Report and Reaction: Colorado’s rapid response team cause more late heartbreak for Vancouver Whitecaps

Report and Reaction: Colorado’s rapid response team cause more late heartbreak for Vancouver Whitecaps

A goal in the first and last ten minutes for Vancouver would not be enough for the Whitecaps to secure a victory as they allowed a late goal for the second straight home game and were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids.

It was in the 10th minute when Kendall Waston was able to convert a cross, from a continuation of a corner, by Christian Bolanos in to a header past Tim Howard to give the home side the early lead and scoring the first goal past the veteran American international since his return to MLS.

The Rapids soon took over the match and were denied a couple of times by David Ousted, until just before the hour mark when Kevin Doyle was finally able to get one past the Danish keeper as some nice link up play with Shkelzen Gashi.

Vancouver finally gained some momentum after the 71st minute sending off of Eric Miller and made the ten man side pay three minutes before the end of regulation time when Cristian Techera converted a penalty after being brought down in the box by Jared Watts for the foul moments earlier.

Unfortunately it was to be a case of deja vu for Vancouver and similar to ten days ago against TFC, the Caps were unable to hold onto the lead as they surrendered a goal at the death when Axel Sjoberg headed in a Kevin Doyle cross past Ousted five minutes into stoppage time.

Despite being dominated for the majority of the match it looked as though Vancouver would scrape all three points from the game but a late breakdown against a depleted side cost an important two points at home.

The Whitecaps will have very little time to dwell on points lost as they return to B.C. Place on Wednesday where they will host another Western Conference opponent, Real Salt Lake.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 – 2 Colorado Rapids

ATT: 22,120 (sell out)

VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Jordan Smith, Kendall Waston, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey; Christian Bolaños, Andrew Jacobson, Matías Laba, Pedro Morales (Cristian Techera 80); Kekuta Manneh (Erik Hurtado 43); Blas Pérez (Nicolás Mezquida 65) [Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Masato Kudo, Cole Seiler, Ben McKendry]

COLORADO: Tim Howard; Eric Miller, Jared Watts, Axel Sjoberg, Mekeil Williams; Sam Cronin, Michael Azira; Marco Pappa (Marc Burch 74), Dillon Powers (Luis Solignac 84), Shkelzen Gashi (Marlon Hairston 79); 9.Kevin Doyle [Substitutes not used: Zac MacMath, Dominique Badji, Conor Doyle]




Thoughts on the match:

“I don’t think that we deserved to win the game if I’m being honest. I think Colorado deserved the credit the way it panned out and us conceding in the last minute is disappointing, but I think it was probably a fair result.”

On conceding late goals:

“We’ve just got to cut out the errors. Football lasts for 90 plus minutes and in the last two games we’ve been bitten on the backside a little by, well two out of the last three games, by conceding in the last minute. But until the whistle blows you’ve got to keep the concentration levels. The final goal, the second goal for them is a disappointing one for us because I think we can stop it at the source and we haven’t done our little jobs that we usually do very well, or well enough, and it comes back to bite you.”

On if he was surprised that Colorado had the majority of possession:

“No, they’re a good team. You know, we slightly adjusted our formation with Blas and Kekuta playing two forward roles. You play 4-4-2 and then sometimes you give up a lot of possession. They managed the game very well but I didn’t feel in the second half we were ever in any danger until they scored, and once they scored, then suddenly the dynamic of the game changed. The red card, I haven’t seen it, whether it’s a red card or not, and then we kick on again and we get our nose in front and obviously then we concede in the last minute again.”

On conceding two goals per game:

“It’s not great. You’re not going win enough games of football if you concede two because you need to score three every time and sometimes we do look like we can score two goals or three goals, but other games we don’t. That showed on Monday night against LA. We need to be tighter, defending starts from the front and attacking starts from the back. It’s a collective effort and individually we need to be better and collectively we need to be better. But we’ve got to stop conceding two goals.”

Update on Kekuta Manneh’s injury:

“I don’t know for certain, but I don’t think it’s very good.”


Thoughts on the match:

“Heartbreak two times in a row at home, but we need to build character with this. We need to build mental strength to see these games out. And again, we need to think positively. Luckily we have a game Wednesday. Go win that, and this is forgotten.”

On conceding two goals per game:

“It’s very disturbing, especially after us being the best defense last year. If I had the answer to it, I would change it and I would give it to you. But right now we’re still searching for the answer.”

On a point earned or two points lost:

“Depending on how you look at it. I think they might have been the better team, especially in the first half. That way you can see it as a point earned. But obviously when you’re up 2-1 with less than a minute to go, then its two points lost. But you know what, like I say, we need to build from this, we need to keep going and still believe that we can get these wins. Wednesday is a great opportunity to play at home again and get three points.”


On what happened on the late goal:

“It’s tough to say, because we in our heads want to win. We didn’t want in the last moment, again, to have something happen like against Toronto. But it happened. We have to come back every day trying to get better, because we want to get three points however it takes, whatever it takes. We just have to look forward to the next match.”

On his personal performance with a goal and clearance off the line to save a goal:

“For my goal I was very happy because it was weeks, months, that I didn’t score. I could help my team with one goal. But now I’m really sad because I know how much effort every one of teammates made this night, and we couldn’t have the three points. At least we have one point that helps us fight to be in the first positions.”

On what they need to clean up on defence:

“Trying to do those little things that help us to win those games. Maybe having the ball more in possession, trying to keep the ball away when we have a goal. Little things that can help us win in the end.”

On Wednesday’s game:

“We need to play our game, create our chances like how we created today and games before, and try to concede no goals.”



