It looked as though the extended break would come to bite the Whitecaps once again when they fell behind early but they fought back to earn a point in a 2-2 against Colorado Rapids at BC Place on Saturday night.
The club from the Rocky Mountains were spotted two with early goals from Diego Rubio and Andre Shinyashiki only to have Vancouver to respond with conversions from Fredy Montero and Yordy Reyna.
It was the ‘Caps leading scorer from last season, Kei Kamara, who got the first real opportunity when he found himself alone in the box but his finish was deflected for a corner.
That corner would lead to the opening goal as the ball was delivered across the box, with the ‘Caps caught ball watching, headed in by Rubio at the far post putting the visitors on top early.
The ‘Caps had a chance to draw even a few minutes later when Montero was unable to get around Tim Howard and then the keeper denied Reyna from the other side of the box to keep the visitor’s lead intact.
Twenty minutes in and the Rapids doubled that lead with the help of former Whitecaps Kamara and Mezquida, with the latter crossing to the former who headed the ball towards the net where Shinyashiki guided the ball into the open net.
Kamara and Mezquida almost got their own sweet taste of revenge in another Rapids attacks as first Kamara hit the post with the rebound then going straight to Mezquida whose shot was cleared off the line by former teammate Jake Nerwinski.
The ‘Caps desperately tried to get one back before halftime with both Reyna and Hwang forcing Howard into making stops.
A couple of minutes later Colorado kept Vancouver off the scoresheet again when their defenders made two consecutive blocks from just outside the six yard area off of Montero and Felipe.
Montero had another chance with less than five to go in the half when his header, set up by a cross from Adnan, forced Howard to parry the ball over the bar.
The home side finally got their reward first half injury time when Adnan earned a penalty, taken down by Rubio, which was converted by Montero for his sixth of the season to change the second half dynamic.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) June 23, 2019
The second half had a slow start with the first dangerous chance coming just before the hour mark, though Nerwinski’s cross into the six yard box was unable to find anyone in a white kit.
With around 15 minutes to go the ‘Caps had four chances in two minutes with three shots blocked inside the penalty area and Hwang’s shot saved by Tim Howard at the near post.
The Whitecaps got what they earned in the 80th minute when Reyna’s free kick split through two heads in the Colorado wall, off the post, and past a stone footed Howard to draw the game even.
Reyna hits home the equalizer in style!!!
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) June 23, 2019
There were chances in the final minutes for the Whitecaps, including a free kick at the death, but in the end both clubs had to share the spoils.
This was one of the rare games where the roles were reversed for Vancouver. They were the dominating team (possession 69.5% to 30.5%) but were yet unable to earn the full points.
It came to the Rapids taking advantage of sloppy defending in the early stages of the first half to get up early and then hang on.
While the comeback was well deserved, Vancouver still gave up points on their home field and it will be harder and harder to make up those lost points on the road.
They will get their next chance in four days time when they head on a tricky trip to Texas to face FC Dallas, with a Cascadian derby coming up in Seattle three days later.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 – 2 Colorado Rapids
VANCOUVER: Zac MacMath; Jake Nerwinski (Scott Sutter 63), Erik Godoy, Andy Rose, Ali Adnan; Jon Erice, Felipe Martins, Inbeom Hwang; Yordy Reyna, Fredy Montero, Lucas Venuto (Victor ‘PC’ Giro 69) [Subs Not Used: Sean Melvin, Brendan McDonough, Brett Levis, Michael Baldisimo, Theo Bair]
COLORADO: Tim Howard; Keegan Rosenberry, Lalas Abubakar, Tommy Smith, Sam Vines; Danny Wilson, Kellyn Acosta, Diego Rubio, Nicolas Mezquida, Andre Shinyashiki (Sebastian Anderson); Kei Kamara [Subs Not Used: Clint Irwin, Kofi Opare, Axel Sjoberg, Johan Blomberg, Dillon Serna, Cole Bassett]
Possession: VAN 69.5% – COL 30.5%
Shots: VAN 22 – COL 14
Shots on Goal: VAN 9 – COL 5
Saves: VAN 2 – COL 7
Fouls: VAN 6 – COL 16
Offsides: VAN 3 – COL 1
Corners: VAN 6 – COL 4
MARC DOS SANTOS
On how he saw the match:
“I believed we controlled the game after the 2-0, but in the first 20-25 minutes, we didn’t come in very well. We struggled, they tried to play a lot of balls in behind us, defensively we were, I feel, a little bit sloppy in the first 20-25 minutes; I don’t know if it was the effect of the three weeks without playing and now you’re going in right away maybe. It wasn’t good but then from there it was total control from us, we could have scored more than one goal in the first half, we pushed in the second half. There was always a belief, great personality and character from the players to push and to try and get the win even when it was 2-0, just going at it. Unfortunately, it’s a point that could be seen in a positive way but we feel that we should have, from what we did today, have the full three points.”
