VANCOUVER, Canada — The Vancouver Whitecaps hosted Colorado Rapids on Saturday at BC Place. Despite falling two goals down after 32 minutes and competing without five important players on international duty, the Caps rallied and managed to salvage a point thanks to a beautiful free kick by Yordy Reyna.
Vancouver Whitecaps turn deficit into complete control
For the first 25 to 30 minutes, the Whitecaps were all over the place. The Colorado Rapids, led by former Whitecaps Nicolás Mezquida and Kei Kamara, played cat and mouse with Vancouver’s backline.
“We struggled,” head coach Marc Dos Santos said after the game. “They tried to play a lot of balls behind us. I don’t know if it was the effect of us having the last three weeks without playing — maybe that wasn’t good.”
In the 32nd minute, Kamara hit the post and Mezquida had a shot cleared off the line by Whitecaps defender Erik Godoy. Had that double chance resulted in a goal, the game would have been over.
Instead, the Whitecaps settled into a better rhythm after the goal. A strong believer of the possession game Dos Santos now saw his Whitecaps side take control of the game.
Furthermore, the Whitecaps set a new team record for passes attempted (716) and completed (638) against Colorado.
“Maybe the start wasn’t good,” Dos Santos said. “But from there it was total control for us.”
The Whitecaps had 69% ball possession and controlled the match for the final 60 minutes.
Lack of efficiency hurts the Whitecaps once again
An argument could be made that the Whitecaps should have gotten more than just the point on Saturday night. The Caps fired 22 shots as opposed to Colorado’s 14. Nine of those shots were on target, and Colorado Rapids were forced to block seven of those shots.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard, in particular, stood out. The former U.S. national team keeper made seven saves, three of those came from a shot inside the box. “From what we did today we have to take the full three points,” Dos Santos said.
“As the game was going on we dominated,” Felipe said. “We have numbers, we just need more composure on the ball, especially myself, the midfielders in general, and the wingers coming in, be able to create for our wingers and our forwards.”
It is pretty much the same story as it was before the break. The Whitecaps are improved defensively and now also now manage to control most games but still struggle to score goals.
“We, as I said before, it’s not a secret the stats are there, we need to get better, all day the players this team has from the midfield to the striker,” forward Fredy Montero said.
Scoring goals is one reason the Colombian was brought back this winter and even though Montero has managed six goals and two assists in 16 games, only two of those goals have come from open play.
Will Ali Adnan stay or go?
One player, who has created plenty of the chances may have played his last home game today. Wing-back Ali Adnan created the penalty that led to Montero’s penalty goal in the first half.
Adnan is out on loan from Udinese Calcio until June 30. The Whitecaps have away games in Dallas on June 26 and Seattle on June 29 before the loan expires.
Vancouver is rumored to have made an offer to keep the Iraqi but whether he will stay or remain in Vancouver remains to be seen.
“If I was Harry Potter, I would tell you,” Dos Santos said when asked about Adnan’s future. “Or Houdini, or something like that. But I’m not. I can’t read the future, sorry. I’m human, like you guys.”
Losing Adnan at this stage would be a big loss for the Whitecaps as the Iraqi national team player has been a key player for the Caps. Although nominally a wing-back he is granted a very free role in Dos Santos’ system and plays almost like a roaming left-midfielder rather than a defender. As a result, Adnan is the only transition player in the Whitecaps squad at the moment.