Thoughts on the match:

“The game of soccer is riddled with different moments that have you riding the emotional roller coaster. I think for a good part of the 70 minutes, I thought we played some of our best stuff all year. I thought we were moving the ball well, defending well, didn’t let them get into a rhythm, created some great opportunities on goal. Ousted came up trumps quite a bit and then the red obviously changes the game. Then at that point, momentum shifts, they have a good run of play. I think overall, I think a draw might be a fair result. I think, in the end, they dug one off the line. We had a lot of opportunities. I think that from that perspective, what you want is to set up the group in a way that creates opportunities to score goals and obviously set up a group that defends and does a good job of not conceding any. I think tonight, 2-2 at the end of the day, against a really well coached team, is a good result.”

Thoughts on Axel Sjoberg in his second MLS season:

“Axel Sjoberg is one of the most underrated centre backs in the league. I think with every game he gains more and more confidence. I think on the ball, he’s been fantastic for us. Obviously, defending, he really spearheads one of the better defences in the league. And so, a lot of his work goes unnoticed, but I think he’s going to be a real player and hopefully gets some looks with his national team.”

Thoughts on whether Axel Sjoberg is deserving of an MLS All-Star nomination:

“Again, it depends on what metric you go by. Is he a fan favourite? Probably not. Does he spearhead one of the best defences in the league? So, if it’s a popularity contest, he’d never make it. But if you’re talking about football, I think so.”

On whether his team plays with “togetherness”:

“We set off in the pre-season to really make an impact on the way we view ourselves, in hopes that we play to that standard and the people outside view us the same way. We spent a lot of time in the pre-season really building the type of culture that we feel will be successful in this league. And when I say we, I made it a point in the off-season to really give ownership of the group to the players. And build a culture that is player led, player owned and coach guided. And so, they’ve taken it on. They’ve realized that this is their careers. They set up all their extra work. They’re committed to really making a difference in the club’s history. I think we’ve added some really important players to the group, but I think to get the type of players we have to buy in and work extremely hard for one another and never quit. There’s a big tifo that goes up in our stadium that says “Keep Fighting.” And we have to prove ourselves every week, I tell them, because no one believes you. Until you gain some type of consistency in your performances year in and year out, not week in and week out, year in and year out, well then people start to respect you. I think these guys step on the field with a chip on their shoulders. They fight hard for their teammate and they work extremely hard during the week. I think at the end of the day, it’s a game that can only be enjoyed when you’re really sweating and you bleed for one another.”

On whether fighting back twice for a point sent a message to others in league:

“We don’t do it for anyone else. We do it because we want to win. We do it because we believe in the direction of the organization. We believe in the vision of the club. We do it because this is our livelihood and we want to do something special. Tonight’s performance is unlike any other we’ve had on the road this year. We’ve been down quite a bit on the road this year, but there’s something special about this group that believe that we’re going to get a result…. Credit to those guys to really fight hard for each other.”


Thoughts on the match:

“It just keeps our confidence going, unbeaten in 13 games now. To keep that going, in the 95th minute down a man to get a goal; it’s only a point, but psychologically it feels like a win. I think we played well tonight, I think the least we deserved was a point if not a win.”

On carrying the majority of possession on the road:

“It shows where we’ve come from. I remember coming here last year and it was the exact opposite game, we lost 3-0. Tonight we’ve come here and dominated possession, even with 10 men for the last 15 minutes. We played well. I think it’s the best we’ve played on the road. We’re delighted to get a point, and it probably should have been three. But for us to score in the 95th minute, it shows that we don’t give up and we keep going until the end.”

On getting stronger as the season goes along:

“I think so. We’re adding players and people are coming back from international games. You look at our squad now and we’re missing Jermaine tonight, and we still continued on and played well. We’re looking to continue on and keep in the top three or four. We have a few games in hand on a couple of teams as well. We’re 13 unbeaten, why can’t we keep it going?”

On Tim Howard:

“He had a couple of big saves. It’s great for the lads, especially at the back for the back four, back six to hear him talk and organize and have his ideas. He brings the experience and he’s still in top, top shape making saves like he did tonight. He nearly saved the penalty as well. It just gives lads that added bit of confidence, that added boost for the second half of the season with a fresh face and fresh ideas to drive us on for the last 15 or 16 games.”


Thoughts on the match:

“I think it just showed the resolve and spirit of our team. We played pretty well, just kind of conceded two goals that weren’t great. But the fight and the character to get a tie is really big and just keeps us moving forward.”

On having the majority of possession on the road:

“I think it just shows that we have a very clear identity of how we want to play. Guys understand their roles and know their roles. We’re a cohesive unit and we’re playing well as a team right now.”

On getting stronger as the season goes on:

“We do. We have a deep team, and truthfully we’ve had a lot of injuries and suspensions throughout the season, so we haven’t really had a consistent lineup. But we’ve got the sense now that a lot of guys are getting healthy and people hitting form. We’re ready to push on and carry on the second half of the season.”

On what the team needs to do to stay near the top of the Western Conference:

“Just keep doing the things we’re doing. We’re towards the top of the league because we play well, we’re a hard team and we’ve got good quality throughout the team. We’ve just got to keep fighting on and if keep the spirit and the fight we had tonight it will serve us well throughout the rest of the season.”

On Tim Howard:

“He’s great. We’ve got two great goalkeepers. Tim’s been great the two games, and Zac MacMath’s been great for us the first half of the season. We feel very confident that we’ve got two of the best goalkeepers in the league. Tim is world class for a reason, he’s had a storied career for a reason, and we’re happy to have him here.”

Authored by: Steve Pandher

AFTN Soccer Show co-host and Senior Writer

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