Whitecaps FC 1, Rapids 0
With 30 minutes left, it looked like the game was already over
for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Whitecaps had just lost speedy striker Darren Mattocks to a
red card in the 60th minute following his second yellow – only a
minute after his first one. But, forced to play a man down, the
Whitecaps still found a way to pull out a 1-0 win Saturday night
over the Colorado Rapids.
”It’s one of those games that we’ll remember for a long time,
because it’s one of those pivotal moments that shows we’re a team
that doesn’t give up, and we’re a team that doesn’t look for
excuses,” said Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie.
Sebastien Le Toux’s goal in the 80th minute gave the undermanned
Whitecaps the dramatic win. Vancouver held off a Rapids rally and
caught a couple of breaks as Colorado players clanked shots off the
crossbar and the post in the closing minutes.
The Whitecaps (7-3-4) posted their seventh victory of the
season, surpassing the six they mustered in their 2011 expansion
”It was something that we talked about and we were motivated by
going into this game,” said Rennie, who is in his first year as
Vancouver’s coach. ”We know that seven is the most wins the team
has had during that last two seasons in the league, so that’s an
important moment for us.”
Vancouver caught more luck less than an hour later as the
expansion Montreal Impact completed a 4-1 upset of powerhouse
Seattle. As a result, Vancouver moved one point ahead of the
Sounders into third place in the Western Conference and five points
up on Colorado (6-7-1) in the Western Conference standings.
Colorado won both games against Vancouver by identical 2-1
scores last season.
”It was great until they got a red card,” said Colorado
goalkeeper Matt Pickens, whose brilliant effort was spoiled by the
loss. ”I felt like we were playing fine and doing well. Then they
went down a man and we kind of took our foot off the gas pedal,
slowed the game down, worked more offensively and lost our heads
defensively on some of the plays they had.”
Le Toux scored on a sliding volley off Davide Chiumiento’s long
cross from near midfield. Rennie said it was fitting that Le Toux
scored after he had worked hard to create many chances.
Five minutes into the second half, Pickens stopped Le Toux from
point-blank range after Vancouver’s Young-Pyo Lee ran onto a cross
but could not get control of the ball. In the 70th minute, Le Toux
saw his shot hit ring off the crossbar after the ball hit a fallen
Pickens and ricocheted upward.
The French striker’s goal ended almost a two-month scoring
drought in league play. He had not scored an MLS goal since April
18 against Kansas City.
”It was difficult,” said Le Toux of the slump. ”Lots of
times, it can be in your head. For a long time, I didn’t score. So
it was great for me and for my confidence, and it was great for the
team, too, especially against Colorado, which is a big rival in the
league and our conference.”
It was Vancouver’s second consecutive victory. Colorado has not
won a league game since early May.
Vancouver’s Brazilian striker Camilo and French counterpart Eric
Hassli, the team’s highest-paid player, started on the bench for
the second straight game as Rennie elected to go with Mattocks and
Le Toux, who plays a withdrawn attacker role. Camilo did not see
the field for the second consecutive contest while Hassli subbed in
during the 86th minute.
Mattocks made the decision look good until he was sent off. The
Whitecaps rookie striker’s first yellow card came in the 59th
minute as he was called for diving in the 18-yard box after he ran
onto a ball and it was cleared. In the following minute, he took
his second yellow, and an automatic red, for a high tackle near the
sideline on Colorado captain Drew Moor.