Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Defensive mistake allows Rapids to snatch late draw with Whitecaps

Defensive mistake allows Rapids to snatch late draw with Whitecaps

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A late Jamie Smith equalizer undid what looked as if it would be a first win in six for the Vancouver Whitecaps, as the club drew the Colorado Rapids 2-2 at BC Place Sunday night.

The Scot latched onto a miscommunication from Lee Young-Pyo and Alain Rochat, taking possession of the bouncing ball before curling a shot past Brad Knighton with four minutes left to play.

“This is an easy, easy ball that you can just clear,” Rochat said following the match, accepting responsibility on the play. “I missed it because of – first of all, from the losing streak – all the easy passes, easy control, became hard to do.

“But as well, when you change all the position, the moves are totally different and you need sometimes to adjust, but of course I can [take the blame] on this second goal.”

Kenny Miller scored his first home goal for the Whitecaps in front of a crowd of 18,992, perhaps silencing some of the critics with his 68th minute strike. Fellow Scot Barry Robson sent him through on goal with a well-placed pass to round out a solid link up between the two under-pressure Designated Players.

“It was a great pass from Barry,” Miller said. “It was one where he just managed to pick us out and I was through one on one and fortunate enough the ‘keeper never quite got enough on it to put it over the bar and it managed to just sneak under.”

Alain Rochat
Alain Rochat

Rochat started the match in central midfield before dropping back to centre back at half-time but, despite the backwards move in the formation, he managed to pop up in the 64th minute to cleverly touch a ball past Rapids’ goalkeeper Matt Pickens from close range. Gershon Koffie generated the opportunity, beating Omar Cummings one-on-one before hitting a neat pass through for Rochat to guide home.

“From the far post I had to change positions from the second ball,” Rochat said. “If you’re standing in the box you have almost no chance to get the ball back, so I changed my position, and ran from the front to the near post. With a little bit of luck, hitting the post and then it was in, so that was good for the team to come back in the game early in the second half.”

Vancouver’s two goals looked as if they’d neutralized a 34th-minute goal from Cummings, who tidied up a rebound off a post from a Martin Rivero shot to bang the opener in from an acute angle on the right.

“It was tough to go down early,” Knighton said of the goal. “But the guys fought back really well. We got two goals and we had all the momentum and it was just an unfortunate lapse at the back and they tied things up.”

Still, there were positives to take away from the match, as Miller and Jamaican rookie Darren Mattocks looked lively as a pairing up front following the former’s introduction at half-time.

“He’s a good talent and he’s got a lot of potential,” Miller said of playing up top with Mattocks. “It’s important if we do play that way that we link up pretty well together. I felt the second half is hopefully something we can build on. The next four games and with a few games in the playoffs, hopefully we can get even better.”

With the draw, the Whitecaps record stands at 10-12-8, ahead of the club’s Cascadia derby with the Seattle Sounders next weekend at BC Place.

“Obviously emotions are going to be pretty high,” Knighton said. “I’ve always wanted to play against Seattle and hopefully I get the opportunity to next weekend and we’re just looking to build on the good performance we had in the second half.”

Martin MacMahon is a Vancouver-based soccer writer. Follow him on Twitter: @martinmacmahon


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