By CAITLIN MURRAY
The Vancouver Whitecaps went to Colorado on Saturday tied with the Rapids for the fourth spot on the Major League Soccer Western Conference table. They leave bumped down in the playoff race after a performance unbecoming of a postseason hopeful.
The Rapids laid siege to the Whitecaps, out-shooting them by a whopping 19-to-5 with Dillon Powers and Vicente Sanchez breaking through for a 2-0 win and snapping an eight-game unbeaten streak for Vancouver.
Coming off the MLS World Cup break, the win was an important one for the Rapids as they surged back from a tough loss last week to the Atlanta Silverbacks of the second-tier North American Soccer League in the U.S. Open Cup.
In the 20th minute, a menacing Dillon Powers drove a low, far post strike past Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted from 15 yards out off a Marvell Wynne cross. Powers looked like he would score three minutes earlier when a poor clearance from the Whitecaps back line landed at his feet — his rocket rattled the underside of the crossbar and swiftly ricocheted away to safety.
The Whitecaps appeared to be out of ideas and made matters worse in the 36th minute with a Nigel Reo-Coker foul on Deshorn Brown, earning a Rapids penalty kick. Vicente Sanchez converted the spot kick, his sixth of the season.
Sanchez did his best to find a flashier goal four minutes later, popping the ball up and turning his back to goal for a bicycle kick, but Ousted was there to catch the far-post shot.
Although possession was nearly evenly split in the end, in truth the Rapids grabbed onto the game and never really let go, looking more organized and moving the ball well in the Whitecaps half.
The Whitecaps emerged from halftime looking eager to take back control of the match, but after an off-target shot and a nothing-doing corner kick in the first couple minutes back, the Whitecaps again looked to have the wind lost from their sails.
Their best chance came too little, too late as goalkeeper Clint Irwin made a diving two-handed block in the 83rd minute on Johnny Leveron’s shot off a corner kick.
Next Saturday, the Rapids will host the Columbus Crew for a special Fourth of July match Columbus Crew as the Whitecaps return home to host the Seattle Sounders.