Preview: Colorado vs Vancouver, July 4, 2012

Rapids are 11-2-3 all-time at home on the 4th of July

COLORADO RAPIDS vs VANCOUVER WHITECAPS
DICK'S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
July 4, 2012 (WEEK 18, MLS Game #160)
7:30 pm MT (Altitude; FM 93.7, AM 1510; FM 87.7)

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The Colorado Rapids host their annual Independence Day extravanganza, with Vancouver Whitecaps FC providing the opposition as the clubs face off Wednesday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids rebounded from back-to-back losses last weekend, rolling to a 3-0 home win against the Portland Timbers. Whitecaps FC continue their long road spell, returning to action after a 3-0 loss at the LA Galaxy two weekends ago.

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REFEREE: David Gantar. SAR (bench): C.J. Morgante; JAR (opposite): Eric Boria; 4th: Daniel Radford

Gantar's MLS Career: 9 games; FC/gm: 27.0; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 6; pens: 1

INJURY REPORT: COLORADO RAPIDS: OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); PROBABLE: DF Kosuke Kimura (L foot contusion), MF Jamie Smith (R ACL tear); FW Conor Casey (R hamstring strain); DF Marvell Wynne (R hamstring strain); FW Omar Cummings (L ankle sprain) ... VANCOUVER WHITECAPS: OUT: FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery recovery); FW Omar Salgado (R foot fracture); GK Brian Sylvestre (R knee surgery recovery); MF John Thorrington (R quad strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Matt Watson (R ankle sprain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: VAN -- Jun Marques Davidson (caution accumulation; through July 4)

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: COL: Jeff Larentowicz ... VAN: Eric Hassli, Darren Mattocks

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Jaime Castrillon, Tyrone Marshall ... VAN: Martin Bonjour, Gershon Koffie

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Rapids 2 wins, 4 goals ... Whitecaps 1 win, 3 goals ... Ties 0

AT COLORADO (1 meeting): Rapids 1 win, 2 goals ... Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 1 goal ...Ties 0

FUTURE MATCH: 9/23: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Colorado Rapids, 4:30 p.m. PT

  • The teams are meeting for the second time in just a few weeks. Sebastien Le Toux scored the game’s lone goal in the 80th minute for a Whitecaps FC victory June 16 at BC Place.
  • The Rapids won both meetings in Vancouver’s inaugural season, winning 2-1 both at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and at BC Place.
  • Coaches record: Martin Rennie vs. COL: P1 W1 L0 T0 ... Oscar Pareja vs. VAN: P1 W0 L1 T0

LAST MEETING (MLS) 6/16: VAN 1, COL 0 (Le Toux 80)

  • Vancouver played the last half an hour down a man after a double booking for Darren Mattocks within a minute, the first one of which was for simulation, with the second for a late tackle on Drew Moor.
  • But Whitecaps FC took the lead in the 80th minute, when Sebastien Le Toux got on the end of a wonderful crossfield ball from Davide Chiumiento to volley home and give the short-handed home side the only goal they would need.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-3-3): Joe Cannon - Lee Young-Pyo, Jay DeMerit, Martin Bonjour, Alain Rochat - Gershon Koffie, Jun Marques Davidson, John Thorrington (Eric Hassli 86) - Sebastien Le Toux, Darren Mattocks (sent off 60), Davide Chiumiento (Jordan Harvey 83).
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura (Conor Casey 72), Drew Moor, Scott Palguta, Hunter Freeman - Brian Mullan, Jeff Larentowicz, Martin Rivero, Jaime Castrillon - Edu, Tony Cascio (Kamani Hill 76).

COLORADO RAPIDS

The Colorado Rapids put an end to their two-game losing streak in emphatic fashion, strolling to a 3-0 win against the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are in fifth place in the Western Conference with 22 points from 16 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Right back Hunter Freeman pushed up the flank and found an open Jaime Castrillón in the center of the penalty area for a crisp redirect tap-in from his low cross.
  • Five minutes later, Brian Mullan’s pinpoint service found Conor Casey sandwiched between two Timbers defenders, and the Rapids striker found just enough room to head into the roof of the goal.
  • Colorado sealed the match in the last minute following substitute Tony Cascio’s run and centering pass for Jamie Smith, who easily tapped in from close range.
  • Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made one change to the side that suffered a 2-1 defeat by the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Omar Cummings returned to the lineup for Edu.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Hunter Freeman, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Luis Zapata - Martin Rivero, Jeff Larentowicz, Jaime Castrillon (Wells Thompson 80), Brian Mullan - Omar Cummings (Tony Cascio 74), Conor Casey (Jamie Smith 73).

