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  • Report and Reaction: Whitecaps claim playoff place after five game unbeaten run to end season

    The Caps dominated the possession and had the majority of chances through the first half, with Waston just missing on a header from a Mauro Rosales free kick. Five minutes later Rosales would setup Pedro Morales with a chance but the Chilean would send his shot wide of the target.

    Just before the half hour mark it looked as though Sebastian Fernandez would find the breakthrough as he made a strong run into the box, but a nice charge by Clint Irwin would deny any goal.

    A minute into injury time the visitors had their best chance of the opening half as Charles Eloundou was sent in on goal and after cutting inside, sent in a shot at the near post which Ousted was able to knock it away.

    Vancouver continued to press in the second half and had a couple of solid chances just before the hour mark. A strike from Morales forced Irwin into making a save and then second half sub Kekuta Manneh created a great opportunity for himself later but his shot struck the crossbar.

    With 20 minutes to go in the match the Whitecaps finally struck for the important goal when Waston scored his second goal of the season. He connected on a corner delivered by Morales, sending the 21,000+ fans at BC Place into a frenzy.

    The Caps had a chance to double the lead when Morales sent in substitute Erik Hurtado on a partial break but once again Irwin was able to cut down the angle preventing the goal.

    In the final moments Ousted had to earn his shutout as Gabriel Torres had two dangerous volleys from outside the box that tested the keeper. Fortunately for the Caps Ousted kept the ball out on both chances, earning the Caps a 1-0 victory and a playoff spot.

    Once again the Whitecaps didn’t make it easy for themselves waiting until the 70th minute to get the winning goal. There were a number of chances that they were able to create but there was a lack of finish in the final third.

    A positive for the team going into the playoffs is their ability to score off set pieces, considering how much it was weakness going into the season, which is vital considering how much tighter defending gets in the playoffs.

    The Caps also end the regular season with a 392 minute shutout streak and four straight cleansheets by Ousted, something that should help the Caps in the postseason.

    They will attempt to get their first win of the playoffs on Wednesday when they travel south to face FC Dallas in the Western Conference knockout round.

    Final Score: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 - 0 Colorado Rapids

    Attendance: 21,000

    Vancouver Whitecaps: David Ousted; Steve Beitashour (Sam Adekugbe 33), Andy O’Brien, Kendall Waston, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba, Russell Teibert (Kekuta Manneh 56), Mauro Rosales, Pedro Morales, Sebastian Fernandez; Darren Mattocks (Erik Hurtado 67) [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Johnny Leveron, Gershon Koffie, Nicolas Mezquida]

    Colorado Rapids: Clint Irwin; Marvell Wynne (Davy Armstrong 42), Zat Knight, Shane O’Neill, Chris Klute; Marlon Hairston, Nick LaBrocca, Dillon Serna (John Neeskens 73), Carlos Alvarez; Gabriel Torres, Charles Eloundou (Deshorn Brown 61) [subs Not Used: John Berner, Grant Van De Casteele, Gale Agbossoumonde]

    Scoring Summary:

    70' - VAN - Kendall Waston (Pedro Morales)

    Match Stats:

    Shots: Vancouver 17 - Colorado 10

    Shots on Goal: Vancouver 5 - Colorado 5

    Saves: Vancouver 5 - Colorado 4

    Fouls: Vancouver 10 - Colorado 14

    Offsides: Vancouver 7 - Colorado 5

    Corners: Vancouver 2 - Colorado 3



    On making the playoffs:

    "It's a fantastic achievement for the group of players I've got. I couldn't be more proud of them today because we've probably been written off a few times this year when things didn't go our way."

    On securing a treble of Cascadia Cup, Champions League spot and now playoffs in consecutive weeks:

    "We've not been bad over the last few games. I think today was probably the story of our season in 90 minutes because we played very well at times, we had a few half chances we didn't take, then we started to get edgy a little bit.

    "I made the decision to make early substitutions and then the big man scoring the goal. I think it was fitting that David Ousted kept us in it with two fantastic saves in the last three or four minutes because god knows what I would have done if one of them had gone in!"

    On the atmosphere before the winning goal:

    "In the three years I've been here, I've never experienced an atmosphere like I experienced today and they're part of helping suck that ball in the net because I did believe, part of me, that we might not score, if I'm being totally truthful with you, because we had a few half chances. But we stuck to pour beliefs and the boys kept going. It's credit to the organisation, the supporters and that group of players in there."

    On facing Dallas now in first round of playoffs on Wednesday:

    "I'm not satisfied now because we have a massive game on Wednesday that I firmly believe we can go on and win.

    "Dallas have finished above us, so they're probably favourites for the tie. They're at home. We've got nothing to lose. No-one expected us to get into the playoffs except me, that group of players and the club. We had a quiet belief about us, without an arrogance and we did. Now we're in it, who knows? Spin that wheel."

    Why do you think you can go into Dallas and win?

