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VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Whitecaps learned another hard lesson in their final exhibition game before the team begins its inaugural Major League Soccer season. Dustin Keller Jersey . The Whitecaps held their own for most of Saturdays match against the defending league champion Colorado Rapids. Vancouver missed on some early scoring chances, then a defensive break down late in the game resulted in Colorado scoring a 1-0 victory. "In the end we lost the game on a little mistake," said coach Teitur Thordarson. "Thats what we cant have at this level. "You get punished for that if you make mistakes." Midfielder Terry Dunfield, who missed on a great scoring chance in the second half, said the match was a snap shot of the Whitecaps exhibition season. "In games we have been good for 45 minutes," said Dunfield. "The game is 90 minutes and we have to see it right through." The game was Vancouvers only exhibition match at home. The Whitecaps will play their first MLS regular-season game next Saturday against Canadian rival Toronto FC. Thordarson said what hurt the Whitecaps most was failing to capitalize on their scoring chances. "We had some very big chances today," said Thordarson. "I feel we should have scored at least two goals and we didnt manage that. "If you dont manage to score those goals the risk is you get one behind." The Rapids used some solid ball movement to set up Jamie Smiths goal in the 79th minute. Midfielder Sanna Nyassi was the catalyst. He drove the ball past the Whitecaps defence, then sent a pretty pass back to Smith, who blasted a shot past goalkeeper Joe Cannon. The goal came after Thordarson had substituted Jeb Brovsky at left back for starter Alain Rochat. "We did a lot of changes in the last 25 minutes," said Thordarson. "That disrupted the shape a little bit. "We have a lot of good young players but they havent been on this level before. They need a bit of time to adjust." The loss dropped Vancouvers record to two wins, five losses and a draw in exhibition games against MLS opponents. Colorado is 3-2-1. The Rapids seemed to gain strength as the game progressed, moving the ball with short, crisp passes that kept the Whitecaps chasing. Vancouvers best scoring chance came in the 55th minute. Midfielder Russell Teibert carried the ball down the side, then sent a pass across the front of the net. A charging Dunfield had a gapping net but fired the ball high, over the crossbar. "I have to do better," said Dunfield. "Thats probably a game-changer if I score." Rochat made a pretty play in the 64th minute to keep the score 0-0. Colorados Brian Mullan pounced on a turnover and was heading toward the Whitecap net before Rochat slid at his feet and knocked the ball away. Striker Eric Hassli, who the Whitecaps recently signed as the teams first designated player, saw his first game action since arriving in Vancouver this week. The tall, wide-bodied Hassli, who played in the Swiss Super League the last 3 1/2 seasons, moved easily for a big man. Early in the first half he showed his pace and smooth touch. He easily stepped around a Colorado defender, then fired a hard shot that just went wide. "I felt good with a new team," Hassli said, who played the first half. "I will be ready for next week." The Whitecaps started mostly the same lineup they will use in the season opener. Captain Jay DeMerit sat out with a nagging groin injury while midfielder/forward Davide Chiumiento is still nursing a sore ankle. Thordarson expects DeMerit to be ready for next weeks game. Cannon replaced starting goalkeeper Jay Nolly to start the second half. He was tested early, diving to the ground to stop a blast from Colorado forward Omar Cummings. An invitation only crowd of around 2,000 watched the match on a cold afternoon
 
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