"That unfortunate feeling" puts paid to COL playoff hopes

The good news for the Colorado Rapids from Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Vancouver was it snapped a franchise record-tying nine-game road losing streak. Jamie Smith’s 86th minute equalizer allowed Colorado to collect their first road point since a May 6 win at FC Dallas.

The bad news is the Rapids could – and likely should – have walked away from BC Place with a full three points.

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Two key chances on either side of halftime prevented the Rapids from increasing what was a 1-0 lead, and ultimately, it cost them the advantage and blew a chance to move back onto the fringe of the playoff picture.

“To be quite honest, I feel that unfortunate feeling again, not getting the three points. Saying that we’re happy to walk away with a point is very difficult,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said postgame. “We’re the best team on the field all game, then in key points we lose concentration, but we had options to put them away in the first half, then again in the second half, we had a couple options to walk away with the three points.”

Those two glorious opportunities were the options Pareja was referring to. In the 45th minute, just before the half, Jaime Castrillon’s powerful header was spectacularly saved by Whitecaps keeper Brad Knighton, who pushed it just over the bar.

“It was a good chance, it was a good center from Martin [Rivero], and it was a great save,” Castrillion said post-game. “We played well. We had lots of chances to score more.”

Just after the half, Rapids striker Conor Casey set up midfielder Jeff Larentowicz for an open look from the top of the penalty box, only for Larentowicz to drill his attempt well wide of net.

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Larentowicz put his head in his arms immediately after the missed shot, knowing the chance could have made the difference between the Rapids simply splitting points or walking away victors. Sure enough, a quarter of an hour later, Alain Rochat equalized for the Whitecaps, and Kenny Miller put Vancouver ahead four minutes later, requiring Smith’s late heroics just to grab a point.

“I think there are many games in the season where we score the [first] goal, and then we create the chances to put the game away, and we always talk about [that] killer instinct, and tonight, we didn’t do it,” Pareja said.

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.