VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – Camilo Sanvezzo scored three times to give him an MLS-best 22 goals, and the Vancouver Whitecaps closed out their season with a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Sunday night.
It was a bittersweet finale for Sanvezzo and the Whitecaps (13-12-9), who were eliminated from postseason contention when they lost 3-2 at Colorado (14-11-9) on Oct. 19. Last season, the Whitecaps became the first Canadian team to make the MLS playoffs.
The Rapids will visit Seattle in the play-in round on Wednesday, with the winner getting Portland in the conference semifinals.
Sanvezzo stepped up to the penalty spot in the 43rd minute after Kekuta Manneh was brought down in the area and blasted a shot past Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin.
The Brazilian forward then danced around a Rapids defender in the 74th minute to tie Mike Magee of the Chicago Fire for the MLS lead in goals. That strike gave Sanvezzo the league’s Golden Boot award because he has more assists than Magee.
The 25-year-old Sanvezzo completed the hat trick in the 85th minute after taking a through ball and one-touching a shot past a helpless Irwin. Sanvezzo took off his jersey to celebrate.
After his first goal, Sanvezzo presented the ball to veteran Whitecaps defender Young-Pyo Lee. The match at B.C. Place Stadium marked the final game for the 36-year-old South Korean, who participated in three World Cups and had a long club career in Asia and Europe before joining Vancouver in 2011.
Lee was removed in stoppage time to a rousing ovation from fans and other players.
Vancouver defender Sam Adekugbe, 18, made the first professional start and saved a goal by clearing the ball away from Edson Buddle after a stop by Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted.
The Rapids’ best chance of the first half came in the 30th minute when Gabriel Torres, who scored twice against the Whitecaps last weekend, fired a shot that Ousted pushed to his right. The ball fell into the path of an onrushing Colorado player, but defender Brad Rusin and Ousted combined to keep the ball out.
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