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  1. REPORT (by Steve Pandher): It may have taken 70 plus minutes but Vancouver Whitecaps were finally able to find a way to dispatch Colorado Rapids 2-0, beating them for the first time this season, in their third attempt. The winning goal was scored by Octavio Rivero, while Cristian Techera added another and David Ousted picked up his eleventh clean sheet in the league this year. There was very little that happened in the first half as both teams brought nothing to the match and most of their chances either missed or long range shots by Gabriel Torres and Gershon Koffie were easily handled by David Ousted and Clint Irwin. Kekuta Manneh had a couple of opportunities in the first 15 minutes of the second half, with his first shot lacking power as it dribbled to the keeper. The second time he had enough power on the attempt, after being setup by Techera, but missed the target. There was also no luck for second half sub Kianz Froese, with his chance from outside the box deflected wide by diving Rapid defenders. Ousted then came up with his biggest save of the match as he was able to just keep out a Kevin Doyle header from crossing the line. The home side finally broke through in the 73rd minute when Rivero scored his tenth of the season. It was the Uruguayan connection again, as Techera sent in a ball into the box to Rivero, who beat the offside trap and sent a glancing header into the bottom far corner of the net. The lead was doubled by the Whitecaps four minutes later and the provider became the finisher with Techera claiming his sixth of the season. The Rapids were able to clear an attempt into the box right to Manneh who sent the ball to Techera and after controlling the ball, El Bicho fired a shot past Irwin to put the Caps up by two. The two goals would be enough for the Whitecaps with the Rapids failing to threaten for the remainder of the match. The victory extends Vancouver’s home winning streak to four matches and pushes them past the LA Galaxy for first spot in the MLS Standings. The 'Caps will now have ten days off before they face Seattle in MLS competition but before that they will face CD Olimpia in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday, needing a win to keep their qualification hopes very much alive. FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 - 0 Colorado Rapids ATT: 17,583 VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Tim Parker, Pa-Modou Kah, Jordan Harvey; Pedro Morales (Kianz Froese 46), Gershon Koffie; Cristian Techera, Mauro Rosales (Robert Earnshaw 90+2), Kekuta Manneh (Jordan Smith 80); Octavio Rivero [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Nicolás Mezquida, Deybi Flores, Christian Dean] COLORADO: Clint Irwin; James Riley, Bobby Burling, Sean St. Ledger, Marc Burch; Lucas Pittinari (Dillon Powers 80), Sam Cronin; Nick LaBrocca (Vicente Sanchez 77), Marcelo Sarvas, Juan Ramirez; Gabriel Torres (Kevin Doyle 58) [subs Not Used: Zac MacMath, Joseph Greenspan, Jared Watts, Marlon Hairston] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON On tonight’s win: “I knew it was going to be difficult by the way Colorado Rapids set up and the personnel on their team. They have beaten us twice. Our guys showed great character to keep going and not take their focus and confidence away. When you got quality on your team like we have, you can change a game in a moment and that’s what certainly happened.” On winning a hard-fought match: “I told the guys in the locker room, you can play all the pretty football you want, all the exciting plays, and the quick transitions and get bums off their seats and you get three points. You can also play with not much quality and have a moment of magic and get three points. So you take the three points.” On the team’s performance off the ball: “I don’t think it was particularly Cristian Techera’s best game as it wasn’t Kekuta Manneh’s or Octavio Rivero’s. You can name a number of our players who, on the ball, probably performed below the levels that they wanted. But off the ball, they were fantastic. They had a little bit of magic in the understanding that Cristian has with Octavio. It was great to see Octavio scoring a great header from a super ball from Cristian. Cristian has a great instinct to score goals and it made him more comfortable with the second goal.” On Pedro Morales’ injury: “He has an ice pack on his hamstring. He had a little bit of tightness. He had it in the two days leading up to the game. We have five players missing so I wanted him to play and he wanted to play. Some of his passing in the first half was excellent. He went for a tackle and I think it tightened up a little bit. There was no risk being taken by me. My decision to bring him off at halftime and get Kianz Froese on went well. I thought Kianz brought great energy to the team. We could’ve gone with Deybi Flores, a more defensive type of player, but we needed to get a goal.” On the first-half performance: “When you’re playing away from home, you slow the game down and that’s certainly what they did and they were trying to hit us on the counter-attack. I never thought we were in real danger in the back end and that’s the pleasing thing about tonight’s performance. We didn’t click attacking-wise but we certainly defended well. Maybe a year or two ago, we would’ve lost that game one-nil. When you don’t play well and you can win, it’s always a good sign and that’s what we’re trying to get in this club.” On missing key players: “We had a couple of character guys missing today. You talk about Kendall Waston, Matias Laba, Russell Teibert, and Darren Mattocks. These guys are big players for us. When things get tough, you need your leaders