It’s been that kind of season for the big Costa Rican. Colorado capitalised with a 57th minute Shkelzen Gashi penalty, but ten-man Vancouver tied it up again through that rarest or rarities, a Pedro Morales goal from open play.
But the Rapids went ahead for a third time and it was the Albanian Gashi that struck again, this time from a stunning free kick. But wait, there was still time for Erik Hurtado to head home a stoppage time equaliser off the bar and Tim Howard. Phew!
But all in all, it was too little, too late, and the plans for next season are what everyone now turns their attention to. It has to be better, for surely it can’t be much worse.
AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was there to capture all the action before, during and after the game and here’s his “Story In Pictures”, with a full Flickr slideshow at the end.[Also check out Tom’s website www.residualimagephotography.com for more of his photos and work].
The different facial expressions say it all
Eight minutes in and defensive disaster for the Whitecaps
Allowing Dominique Badji to slot home into the empty net
Tim Howard really up for it in this “last game of the regular season” – I think he probably meant for Vancouver’s playoff hopes
Hey look, it’s 15-year-old Alphonso Davies (Trademarked) making his first MLS start
It’s like being at Parkhead! Maybe that’s why Fraser Aird wasn’t on the bench
Wonder if this look is common whenever the ball comes near Whitecaps players in the box. Would explain a lot.
But hope for the ‘Caps in the 51st minute as Christian Bolanos whips in a corner and his Costa Rican teammate Kendall Waston rises above all
To head home the ‘Caps first equaliser of the day
But things change quick in MLS
And six minutes later, this was a battle that was only every going to end one way
With Waston sent off and referee Baldomero Toledo pointing to the spot
And Shkelzen Gashi leaves David Ousted helpless with his spot kick
But it’s not over yet and Pedro Morales scores from open play, yes really, to make it 2-2
Things start getting testy now and the Rapids get a free kick from a dangerous position on the edge of the ‘Caps box
Which Gashi lasers home to give Colorado the lead for the third time
But there’s still time for the ‘Caps as the ball comes in to Erik Hurtado in stoppage time
And it somehow ends up in the back of the net for 3-3
Giles Barnes knows who ran the show
While Robbo’s look basically sums up the Whitecaps awful season
You can see all of Tom’s photos from the game HERE and in our full Flickr slideshow below: