VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Vancouver Whitecaps' Jekyll-and-Hyde season continued at BC Place on Saturday night, as the 'Caps gave up the lead twice against the high flying Colorado Rapids in a 2-2 draw that went right down to the wire.
It's hard to know what kind of performance to expect from the Whitecaps this season and after taking an early lead through a 10th-minute Kendall Waston header, Vancouver were outplayed and out-possessed for large patches of the match.
Cristian Techera looked to have snatched the points for Vancouver with a penalty kick three minutes from time, but the 10-man Rapids grabbed a point at the death with Axel Sjoberg's header five minutes into stoppage time.
"I don't think we deserved to win the game, if I'm being honest," Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson told reporters after the match. "Colorado deserve the credit the way it panned out. With us conceding in the last minute, it's disappointing, but it was probably a fair result."
The late equalizer was a killer for Vancouver and brought back a horrible case of deja vu after losing the Canadian Championship to a 94th-minute Toronto goal last month. Sjoberg's header came a minute later than that.
The whole nature of the goal and the throwing away of what could be two crucial points frustrated Robinson.
"We've just got to cut out the errors," Robinson said. "Football lasts for 90 plus minutes. In the last two [home] games we've been bitten on the backside a little bit by conceding in the last minute. Until the whistle blows you've got to keep your concentration levels.
"The final goal, the second goal for them, is a disappointing one for us because I think we can stop it at source and we haven't done our little jobs that we usually do very well, well enough, and it comes back to bite you."
Late heartbreakers aside, it's the amount of goals Vancouver are conceding that has proved alarming for Robinson this year. Last season's league-leading defensive unit have conceded the most goals in all of MLS this year, averaging 1.74 goals against per game.
"It's not great," he admitted. "You're not going to win enough games of football if you're conceding two, because you're going to need to score three every time. Sometimes we do look like we can score three but other games we don't, as we showed on Monday night against LA.
"We need to be tighter, but defending starts from the front and attacking starts from the back. It's a collective effort. Individually we need to be better, collectively we need to be better, but we need to stop conceding two goal."
Adding to Vancouver's misery was a first-half injury to their influential winger Kekuta Manneh.
All eyes were on Manneh to see how he responded after being dropped against LA on Monday. But the Gambian limped off two minutes before half time with a right ankle strain and left the stadium on crutches and in a walking boot.
"I don't know for certain," Robinson said of Manneh's injury, "but I don't think it's very good."