to come to the fore. It was great for these players. We’re young. Their energy, enthusiasm and work rate carried us.” On Octavio Rivero’s goal: “He’s excellent in the air. When you see him in training, he’s fantastic. I thought he had a good chance in the first half off a corner, he didn’t quite get there. So did Tim Parker. It happens sometimes. I was pleased for him to get a goal. He got a goal against Montreal from two yards, they all count.” On Jordan Smith’s performance: “I wanted to get Jordan on. It was his first home appearance. I thought he was fantastic last week against Houston. He’s a different type of player compared to Steven Beitashour. He’s a big, strong boy. Once we went one goal up, it was time to bring him on. He’ll play next week against C.D. Olimpia. He brings a physical element which is good on set pieces. That’s where I thought Colorado would catch us but we defended well on set plays. You have to give credit to Pa-Modou Kah. He fractured his cheekbone two weeks ago and he’s heading balls in the box. He has the desire not to let a goal in your net.” CRISTIAN TECHERA (THROUGH INTERPRETER) Thoughts on the game with a goal and an assist: “The first half was really tight. A lot of the defenders were playing close to the ball. In the second half we came out, we grouped and we found some more spaces we felt weren’t there in the first half. We came out and we got the result that we needed.” Thoughts on a lacklustre first half: “It wasn’t really a matter of rust in the team. It was more in the first half they were really compact, keeping close to the man and guarding the ball really well. In the second half it was just a matter of us finding the spaces that weren’t there in the first half. That’s really what it came down to, and not rust.” Thoughts on his assist and goal: “You know for the first cross there – Octavio and I get along pretty well. We’re both Uruguayan, so it’s nice we have that same understanding. I just saw him run and was able to pick him out. We know that he is pretty strong in the air and he finished off the chance. For the second chance, it was a ball that was right in front of me so I just had to put it in the back of the net. There wasn’t really too much thought behind that” OCTAVIO RIVERO (THROUGH INTERPRETER) Thoughts on the match: “First half was really tight and there wasn’t a lot of space there. In the second half we just came back in the dressing room, re-grouped, talked about a few things that we needed to take care of and came out in the second half and were fortunate to get the goal and got the points.” Thoughts on scoring tonight: “Obviously I feel happy for scoring but I feel more happy that I was able to help the team to win and that’s really (what matters). If the team wins then I’m happy, and If I score I’m happy, but at the end of day it’s really just getting the points.” Thoughts on keeping the lead in the Western Conference: “Every game from here on is almost like a cup final. It’s the way we’ve got to treat it. We want to finish the season strong and become champions at the end of the season. What we need to do is just keep going – playing hard and playing well and the results will follow” TIM PARKER Thoughts on the match: “I think we didn’t play as good as we wanted to but I think it shows a lot of character that we still were able to get the result. Especially at home with these last couple of games we really want to get the crowd and these home supporters behind us. I think winning at home is important.” Thoughts on losing twice to Colorado before this game: “We had a bit of sour taste in our mouth from the last few times we played them. It’s something that we remembered and going into it tonight we wanted to get as many points as we could.” Thoughts on different halves of the game: “We just needed to pick up the intensity. Going forward I think we needed to clean things up a little bit and at the back just make sure we keep it to zero on the board. I think for us, it was just intensity going forward and a bit more sharpness.” Thoughts on Techera and Octavio: “They are doing great. Cristian and Octavio have an ability to find a goal. We always have faith that in some point in their game they will get their opportunities and today they both buried theirs, so it’s good.” Thoughts on the clean sheet: “I think the first thing Carl said after we scored the goal was to keep a clean sheet. We know how momentum can swing if they were to get a goal or something. For us we didn’t want to win a game 2-1 at home, we wanted to make sure it’s a clean sheet.” COLORADO RAPIDS PABLO MASTROENI Thoughts on the match: “We let our guard down. There’s no time to not be thinking, not be concentrating. With those two goals, I felt like they were completely preventable. It wasn’t great build-up, wasn’t great football. It was just lack of concentration for those two goals.” On the international break and why he chose his substitutes: “I think guys with experience come from a different place and the guys get a result. At the end of the day, we had [Maynor and Drew] out with yellows, so we had to fill in and felt like those were the best choices we had.” On where they go from here: “We have our next game at home against DC. It’s important that we start right. I think we need to attack the game in the right way. It’s always tough coming on the road, playing on this turf and in this kind of atmosphere. I think we handled that part well. What we need to do better is to pass the ball better. We need to combine better, we need to make better decisions on both sides of the ball. I think if we do that, we have a better chance of winning the game.” On the big game against DC: “It’s a good opportunity for the guys to bounce back. It’s