The Vancouver Whitecaps traveled to Colorado to take on the Rapids in another Friday night match (there sure have been a LOT of them this season!). Coming into the match, the Whitecaps had drawn their previous four matches while the Colorado Rapids had lost their previous six matches.
Carl Robinson made six changes from last weekend’s 3-3 draw at home to the New England Revolution, including the entire back line. In were Jake Nerwinski, Jose Aja, Brek Shea, and Doneil Henry, making his first appearance for the Whitecaps. Personally, I was excited to see how the duo of Yordy Reyna and Anthony Blondell fared as they had shown strong chemistry in the preseason and prior to the sending off earlier this year in Kansas City.
The Whitecaps started strong, with Techera trying to build on his MLS Player of the Week
And was quickly followed up by Reyna, who missed a free header.
If you were like me, you were concerned that the Whitecaps would come to regret missing their early opportunities. However, Colorado continued to give them plenty of space and the Whitecaps were finally able to open the scoring in the 17th minute, starting with a great effort to win a ball from Efrain Juarez.
The Caps doubled their lead in the 39th minute, with Reyna capitalizing on a ball that pinged around the Rapids box, until Reyna drove it home. Surprisingly, it was Reyna’s first road goal in Major League Soccer.
Unfortunately, the Whitecaps could not maintain their 2-0 lead into the halftime break, as Colorado pulled one back in the 41st minute, thanks to a wonderfully taken shot outside the box from Edgar Castillo.
Coming out of the break, Colorado appeared not to sit back as much as they did in the first half, while Vancouver seemed to be a bit flat; nothing new for the Whitecaps. However, the second half was quite uneventful. Despite having 12 corners and 18 shots, very few were troubling for Brian Rowe and the Caps defense.
The only real opportunity for Colorado came in the 79th minute, when Gashi missed a great opportunity. At first, I thought that Shea’s miss-itis, which he then transferred to Kamara, had now been transferred outside the club, to Colorado, but on second view, it was a challenging ball for Gashi to get.
After 96 minutes, the Vancouver Whitecaps obtained their first victory in six matches (four draws and one loss), while Colorado Rapids extended their losing streak to seven (four straight at home). The Whitecaps are now 3-4-1 on the road this season and move to 4th in the West with 20 points; although, they have played at least two more matches than anyone else in the West.
Yordy Reyna finished the match with one goal and one assist, Henry looked solid on defense, and Techera continued his strong play, getting his team leading sixth goal. Vancouver now come home and face Orlando City next Saturday.
What are your takes on the match? How was Nerwinski, Juarez, and others? Did Shea do enough at left back? How was the connection between Reyna and Blondell?