The Colorado Rapids pulled off a textbook Italian-style catenaccio act at sun-splashed BC Place on Sunday, spoiling the Vancouver Whitecaps' Canada Day celebrations with a 1-0 win thanks to an oddball game-winner credited as an own goal by Marcel de Jong.
Conceding 70-plus percent of possession to the home side, the Rapids defended deeply and doggedly in a 5-4-1 formation, but hit paydirt just before halftime on one of their rare forays forward.
Yannick Boli smacked a deep cross by Sam Nicholson off the Whitecaps' woodwork, sparking a goalmouth melee that ended with Brian Rowe saving a Joe Mason effort at point-blank range before the rebound caromed off the backtracking de Jong and rolled over the line.
The 'Caps uncorked a whopping 25 shots, 10 of them on target, to keep Tim Howard busy. There would be no breakthrough, however, despite the best efforts of the lively Alphonso Davies and Kei Kamara.
- 43' – COL – Marcel de Jong (OG)
- THE BIG PICTURE: In the wake of a woeful eight-game losing skid, the Rapids are suddenly undefeated in three, while the same troubling questions about this talented but flaky Whitecaps side are hanging heavy once again.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: On an afternoon when a range of curious occurrences prevented the ball from hitting Colorado's net, Nicholson, Boli and Mason combined to create a quirky sequence of their own to secure the win.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Tim Howard backstopped a defiant defensive display on the four-year anniversary of his epic World Cup performance for the US national team vs Belgium, a satisfying outing for a legend who has fallen short of his own high standards on a few occasions during Colorado's frustrating campaign.
- Vancouver: Saturday, July 7 vs Chicago (8:30 PM MT)
- Colorado: Wednesday, July 4 vs Seattle (7:00 PM MT)