After going six games without a win, the Colorado Rapids had absolutely no margin for error against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.
Things got even worse when, after just nine minutes, Brian White put the 'Caps into a 1-0 lead. With fragile confidence and their MLS Cup Playoffs hopes draining away, the Rapids could have easily thrown in the towel at that point.
But fast-forward to half-time and the Rapids had taken a 2-1 lead through Gyasi Zardes and Diego Rubio, while Jonathan Lewis put the result beyond doubt late into the second half.
Colorado are still seven points adrift of the top seven in the Western Conference. However, they've ended the slump and proven to head coach Robin Fraser that they have the mental fortitude to at least give themselves a shot.
"The engagement from start to finish I thought was excellent, and as a result, even when we gave up a soft goal against the run of play, it didn’t change anything," Fraser said after Saturday's match.
"I felt like the guys’ mentality was really good from the beginning and as I look at the result tonight, I think that that’s a big reason as to why we won, is that I thought their mentality was excellent from the beginning and very focused and very engaged. That’s really all we can do at this point, try to take care of what we can control, and the only thing we can control are our games.”
The Rapids were helped by the return of club captain Jack Price, who missed that six-game winless run due to a chest injury.
Price came off the bench in the second half and provided the assist for Lewis' clinching goal. The Englishman echoed Fraser's sentiment, praising the mentality of his teammates and refusing to give up on making the Playoffs just yet.
"I felt like that was more of us, what we’re used to, especially here at home," said Price. "Going a goal down, it wasn't easy to rally and get back in front. I thought all the lads did a great job before I came on and after that, once we got the second, we could have had three or four.
"I thought we should have probably killed them off a bit earlier, but then obviously we get the third goal and I thought it was pretty good. The game management was good. We controlled it side-to-side. I still think we could have been a bit better at times instead of trying to go for that fourth, but no, happy, happy. Really proud of the boys tonight and you know it was a big win and we're still in touching distance.”
Up next for the Rapids is a home clash against the San Jose Earthquakes.
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