    “The reason why I said I think Portland would win today, Dallas are unbeaten in eight at home. They’re a very very strong team and Oscar’s done a great job there, and I knew Portland could probably get under their skin a little bit. Dallas finished above us so they’re probably favourite for a tie and they’re at home. We got nothing to lose. No one expects us to get in the playoffs except me and that group of players on the club. We had a quiet belief about us without an arrogance. We did and now who knows. Spin that wheel.”

    On telling players the Portland result:

    “I let them know at halftime to be fair. I said to the guys on Thursday, staff included, I wanted them to turn their phones off as soon as they came in. You know what young players are like. They come in and they’re on that Instagram and Twitter, and one of the smart-alecs said “well we play music on it” and I said “listen, I’m old, but not that old. I’m not stupid. Turn it off because if you don’t it’s a $500 fine.” It’s a bit harsh at the time and I’m sure a couple of them went home and thought about it, but I didn’t want their focus to move from our game, because it was a massive game for us where we needed to be 100 percent and concentrate. They’ve done that. I watched it in my office if I’m being honest, which wasn’t a good thing so I went out there and I thought they would win so I said to them, coming in, I think Nathan had said to me that they had won 2-nil, so I made the decision to let them know at halftime or not. I protected them, throughout the season, but I wanted them to know what we needed to do so I said to them, without telling them what happened, I said, “boys, we need to score a goal.” And they said right, and I think they understood, well I hope they understood that, because that’s certainly what happened, and we got the goal.”

    On importance of Kendall Waston to the team since coming to Vancouver:

    “I hoped he would, but I probably didn’t think it would happen this year. The plan was for next year, but he’s been an awesome signing. It’s a credit to him as well as character because the boys love him. He’s very aggressive, maybe too aggressive at times, but he’s a pleasure to work with.”

    Thoughts on putting Manneh in for Teibert then having to defend:

    “[Teibert] has got a bundle of energy, and he was playing well, but I wanted Kekuta to come on. So I tried to go as attacking as I could to hope to get that goal and as soon as we did, I’m looking and we’ve made all our subs, and I’m trying to drop Pedro deeper than Mauro so Pedro and Mauro were my two tough tackling midfielders once Rusty’s gone off, which is never going to be a good thing, but credit to them. We dug deep, because we had to dig deep, because I knew Colorado would come. They’re not going to roll over. They’ve got pride.”

    What factors lead to the postseason?

    “Credit to David and the back four players, but I’ve said all along that we defend from the front and we attack from the back. I knew what we had, what I had in there, that group of players, and we were lacking probably a goal scorer. We have players who can score goals, not probably enough goals for me. Like I said, we haven’t scored enough goals, but we’ve worked hard defensively, and we have to do that because as they all say, championships are won from the defence. I didn’t want to do that, but once the window closed, we decided to go that way, it just gave me the opportunity for me to give my younger players more time. I have to work with what I’ve got, which is why when they got criticized, I would never criticize them because they’re a brilliant group of lads and today was about them and I know what we lack. We’ll address that in the offseason to make the group strong because we’ve got a fantastic culture in there and they’ve really developed that.”


    First thing going through his mind after he scored:

    “I was thanking God because it was a nice opportunity to score and thank him that I scored because we were working very hard from the beginning of the game. We knew we had to win today because Portland won so that was a big effort for all of my teammates. From the beginning we were working hard and looking forward to the win.”

    If he has scored a bigger goal in his career:

    “I think the biggest is going to be after, not today. So now we are just thinking of Dallas, and hopefully on Wednesday we do very good because we wanted to get in, in the playoffs.”

    If he know the goal was going to go in when he rose up for the header:

    “Yes because yesterday I was practicing with Pedro (Morales) after training and I knew he was kicking the ball in that spot. So I just tried to get a good distance from the guy who was defending me and hopefully I get there, and I could head it properly and get it in.”

    How he feels about the rise of Costa Rican soccer:

    “In my country this last year was good since the World Cup. I’m very happy for my country because that makes it get bigger in soccer. Personally, I try to be the best every day because I want to make history in this club. But now we are just thinking of Wednesday.”

    On having his wife watch the game today for the first time:

    “Very special because I had my wife and kid here to watch me. They’re always supporting me and today was a special day and thank God they’re here to watch it.”

    On the CONCACAF Champions League next season:

    “We got the notice that we’re in the Champions League for next year, that is good for us because we could play other tournaments, international tournaments that’s important to each player and it’s a good experience for us.”

    On the atmosphere in the stadium today:

    “Today was loud. Everything was pretty, and the supporters are like our 12th player for us. Without them we cannot play like this and hopefully we can win Wednesday so the semi-finals are here again.”


    What was going through his head when he made a save during stoppage time:

    “Please catch it? Something like that. And please blow the whistle was the other thought. I’m ecstatic we got the win and are in the playoffs now. I think we deserve it, these last five or six games I think people reacted fantastically and we’ve shown we can play against the best and play good football.”

