The Vancouver Whitecaps jumped the final hurdle on Saturday night as they defeated the Colorado Rapids 1-0 and were rewarded with a spot in the 2014 MLS Playoffs. The night started off with a video montage celebrating the career of Jay DeMerit which got the packed stadium emotionally charged. This was followed by a moment of silence for Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent who both lost their lives last week in tragic incidents.
Things were a bit tense in the first 45 minutes as the home team failed to connect on simple passes and often resorted to long balls which the towering Rapid defence dealt with easily. A golden chance fell to the feet of Pedro Morales who sent his shot to the Dark side of the Moon. People nervously checked their phones to see how the Portland/Dallas game progressed. Come half time the announcer notified the crowd that Portland had won 2-0 in Dallas and as a result the Whitecaps would need to win if they were to qualify for the playoffs. Vancouver coach Carl Robinson was active early in the 2nd half as he subbed in Kekuta Manneh and the game was immediately changed. Soon after the Caps won a corner and at the other end of the pitch goalkeeper David Ousted pumped up the crowd and the whole stadium rose to their feet. Pedro Morales sent in a cross and Kendall Waston threw his giant frame at the ball redirecting the cross past Rapid goalie Clint Irwin. The crowd went crazy. There were a few scary moments for the Whitecaps but David Ousted was equal to the challenge and earned his 13th clean sheet of the season.
The Whitecaps will now face FC Dallas in the elimination game this Wednesday in Texas. The Whitecaps will be hard pressed to come away with the win against Dallas, a place they have never won, but they certainly have the momentum on their side. The Whitecaps have now gone 393 minutes without conceding a goal and finished the season with 4 wins and 1 draw in their last 5 games. No matter what happens in Dallas on Wednesday, Whitecaps and Carl Robinson can hold their heads high. They overcame their summer struggles, raced their expansion cousins for the playoffs, and won when it counted most.
(image courtesy of the Canadian Press)