Report and Reaction: Blooming marvellous! Late Rose winner gives Vancouver victory in emotional rollercoaster in Colorado

Report and Reaction: Blooming marvellous! Late Rose winner gives Vancouver victory in emotional rollercoaster in Colorado

How’s your nerves and fingernails? I imagine Marc Dos Santos’ are long gone.

The Battle at the Bottom. The Clash of the Cellar Dwellers. The toilet bowl. Whatever tag you wanted to give it, Vancouver Whitecaps’ match in Colorado on Friday night against the Rapids was a game between two teams really struggling to find some form and consistency, and desperately in need of some kind of spark to ignite their season.

What played out was an entertaining evening. The biggest rollercoaster in Colorado since the Cliffhanger in Glenwood Springs, as the two teams served up a five goal thriller that swung back and forth and saw two VAR decisions go against Vancouver and the home side finish the game with ten men.

Fredy Montero and Lucas Venuto had put Vancouver into a 2-0 lead by the 26th minute, but any hopes of a relaxing night were soon dashed when Kei Kamara hit a pair of penalties either side of half time to tie things up and set up a thrilling finale.

A moment of madness from Diego Rubio brought the red mist and a red card for the Colorado striker with 13 minutes remaining, before Lass Bangoura thought he’d sealed the victory for Vancouver minutes later, only to see his goal disallowed by VAR when Andy Rose was deemed offside in the build up.

But the Whitecaps weren’t to be denied and Rose went from sinner to saint with three minutes remaining, showing some lovely control in the box to fire the winner past Tim Howard for the 3-2 victory and three massive points for Vancouver that somehow see them move up to just one point off the playoff places.

MLS is a strange league.

Marc Dos Santos was forced to make one change for this week’s match, with Yordy Reyna’s hamstring injury allowing him the chance to see Venuto and Lass Bangoura may function as the starting ‘Caps wingers, with Montero returning up top.

Colorado saw Conor Casey in charge on an interim basis following the sacking of Anthony Hudson two days ago, and the MLS veteran didn’t change too much as he hoped for that sacked manager bump teams often get.

The Rapids came out as quickly as their name suggests, forcing a corner just 14 seconds in and coming within a whisker of taking the lead when Danny Wilson headed the subsequent corner inches past the left post.

Colorado were controlling the possession but Vancouver were looking lively on the counter, but neither side looked like threatening either goal.

That suddenly changed in the 17th minute when Bangoura played in Montero, and the Colombian showed great composure to race in on goal and slot the ball past the onrushing Howard for the opening goal.

Ten minutes later and it was 2-0, and Montero was in the thick of the action once again, stripping the ball from a Colorado defender, before hitting the byeline and sending the ball across goal for Venuto to sweep home his first goal as a Whitecap from two yards out.

Dreamland for the Whitecaps!

But those dreams were soon to take a nightmarish turn.

Colorado were thrown a lifeline when Montero clumsily stuck a leg out as he tackled Kellyn Acosta in the box, giving away a penalty in the process. Kamara stepped up to give Max Crepeau no chance from the spot and put the Rapids right back into the game.

You just knew he was going to score in this one, and he wasn’t finished for the night.

Venuto had taken a knock in the latter stages of the half and the winger didn’t come out for the second, replaced by Brett Levis.

And Levis was soon involved, although he’ll be wishing he hadn’t been, when he was bundled into the back of Axel Sjoberg by Montero at a 49th minute corner. Referee Alex Chilowicz didn’t give a foul initially but after a video review, the Rapids had their second penalty of the match and it was hard to argue about.

Kamara fired home from 12 yards out once again for 2-2 and from nowhere really, game well and truly back on. Seven goals from 10 appearances so far for Kamara now. Impressive indeed and definitely the goalscorer the Whitecaps are lacking at this moment in time.

The Rapids sensed a turnaround and Jon Erice cleared an Sjoberg effort off the line, although the Swede didn’t know too much about it as the ball hit off him. Crepeau then had to be quick to save a deflected Kellyn Acosta shot at his near post in the 65th minute.

Bangoura showed he was still on the pitch in the 74th minute with a powerful long range effort that Howard parried away for a corner. A corner which was then subsequently overhit and wasted, summing up Vancouver’s lack of anything in the second half.

