Whitecaps beat Rapids 1-0 for seventh win
VANCOUVER - Sebastien Le Toux's goal in the 80th-minute gave the undermanned Vancouver Whitecaps a 1-0 victory Saturday over the Colorado Rapids.
Vancouver won while playing a man down after striker Darren Mattocks was ejected in the 60th minute following his second yellow card.
The Whitecaps (7-3-4) posted their seventh Major League Soccer victory of the season, surpassing the six they mustered in their 2011 expansion season. Vancouver moved four points up on Colorado (6-7-1) in the Western Conference standings.
Colorado won both games against Vancouver by identical 2-1 scores last season.
Le Toux scored on a sliding volley off Davide Chiumiento's long cross from near midfield. Chiumiento was the key to the play as he dribbled away from three or four defenders in his vicinity and sent the seeing-eye cross.
It was Vancouver's second consecutive victory. Colorado has not won a league game since early May.
Vancouver's Brazilian striker Camilo and French counterpart Eric Hassli, the team's highest-paid player, started on the bench for the second straight game as coach Martin Rennie elected to go with Mattocks and Le Toux, who plays a withdrawn attacker role. Camilo did not see the field for the second consecutive contest while Hassli subbed in during the 86th minute.
Both clubs had excellent scoring chances at the outset of the game. Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens stopped a Mattocks shot from close range after the Whitecaps striker darted down the left wing. In the fourth minute, Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon came out to make a sliding save on Edu.
Ten minutes later, Pickens stopped a Gershon Koffie shot from about 35 yards out. Colorado was unlucky not to score in the 28th minute as Martin Rivero drilled a shot wide of the post from about 20 yards as baffled Cannon looked on.
In the next minute, Cannon came out to snatch the ball away from Jeff Larentowicz. Moments later, Koffie had another chance but could only get a weak shot off from short range as he was checked from behind by a defender and stumbled over the ball.
In the 34th minute, Cannon dove right to get his hand on a Rivero shot from the top of the 18-yard box. Following the ensuing corner kick, Cannon dove to his left and caught a deflected ball before it went inside the post.
Two minutes before halftime, Pickens ran out and stole the ball from a charging Le Toux.
Cannon and Pickens were both credited with two saves in the first half.
Five minutes into the second half, Pickens stopped Le Toux from point-blank range after Vancouver's Young-Pyo Lee ran onto a cross but could not get control of the ball. Three minutes later, Koffie fired a shot from the Colorado from the top of the Colorado 18.
Vancouver lost Mattocks as he took two yellow cards a minute apart.
He received the first card in the 59th minute as he was called for diving in the 18-yard box after he ran onto a ball and it was cleared. In the following minute, he took his second yellow, and an automatic red, for a high tackle near the sideline on Colorado captain Drew Moor.
In the 70th minute, Le Toux saw his shot hit ring off the crossbar after the ball hit a fallen Pickens and ricocheted upward. The chance came off a give-and-go between Le Toux and Alain Rochat.
Two minutes after Le Toux scored, Colorado came close to equalizing, but were denied as three factors worked in Vancouver's favour. First, Cannon got his hand on a Conor Casey shot from the right flank. Then with the goalkeeper out of position, Vancouver defender Martin Bonjor blocked an Edu shot. Then Rivero clunked the rebound off the crossbar.
Six minutes later, Colorado was unlucky again as Hunter Freeman curled a shot past Cannon from the corner of the 18 — only to see it hit the post.
The game was the first of three meetings between Vancouver and Colorado this season. Vancouver's next game is Wednesday at home against the New York Red Bulls.
Colorado hosts the San Jose Earthquakes the same night.
Notes: Mattocks will sit out an automatic one-game suspension for the red card Wednesday. ... Chiumiento received a rousing send-off as he subbed out in the 83rd minute. ... The Whitecaps have reinstated striker Long Tan, who was suspended indefinitely for complaining on Twitter about his lack of playing time. The suspension lasted a week. Tan, the first Chinese-born player to play in MLS, was not among 18 players dressed and watched the game in street clothes. ... Defender Michael Boxall has rejoined the Whitecaps after being away on international duty with his New Zealand squad. Boxall, a mainstay in 2011, has played sparingly this season and was not in the lineup against the Rapids. ... Cannon played 86 games for Colorado between 2003 and 2006, earning 25 shutouts and 2004 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year honours.