Yordy Reyna scored the winner and set up another as the Vancouver Whitecaps defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-1 on Saturday night.
Fredy Montero also had a goal and an assist for Vancouver (14-9-6), which moved four points clear atop Major League Soccer’s Western Conference and stretched its unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-2).
Dominique Badji replied for last-place Colorado (7-17-5).
The Whitecaps now have 48 points on the year, while the Portland Timbers, Sporting Kansas City and the Seattle Sounders are tied for second. Seattle lost 2-0 at Real Salt Lake on Saturday, but Portland and Kansas City are both in action at home on Sunday.
Reyna continues strong form
After the Rapids got an equalizer that made it 1-1 just before halftime on a sloppy sequence that will disappoint Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson, Montero chipped a pass over the top and into Reyna’s path in the 54th minute.
The lightning-quick Peruvian left Rapids defender Axel Sjoberg in his wake and beat goalkeeper Tim Howard, who was slow to react off his line, to the loose ball before burying his fifth goal in just 14 games.
Reyna missed the first half of the season with a broken foot, but now has three goals in Vancouver’s last four games.
With nothing to play for but pride, Colorado pushed forward and forced a good save out of Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted in the 67th minute when Micheal Azira tried his luck from just outside the penalty area.
But that would be as close as the Rapids would come as Vancouver improved to 8-2-3 over its last 13 games.
Montero opened the scoring in the fourth minute with his 13th goal off a lethal delivery from Reyna. After the Rapids could only partially clear a Vancouver free kick, the ball found its way back to Reyna on the left, and he dropped a perfect cross from between two defenders and onto the Colombian striker’s head.
The Whitecaps, who face a difficult week ahead with games at Seattle on Wednesday and then at Kansas City next Saturday, had a couple of chances to stretch that early advantage, but couldn’t find the range in front of Howard.
The Rapids made the hosts pay for their waste just before halftime when Badji jumped on a miscue in Vancouver’s penalty area. Whitecaps defender Tim Parker was slow to clear a cross from the left that bounced in front of goal, leaving Badji an opening to poke home his ninth past a surprised David Ousted to take the air out of B.C. Place Stadium in the 45th minute.
Montero had a chance in the 50th minute after Cristian Techera played a ball in from the right, but he ran out of real estate in front of Howard before Reyna got his breakthrough moments later.