Pareja: "We were not sharp in front of goal"
The posts at BC Place in Vancouver may still be rattling after the battering the Colorado Rapids gave them during Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Whitecaps. Colorado hit the woodwork twice in the final ten minutes, but walked away stuck at 19 points for the season, despite a slew of golden scoring opportunities.
In the 82nd minute, Martin Rivero’s blast went off the crossbar, and six minutes later Hunter Freeman’s shot panged off the inside of the post, just two examples of a flurry of chances for the Rapids, who dominated proceedings in Saturday’s clash but simply lacked a final scoring touch, and walked away empty-handed as a result.
“You have to put the ball in the back of the net, that’s the way it is,” Rapids coach Oscar Pareja told MLSsoccer.com on Saturday night. “That’s how you get points. We were not sharp in front of the goal, we hit the post and you can call that unlucky but we have to be more effective.”
The Rapids controlled possession of the match by a 57-43 percent margin, totaled 13 shots and forced Whitecaps keeper Joe Cannon into making six saves, most of which were of the dramatic variety.
But despite the numerical dominance, lady luck decided to side with the home side instead.
“Today was maybe one of our best games in terms of being intense and dominating,“ Freeman told MLSsoccer.com. “All those things come around full circle, soccer’s not always a fair game. It’s disappointing to walk out of there with not even a point, I thought we deserved at least a point, maybe three.”
Three points appeared to not only be a possibility, but a reality for the Rapids when in the 60th minute Darren Mattocks was given his marching orders following his second yellow. But a defensive meltdown in the Rapids’ back line gifted Vancouver their lone goal in the 80th minute, and the Rapids would fail to take advantage of playing with the extra man.
Rivero came close on multiple long-distance efforts in the first half and would come even closer late in the second when — after Edu’s strike was blocked by Martin Bonjour — the Argentine unleashed a blast from the top of the penalty box that hit the crossbar square-on, but bounced out, the lasting image of a frustrating afternoon for the visiting Rapids.
“I think the boys put a great performance today, especially in the first half,” Pareja said. “After they lost one man and then we moved the lines up and we gave up a silly goal. And after that we couldn’t score. I thought we had great chances on the ball, the ball hit the post a few times, but you know what, I saw solidness in the team. I saw a team today that was controlling the tempo of the game. It’s very unfortunate for us to come out with no points.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.