After another exhausting week of travel in which they flew down to Mexico for a CONCACAF Champions League game Wednesday before jetting up to Vancouver for Saturday’s match with the Whitecaps, the Colorado Rapids conjured up a sweet 2-1 win.
The result guarantees they will play at home for next week’s Wild Card match.
But it was no easy task.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Vancouver 1, Colorado 2
“It was a bloody hard fought game, and, once again, the lads have shown what resolve they have got,” head coach Gary Smith told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “I thought the back four did an excellent job today, especially the two full backs who played a full 90 midweek.”
The Rapids strikers have struggled to find the net this season. So the firepower had to come from somewhere else. The two goals on Saturday night came from Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson, both in the second half as the Rapids came back to get the win.
“There’s no doubt the forwards have been going through a bit of a sticky patch and, when that happens, you have to find the goals from somewhere else,” Smith said. “Once again, Jeff scored a very important goal.”
Larentowicz’s goal was his 7th of the season, making him the club's leading scorer, with one more than strikers Caleb Folan and Conor Casey. Thompson hit his 3rd of the year after coming on as a sub in the 70th minute. The midfielder’s shot appeared to deflect off the Vancouver defense and over Joe Cannon’s head in the Whitecaps goal.
“It may have been a bit fortuitous but he was there and he hit the target,” Smith said.
The Rapids will be hoping Omar Cummings will be available for the midweek play-in game after he hurt his ankle early. Smith said he expects the Jamaican to be available after suffering what he called a “mild ankle sprain.”
If the Rapids win the midweek game, they would then have another home game at the weekend as the first leg of the Conference Semifinals. Their opponent would be either the LA Galaxy or Sporting KC. Either way, Smith is just happy not to have to board another plane this week.
“It’s given us a little bit of an opportunity,” Smith said. “The travel that we don’t have to now undertake makes such a difference.”