Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Rocky Mountain low: Whitecaps’ playoff hopes die in the Denver suburbs

Rocky Mountain low: Whitecaps’ playoff hopes die in the Denver suburbs


The Vancouver Whitecaps are officially out of the playoff picture, after falling 3-2 to the Colorado Rapids in Commerce City, Colo. Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Gabriel Torres struck the decisive goal for the home side in the 77th minute with a shot from outside the 18-yard box, just two minutes after Camilo brought Vancouver level at 2-2 from the penalty spot.

That was the Rapids’ Designated Player’s second strike of the game, after he scored his side’s first in the 41st minute from the penalty spot himself. Rookie Deshorn Brown also scored for Colorado as that team clinched a playoff spot, capitalizing on a straight goal kick the Vancouver backline failed to deal with in the 51st minute.

Camilo and Kekuta Manneh scored for the visitors in defeat. Manneh opened the scoring in the 32nd minute with a long-range strike that picked the top corner of Clint Irwin’s goal.

Brown’s goal in particular will likely be remembered as the key moment in the match, as it was a simple play that both the team’s defenders and its goalkeeper failed to read.

“That was pretty simple, as far as what you see is what you get,” centre back Jay DeMerit said of the play. “Obviously Carlyle [Mitchell] was wrestling with Edson Buddle, who’s a big physical presence up there.

“Sometimes he can shift you off the ball, and [Mitchell] missed that header. On the flick on, [Lee Young-Pyo] is with Brown. Brown’s a pretty big guy. Physicality won that battle and Davey [Ousted] is caught in between.”

The club’s captain didn’t point the finger at anyone in particular for that goal, but conceded it was a group failure at the back.

“You can play that back and blame it on one, two or three guys,” DeMerit said. “But at the end of the day, that play I think was the turning point.”

Colorado’s first goal of the match wasn’t without controversy, as Mitchell was called for fouling Drew Moor in the area with little apparent contact.

“It was a really big moment in the game and it was a crucial decision,” Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie said after the match. “It was very disappointing. It was a soft free kick in the first place that I didn’t think was a free kick. Then the ball’s going over everybody’s head. It’s virtually out of play and Moor goes down and [referee Armando Villarreal has] given a penalty kick. It was a really, really soft, soft decision.

“In a game of this magnitude, you don’t give penalties for that. But it’s a young referee who’s learning and it was very costly for us tonight. Hopefully he’ll learn tonight and improve, but tonight it definitely cost us.”

While upset over that decision, Rennie didn’t peg the loss on the officiating, saying his side’s defending wasn’t good enough on the night, or during the season generally.

A fact made all the more disappointing by the fact his team has played with greater fluidity in the final two thirds of the park this campaign.

“We didn’t defend well enough on those goals that we’ve lost,” Rennie said. “At the end of the day, we’ve come away from home and scored two goals. It turns out to be our 50th goal of the season but we’ve let in three.

“That’s been the frustrating part of this game and, in some ways, our season. I think we’ve become much more expansive, much more entertaining, scored a lot more goals… but we’ve not tightened up well enough at the back.”

With the loss, the Whitecaps fall to a record of 12-12-9, and conclude their season with a meaningless match against the Rapids at BC Place next Sunday.

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One Comment

  1. Colin Freebury

    October 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Fair comment by Rennie. I hope the Caps keep him on.

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