all about the mindset and it’s all about being more brave with the ball, and not as reckless with it. Caring for it more, passing to your teammate better, rolling him a better ball. Like you said, at home has been good these last couple of games. It’s important that we go there with the same kind of mentality and really take the game against DC in the early stages.” MARC BURCH: Thoughts on the scoreline: “I don’t think that was what the scoreline should be. I thought we had a pretty good first 45 and the game was pretty open the second half. I thought we fought well, we played well, just lost a few balls. They’re a good counter attacking team and that’s what they did.” On their first half: “It seemed like we were getting on top of them and all of a sudden, momentum swings. I think in the second half they took a little more momentum and it was tough for us to get back.” On counter-attack leading to Whitecaps’ goal after Colorado chance: “The game is inches. We score that goal, we might win 3-0. We don’t score and all of a sudden, we’re down two. It’s unlucky that we didn’t get the result, but we have a game in three days and can’t think about this one, we just have to move on to the next one, win that one.” On the overall performance: “I think there was a few moments. I think it was a really lucky bounce on their second goal and that’s kind of deflating. They don’t earn it and all of a sudden they get it, it’s a little bit deflating but I thought we still pressed, we still pushed, we still tried to create some chances. Overall, the performance was okay.” On whether he was pleased with his offensive match: “I think so. It’s what we’ve been working on this week, to make sure we get forward, make sure we add to the attack. I think we did a good job out there, but maybe I lost a bit of steam in the second half. I think the first half we did a good job.” On where the team goes now: “Saturday. We go home and we win that game, that’s all there is to it." On still being in the hunt for the playoffs: "Absolutely. We’re never going to stop believing. There’s a good group of guys in there that are never going to stop believing. We’re going to fight to the very last moment of the last whistle in Portland. It doesn’t matter what our points are, we fight until the end.”
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  3. Guest

    Emotional Ramblings: Not Good Enough

    Being the main story is hardly a new feeling for the official, as he was indefinitely suspended in the 2014 season after being charged with two counts of felony fraud for collecting over $14,000 in insurance payout while working. In Colorado, Jose Carlos Rivero only added to questions about his judgement as he appeared to be guessing when interpreting the laws of the game throughout the 90 minutes. Officiating is a tough task, and there is not a league in the world where fans would be unanimous in singing the praises of their referees, but all you can ask is for the official to be consistent and not affect the outcome of a game. Neither was completed on Saturday in Commerce City. The Professional Referee Organization was created in 2012 to address concerns over a lack of consistency in the application of the laws of the game, and while they’ve continued to push education and stability among the wardens of game, there continues to be a serious lack of dependability week in and week out. Integrity is likely not the problem, as it'd be giving too much credit to the officials. Instead, ineptitude is the most likely answer in yet another week in which officiating decisions change the outlook on the standings. This time, it is the Whitecaps on the wrong end of an official causing a critical three point swing, meaning the Whitecaps now only have one more match at home to try and build a buffer before setting out on a difficult five games on the road which could prove to have a massive impact on the Whitecaps positioning by the end of the season. And while the Whitecaps should feel that they are owed three points by the officials, the reality is they, too, have to be better to prove themselves to be a table topper. Going into half time, it appeared as though the Whitecaps would be the most likely to walk away from Commerce City with any points, but after an excellently taken goal by Lucas Pittinari, Vancouver again appeared clueless in how to break down a team who seemed happy to sit on a one goal advantage. Despite having little competition in the matter, Carl Robinson has shown he’s been the best manager in the Whitecaps short MLS history, but he again showed a reluctance to change the approach of a team who is struggling to break down defences. Like for like substitutions of Cristian Techera for Kianz Froese and Darren Mattocks for Kekuta Manneh were more hopeful than they were inspiring, and it took until the 77th minute before a defensive midfielder was taken out to try and change the dynamic of the game by adding another creative influence to try and expose the Rapids' defence. There were some bright spots. Mauro Rosales had a promising re-entry to the side, showing an ability to shrug off players and push the play forward that the Whitecaps have lacked of late. And Techera again looked lively when he came on and has likely earned himself another start as a wide attacker. The defensive spine of the team again shone, as Kendall Waston and Pa Modou Kah had good outings and David Ousted returned to his usual stellar form, despite conceding on what was an excellently taken goal. There is, unfortunately, no column in the standings for good efforts or moral victories, and while their performance wasn’t as poor as the officials in Colorado, they both have something in common; they need to be better.
