VANCOUVER, B.C. — There’s something about Arbutus Brown.
Sporting their new third kit for the first time, the Vancouver Whitecaps seemed to channel the spiritual powers of the Pacific Northwest to pull out an unlikely 1-0 win against the Colorado Rapids at BC Place on Saturday, even after being reduced to 10 men.
During a frantic final ten minutes, Sebastien Le Toux scored the winner while the Rapids countered with a shot off a post and a crossbar, and a last-ditch block from central defender Martin Bonjour to prevent what looked a certain goal.
“I saw it hit the crossbar and I couldn’t believe that happened,” Joe Cannon told reporters following the match.
GOAL: Le Toux buries late winner
“But when the guy chipped it far post I remember it hitting the far post, and I was so thankful – the powers above were helping us out tonight.”
Call it a guiding hand or simply fortune, it was one of those games where it all seemed to bounce the way of the ‘Caps. But the win didn’t come without its challenges, as Vancouver were forced to play down a man for the final half an hour when Darren Mattocks was sent off for picking up two yellow cards around the 60 minute mark, first for a dive and then for a foul on Rapids defender Drew Moor.
“It was a big turning point when Darren went down in the box, and we had a chance to score – but the referee pulled the play back and gave a yellow card,” head coach Martin Rennie said. “A little bit harsh, and then almost immediately right after it he gets a second yellow. It put us in a position where we had any excuse we wanted to lose the game, and I think a lot of teams will take that excuse all day and accept a hard-fought, blame the referee, 1-0 defeat.
“But the players on our team showed a lot of character, incredible work rate and a desire to come out with something better than that.”
The game-winning goal from Le Toux broke a seven-game scoreless drought for the Frenchman, so the winner didn’t need any sort of extra sweetener.
“For a while it can be in your head,” Le Toux said. “For a long time I didn’t score. It was great for me, great for my confidence and great for the team to get another win tonight, especially against Colorado – a big rival in our league and our conference.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.