Vancouver Whitecaps FC (15W-10L-3D) returned to the top of the league with a 2-0 home win over Colorado Rapids (8W-10L-9D) at BC Place on Wednesday.
Head coach Carl Robinson was forced to make two changes from his side’s last MLS home match against FC Dallas on August 22. Centre back Kendall Waston and midfielder Matías Laba, both out due to suspension, were replaced by Pa-Modou Kah and Mauro Rosales, with Rosales stepping in to the attacking midfielder spot as captain Pedro Morales dropped into a deeper role alongside Gershon Koffie.
In the eighth minute, the ‘Caps had their first attacking threat as winger Kekuta Manneh deflected a shot wide for a corner. On the following play, Morales swung in a cross that was headed over the crossbar by striker Octavio Rivero.
10 minutes later, winger Cristian Techera was nearly in on goal from a Rosales through ball, but Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin rushed out to beat him to the ball.
Seven different ‘Caps players took a shot in the first half – all but right back Steven Beitashour, Rosales, and Kah among outfield players – but none could find the back of the net as the teams went into the break knotted at 0-0.
Whitecaps FC were forced into one change at halftime with Morales coming out of the match with a tight right hamstring. The Chilean was replaced in central midfield by Canadian Kianz Froese.
The first good chance of the second half came on 55 minutes as fullback Jordan Harvey swung in a cross from the left flank that was headed on target by Rivero but right into the arms of Iriwn. Barely a minute later, Manneh had a blast from just outside the box that swerved agonizingly wide.
The pressure began to mount for the home side, and on 66 minutes they once again had the crowd on the edge of their seats when Froese skipped by a defender and rifled a shot that deflected just wide of the post.
Five minutes later the visiting Rapids nearly snuck one in when substitute striker Kevin Doyle headed a March Burch cross on target, but keeper David Ousted dove well to his left to keep it from crossing the line.
After fending off one of few chances from Colorado, the ‘Caps finally had their breakthrough on 73 minutes as Rivero headed in a brilliant cross from Techera to make it 1-0 for the Blue and White.
Techera wasn’t done there. Four minutes later, the Uruguayan known as “The Bug” corralled a pass from Manneh in the box, dodged a defender with a bit of luck when he whiffed on a shot attempt, then struck home past Irwin to double the advantage to 2-0.
That was all the scoring that Vancouver would need on this night. Ousted kept his 11th clean sheet of the season while he and the ‘Caps added to their club record by recording their 15th MLS win of the season.
Whitecaps FC are back in action at BC Place next Wednesday with a return to CONCACAF Champions League action against Honduran champions C.D. Olimpia. Tickets remain available at whitecapsfc.com/tickets.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Cristian Techera
Referee: Allen Chapman