On not using all three subs:
“There is not a rule that you have to use the three subs, if that changes one day then I’ll use the three, but we felt that the team was pushing, doing well and I’m not that kind of guy that just does a sub to do a sub, that’s why we didn’t do the third one. We felt we were on them, we felt that we were, if I’m not mistaken, we were there so we didn’t feel that there was a need, and I’m not the kind of coach that just changes to change, so I felt that the guys were pushing, they were believing and that’s why we stayed like that.”
On Nerwinski substitution:
“We felt that we needed to have a right back much higher in the field or a right wingback because what happened is if you looked at one of the dynamics, when they were playing a lot of balls in behind, we felt that there was a lot of understanding in that back part between Erik Godoy and Andy Rose so we pushed Jon Erice to play in between them. So we went practically with three in the back and then we had our right wingback and our left wingback, being Ali, very high on the field and having Yordy and Venuto closer to Fredy. Then when the team was pushing, we just felt that the extra 25-30 minutes it would be good to have fresh legs in that right wingback position and that’s why we ask Sutter to stay so wide on the field.”
On comeback from falling early:
“Obviously it wasn’t a good start for us, we knew how important this game was. The thing with the first half is [going down] 2-1, we spoke in the locker room that we needed to give more and we couldn’t lose this game and thank God we came back and we scored off Yordy’s goal, an amazing goal, that gave us the 2-2. We kept trying but unfortunately we couldn’t score another one.”
On frustration of losing points at home:
“I wouldn’t call it frustration, I think it’s an opportunity for us to grow as a group because we know when we play away, somehow we let the other team track our guys and we have the possession and the goal and we know we’re dangerous in the counter attack, but when we’re at home we need to go and look for the game. Teams like Colorado today they were waiting for us and that’s when we need to do more, that’s when we have to create more chances in the last part of the field, the last pass has to be dangerous enough to put the striker or the winger to go one on one with the goalkeeper or the defender, and that’s where we need to get better. But I believe that one point is, I mean better than losing, and hopefully this point will help us into the last round to the playoff.”
On offensive production:
“We, as I said before, it’s not a secret the stats are there, we need to get better, all day the players this team has from the midfield to the striker. Somehow we’re struggling with teams like this when the team is close waiting for us, not giving much space. But this is soccer, you have to use the strengths, free kicks, PK’s you know that’s an important weapon to have in a team and we’re using it, and for us as long as we are scoring goals, today we needed to score one more and it didn’t happen.”
On playing against former teammates:
“The past is in the past. We appreciate everything they did for the club but we don’t really think about what is their motivation. We think about ourselves. At the start we weren’t so good. But as the game went on, we dominate the game. We were able to come back and we had the opportunity to score the 3-2. We just need to be more clinical in the final third.”
