Preview: Colorado vs Vancouver, October 19

Regular season home finale and first of a home-and-away series to close out the 2013 season

COLORADO RAPIDS vs VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
Oct. 19, 2013 (WEEK 35, MLS Game #308)
4 p.m. MT (Altitude / Altitude 2)

All eyes on the Western Conference playoff chase will be turned toward Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday afternoon as the Colorado Rapids face Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The teams come into the match separated by three points, with the Rapids holding the fifth and final playoff spot. Colorado returns home off a 1-0 loss at San Jose 10 days ago, while Whitecaps FC won a second consecutive away match, a dominant 4-1 win at rival Seattle Sounders FC.

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REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Greg Barkey; AR2 (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 28 games; FC/gm: 24.0; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 12; pens: 7

DISABLED LIST: COL: Davy Armstrong (season-ending injury); Kory Kindle (season-ending injury)
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: COL: Shane O’Neill … VAN: Jordan Harvey, Camilo Sanvezzo
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Dillon Powers, Hendry Thomas … VAN: Gershon Koffie, Russell Teibert, Lee Young-Pyo, Nigel Reo-Coker, Carlyle Mitchell
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Rapids 3 wins, 8 goals … Whitecaps FC 2 wins, 6 goals … Ties 1
AT COLORADO (3 meetings): Rapids 2 wins, 4 goals … Whitecaps FC 1 win, 2 goals … Ties 0
FUTURE MATCH: 10/27: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Colorado Rapids, 5 p.m. PT

  • This is the first game of a home-and-home series over the final two weeks.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Deshorn Brown and Edson Buddle scored to lead the Rapids to a 2-0 victory Aug. 17 in Commerce City.
  • The Rapids defeated Whitecaps FC for the first time since 2011 in the first meeting, after winning both encounters in Vancouver’s inaugural MLS season.
  • Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. VAN: P6 W3 L2 D1 … Martin Rennie v COL: P4 W2 L1 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS)
8/17: COL 2, VAN 0 (Brown 36, Buddle 79)

  • The Rapids took the lead in the 36th minute. On his MLS home debut, Vicente Sanchez delivered a perfect cross from the right wing Deshorn Brown powered in to finish with a thundering header just in front of goal at the far left post.
  • The Rapids put the game away in the 79th minute when substitute Nick LaBrocca’s through ball found Edson Buddle open on the right side of the box, and his ensuing shot deflected off 'Caps defender Johnny Leveron and past goalkeeper David Ousted to ensure the three points.
  • Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin collected three highlight-reel saves to preserve the clean sheet.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute - Nathan Sturgis, Hendry Thomas - Vicente Sanchez (Martin Rivero 63), Dillon Powers (Nick LaBrocca 75), Deshorn Brown - Gabriel Torres (Edson Buddle 78).
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-1-2-3): David Ousted - Lee Young-Pyo (Tommy Heinemann 83), Johnny Leveron, Carlyle Mitchell, Jordan Harvey - Gershon Koffie - Nigel Reo-Coker, Daigo Kobayashi (Matt Watson 61) - Russell Teibert, Kenny Miller (Darren Mattocks 62), Camilo Sanvezzo.

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids suffered a second consecutive road defeat, dropping a 1-0 decision to the San Jose Earthquakes on Oct. 9 at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Rapids are in fifth place in the Western Conference with 48 points from 32 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came in the 69th minute. After Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin had stopped Chris Wondolowski with a pair of saves -- and defender Drew Moor had made a pair of goal-line clearances in short order in the 64th minute, Wondolowski snapped a powerful header from a Shea Salinas corner kick that left Irwin flat-footed.
  • Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch was not called upon to make a single save as the Rapids had just five total attempts at goal, none on target.
  • Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made three changes to the team that defeated Seattle Sounders FC 5-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Atiba Harris, Martin Rivero and Edson Buddle all came into the side, in place of Dillon Powers, Deshorn Brown and Gabriel Torres.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute - Nathan Sturgis (Danny Mwanga 75), Hendry Thomas - Atiba Harris (Jaime Castrillon 53), Martin Rivero (Nick LaBrocca 85), Vicente Sanchez - Edson Buddle.