But then another game-changing moment came three minutes later when Diego Rubio lashed out at Doneil Henry three times after being fouled by the ‘Caps centre back. The third one struck Henry square in the face leaving the referee with no option but to send the Chilean off.

The Whitecaps suddenly got a new lease of life and they took advantage of it in the 82nd minute, or so they thought.

Pressing home their one man advantage, Montero floated a ball into the box which Rosenberry weakly cleared straight into the path of Bangoura and the Guinean curled a beauty low past Howard to put the ‘Caps back into the lead and sending the Whitecaps bench into joyous scenes.

Except he hadn’t as VAR struck Vancouver once again and the goal was eventually disallowed for Rose being in an offside position as the ball came in from Montero. His presence being deemed to be interfering in play as he came back in from an offside position to challenge Rosenberry.

But the ‘Caps weren’t to be denied and they did finally get their winner in the 87th minute and it was aptly Rose that then got it.

Vancouver broke quickly after a Kamara pass was cut out on the edge of the Whitecaps box. The move ended when Bangoura’s cross into the box deflected into the path of Rose, who took a nice touch before firing home for his first goal for the ‘Caps in his first game back from a lengthy facial injury.

So a huge three points for Vancouver that moves them up to ninth in the Western Conference standings before the rest of the weekend’s matches and just one point back of the playoff places.

Let’s enjoy the win for tonight. I’m delighted for Dos Santos that they got it and they deserved it overall in how the match played out. There were flashes of brilliance in there to give us some hope, but we can’t let the victory mark some serious deficiencies in there.

They laboured at times against the worst team in the league, blowing another lead, this time a two goal one, and giving up two stupid penalties.

Giving up six penalties now in their first ten matches has to be a major concern for the ‘Caps. Yes you can argue that not all of them were penalties, but players are putting referees in the position to make these calls and the two tonight were simply not in any doubt.

Two of our goalshy attackers got the goals, so that will hopefully give them some confidence, and Rose looks a far more attacking presence in the midfield than what we’ve seen from Russell Teibert and Felipe so far.

It’s how they build on this now. They need to go out and do this again against Portland next Friday. We can’t keep winning matches then not going on a run. For now though, just enjoy the first three away points of the season. Let’s worry about the rest from tomorrow. You know Marc Dos Santos will be.

FINAL SCORE: Colorado Rapids 2 – 3 Vancouver Whitecaps

ATT: 10,794

COLORADO: Tim Howard; Keegan Rosenberry, Axel Sjoberg, Deklan Wynne; Sebastian Anderson (Sam Nicholson 62), Danny Wilson (Benny Feilhaber 73), Jack Price (Andre Shinyashiki 81), Sam Vines; Kellyn Acosta, Diego Rubio, Kei Kamara [Subs Not Used: Clint Irwin, Tommy Smith, Cole Bassett, Nicolas Mezquida]

VANCOUVER: Max Crepeau; Jake Nerwinski, Erik Godoy, Doneil Henry, Ali Adnan; Jon Erice, Russell Teibert (Andy Rose 68), Inbeom Hwang; Lass Bangoura (Felipe Martins 90), Lucas Venuto (Brett Levis 46), Fredy Montero [Subs Not Used: Zac MacMath, Scott Sutter, Derek Cornelius, Joaquin Ardaiz]

REACTION:

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

MARC DOS SANTOS

On tonight’s match

“The first thirty minutes we came on very well. I think we controlled the game through our possession, created opportunities, scored in the big opportunities. We got two very good goals. Then, of course, both us and Colorado were in kind of a fragile moment in the season. When Acosta gets that penalty call, that is a penalty shot, then Colorado now scores and it’s 2-1. It brings a little bit of instability to our team then you’re always in between defending the result or trying to score the third one. Then there’s that penalty call that I didn’t see yet, I have to watch it, but I trust if the ref went to VAR — that it is one. That mentally is hard for us, Kei [Kamara] scores the 2-2 then it creates doubt right, because you’re again involved in a game that you have controlled and it’s 2-0 and it becomes 2-2. When that goal goes in you still have a certain reaction and our guys went for it, scored the 3-2 and then a call for VAR and offside. You could see that you have two types of groups. A group that after that second call and VAR, just mentally gets hurt and down or a group that tries to go for it and continue and that’s what we did. You know, the character of the guys and personality of the players and again I keep saying this group of players works every day of the week, our belief in tough moments, their approach in tough moments has been good and this is a very good result for us on the road. Not only because of the result, but more because of how the game was played and what happened in the game.”

