Saturday, July 9, 2011

Caps Can't Stay Afloat Against Rapids

The Vancouver Whitecaps found a new way to lose as defensive breakdown allowed the Colorado Rapids win a lightning delayed match 2-1. The Whitecaps were unable to handle Colorado’s Conner Casey as he scored a goal in the first half and his header off a free kick led to the second goal by Scott Palguta before Camilo brought the visitors within one. It is the club’s fourth straight league loss and fifth straight including all competitions with all the defeats coming by a single goal.

Both teams played the first twenty minutes evenly with each team taking turns controlling the ball and getting chances on goal. Then the Rapids started taking over with their high pressure which eventually caused a turnover by Vagenas and Colorado quickly attacked by sending a ball into the box, just missing Boxall’s head, to Casey who chested the ball to ground and fired the ball into the net past Cannon. The Caps almost responded quickly as a left footed shot went just wide of the near post. The Rapids had almost doubled their lead before the half when Omar Cummings was sent in alone but could not find the net.

After a thirty minute delay due to lightning the Whitecaps got a couple chances to get tie the game with a shots from distance by Nanchoff and Khalfan. The home team then had their opportunities as Casey had a chance in close and Cummings sent another shot wide of the net. Then off a free kick by the Rapids, Casey directed a header to the net which deflected by Cannon to Palguta who made no mistake and doubled their lead in the 68th minute.

Less than ten minutes later the Whitecaps responded with some quick touches by Tan and Khalfan which sent Camilo in all alone on Matt Pickens The Brazilian striker then went around the sprawling goalkeeper to score for the visitors and keep them within a goal of getting a result.. The final minutes of the game saw the Whitecaps attempt to apply pressure but the more experienced Rapids were able to keep the ball away.

It was the backline’s turn to let the team down as two defensive breakdowns lead to the pair of goals by the Rapids. The first goal by Casey, which looked like a hand ball, was due to Boxall allowing the American striker to find space and then the young Kiwi defender not being able to get his head on the cross. The second tally was again Casey getting away from his mark, Rochat, to get a head on the ball but it was more Janicki watching the ball instead of marking Palguta who buried the rebound.

The game saw the debut of recent addition Jordan Harvey at the left back while first round draft pick Michael Nanchoff made his first start as a Cap and played a full 90 minutes.  The trio of Camilo, Khalfan and sub Long Tan connected well in the second half and Gershon Koffie had another strong game.  It may have been fatigue but Boxall struggled to deal with the pace and strength of Casey and his replacement, Greg Janicki, did not fair any better.

Considering the team was missing three key players due to injury it was a decent performance especially in the second half. It was frustrating that it was their main strength, the backline, coming into the match that let the team down in the loss. The attack was missing that final touch around the box, except for the goal, as the team could have scored a couple in the game. Camilo’s score was exactly what this team needed, even with the loss, as with four precise passes the Caps moved the ball into the box for their first league goal in over 340 minutes.

The Caps need to regroup and prepare for their most difficult test at home so far this season as they face Real Salt Lake next week at Empire. Recent addition Jordan Harvey will be unavailable for the game as he will be suspended due to an accumulation of yellow cards. There is a strong possibility that two to three of their walking wounded will be ready for the match which could boost the club’s chances in ending their losing streak.  While unlikely to play next week there may be some announcements of some additions through the transfer window that could energize the team and their supporters as well inspire the players to victory.

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