  4. REPORT: Vancouver Whitecaps and the altitude of Colorado have not been happy bedfellows over the years and so it continued on Saturday night with a 1-0 loss that made it just two wins and eight points for the 'Caps in their last eight matches. Vancouver looked comfortable and the better side in the first half, but a rain delay at the break seemed to change the momentum and Colorado grabbed all three points thanks to Lucas Pittinari's 51st minute volley and a phantom call from the referee disallowing Pedro Morales' late free kick equaliser. Injuries and fatigue forced Carl Robinson's hand a little with his starting line-up in this one. Pedro Morales sat out after playing two games in the past week, with Mauro Rosales making a welcome return in the number ten role and Kianz Froese getting his first MLS start on the right wing. There was no debut start for Colorado's new DP Kevin Doyle, who began the game on the bench. The Rapids came out of the traps and forced a couple of early corners, but neither goalkeeper had much to do in the opening exchanges. Kekuta Manneh nearly brought the game to life in the 17th minute when Kianz Froese played the ball to him at the edge of the box and the Gambian brought out a fantastic save from Clint Irwin in the Rapids' goal. There was very little to note from either side, with Vancouver's tight defensive play easily keeping the home side at bay and the Whitecaps were looking the more dangerous team going forward. The 'Caps had a couple of chances in stoppage time to go in at the break with the lead. First, Octavio Rivero was sent flying on the edge of the box and Rosales sent a brilliant dipping free kick on goal which Irwin had to acrobatically tip over. The Argentine sent in the resultant corner, which was met powerfully by Rivero but his header crashed off the bar and the danger was cleared by the Rapids. With the last kick of the half, Colorado went up the pitch and Dillon Powers fired a fierce one just over, setting up what was hopefully going to be a more action packed second half. And then the heavens opened with a rain delay, little bit of lightning and a sodden pitch when the players came back out. Both teams came out on the attack to start the second half and Froese found himself in a good position in the 47th minute but pulled his shot wide right. Colorado responded with a chance for Gabriel Torres after Powers had split the defence open with a through ball, but the Panamanian fired wide under pressure from Jordan Harvey. It was just to be a temporary respite for Vancouver and Colorado took the lead in the 51st minute with a well worked goal. Gershon Koffie seemed to be fouled in the midfield, but with no whistle coming, the Rapids broke forward ending when Torres played a sublime backwards pass to Pittinari who volleyed home past David Ousted. The Whitecaps came close to levelling things up just two minutes later when Rosales hit another well taken free kick, but this time it was just wide to the left. Colorado had a great chance to double their lead in the 57th minute when Torres was in the thick of the action again, this time playing in Luis Solignac, but Ousted was out quickly to produce a point blank smothering save. Manneh had a long range try in the 66th minute that flew over but the Whitecaps were looking a little devoid of ideas in how to get back in the game and it felt like it was going to take something special to do it. Ousted came to the rescue again for Vancouver when Powers let rip from 30 yards out and the Danish stopper tipped the fierce striker over. Colorado kept the pressure on from the corner and Pittinari headed narrowly over, as the Rapids sensed blood for killing the game off. Solignac came within inches of making it two for Colorado in the 76th minute but Harvey cleared his low shot off the line, as Vancouver's defence continued to bend. Cristian Techera nearly brought Vancouver back level moments later firing a 25 yard thunderbolt that caused Irwin problems but he managed to parry it and Colorado handled the danger from the rebound. Vancouver went for an attacking substitution with their final sub, bringing their captain Morales on for defensive midfielder Matias Laba with 13 minutes remaining. And Morales thought he'd tied the game up in the 82nd minute when he curled a beautiful free kick into the postage stamp corner but the goal was ruled out for a phantom call from referee Jose Carlos Rivero, who seemingly adjudged a foul on Pa Modou Kah in the wall. Vancouver rolled the dice late on, putting center back Kendall Waston up front and the big Costa Rican turned a Darren Mattocks cross into the side netting in the final minute. The 'Caps just couldn't get anything going in the four minutes of stoppage time and fell to what is just their second away defeat of the season, but more concerning is their continued failure to turn chances into goals. With a tough home game against RSL coming up next Saturday, followed by five games on the road, the 'Caps need to find something to turn their fortunes around sharpish. FINAL SCORE: Colorado Rapids 1 - 0 Vancouver Whitecaps ATT: 17,791 COLORADO: Clint Irwin; James Riley, Drew Moor, Axel Sjoberg, Marc Burch; Sam Cronin, Lucas Pittinari, Gabriel Torres (Kevin Doyle 63), Dillon Powers, Juan Ramirez (Vicente Sanchez 86); Luis Solignac [subs Not Used: Zac MacMath, Michael Harrington, Bobby Burling, Jared Watts, Charles Eloundou] VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa Modou Kah. Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba (Pedro Morales 77), Gershon Koffie, Kianz Froese (Cristian Techera 62), Mauro Rosales, Kekuta Manneh (Darren Mattocks 70); Octavio Rivero [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Ethen Sampson, Tim Parker, Nicolas Mezquida] REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON On his feelings after the game: "I’m gutted for the guys in there; I really am, because I thought we put on a decent away performance. For them, they’re upset in there and they’re upset because it hurts. 3 players of mine get booked, I think we had 10 or 12, 13 fouls, and they had 25 fouls and 2 players get booked. Trying to explain to the group when decisions go against them is hard when you feel it’s unjustified." Thoughts on performance: [From TSN radio] "I thought the effort and application were fantastic. I thought the boys really gave the game a good go. There were a lot of positive performances from a lot of the guys. Unfortunately we were on the end of a wrong result." On if they should’ve taken their chances in the first half: "Yeah, we probably should’ve. I think we were very, very good in the first half and we had a couple of good chances which we didn’t take, and they hung in there. Second half was always going to be different. I think they had their best spell in the first 15 minutes of the second half, and they got their goal. It was a good finish by the boy, it really was, so credit to him for that, but I do think there was a foul in the lead up to that, which we didn’t get given. But we reacted very well. We had a couple of good chances at the end and obviously the disallowed goal which….disallowed goal." [From TSN radio] "I wanted us to continue playing the way we played because I thought we were very, very strong in the first 45 minutes and had the better chances out of the game. I knew that Colorado would have their phase of play in the second half, because we were good in the first half, and they did in the first 15 minutes. They managed to get their goal and obviously that was enough for them in the end." On if they are creating enough on the road to take points: "I think so; I think Kianz’s [Froese] was an excellent chance. I think if you compare Kianz’s chance to the boy Pittinari’s, we probably had the better chance. We didn’t take that, we missed it near post, he’s a super volley and, fine lines this game." Do you feel like you are in a funk after a hot start to the season? "No, not at all. Obviously, we’d like to win 7 out of 7, but that doesn’t happen. I think you look around the league, and I was watching Portland against Toronto today, and there was a dubious call on the penalty I think that was very harsh. It evens itself out; well it hopefully evens itself out. You’ve just got to get on with it, we’ve got a big game next week against Salt Lake and we’ll just keep going, because if we perform like that and play like that, we won’t be far away." On Pedro Morales' disallowed free kick: [From TSN radio] "At the time that I saw it, I thought it was a good goal, but obviously he blew a free kick for a foul on Pa [Modou Kah] in the wall. I asked [the referee] to clarify at the end of the game. He clarified and said he pushed the guy in the wall. Unfortunately, the guy in the wall, the young boy [Axel] Sjoberg, confirmed that he didn't push him and after watching the replay again, there was no contact from my player onto their player, so he has got that one wrong." On whether there was a foul on Gershon Koffie in the build-up to Colorado's goal: "It was a great finish by the boy," Robinson stated. "Fair play to him. It was great technique, it was a super strike and it's a great goal. I'll give him a lot of credit for that, but if you're asking me if there was a foul in the build-up, yes there was." Did the break hurt the Whitecaps [From TSN radio] "That is the way games go. I don't know if the longer break did hurt us or not because I was very, very pleased with the first 45 minutes and I wanted us to continue that in the second half. Opposition teams are always going to have their patterns and their time on the ball. Colorado got theirs in the first 15 minutes and obviously they managed to get that goal. I'm gutted for the boys today because the effort, the application, the attitude from them was absolutely spot on. They're a grumpy bunch in there tonight because they feel hard done by and I've got to agree with them." On the reasoning behind some of the changes to the starting line-up after three games in seven days: "It’s a tough place to come, here. Colorado, you know, they’re fighting for their lives and they get a lot of men behind the ball, they do it very well and I wanted freshness in the team. I think we had that, you know, it was always planned to make some changes at 60 minutes to come, but the subs that came on made a big impact as well, so it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately we were on the wrong end of a result." On having said that Colorado was a better team than their record showed: "I do, I think they’ve been very unlucky. I think they’ve got good players here. Pablo’s a great guy and it’s important to get your first win, especially at home, and he’s got that today, unfortunately against us. I give them credit, they’ve beaten us today. I think it’s a little bit unfortunate on us because one or two things have been taken out of our hands, but congratulations to them. We will deal with