Colorado Rapids secured their first home victory of the season with a 1-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.
Lucas Pittinari’s second-half strike was enough to seal the points for Pablo Mastroeni’s side after play had resumed following a delay due to lightning in the area.
Although Vancouver substitute Pedro Morales had a free-kick disallowed late on, debutant Rapids striker Luis Solignac also could have extended their lead.
With new DP Kevin Doyle coming off the bench for the final half-hour, this was a good night for those who bleed burgundy. Rapids are now 2-2-7 in the Western Conference.
Before kick-off, the main talking points were that Solignac started (as he was slated to before rain intervened at Kansas last week) and Doyle was a substitute. The Irishman had only arrived in the country a week ago. Elsewhere, Michael Harrington was rested so Marc Burch returned at left back with James Riley on the opposite flank.
There was little to report in the opening stages. The first chance came in the 18th minute when Clint Irwin saved from Kekuta Manneh's near post effort. Then the keeper reacted angrily when Kianz Froese went over in the box and, sure enough, the Vancouver midfielder was booked for simulation.
Riley made a superb challenge to deny Manneh in the dying minutes and then Octavio Rivero planted a header against the post.
With the final kick of the half, Dillon Powers fired over from an angle. It was the closest the Rapids came in the opening 45 minutes.
The rain came as the players left the field and, in addition to the usual 15 minute break, play was suspended for an extra 20 due to lightning in the area.
When play resumed the Rapids were a different side.
Gabriel Torres could have opened the scoring in the 49th minute after fine work from Powers and Solignac. In the end the Panamanian provided a deft touch for Pittinari to hook the ball home two minutes later. It was his first goal in MLS.
The teams continued to swap chances until the end. Mauro Rosales fired just wide for Vancouver but Torres won the ball well in midfield to send Solignac clear only for keeper David Ousted to rush out and block.
After Doyle’s introduction on the hour, Powers’ shot was tipped over and Pittinari headed just over from close range.
Irwin saved a swerving effort from substitute Cristian Techera and then came the heart-in-mouth moment for the Rapids when Morales planted an expert free-kick over Irwin. However the referee’s whistle had been loud, clear and definitely before the ball went in.
Vicente Sanchez nearly set up Solignac at the death but, no matter, Rapids had their win.
And how they deserved it.
Colorado Rapids 1-0 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
May 23, 2015 – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
COL: Lucas Pittinari 51’ (Torres, Powers)
COLORADO RAPIDS: Clint Irwin, Marc Burch, Axel Sjoberg, Drew Moor, James Riley, Sam Cronin Lucas Pittinari, Juan Ramírez (Vicente Sánchez, 86’), Dillon Powers, Gabriel Torres (Kevin Doyle, 63’), Luis Solignac.
Subs not used: Zac MacMath, Michael Harrington, Bobby Burling, Charles Eloundou, Jared Watts.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS: David Ousted, Jordan Harvey, Kendall Waston, Steven Beitashour, Pa Modou Kah, Mauro Rosales, Matías Laba (Pedro Morales, 77’), Kekuta Manneh (Darren Mattocks, 70’), Gershon Koffie, Kianz Froese (Cristian Techera, 62’), Octavio Rivero.
Subs not used: Pablo Tornaghi, Ethen Sampson, Tim Parker, Nicolás Mezquida.
VAN: Kianz Froese (caution) 24’
COL: Sam Cronin (caution) 43’
VAN: Gershon Koffie (caution) 75’
VAN: Kendall Waston (caution) 79’
COL: Kevin Doyle (caution) 87’
Colorado Rapids: 2-2-7 (13 points)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: 6-5-2 (20 points)