On Fredy Montero’s performance

“I thought all three forwards had a good participation. Lass does a great play for Fredy on the first goal, then between Fredy and Venuto another good goal, the finish that was called back from Lass is very and Lass is involved in the goal from Andy Rose. So yes, Fredy had a good moment and in the game very good moments inside the game, but also I liked what Lucas and Lass did today. I think what we need to find from all of them now is consistency. Don’t think that I’m going to go back during the week and say everything good. Can we do this again, can we do this two, three, four times in a row? That’s what we want as a club.”

ANDY ROSE

Overall thoughts on the match

“It’s certainly been a frustrating spell on the sidelines, so to come back and most importantly to help the team, three points were so important today. I think we shouldn’t get carried away because we’re still not quite where we want to be in the table and where maybe we feel we should be. Again three points today was really important and I think we deserved it, so it feels great.”

FREDY MONTERO

Overall thoughts on the match

“Well this is what soccer’s about. Sometimes you have all these emotions and in 90 minutes we have all of them together and we’re happy that we won this game.”

On playing at altitude

“Yes, it’s difficult. Altitude is not easy for any team coming from sea level to play, coming to play in this city. For us it was more about staying in the game. We know both teams needed to go forward to find a way to win the game. For us it was a happy ending, we got three points, I scored a goal and we’re moving forward.”

COLORADO RAPIDS

CONOR CASEY

On tonight’s match

“Disappointed, I’m disappointed for the guys, they left everything on the field once again, they’ve given everything, they’ve fought until the last minute. Frustrated, they deserved to win, they are working so hard every week, we just haven’t been able to get over the hump and get those three points yet.”

On takeaway from his first match as Interim Head Coach

“My takeaway is positive, there was good energy in the stadium today. I thought we did some really nice things, we created chances. Unfortunately the goals against are still catching us in transition. It’s a difficult balance, we want to be attractive, we want to play forward, especially at home, we don’t want to sit back and defend — that’s not something that I believe in, at the same time it’s clear that we are giving up too many goals, no one’s happy about it and we are going to continue to work on it without trying to be too defensive. It’s a tough balance.”

On next the Rocky Mountain Cup match next week

“First of all, we are excited to have a full house, that’s our biggest game of the year. That’s our top rival and everyone is going to be up for it. Right now it’s just about them recovering mentally and physically and then slowly building into the week and getting ready for our biggest game .”

On Diego Rubio’s red card

“I haven’t seen it, I can’t really comment. I know that [Diego Rubio] plays with a lot of passion, I didn’t see the incident, so I can’t really comment on it too much, but obviously it had an effect on the game, we were in good momentum. I thought that we were looking like we were going to be able to turn it into three points, but unfortunately it didn’t happen that way.”

On the feeling in the locker room

“I think that it’s been a long week for the guys and for them to come out and put in a performance for each other was the biggest takeaway for me.”

On defensive errors

“It’s a balance, I’ve had a few days with the team, we’ll certainly look at it this week, some of it is individual mistakes and some of it is collective. I don’t want to be defensive, I want to be an offensive attractive team. We also need to stop leaking goals, that’s something that we’ve been working on all season and we certainly need to improve if we want to win games.”

KEI KAMARA

On the overall performance and mindset heading into tonight’s game

“We were positive tonight, and that’s something we wanted heading into tonight’s game. Obviously it’s been a tough week, though. Most of us in the locker room were brought in by [Anthony] Hudson, and for him not being a part of the team anymore, and to move on, is just a part of being a professional. [The team] talked about it and knew what we wanted to do, and decided that we just need to be positive going into the game tonight. That being said, everybody was positive. Everybody felt like today was going to be the day, but once again, we got unlucky and the performance just wasn’t good enough.”

On Interim Head Coach Conor Casey and his impact on the team

“[Conor Casey] was motivating. He’s a person who’s played with the Rapids not too long ago. He’s someone who’s been in our locker room and been in a similar situation to what we are in now. He’s been a part of this team since the beginning of the season, it’s not like he’s a brand new coach who nobody on the team knows. He knows our group and he knew what to say to us. We, the players, are the ones to be blamed now. It’s not anybody else’s fault except our own. Our coaches put the best eleven players out on the field and we come up short every time.”

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Authored by: Michael McColl

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