it, take it on the chin and move on." On what Mauro Rosales will give to the team now that he’s back: "That, exactly what we saw today. I thought in the first half he was absolutely excellent in the first 45 minutes. He’s such a smart player, he slows us down, he quickens us up. He’s black and blue in there, he really is. I think there’s 8 or 9 consecutive fouls on him, persistent fouling. Maybe I’m going to have to go to the rule book and find out what the rule is because I’m misreading them at the moment." On what he asked of his guys going into the game knowing that Colorado would come out strong: "I think we had the better chances in the first half I think we had the more clear chances. Colorado is a good team, they’ve got good players and no two halves of football are the same. I think if you look in this league, the team that plays better in the first half sometimes doesn’t play as well in the second half. We knew Colorado would push. It was important that when they pushed we didn’t give anything away. When they pushed in the first 15 minutes, they got their goal; we give something away so we were always chasing the game then. The conditions were the same for both teams. It’s tough playing at altitude, but we had enough chances to get something out of the game and that’s why I’m disappointed for the guys in there and they’re disappointed." DAVID OUSTED: On tonight’s game: "I thought that we should have gotten a draw away from here, and I thought the team showed some character throughout a tough match." On personal performance of the night: "I am happy with what I did tonight. At the end of the day we still didn’t get any points, and that is the most important thing, so I am disappointed." On season performance of the team: "I think we played another really sound defensive game today. I thought we got the balance right between the defense and the offense, and had a number of chances. I thought we deserved more." What are the positives you can take away from today: "We showed character; that we can battle in these tough games." MAURO ROSALES On what the difference was tonight: "The goal they scored, because we managed the game. We played very well. I think the team shows character. We battled out there and it’s a pity that we couldn’t get a result in our favor. I think we deserved at least a draw. We had chances. We worked very hard to get anything, but with soccer they were more effective than us. Just change the pace and just move forward. I think that playing like that away the way that we did, we can be ok. We can keep moving forward from that." On how they were able to get good looks but no goals: "Actually having the chances to score is what we have to keep getting in position for. We have to keep moving and generate chances, but try to be more effective. As soon as we don’t get chances, the strikers aren’t going to get anything. We are happy that we could build and offensively play very well, and also as a team we played very well today. Like I said before, it’s a pity that we couldn’t get anything. We’ve been very close. We scored one, but unfortunately it was a call that happens in games, so just move forward and being positive of a lot of stuff that we did well today, and obviously learn from the loss." On team’s current streak: "I think all the teams are going to have this kind of trouble in the season. As soon as we go through that learning, especially today playing the way that we did, you have to be confident for what is ahead of us. It’s a long season, the best of our team could be much better, I’m very confident that we can play much better. We hope that we can do it the following games. This is what we all want and we believe that we can do it so we want to move forward, always learning and always going for more." COLORADO RAPIDS PABLO MASTROENI On first home win of the season: "It feels great. I think we caught some breaks today, but it feels great. You need results to validate all of the hard work you put in Monday through Friday that no one else sees. These guys have not made any excuses or complained. They go in every week Monday through Friday and give everything they have for a result like this. I’m so happy for those guys. I’ve never met a group of more deserving men." On Solignac and Doyle’s debut: "I thought they were tremendous. I think they brought a different dynamic to the group that we didn’t have. They bring good quality to the group, they’re great teammates, but they fight as well. They get stuck in when need be. In this league, it’s a long season and a tough league. To have these guys join us at this time, I think is going to be a big lift for this group." On the goal: "To be fair it happened so fast I didn’t really see it. It was some good combination play, and a good finish. I think at home the last couple of games we’ve been creating a lot but haven’t been able to finish. It’s great to see that ball finally hit the back of the net. We’ve been working on that kind of stuff non-stop over the last couple of weeks. To see it come to fruition through some dynamic play, to finally finish a play with a goal was fantastic." On feelings after the win: "At the end of the season it all comes back to the mean. You’re going to get breaks or you’re not going to get breaks. We’re on the front end of a lot of the bad breaks. This was one of those games that instils belief and instils momentum. These three points aren’t just the first win at home; I think it’s starting something