On his assessment of the team:
“We’ve been very solid defensively. In our half, we are very good defending deep. We’ve been working very hard in the past three weeks to be more positive in the attacking third, to be more creative. I think in the game we were able to get balls wide, to get numbers in the box. We had a couple of half-chances in there. If we could put the ball in the back of the net, we would be talking about another thing. I think it was an improvement tonight offensively, especially against a team playing very deep. Teams come here and play a deeper line against us. We just need to find a way to break the pressure and be able to score first. When you score first especially against a team who plays deep, we can take advantage of it.”
On having composure:
“We’re doing better runs off the ball. We’re moving better. Now it’s about composure. We need to be able to create possession in the final third and get Ali up the field, or Jake or Scott, get into those positions. We have numbers, we just need more composure on the ball, especially myself, the midfielders in general, and the wingers coming in, be able to create for our wingers and our forwards.”
On opening strong:
“The first 20 minutes or so were very good, and then we lost control of the game a little bit. In the second half, we were not quite as strong as we want to be. Six games undefeated, we’ve now played three road games undefeated, so it’s a good point for us at the end of the day.”
On going up 2-0 early:
“You want to have a good start. Be compact, and to be able to up two goals is great, it’s not what we expected. We got a lot of energy to start the game. To get that lead was great. Unfortunately they got one back before halftime. We’re playing away so we need to defend a bit. Diego did a great job, given the fact that we’re missing a few key guys, to come out here and get a point, it’s good for us.”
On the defensive effort:
“I think we got too comfortable. Goals change games, and that certainly was a turning point. [The defensive effort that did not give up an open-play goal] was solid, very professional, a team effort. It took every man behind the ball defending. We would’ve loved to have had a little more joy on the break. At the end of the day, we’re disappointed because we were up 2-0, and there;s a lot of guys in that locker room that want to win, so we did not win tonight but you have to keep the perspective of we went on the road, and we keep our run going.”
On scoring early on:
“It definitely gives you that momentum when you score early, but it’s disappointing that we couldn’t keep the win and keep the three points. When you’re away and you get a two goal lead, you should never tie or lose the game. We’re definitely disappointed about that, but the start of the game was really good for us.”
On what was working offensively in the first half:
“I just think we were causing turnovers in good spots, we were quick on the counter and we played balls in behind and we exploited the weak spots they had. That was really working for us and I think we got a little relaxed after we scored the second one. We could have scored a third with me and Nico [Mezquida]. It didn’t come and then we just kind of took our foot off the gas a little bit, and you can’t do that because it gives the other team momentum, it gives them confidence. I just think we lacked a little bit of that killer mentality today.”
On his goal:
“You know Kei [Kamara] is going to win the header, there was no doubt in my mind about that. I just made an unselfish run to the near post and dragged a couple of defenders with me and he had an open header. I don’t know if I didn’t touch it if the ball was going to go in or not, so I just wanted to make sure so I just put my foot there. I apologized to him and he was like ‘hey it doesn’t matter who scores, all that matters is that we got a goal’. Definitely happy about that, and like I said it was a play coming directly off a turnover and on the counter.”
Thoughts on the match:
“I think the mood in the locker room was that we’re definitely disappointed. I think any time you take a 2-0 lead then give it up you’re going to be disappointed. At the end of the day we’ll take a point on the road, we’ll continue this streak and get back home and hopefully keep it going.
On getting off to a good start:
“We talk about it all the time and it’s much easier said than done, but tonight we did it. And again, another reason for us to be disappointed, because we started so well. It didn’t exactly end too well. But at the same time that’s something that we’re working on, being on the front foot from the first whistle, trying to press things, put teams under pressure, get chances early, and we did that.”
On what was working offensively:
“I just think everyone was cued in. We were all working together, we were defending well. Even when we weren’t pressing on the first pass backwards or the first pass in general, everyone was tuned in and we were all covering our man and we intercepted a bad pass, a bad touch, whatever it was. And I think that’s important, especially on the road, everyone being on the same page on the objectives and the game plan. I thought we did that well.”