Kekuta Manneh provided the fireworks again but it wasn’t enough as Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10W-7L-2D) fell 2-1 versus Colorado Rapids (3W-6L-9D) on Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
The ‘Caps have been on a hot streak as of late, but they settle for a still impressive nine out of a possible 15 points in their season-long five-match road trip.
There was no shortage of explosive action in this Fourth of July match.
Within the first 90 seconds after kickoff, Rapids striker Luis Solignac attacked on the left flank and found Vicente Sanchez for the chip shot on the opposite side to put the home team ahead.
The Blue and White came up with an encouraging response in the 13th minute when Manneh and Darren Mattocks combined on two separate chances but the best the ‘Caps could get out of the attack was a Manneh attempt that shot wide right of the target.
David Ousted, tabbed as captain for the match after being named MLS Player of the Month for June, came up with a gem of a save in the 17th minute. On a broken play off a free kick, Solignac attempted a turning right-foot strike but the Danish goalkeeper leapt and palmed the ball for a tremendous reactionary save.
The ‘Caps would equalize in the 20th minute. Midfielder Mauro Rosales chased down a Steven Beitashour throw-in to keep the possession alive at the right byline, just managing to loop the ball across the face of the net. Manneh was quickest to the ball and stabbed it past Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin to draw the match level. It was the third goal in four matches for the Gambian striker.
The two sides would trade a couple chances before halftime. In the 35th minute, the ‘Caps played a clean set piece with crisp short passes, but Manneh’s scorching right-foot attempt from the 18-yard line just missed high. Moments after, it was Solignac threatening again for Colorado, this time on a counter-attack. However, with Ousted covering his angles well, the Rapids striker was forced to a difficult look and would miss wide of the far post.
After the break, it was the Rapids who would get the next tally. In the 56th minute, striker Kevin Doyle put the Rapids ahead when he converted on a quality 13-yard header that banked in off the inside of the right post, after being set up beautifully by Lucas Pittinari.
Eleven minutes later, the ‘Caps had a penalty claim when Beitashour attempted to advance the ball but it appeared to have been batted down inside the box by defender Jared Watts’ right hand, however, the official signaled for play to continue.
The ‘Caps would get a chance to equalize again in the 81st minute when substitute Octavio Rivero got free on a breakaway, but his low curling attempt was collected by Irwin with both hands without much difficulty. The Uruguayan striker would get another chance a few minutes after, but he side-netted the attempt from a difficult angle on the right.
Vancouver pressed on late but would ultimately run out of time. Despite the loss, the ‘Caps remain tied with Seattle Sounders FC atop the Western Conference.
The ‘Caps are back home next week when they host Sporting Kansas City at BC Place on Sunday, July 12 (6 p.m. on TSN1).
Budweiser Man of the Match: Kekuta Manneh
Referee: Ismail Elfath