VANCOUVER – The Colorado Rapids may have kept the pressure on in the race for the Supporters' Shield after an entertaining 3-3 draw at the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, but they'll look at the match as two vital points thrown away after giving up the lead three times to a 10-man 'Caps side.
Colorado were never behind in the match, but couldn't put away a dogged Vancouver side that were fighting for their own playoff lives.
The Whitecaps snatched a share of points when Erik Hurtado bundled the ball home deep into stoppage time, and it could prove to be a pair of massive points lost come the end of the season, a fact which left Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni fuming.
"I don’t think it was entertaining at all," a clearly furious Mastroeni told reporters after the match. "I think we dropped two points. I think we had this game under control. Unfortunately, one of the things we take most pride in is defense, it let us down today.”
"I think it just leaves a sour taste in your mouth as you prepare for the game against Portland next week."
The Rapids looked in control, and uncharacteristically for the league's leading defense (their 27 goals conceded are still lowest in MLS), they were punished by a fast and attack-minded Whitecaps side who didn't give up until the final whistle.
"It’s definitely been the toughest result we’ve taken all year," added Mastroeni. "I think we played some fantastic stuff tonight, we really did, and I think coming to a place that’s very difficult to play. [Two-goal scorer Shkelzen] Gashi was fantastic, we had some good attacking play today, but the one thing that we pride ourselves in is being difficult to play against, and tonight, against 10 men, we were poor."
The point moves Colorado up to second place in the Western Conference ahead of the rest of Sunday's action, within four points of FC Dallas in the Supporters' Shield standings. But that was the last thing on Mastroeni's mind after his side's defensive lapses.
"The only way to get to the Supporters' Shield is to play every game," mused Mastroeni. "So preparation starts today for Portland, and that’s where you go. You can’t jump to the end of the season, we’ve got to play every single game.
"You’ve got to try to maximize points in every single game. So now, it’s not about looking ahead, it’s about doing the job that’s at hand, and tomorrow we start preparations for Portland."