It was a thrilling contest at BC Place on Saturday night, as the Vancouver Whitecaps went toe to toe with the Colorado Rpaids, and walked away at a 3-3 draw. It was miraculous the Whitecaps were able to draw even; They were down to 10 men, they were down a goal, and they were running out of time. Still, a late goal from Erik Hurtado secured the single point for Vancouver, and left them five points behind Sporting Kansas City for the final play-off spot in the Western Conference.
The Whitecaps went with David Ousted in net, with Jordan Smith, David Edgar, Kendall Waston, and Jordan Harvey making up the backline. Christian Bolanos and Matias Laba figured in the midfield, while the attack was comprised of Pedro Morales, youngster Alphonso Davies, Giles Barnes and Erik Hurtado.
The Whitecaps were caught flat footed early in the contest, as The Rapids were able to go up 1-0 in the 8th minute. Sam Cronin lobbed a chip pass that eventually fell to Dominique Badji, who was able to clean it up for the early lead.
Cronin chips, Hairston controls & Badji cleans it up. 1-0. #VANvCOL https://t.co/SE0yHlCwf4— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 24, 2016
It was a lead the Rapids were able to hold into the intermission.
In the second half, the Whitecaps were able to draw even thanks to a Kendall Waston goal. Waston was able to get his head on a corner, sending the ball past Tim Howard to level the score at 1.
¡CABEZAZO LLENO DE PURA VIDA!@kwaston88 marca el gol del empate para #VWFC.#VANvCOL, 1-1. pic.twitter.com/PQpv1uIRlQ— Fútbol MLS (@futbolMLS) September 25, 2016
Just about five minutes later, however, Waston would be sent off, following a collision in the box. The rather weak call sent Waston out of the game, the Whitecaps down to 10 men, and Shkëlzen Gashi to the penalty line. He converted to make it 2-1 Rapids.
However, much to the chagrin of the Rapids, The Whitecaps wouldn’t quit. Erik Hurtado started the play in the 70th minute, making a nice move to get in deep in the Rapids end. The ball eventually came to Giles Barnes, who moved towards the backline before threading a perfect pass to Captain Pedro Morales. Morales, much maligned for his play this season, was able to put the ball in the net for the 2-2 tie.
#AzulesPorElMundo En Canadá Pedro Morales anotó en empate de #VancouverWhitecaps 3-3 ante #ColoradoRapids por la MLSpic.twitter.com/1S7okRGRY3— 100% Azules (@Cienx100Azules) September 25, 2016
The Rapids struck back against the 10-men Whitecaps, thanks to a brilliant free kick from Gashi. The bending kick was able to get past the outstretched fingertips of David Ousted for the late, 3-2 lead.
So, so good from Gashi. #VANvCOL https://t.co/tJMJp0Xqcx— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 25, 2016
The wonder-goal deflated the crowd at BC Place, and given the Whitecaps recent history of surrendering leads late, it looked like it was all over. However, the Whitecaps had one last breath in the form of Erik Hurtado.
Hurtado was battling for position in front of the Rapids net, while Jordan Harvey was able to muscle the ball out in his general vicinity. Hurtado was able to get his head on the ball, sending it just over the line for the 3-3 tie.
It was the very definition of a last-second goal, and it saved the Whitecaps bacon as they earned the single point.