The Whitecaps’ club-record eight-game unbeaten streak came to a crashing end thanks to a goal apiece for the Rapids’ dynamic midfield duo in a 2-0 victory Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Powers opened the scoring with a terrific 20th-minute strike, while Sanchez doubled the advantage with a penalty kick later in the half as the duo all but put the outcome to bed before the first half came to a close.
The win pushed the Rapids’ home unbeaten streak to four games and moved them three points clear of the Whitecaps in the Western Conference standings with 25 points from 16 games. The Whitecaps, meanwhile, lost for the first time since May 7.
On a perfect summer evening in suburban Denver, Powers nearly got the Rapids on the board fresh out of the gate, but his top-of-the-penalty-box blast crashed against the bottom of the crossbar in the 17th minute.
But three minutes later, Powers wouldn’t be denied.
Using a terrific turn to create space for himself in the box, the reigning MLS Rookie of the Year unleashed a low blast that found just enough space to squeeze past Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted and for his third goal of the season, giving the Rapids a 1-0 lead.
A quarter of an hour later, with the Rapids dominating possession and chances, they deservedly doubled their lead. Nigel Reo-Coker needlessly upended striker Deshorn Brown in the box, and referee Ted Unkel pointed to the spot – with no protest from the visitors. Sanchez completed the simple task, firing home for his team-leading sixth goal of the season and a 2-0 lead in the 36th minute.
Sanchez nearly scored a ridiculous bicycle kick in the 40th minute, but Ousted made a fine save to deny the veteran Uruguayan from making it 3-0 before halftime.
On the other side of the break, Vancouver started to push further forward, but they couldn’t unlock the Rapids defense. Pedro Morales’ 63rd-minute shot pushed just wide, the best of Vancouver’s opportunities early in the second half.
Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin did well to keep out a deflected 83rd minute shot by Johnny Leveron, but the final 45 finished rather quietly after the home team’s fireworks in the opening half, allowing the Rapids to collect the three important points following their three-week MLS layoff for the World Cup.
The Rapids next host their annual Fourth of July fireworks match against the Columbus Crew.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Dillon Powers||So important to Rapids in so many ways; he showed his goal-scoring talents on this night|
|2||Vicente Sanchez||Was dangerous on the attack all night; his bicycle attempt was GOTY material if it went in|
|3||Deshorn Brown||He missed out on a number of potential goals with five shots on the night|