VANCOUVER — Despite being without five players on international duty, the Vancouver Whitecaps rallied from an early two-goal deficit to level late through Yordy Reyna to forge a 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids in front of 19,893 at BC Place Saturday night.
Former Caps Kei Kamara, and Nicolás Mezquida both played big roles in the game, but it was Reyna who came up with the final act.
Kamara, in fact, had the first chance of the game, testing goalkeeper Zac MacMath with a shot from eight yards out in the 8th minute.
From that corner, the Rapids scored their opening goal. Mezquida curled in the corner from the left. It was missed by the entire Caps’ backline allowing Diego Rubio to nod it across the line at the far post.
In the 20th minute, the Rapids doubled the lead. A cross found Kamara unmarked in the box, allowing him to head the ball past MacMath to an open Andre Shinyashiki and the winger tapped the ball across the line.
Kamara and Mezquida, in particular, stood out during this stage. In the 23rd minute, Kamara hit the post, the rebound then ricocheted to Mezquida, but his shot was cleared off the line by Erik Godoy.
“Those 25 minutes will be addressed,” Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos said. “We spoke all week about set plays and counter-attacks. Of course, when your center backs are at the Gold Cup then it takes time to adjust.”
Jun 22, 2019; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Colorado Rapids forward Diego Rubio (7) celebrates his goal against Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper Zac MacMath (18) (not pictured) during the first half at BC Place. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
The Whitecaps were all over the place, and even their first shot on target by Reyna in the 32nd could not settle the nerves. On the other side, MacMath bobbled a Kamara cross from the right and the ball nearly landed in Vancouver’s goal.
“Obviously, it was not a good start for us,” Fredy Montero said.
In the 45th minute, the Whitecaps were handed a lifeline. Ali Adnan was brought down in the area and Montero stepped up to convert the penalty to make it 2-1.
“We spoke in the locker room that we need to give more and couldn’t lose this game,” Montero said. “I think we did just that in the second half.”
Despite the goal, it was still an uphill battle for the Whitecaps in the second half. The Caps certainly managed to put on the pressure, but also struggled to get through Colorado’s well-organized backline.
Colorado seemed comfortable to sit back and absorb all the pressure and the second half was in stark contrast to the action-packed first 45 minutes in that it lacked true goalscoring opportunities for either team.
⚽️Yordy Reyna miracle freekick pic.twitter.com/CZ3EgcJmBd
— Manuel Veth (@ManuelVeth) June 23, 2019
It took until the 73rd minute for the Caps to finally appear dangerously in front of Tim Howard’s goal. But both Montero and Reyna had their shots blocked by Colorado defenders. One minute later, Hwang In-beom tested Howard with a shot from inside the box.
Finally, in the 80th minute, the Whitecaps equalized when Reyna curled the ball over the wall, caromed of the inside of the near post and finally crossed the line.
“For me it was normal,” Dos Santos said about the free kick. “If you are in training you see him do it all the time. He trains with the mannequins all the time. I thought he would score another one actually.”
“We came back from 2-0 and almost made it 3-2,” midfielder Felipe said. “We had chances to score the third, but need to be more clinical.”
Vancouver Whitecaps (4-3-3)
MacMath – Adnan, Rose, Godoy, Nerwinski (Sutter, 63′) – Felipe, Erice, In-beom – Reyna, Montero, Venuto (‘PC’, 69′)
Colorado Rapids (4-2-3-1)
Howard – Vines, T. Smith, Abubakar, Rosenberry – Acosta, D. Wilson – Shinyashiki (Anderson, 77′), Mezquida, Rubio – Kamara