Photo by Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports
By SBI SOCCER
The Supporters’ Shield race has a new leader, thanks to Cristian Techera.
Despite a slow start for both teams, the Vancouver Whitecaps defeated the Colorado Rapids, 2-0, at BC Place Wednesday evening.
Techera provided the game-winning assist and also scored the insurance tally in the 77th minute. Octavio Rivero was the man to head in the first of the evening, scoring his 10th goal of the season. The win snapped the Rapids’ three-game winning streak and has vaulted the Whitecaps into first place with a two-point lead in the combined standings.
The first half held little to no creativity on either end of the field, and both sides would head into the halftime interval scoreless.
Finally, just inside the 57th minute, Kekuta Manneh sparked the action. He used his right foot to blast an effort toward goal, but while goalkeeper Clint Irwin dove quickly left to defend his post, the ball swerved just wide.
The next best chance came from Colorado, as forward Kevin Doyle rose high to meet a Marc Burch cross from the left wing in the 71st minute, but goalkeeper David Ousted was there to prevent the ball from sneaking into the bottom-right corner.
Two minutes later, Techera sent a beautiful curling cross into the penalty area using his left foot, and Rivero found open space near the back post before heading the ball down and into the bottom-left corner for the go-ahead goal.
Techera, again, used his left foot to smash in the second goal four minutes later. Manneh benefited from a poor headed clearance, and the forward sent a cross into the penalty box where it found Techera. He immediately fired a shot, but it deflected. It fell right to his feet, though, and he ripped his second chance past Irwin for the second goal of the night.
The Whitecaps next play the Seattle Sounders in MLS on Sept. 19, while the Rapids host Eastern Conference leader D.C. United on Saturday.