Vancouver Whitecaps 2, Colorado Rapids 2 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
The MLS-leading Colorado Rapids were outnumbered, trailing and out of time, seconds away from their first league loss since April 9.
But center back Axel Sjoberg popped up to play the hero's role with a last-gasp header that seized a hard-earned 2-2 road draw vs. the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place on Saturday night, overcoming a second-half red card to Eric Miller and cancelling out Cristian Techera's late penalty kick.
Hungry for a win after their discouraging midweek loss to LA, the Whitecaps bolted out of the gates in a new-look 4-4-2 lineup and took an early lead via Kendall Waston's glancing header. The resilient Rapids were marginally the better side after that, however, and leveled on a well-constructed team goal finished by Kevin Doyle on the hour mark.
Miller's rash challenge gave his teammates a mountain to climb. But just when Techera's PK seemed to have decided the occasion, Doyle and Sjoberg linked up deep in injury time, stunning the home crowd and keeping Colorado on their Supporters' Shield pace.
- 10’ – VAN – Kendall Waston (Christian Bolaños, Pedro Morales)
- 59’ – COL – Kevin Doyle (Shkelzen Gashi, Marco Pappa)
- 87' – VAN – Cristian Techera
- 90'+5’ – COL – Axel Sjoberg (Kevin Doyle)
- Full box score
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1. RELENTLESS RAPIDS: Once again, Pablo Mastroeni's side found a way not to lose, even when so much went against them – especially the late PK call that left Mastroeni enraged. It continues a remarkable campaign for the Mile High Club. Colorado are rarely spectacular, but always competitive, carrying an impressively dogged mentality despite limited time together as a group.
2. BC PLACE TRIAGE UNIT: Injuries were an unpleasant sidenote of this match. Kekuta Manneh limped off in the first half with a foot issue, and both Pedro Morales and Blas Perez were taken off as precautionary measures after sustaining knocks of their own. On the other side, Colorado played it safe with Jermaine Jones, who was on the 18-man gameday roster but not in contention to play this one; Mastroeni called him a day-to-day situation in his postgame remarks.
3. GKs BATTLE: A case could be made that Tim Howard and David Ousted are the top two goalkeepers in MLS, and even this four-goal game would make for compelling evidence. The duo combined for 11 saves, several of them spectacular, with Howard's goal-line kick save on Christian Bolaños perhaps the pick of a strong litter.