special going forward." On preparing for the second half during the weather delay: "We have the comfort of home here. The guys were spinning on the bike. We just kept it really low key. We didn’t want to spend a lot of energy getting them riled up. We had gone through a delay last week, and it was long. We just wanted to keep the legs loose and keep the minds right. The guys were talking amongst themselves and staying focused. I think they did a good job of that. We came out quite focused, and quite sharp in the second half." On keeping Solignac in for the full 90 minutes: "Initially, you don’t want to expose them to that. I felt he was very comfortable. He came in as one of the fittest players in Rapids history, is what I gathered from the medical staff. He blew through every physical test, and tested the best. From that perspective it wasn’t a concern for me. As the game went on I didn’t even think twice. This guy is a machine. He fought for balls and held the balls up great. I think it’s something in the past where we’ve had some difficulty is getting the ball up front and then holding the ball up so we can bring some guys up and set up our attack. I think today both him and Kevin Doyle did a good job of bringing the team into the attack." Did missing the game last week help in that aspect? "If he were to score two last week, he probably would have come into this week more confident. The important thing is that the mindset after a long delay there, we had a tough week of training. We just wanted to get the guys hungry and competitive. It was a lot of work, so they overcame a lot in the last week and a half. They put forth a tremendous spirit, played some good stuff, and created some good opportunities. I’m really happy with the effort and the mentality of the group." On tactical adjustments at halftime: "I think we were playing a bit narrow in the first half. We were sloppy with our passing in the attacking third, and weren’t moving the ball quick enough. We didn’t create width, we didn’t move the ball quick enough and we were giving it away cheap. Those are three things that won’t allow you to get close to goal, more importantly will create a good counter attacking situation for the other team. I think in the second half we moved the ball quicker, we looked forward with our passes and were able to bypass some lines. As the game wears on, especially here at home we know that we are going to get our looks. I was happy with the first half that we didn’t concede a goal and for the first time this year we weren’t chasing it. We didn’t feel like we had to expose ourselves. We just stayed in the game, stayed focused, waited for our opportunity and took it well." On the upcoming match against Seattle: "They’re obviously a tough team. At the moment here it is just about recovery- getting the body right, getting the mind right and approaching the Seattle game like we’ve done every game on the road. We’ve gone to tough places in LA and in New York, Houston, we’ve played in some places this year and found ways to get results. The mentality and mindset of this group is to go there and do the same. It’s going to take 90+ minutes of concentration, effort and commitment, and some good soccer as well. I think we have a group now with the addition of Doyle and Solignac, the three points, and the momentum- we have a lot of good things going for us to go there with the right mentality and to get a good result." LUIS SOLIGNAC On his debut with the Rapids: "I feel great. I think the team had a really good effort. We deserved the three points, so I am really happy." On the first half: "I think the plan was to play some long balls in the beginning to stretch the team, but the two defenders were really tough, so the second half we tried to play a bit more on the ground. We knew they would get tired because of the altitude, so we were smart and held the ball until they were tired, then went for the attack." On the effect of the altitude: "I didn’t think about it much during the game. I was trying to focus on the game so I didn’t think about the altitude. It really works because I didn’t feel it at all." On chemistry with other players: "It felt really good. Today we really helped the team. The subs came in and did a good job, so I think that is the way we should continue to play. On the atmosphere in the locker room postgame: "We really needed it. We’ve tied many games, so the team really needed a win. It was a great atmosphere." On first experience against a MLS backline: "It was tougher than I thought. They were big and physical players. I think that we found that when we had the ball on our feet, they struggled a bit because they were really physical. We tried to play on the ground and it really worked." LUCAS PITTINARI On your game-winning goal: "It looked like a mishit from Dillon Powers that reached Gaby [Torres] and I think he saw me out of the corner of his eye and was able to flick the ball to me. I hit a half-volley and thankfully it went in." On moving forward after the first home win of the season: "The team has been working extremely hard with a lot of humility and sacrifice. Things weren’t really going our way and we weren’t getting the results we were looking for but tonight we were able to get the win. I think it will bring a bit of calmness just in time for our next game in a few days. Right now we need to focus on our recovery because we will need to put in a great performance at Seattle to try and