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May 16, 2024 12:05 am

Rapids eke out win over 10-man Whitecaps

Rapids, Whitecaps

Rafael Navarro scored from the penalty spot just before halftime as the Colorado Rapids defeated the 10-man Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 on Wednesday night in Commerce City, Colo.

Zack Steffen made two saves to keep his third clean sheet for Colorado (6-4-3, 21 points) and a first at home.

The win was soured when Colorado team assist leader Djordje Mihailovic departed midway through the second half with an apparent foot injury.

Vancouver’s Bjorn Inge Utvik was sent off on the play that led to Navarro’s goal, a handball offense that denied Mihailovic’s goal-bound shot. Utvik’s exit doomed the Whitecaps to a third consecutive scoreless performance.

Vancouver (5-4-3, 18 points) did well to remain close in the second half and limited the Rapids to only four total shots on goal, including the penalty kick.

However, Colorado was ultimately the more dangerous team with a 17-8 lead in shots, most of those coming during the second half.

Utvik originally appeared to have made a sliding goal line denial of Mihailovic’s effort. However, after a replay review, referee Alexis Da Silva ruled that the ball had struck Utvik’s arm in an unnatural position that made his body larger.

Da Silva pointed to the spot and had no choice but to send Utvik off. While players who deny obvious goal scoring opportunities can avoid a red card on a penalty kick foul if they are trying to play the ball, there is no such allowance for denial via a handball.

Navarro converted, kicking off an extended stretch of numerical and possession advantage for the Rapids.

Colorado, though, only rarely came truly close to adding a second goal. The best chance came in the 87th minute, when Vancouver defender Ryan Raposo headed Jonathan Lewis’ chip off the line after Lewis beat goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka (two saves).

Before that, Mihailovic appeared to hurt himself on a foray forward for the hosts in the 68th minute, grabbing at his Achilles area before he was removed in the 72nd minute.

Brian White had a rare chance for Vancouver in the 75th minute, but he sent his effort well high of Steffen’s goal.

–Field Level Media

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