COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Colorado Rapids desperately needed a win, and on Saturday night, they got what they needed.
A first-half goal from Conor Casey and a second-half strike from defender Scott Palguta led the Rapids to just their second win in 11 games, topping the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-1, for their first win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park since early April.
Camilo Sanvezzo, a thorn in the Rapids side all night, scored for Vancouver.
The result keeps Colorado in 5th place in the West, and pushes the Whitecaps further in the conference cellar.
The Rapids started with an attacking formation, with all three first-choice strikers, Casey, Omar Cummings and Caleb Folan, in the first XI. But it was Vancouver who created the first chances of the game. In the 3rd minute, a long-range shot from the Caps’ Gershon Koffie drew a save from Matt Pickens in the Rapids goal.
Jeff Larentowicz had the first Colorado shot on goal in the 10th minute, but his left footer from outside the penalty area was easily saved by Vancouver’s Joe Cannon.
The next clear chance for the Rapids was Casey’s goal in the 25th minute. Jamie Smith played an exquisite cross over the Whitecaps defense into the path of Casey who controlled the ball expertly and placed a quick shot past Cannon on the angle. It was Casey’s second goal in four days after his midweek strike in Kansas City, and his sixth goal in his last seven appearances.
The Rapids couldn’t really build on the strike though as Vancouver pressed the game. In a four-minute period just after the half hour, the Whitecaps had three separate chances. Camilo brought out a save from Pickens before lashing the rebound towards the corner flag in the 31st minute. A minute later, a dangerous corner kick bounced around in the Colorado area, and another attack in the 35th minute was let down by a poor cross from defender Michael Nanchoff.
Cummings went close with a left-footed blast that whistle just past the post in the 37th minute after Casey played him in on goal.
Palguta finally doubled Colorado’s lead in the 68th minute. A first-half substitute for the injured Danny Earls, Palguta slammed home a rebound after a Casey header for his second goal of the season.
Camilo made it interesting late, after Nizar Khalfan released him behind the Rapids’ defense. The Brazilian rounded Pickens and slid his shot inside the post to pull Vancouver tantalizingly close. But it was not to be, as the Rapids held on for the vital three points.
They next play Seattle on the road next Saturday, while Vancouver are at home to Real Salt Lake.
COL -- Conor Casey 6 (Jamie Smith 3, Marvell Wynne 1) 25
COL -- Scott Palguta 2 (unassisted) 68
VAN -- Camilo 6 (Nizar Khalfan 3, Long Tan 1) 77
Vancouver Whitecaps -- Joe Cannon, Jordan Harvey, Jonathan Leathers, Michael Nanchoff, Gershon Koffie, Peter Vagenas (Jeb Brovsky 71), Nizar Khalfan, Camilo, Omar Salgado (Long Tan 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Bilal Duckett, Terry Dunfield, Wes Knight, Jay Nolly.
Colorado Rapids -- Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Danny Earls (Scott Palguta 23), Wells Thompson, Jeff Larentowicz, Jamie Smith, Omar Cummings (Sanna Nyassi 81), Conor Casey, Caleb Folan (Brian Mullan 65).
Substitutes Not Used: Andre Akpan, Joseph Nane, Tyrone Marshall, Steward Ceus.
VAN -- Jordan Harvey (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 67
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee's Assistants: Eric Boria; Paul Scott
4th Official: Mark Declouet
Time of Game: 2:18