get a positive result." On the team’s mentality and resilience: "I think we were very smart out there tonight and extremely solid in the back, which was costing us a little in past games. We were able to create some clear chances in the second half and eventually got the goal." On Solignac and Doyle’s first performance with the team: "They are very important to the team. They are two players with a lot of experience and great mobility. We have welcomed them and I hope they are able to adapt as best and quickly as possible because we will definitely need them." KEVIN DOYLE How would you assess your first performance with the club? "We won so it was nice. It was a little shaky at the end but it was nice to get the win. I needed that time on the pitch to get involved and the altitude didn’t feel too bad." On your chemistry with your teammates: "It’s hard after only training for a few days but they’re good players. We were close to getting another goal and I think we should’ve scored another one. There was some good football and it was great for me to get out there. I didn’t know if I was going to or not after a long week with a lot of new things to take in." On the ovation from the crowd: "It was brilliant. Ever since I’ve gotten here everyone has been very enthusiastic not only with me but with everyone as well. I think we were just waiting for that win that’s been a long time coming. It was a strange night with the weather and the delay but most of the crowd stuck by us and got rewarded by that thankfully." On playing on turf at Seattle next week: "It will be my first time since I played once in Russia about five, six years ago. I’ll be fine and I’m sure I won’t have any problems." What did the coaches ask from you tonight?: "They just told me to come on and sit in between midfield and the center forward. When we didn’t have the ball I would sit in and help out on the midfield and when we did have it, I would push up and try to get forward as much as I could."
  5. You can find his full gallery from the game HERE. Marie Hui sings the anthems in with the fans After a slow start, Sebastian Fernandez nearly opens the scoring but Clint Irwin comes up big Steven Beitashour picks up a hamstring injury giving Sam Adekugbe another chance to shine Into the second half and substitute Kekuta Manneh makes room before crashing one off the bar Manneh is in the thick of the action again, as he wins a corner and the crowd gets loud Kendall Waston heads home to make it 1-0 and the Caps players and crowd go wild! The big man enjoys his moment Erik Hurtado is played in and nearly makes it 2-0 But one goal is enough and jubilation ensues at full time Kendall Waston carrying the team! The Caps salute the crowd Pedro Morales may be tired, but he ain't flagging! Captain Chile and Captain Canuck An ecstatic Carl Robinson in his postgame presser You can follow Tom on Twitter, where he goes under the name Residual Image.
  6. The Good: Can't Put Pedro & Kendall In The Corner First thing first, great run by Kekuta Manneh to get the corner for the Whitecaps. As soon as Pedro runs over to the corner you could hear the supporters start buzzing. It's almost like they knew something special was about to happen. Erik Hurtado made a great play by drawing defenders to the front post and letting Waston follow right behind him with a free run. Even though Waston over jumped the height of the cross he was still able to get head to ball and score the biggest goal in the Whitecaps' MLS history. 10 games in for Waston and he has become a fan favourite and is on his way to DeMerit level of fame. The Average: 21,000 Out of the 17 MLS home games, the Whitecaps sold out 11 of them. They averaged just over 20,400 fans to a game this season. If they are to host a home playoff game versus Seattle you have to think the FO will open up the lower bowl for 26,000. This season was a great step in the proper direction. I believe they are still a year or two away from getting the tarps off for good. They have created a demand and the market is coming in the direction they want. The Bad: Darren Mattocks The game was full of Mattocks being out of proper position, coming back to the ball and giving up too soon during a build up. This might have been his last MLS regular season game in the white and blue for the Whitecaps. In my opinion it was one of his worst outings this season. Too many times he gave up on a play if the ball didn't come right to his feet. And the times when it did he had horrible passes and touches and just turned it over. Manneh and Hurtado came on to the pitch and made impacts in their limited minutes. That is something Mattocks hasn't done in weeks. There will be trade value for him this off season, even at a salary of $220,000. Whitecaps should be able to get a decent return on him.
  7. 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 VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON 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.” KENDALL WASTON 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.” DAVID OUSTED 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.” PEDRO MORALES 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.” COLORADO RAPIDS PABLO MASTROENI 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.” NICK LABROCCA 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.” DAVY ARMSTRONG 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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