TEAM NEWS

  • While the Rapids have lost back-to-back 1-0 decisions on the road, they return home riding an eight-game undefeated streak at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, since the July 4 win vs. New York.
  • “We control our own destiny. We’ve put ourselves in this situation in which we can control our own destiny at this point,” said defender Drew Moor. “But nobody’s safe right now other than the one team that has qualified for the playoffs. This is the time where you don’t just want to scrape into the playoffs. You want to be playing well right now.”
  • The goal scored by the Earthquakes was the first allowed on a set-piece by the Rapids since July 17, when New England’s Juan Toja scored directly from a free kick. The Rapids have allowed six goals from deadball situations, tied for sixth-fewest in MLS. The MLS leader is Vancouver, with three goals allowed on set pieces.
  • “We lost the game on one set-piece play, but we could have easily conceded another goal on crosses,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said. “It’s a game where we came prepared to live with that style of play, but you have to accept that sometimes you can’t. And tonight, we couldn’t figure that out, sadly for the game. But that’s the way the game went.”
  • Said Moor: “I think it’s unfortunate that the goal eventually came off a corner kick. Set pieces are one aspect of the game that we try to control and that we work a lot on.”
  • Edson Buddle returned to the starting lineup in attack after not featuring in the victory vs. Seattle. Deshorn Brown did not appear in a league match for the first time since missing back-to-back games April 20-28.
  • Danny Mwanga came off the substitutes’ bench for the final quarter-hour, his first league appearance since Aug. 11.
  • Martín Rivero also made his second start in the last three matches, his first two appearances in the starting lineup since mid-June.
  • “I don’t think we created enough, we weren’t able to possess it enough. We weren’t able to find the game tonight. It’s a missed opportunity. We’ve made it a little bit harder for ourselves,” Moor said.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC won for a second consecutive match on the road, defeating Seattle Sounders FC 4-1 on Oct. 9 at CenturyLink Field. Whitecaps FC are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 45 points from 32 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Whitecaps FC took the lead after just 12 minutes. An attempted clearance was volleyed forward by Daigo Kobayashi, and Kekuta Manneh outraced a Seattle defender to reach the ball before slotting past goalkeeper Michael Gspurning from the left side of the box.
  • Manneh and Vancouver had a second on 42 minutes. After Lee Young-Pyo freed Camilo Sanvezzo down the sideline, he back-heeled it to Manneh, who again raced past a Sounders FC defender and again beat Gspurning with a low shot.
  • The result was all but sealed when Manneh completed his hat trick in the 53rd minute, after he worked a one-two with Kobayashi on the right side of the box before driving the ball between Gspurning's legs.
  • Sounders FC made it 3-1 in the 69th minute when Mauro Rosales jumped on a rebound and pounded it into the back of the net from the center of the area. But the margin was restored in the 82nd minute when Nigel Reo-Coker raced away on a breakaway from his own end and put a tight-angle shot through Gspurning's legs.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie made one change to the team that came back for a 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers at BC Place. Kekuta Manneh came in to the side with Darren Mattocks on national team duty.
  • • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-3-1-2): David Ousted - Lee Young-Pyo, Carlyle Mitchell, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey - Nigel Reo-Coker, Jun Marques Davidson, Matt Watson - Daigo Kobayashi (Russell Teibert 75) - Camilo Sanvezzo (Erik Hurtado 86), Kekuta Manneh (Gershon Koffie 72).

TEAM NEWS

  • The four goals matched a season-high for Whitecaps FC, also scoring four in a 4-3 win vs. New England on June 15. The ‘Caps have also now won back-to-back away matches, with their final road test in Colorado.
  • “We've actually scored seven goals in our last two away games, so both the last away games have been very good, but that's certainly up there, especially coming to Seattle, which is a great club and we've got a lot of respect for them, so I think getting a win like that is huge for us,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie.
  • With his three goals, Kekuta Manneh became the youngest player in MLS history to score a hat trick, and the first teenager. The previous record-holder was Stern John, who was 21 years, 170 days when he scored three goals for Columbus vs. Miami on April 18, 1998.
  • “You're never exactly sure what you're going to get with an 18-year-old,” Rennie said. “But he's unbelievably talented and he's someone we're really proud of and really glad to have him in our team. He's shown what he can do tonight. Obviously with young players you're not always going to get that consistent level of performance, but we did actually talk about it before – if he showed up, then he could have a huge impact on the game, and he did.”
  • With the Portland Timbers defeating Seattle Sounders FC 1-0 on Sunday, the Whitecaps officially claimed the Cascadia Cup for the first time in five years, ending with the best head-to-head MLS record among the three Pacific Northwest-based clubs this season.
  • “I think it's important – no matter what – that you recognize these types of things, because it's a season of work that allows you to lift that trophy,” defender Jay DeMerit said. "I think we're all looking forward to lifting it together, because that's what it's all about.”
  • For a second consecutive match, Whitecaps boss Martin Rennie went with a twin-striker scheme, and midfielder Daigo Kobayashi sitting in behind the front two.
  • “I think we've played a lot better,” Rennie said. “Our possession has been a lot better. We've looked a lot more dynamic in midfield and it's hard for teams to adjust to, so I think it's helped us a lot.” Added midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker: “Daigo is a No. 10. I've always been a big Daigo fan. Technically he's such a great player. He's one of the best technical players I think in the league and a lot of people just haven't had the opportunity to see that yet consistently. But he can see a pass, he can make a pass and he's the perfect No. 10. He's one of the best ones in the league, and hopefully he'll get a bit more credit for his ability.”
  • While Camilo Sanvezzo did not hit the back of the net, still on 18 goals this season and second in the MLS Golden Boot standings, he did record his sixth assist of the season, his first in five matches.
  • Nigel Reo-Coker scored his first Whitecaps FC goal to complete the victory. He had recorded four assists this season. “He works so hard for our team. He doesn't always get goals or assists, but I think he brings other things, and tonight he got a goal,” Rennie said.