TEAM NEWS

  • The win snapped the Rapids’ losing skid. They have not won back-to-back games since winning the opening two games of the season.
  • “The sensation when you score three goals at home and then you see players come in like Conor [Casey], like Jamie Smith and Omar [Cummings], you may rate it as one of the best games. And obviously we as a coaching staff, our job sometimes is not to see all those positive things, but see where we can get better,” said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja. “Certainly today was a magic night.”
  • For the first time since last July 16, Casey and Cummings started together as the strike partnership. A year ago, the duo started just four games together.
  • “They're getting there. Omar, I thought, was great tonight. He's still carrying a little bit of pain, and you can tell sometimes he doesn't feel 100%, but he came in and did the job,” said Pareja. “Same with Conor. Conor is getting the timing with all the players. Conor has not played much with a couple of guys that came this year. So all those things make me think there is a lot of room to keep growing.”
  • Casey scored his first goal of the season, his first last July 9. He was making his fourth start of the season.
  • "It feels awesome. It’s been a long time coming. When you get injured like that, you’re never sure if you’re going to get back, so it feels really good to get the win and a goal, at home," Casey said.
  • To include Casey and Cummings in the lineup, Pareja returned to a 4-4-2 scheme, with Martín Rivero pushed wide on the right.
  • “That was the idea, to win the midfield. In the previous games, perhaps we didn't do that, but today we did so very well. The entire first half, we had the ball all the time and fortunately the goals came quickly,” said Rivero. “I think in the game was decided in the first half, they laid off a lot, and we dominated practically the entire game.”
  • Jamie Smith celebrated his first league appearance since tearing a knee ligament in a playoff game last November, capping the win with his first goal this season. It was his first goal since May 4 of last year.
  • “Obviously I was excited about getting involved," Smith said. “Just to go on the field in any form was great. I enjoyed being back involved, and scoring a goal was great. ... It was actually harder to miss it than to score. I just had to get some part of my body in front of it. I was a good ball from Martin (Rivero) and great work from Tony (Cascio).”
  • Right back Hunter Freeman has recorded assists in back-to-back games after setting up the opener vs. Portland, his sixth consecutive start for the Rapids.
  • The Rapids have lost just twice all-time while hosting their Independence Day extravaganza. The annual fireworks display, billed as the best in Colorado, always draws large crowds who spur the team to perform: Eight times the game-winning goal has come in the 69th minute or later.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC return to action after seeing their five-game undefeated streak come to an end in a 3-0 loss to the LA Galaxy on June 23 at The Home Depot Center. Whitecaps FC are in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 26 points from 16 games.

LAST MATCH

  • It took just over a quarter-hour for LA to open the scoring. David Beckham sent a corner kick to the far side of the box where efforts from Juninho and David Júnior Lopes were blocked. The ball fell to Landon Donovan seven yards out, and his shot was parried by Whitecaps ‘keeper Joe Cannon, but the rebound fell to Mike Magee who tapped in the shot from close range.
  • The Galaxy doubled their lead on the half-hour. Donovan found Robbie Keane inside the box and the Irish international knifed through the Whitecaps defense before slotting home from the left side of the area.
  • It was 3-0 before halftime. In the 40th minute, Keane once again broke clear of the Whitecaps FC backline and fired a shot at goal that was handled by Jay DeMerit. Donovan stepped up and easily converted the penalty.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls at BC Place. Darren Mattocks came back from suspension into the team in place of Camilo.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-3-3): Joe Cannon - Lee Young-Pyo, Jay DeMerit, Martin Bonjour, Alain Rochat - Gershon Koffie, Jun Marques Davidson (Eric Hassli 66), John Thorrington (Camilo 49) - Sebastien Le Toux (Michael Nanchoff 84), Darren Mattocks, Davide Chiumiento.

TEAM NEWS

  • Whitecaps FC saw lost for the first time since a 4-1 reversal at New England on May 12.
  • “Obviously we came into this game on a five-game unbeaten run and in pretty good form, so we were hoping to continue that tonight, but I think we met, in the first half, an LA Galaxy team that was in really good form,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “I think that the movement of their front players was by far the best I’ve seen since I’ve been in the MLS. They caused us a lot of problems and I think that we certainly caused a few of our own mistakes.”
  • The club was shut out on the attacking end for the first time since March 31, a span of 11 games. Whitecaps FC had been shut out just twice on the league campaign before the Galaxy loss – back-to-back games March 24-31.
  • “I think first off you don’t try to dwell on these types of performances too much, you look at the positives we’ve created this season the goals we’ve created, the clean sheets we’ve had,” said defender Jay DeMerit. “You take things in phases in these long seasons. I think our first phase has been good and now we just have to build, we have to learn and make sure that performances like [this] don’t happen a lot.”
  • Whitecaps FC have allowed 19 goals on the season, the sixth-best defensive record in MLS (1.19 goals allowed per game). 13 of those goals have come in the club’s four losses – allowing four goals once, and three goals on the other three occasions.
  • “We’re coming quite a long way with this team and we’re going to days where we unfortunately get undone. As I’ve always said, it’s important how we react to that and learn from that,” said Rennie. “In the past we have reacted well and learned well and I’m confident we’ll do that again.”
  • After missing the New York match through suspension, Darren Mattocks returned to the side in place of Camilo, who had made his first start since May 26 vs. the Red Bulls.
  • The club’s second Designated Player, Scottish midfielder Barry Robson, is available for selection after the opening of the secondary transfer window and could feature in the game in Colorado.
  • “I think he could definitely be involved,” Rennie said. “To what extent, we don’t really know just yet. We’ve got quite a number of days of training before that game, so there’s a good chance he could be involved. He’s fitting in well. He’s been at a lot of big clubs so he knows what it’s like to come into a new team and get to know people. He seems to be settling in well, the guys seem to be responding to him and he seems to be enjoying it so far.”