The good news was the Vancouver Whitecaps won. The bad news was they didn’t play very well. However, a win is a win. In sports, sometimes you win ugly. Would you rather lose a game where you played well or win a game where you didn’t play well. If you don’t answer the latter, I don’t know what to tell you.

What we learned

The first half…was…uhh…a half.

It was lacklustre and that was for both the Whitecaps and the Rapids. It was the type of half that makes you want a get a stick and point it and say: “‘C’mon do something.” Yeah, it was that dreadful.

Colorado had the bulk of possession for the first ten minutes but the Whitecaps grew into the game. Once again, Vancouver was looking for the perfect play. There were a lot of passes but hardly any shots. There were five attempts but one was on target and that was when Brian White’s header went straight at Zack Steffen.

Luis Martins made the cross. He was a bright spot in the half as his passes and crosses were dangerous. However, the box was so empty that a Dragon Ball Z fight could happen there.

It also didn’t help that White was on an island. Not Treasure Island, or The Island of Sodor or The Island of Misfit toys, he was on Isolation Island. That’s an island that isn’t ideal for strikers. However, White had a few chances but again, couldn’t convert. He hasn’t scored since April 27 against the New York Red Bulls.

Fortunately for the Whitecaps, the Rapids weren’t creating any chances despite some poor decision-making from Mathias Laborda. It looked like Laborda was guilty of giving away a penalty late in the half but VAR ruled it out since Kevin Cabral practically fell on his own. Cabral wasn’t Rollo Tomassi, he couldn’t get away with everything.

Yohei Takaoka decided to show off his fancy footwork and if he messed this up, he would’ve made the fails of the week.

Also, I have not heard or read the expression “And I-Oop” in years.

The Whitecaps needed more than just a shock. They needed to be struck by lightning.

Lightning did strike. Sebastian Berhalter brought the thunder with a perfect redirection from Gauld’s pass.

But unfortunately, the lead was shortlived as Omir Fernandez found Djorde Mihailovic in the box. The Whitecaps defenders disappeared like they were snapped from existence.

Vancouver looked better than in the second half. They were moving the ball swiftly and had some good looks in the box. However, after the 70th minute, they looked lacklustre again. There were turnovers, and bad touches and the Rapids got some good chances. Fortunately, Takaoka made the saves or they shot it over the bar.

It is also worth mentioning that Giuseppe Bovalina deserves credit for his goalline clearance around in the 85th minute after Fernandez’s curling shot hit the post. The ball was inches from rolling in. The Whitecaps nearly went overboard into dark and stormy waters. Bovalina pulled them back on the ship before they could fall over. This happened about three minutes after he came in for Ali Ahmed.

Speaking of substitutions, Damir Kreilach was back in action after missing the past few weeks with an ankle injury. Release the Kreilach as Michael McColl from AFTN put it. He was released and sunk the Rapids with the slowest game-winning goal you’ll ever see. You know how in sports movies the winning goal is often seen in slow motion with dramatic music? That is what it felt like watching that.

The Whitecaps did not play well but they will take it. It was a game that showed the flaws of the team but in the end, it didn’t even matter, they won. They also won at home for the first time since the April 6 demolition of Toronto FC. Waiting for the Whitecaps to win at home felt just as long as waiting for Bring Me The Horizon to finally drop Post Human: NeX GEn which they did last week.

It wasn’t pretty but they really needed these three points heading into the international break.

Stat of the match

Gauld’s two assists put him at 11 goal contributions in his last 13 games. The Gauldfather is cooking.

What was said

Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini spoke about what changed in the second half.

“We tactically changed the team defensively, not offensively, but defensively we changed,” he said. We went with Gauld as a number 10 and two strikers and we were trying to do two things. First of all, having more quality in the build-up. I thought that we were too scared with our players, especially our defenders, to go forward. No one was dribbling the ball forward [and] no one was playing the ball to the midfielder. Andres (Cubas) was a little tired…so he couldn’t do the work he does every time moving right and left and be an option every time the ball was going to the wide player…so I said OK, let’s try to change a little. We put a bit more quality with Ryan in the middle and putting Luís as a left-center back to move the ball.”

“Unfortunately, we conceded immediately. But I think until minute 65, we were a little bit too far apart and it was very hard to find a way to do something. and I’m really happy that we got these three points because.. they give us more clarity in what we need to work on.”

“I’m happy to be back,” said Kreilach. “It’s been, for me personally, a long three and a half weeks. But I was so happy to join the team… to help them off and on the field. I always say it’s not about one guy it is about all of the group. I think we’ve done a great job tonight to get these three points before the international break. At the end of the day, to climb the table and because any three points give us the confidence to go forward.”

“In two weeks no one is going to ask, did you guys play nice soccer or did you guys didn’t?” said Kreilach on the game. “At the end of the day it counts only three points and sometimes you as a team you have to realize what it is all about and it’s all about getting the three points to move on.”

“Obviously there were a few tactical tweaks but it all came down to everyone coming together to make sure the [winless] run came to an end and make sure that we pick up points before the little period off we have,” said Gauld. “You can see what it means to us to score the winner.”

Best of Twitter

Best my goodness what an idea, why didn’t I think of that before?

Again, it is hard to create chances from wide areas when there is no one in the box. Having one player in the box helps, but the more the merrier! The Whitecaps do need more than just Brian White in the box. They have been too reliant on him to score headers.

Best try to stay awake challenge (hard)

This especially describes the first half. Other than the goals, this game lacked the energy.

Best Nostradamus

I hope there was something wagered on this bet. I also hope these two enjoyed some drinks or something after the game.

Best Davies Impression

Ahmed hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been great either. He hasn’t been in the same form as last season. One thing I talked about with my Area 51 Whitecaps partner Nathan Durec and Simon Fudge of Soccer Talk Van was that Ahmed looks hesitant to take on a defender on a one-on-one and tends to overthink. Why? We’re not sure. Maybe it’s a confidence thing? Who knows. Ahmed has proven he is great at one-on-ones in the past. Hopefully, the break will be a good reset for him.


The Whitecaps have two weeks off as mentioned. Vancouver plays the New England Revolution on Saturday, June 15. (Wait, a Vancouver team playing a Boston team on June 15? Wait a minute…oh no…) Kickoff is at 4:30 pm.

This win over the Rapids and Wednesday’s win over Sporting Kansas City were great confident boosters for them heading into the break. There is still a long way to go and hopefully, they’ll come out fresh after the break.