    On the strength of the Whitecaps’ defence:

    “I think we’re a hard team to score against. Now we need to score a couple of goals and it will all come together. But being hard to score against is really important going into a tough playoff.”

    What the mood was like going into the second half of the game:

    “Same as before the game. We knew we needed to win. I had the sense Portland was going to go there and make it hard for us and win. And they did. So credit to them. So we knew what we had to do. And I think the second half we did a professional job.”

    On what Kendall Waston has meant to the team:

    “Tremendous goal scorer. He’s just got a hunger and passion to get those balls and get his head on it so fantastic from the big man.”

    On the play of Sam Adekugbe:

    “So tough to come into this game, a high stakes game. But Sam showed all year he has the quality to be here.”

    On the play of Jordan Harvey:

    “We can put Jordan anywhere and he’ll do a solid and great job. And he showed that all year that he’s really reliable either side.”

    On the matchup against Dallas:

    “We had a decent performance a month ago. I think we have a chance to go there a win. They’re a good team and they’ve showed that, that’s why they’re in the playoffs but we have to go in and see if we can find our style of play there and get a win.”


    How he’s feeling:

    “I feel so so happy, today was a difficult game. I think they played a complicated game. But in the second half I think we had more passion for the win. We had the motivation more. Kendall did a good job. I’m so happy for him, for the team, for the people here and for the fans. Now a good game in Dallas on Wednesday.”

    On the pressure building throughout the game:

    “I think there was so much pressure but I feel confidence in the team I think the people got more excited with Kekuta’s (Manneh) opportunity for a goal.”

    On the noise level from the crowd:

    “When we were coming here in halftime, the crowd was leading the way. I think in the second half the mentality changed maybe. But now we have a good game Wednesday and have a physical mentality. We need to find what’s necessary for the players, the team, and the fans. Today was very good for the fans.”



    On how defensively sound his squad has been the last few matches:

    “I think, the last couple of games, we’ve really been working on our shape. I think, more importantly, Zat Knight has brought a tremendous amount of leadership, a tremendous amount of communication, and really has grabbed that back line by the scruff of its neck and really organized them really well and brought some of the young players along. Just a really pivotal player in that role that’s really shored up the back line and also made it easier for the guys in midfield.”

    On what he takes from the season:

    “The season was obviously long, but what I think you take away is that you go through fits of good form and fits of bad form, and what I think is most important is that you never lose the identity of who you are and who you want to be. As a Colorado Rapid for many years, I think the most important thing is representing who we are as Coloradoans. That’s working hard every day, bringing your lunch pail to work, believing in each other, working hard for your teammates, never giving in, and I think tonight was a performance that is reflective of the type of characters and personalities we’ll have next year, on the field in 2015. That’s the reflection of the club moving forward.”

    On the youth movement in Colorado and their roles moving forward:

    “I think, at times, they’ve carried more weight than they should have through the year, but they’ve always stepped up and played big. I think the experience that they’ve gained this year, especially in a game like tonight, with playoff implications for the opponents, who are at home, in a tough place to play, they raised their levels and really played well. I think these types of experiences are going to be invaluable for next year. I think, overall, they’ll continue to be focal points of our group and hopefully we’ll take a bit more burden off of them next year.”


    Thoughts on the match:

    “I thought we battled, I thought it was a close game. I think our chances mostly came in the second half – we just kept plugging away, kept trying to play more and more, kept battling, and then the game started opening up for us. Then, they got their set piece goal.”

    On the Rapids’ defensive improvement over the past few games:

    “I feel like we got a little loose in the back, we exposed ourselves, and we weren’t playing together as a team. We opened too many gaps, so I think that’s what our focus was, but, at the same time, we’re going to defend as a team, we’re not just going to sit in, we’re going to press when we can.”

    On what they can take going into next season:

    “I think that this is all collective, I think, how we finished the last couple of games, we battled, we worked together, we worked for each other, and that’s what makes championship teams – not individuals. Individual performances win games, but that team cohesion, that team battle, that’s what wins championships.”


    Thoughts on the team’s performance:

    “I thought we battled. We didn’t get the outcomes we wanted to, but sometimes the game just doesn’t go our way. We were in the fight, we were in everything, it was just off of an unlucky set play. So, it was good.”

    On the team’s defensive improvement:

    “We’ve been working on being more compact, staying with the team, dropping whenever we see pressure coming, and just being smarter. We’re not really flying out there, just being compact as a team. So, we’ve been working on that, which has helped us a lot, and it’s just unlucky that we fight hard for so long and then we just give it up on just a half-second of a set play.”

    On the back line the outlook for next season:

    “We’ll just take the fight that we had towards the end of the season, refresh, and come back at it. We have a good team - youth that is good, compact, and strong together. We have a good bond with each other, and I feel like we’ll have that going into next season, which will be good for us.”

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