DENVER, CO - For those of you who have been calculating the scenarios that needed to unfold for the Vancouver Whitecaps to make the playoffs, you can put away the pencils and graph paper: The Caps have been officially been eliminated from the playoff race after losing to the Colorado Rapids by a score of 3-2.
THE FIRST HALF:
Rookie Kekuta Manneh started for the second straight match up top next to Camilo Sanvezzo. Manneh, who scored a hat trick last week against the Seattle Sounders, looked to get on the score sheet early, but his shot from outside the box in the fifth minute was saved by Colorado's Clinton Irwin.
Manneh almost scored again in the 14th minute when Manneh split a slow-footed Colorado backline and ran onto Camilo's headed pass, but his sharp angle shot skipped past the back post.
Colorado then had the run of play for the next several minutes, and Dershorn Brown came close to opening the score in the 21st minute when he thundered a shot from the edge of the box that just sailed over the top of David Ousted's crossbar. Brown, who was causing all sorts of problems for the soon-to-be-retired Young-Pyo Lee, had another attempt at goal go wide just a few minutes later.
Finally, in the 32nd minute, Manneh kept the playoff drive alive when he took Daigo Kobayashi's pass and blasted a shot into the top corner of Irwin's goal.
Vancouver's lead, sadly, was only to last for a mere ten minutes when Whitecaps defender Carlyle Mitchell put an arm around Drew Moor and pulled him to the ground in front of the goal. Referee Armando Villarreal awarded Colorado the penalty kick, which was converted by Gabriel Torres.
THE SECOND HALF:
In general, the Rapids were looking the more dangerous of the two sides and they went in front of the Whitecaps in the 51st minute. Brown raced onto Irwin's clearance and chipped a shot over Whitecaps 'keeper David Ousted, who was well off his line in the Caps' goal, to increase the Rapids lead to 2-1.
Vancouver's Matt Watson had the opportunity to bring the Whitecaps level with Colorado just before the hour mark, but his shot from the center of the box missed the post by a matter of inches. Watson was then brought off a few minutes later when Martin Rennie brought speedy midfielder Russell Teibert into the match. Rennie then made his second substitution in the 67th minute when the nearly invisible Kobayashi was replaced by Darren Mattocks.
The Whitecaps then gave their fans hope again with 15 minutes to play when Colorado defender Shane O'Neill chopped down Jordan Harvey in the centre of the box. Once again Villarreal awarded a penalty kick and Camilo thumped the ball into the corner of the net and the playoff dream was alive again. Well the dream was, at least, alive for a few more minutes.
Scarcely had the Caps drawn level when a defensive mix up and an outstanding strike from Torres put the Rapids back in front, and ended the Whitecaps season. Rennie made one final substitution five minutes from time when Kenny Miller replaced Jun Marques Davidson as the Whitecaps desperately looked for a way to salvage a point and give CPR to their playoff dreams.
In the end Vancouver once again was unable to find another goal and the match, and Vancouver's season, ended with a 3-2 Colorado victory.
32' - WFC Manneh
41' - COL Torres (penalty)
51' - COL Brown
74' - WFC - Camilo (penalty)
77' - COL Torres
Man of the Match: Kekuta Manneh
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