VANCOUVER, B.C. – A late Sebastien Le Toux goal gave the Vancouver Whitecaps an unlikely 1-0 win over the visiting Colorado Rapids after Darren Mattocks saw red for picking up two yellow cards within the 59th and 60th minutes.
The sending off seemed to invigorate the Whitecaps and give them extra motivation to attack despite being down a man for half an hour.
“We could have easily taken the excuse that was given to us by the decisions that were made but we chose not to,” head coach Martin Rennie told reporters following the match. “The players responded to that. We want to give the fans a lot of value for the money they spend on their tickets and we want to win every game. Tonight we managed to pull it off which we’re really pleased about.”
If full value was the aim, then full value must have been what the fans got in terms of entertainment, especially during a ping-pong final 10 minutes when Le Toux scored the winner before Colorado replied with shots off the post, crossbar and nearly bagged a goal from Edu but for a wonder-block from centre back Martin Bonjour.
To top it all off, Le Toux nearly got a second in stoppage time and would have done so but for a fantastic save from Matt Pickens who on any other night might have been a sure shot for man of the match himself.
“Fantastic block from Martin, then for [Martin Rivero] to hit the crossbar after that – and then the last one where [Hunter Freeman] tried to bend it in the far post – that was like slow motion,” John Thorrington told Goal.com after the match. “Joe [Cannon] made some good saves, defenders were fantastic, midfielders worked really hard, strikers helped close down – it was a true team performance and I think we got rewarded for a lot of hard work.
“Not just hard work that we put in today, but a lot of hard work we put in in training to give us the physical capacity to do that – it bears fruit on a day like this.”
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The goal helped Le Toux put a seven-game goalless streak behind him, after his last league goal came on April 18 in a 3-1 defeat to Sporting Kansas City.
“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.”
Vancouver don’t have long to rest – they’ll be back on the field at BC Place on Wednesday as they face the New York Red Bulls, but their opponents will be missing Designated Players Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez due to injury.