ANALYSIS- The Vancouver Whitecaps continued their unbeaten streak to seven matches in MLS, but could only muster a draw in Saturday’s frustrating match against Colorado. Meanwhile, the Rapids continue their unbeaten run to six with this valuable away point. With no goals but plenty of action, here are LWOS’ three takeaways from the Whitecaps vs Rapids.
Honors Even At BC Place: Three Takeaways From Whitecaps vs Rapids
#1 End Product Woes For ‘Caps
The Whitecaps did well in possession for the majority of the match, clocking in 62% possession to Colorado’s 38%, outpassing them by 521 passes to 309. And while the Whitecaps created plenty of chances, their end product was characteristically poor once again. The ‘Caps recorded 21 shots in the game, with 14 coming inside the box, and 5 of them hitting the target. William Yarbrough was super once again for the Rapids in net, making three crucial saves in the match, including one shot from Brian White that he tipped onto the crossbar.
The lack of ruthlessness in front of the net continues to haunt the Whitecaps, as they sit fifth in expected goals (xG) with 15.4 in the league and fourth in big chances created with 17, but sit 17th in goals per match with 1.2. Much of that falls to the hapless streak of Brian White. White has the second-highest xG in the league with 4.7 but only has two goals to show for it. In comparison, only Jordan Morris of Seattle sits ahead of him in the xG charts with 5.3 and he has 8 goals this season.
And while Becher has come in clutch with his own pair of goals, many fans will be hoping that DP signing Sergio Cordova will be able to bring those goals that the Whitecaps so desperately need this season, and quick.
Here's your weekly reminder that #VWFC striker Brian White is second overall in #MLS xG!
(and, yeah, 32nd in goals scored.) https://t.co/A1O2TLQ5Py
— J.J. Adams (@TheRealJJAdams) April 30, 2023
#2 Rapids Stubborn Defense Holds Firm
The Colorado Rapids continued their strong showing after a slow start with this match, especially in their defense. Colorado’s plan was clear from the off. Sit back in their back-five (that turned into a back-seven with the two centre-midfielders sitting extremely deep), fend off the attacks from the Whitecaps, and hit on the break to nick a goal. What many people did not expect was how resolute they would be in enacting that plan.
The Rapids racked up the numbers in their defensive actions. They made nine interceptions, six blocks, and an incredible 27 clearences, which must be a league-high for this season. Add to that Yarborough’s five saves, of which three were sure-fire goals had they not been saved, and you have surely one of Colorado’s best defensive performances of the year. The fact that they almost got the victory after winning a penalty half-way through the second half, only for ‘Caps keep Takaoka to come up big and deny Diego Rubio, shows how effective Rapids head coach Robin Fraser game-plan was in the end.
Rapid fans will hope that they can continue this strong showing next week against a tumultous LA Galaxy, and perhaps get their second road win of the season.
HISTORIC YARBROUGH ‼️
Last night, William Yarbough etched his name in the Rapids' history books for the most shutouts in club history ✍️#Rapids96 pic.twitter.com/ZwqubdtoKB
— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) April 30, 2023
#3 Takaoka Signing Of The Season?
The hero of the match was surely the Whitecaps ‘keeper Yohei Takaoka, who saved the crucial penalty in the 80th minute to deny Colorado the unlikeliest of victories at BC Place. While that penalty save was only his second save of the game, since Colorado only managed to threaten his goal on few occasions, it was ultimately the difference between the draw and defeat. And that hasn’t been his only big save of the season.
He has already prevented 2.76 goals this season, meaning that he stopped almost three goals that should have gone in given the quality of the shots. Takaoka, alongside his defense, has also kept a clean sheet for 410 minutes of MLS play, last conceding against Minnesota United on March 25th. While the defense of Tristan Blackmon and Ranko Veselinovic have certainly played an important part in that record, with the former pulling out some incredible tackles against Colorado, Takaoka has been critical for the Whitecaps’ strong defensive showing.
He has made 25 saves in 810 minutes, meaning he makes a save on average every 32.4 minutes. Given that goalkeeper woes were a big issue last year for the Whitecaps, Takaoka’s form has certainly put him in prime position to be their signing of the season so far. Now Whitecaps will hope to break their best ever shutout record next week against Minnesota United at home once again.
Yohei heroics help the ‘Caps hold the longest MLS shutout streak of the season @yohei_takaoka41 👊#VWFC | #RemaxMove pic.twitter.com/zPn00LzKHd
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) April 30, 2023
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports, of the Yohei Takoaka Headshot on April 29, 2023.