At A Glance
This Sunday, the Rapids are set to square off against a tough Vancouver Whitecaps FC team. Colorado earned one point in its first two games, in a hard-fought 0-0 draw on the road against FC Dallas and in a home loss to expansion side Austin FC. There are plenty of reasons, though, to expect a turnaround from the Rapids.
Through the first two games, the team has been without Sam Vines and Lalas Abubakar, who have been staples for this team the last two years. Vines was the only player who didn’t miss a minute of the regular season in 2020, and Abubakar earned team defensive MVP honors in each of his years in Colorado. When they return, it will provide head coach Robin Fraser with additional depth and options not only for the defense but also in the midfield.
When Vines is fit to return, that should free things up for Kellyn Acosta, who has filled in at left back instead of his usual role in the central midfield. Acosta has played well through the first two matches, leading MLS with eight tackles won, so he should absolutely provide a spark to the transition and possession game when he can play in his natural role.
Vancouver’s Latest Results
Vancouver is off to a positive start to the season thus far. In their first match of the year, they earned a 1-0 ‘home’ win over Cascadia rival Portland. This match took place in Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, which is serving as the Whitecaps’ home stadium this season due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The Rapids will travel to the home of rival Real Salt Lake for this matchup against Vancouver on Sunday.
Last weekend, Vancouver drew 2-2 against Toronto FC in a game that took place in Orlando, Toronto’s temporary home. All three of Vancouver’s goals so far this season have come off of set pieces. In their first match, they finished a header off of a corner, and, against Toronto, the two goals came via the penalty spot and a header off of a free kick.
Key 'Caps to Watch
The Whitecaps are once again led by the Canadian national team’s Lucas Cavallini, who joined the team in 2020 in a club-record signing. Cavallini scored Vancouver’s goal against Portland and is looking to build on a 2020 campaign that saw him net six goals in 13 appearances.
Cristian Dájome is another one to watch. The 27-year-old is in his second season in MLS and currently leads his side in successful dribbles and successful duels among players with more than 15 attempts. Slowing down the right winger will be the job for likely Vines or Acosta at left back.
New signing Caio Alexandre made his debut for his new squad on Saturday after signing on March 12. The 22-year-old joins MLS from the top Brazilian league, Serie A. He played 15 minutes in his debut so expect him to earn more time this weekend.
Recent History Between the Sides
These two sides didn’t square off in 2020, so their last matchup was nearly two years ago, in June 2019. In that duel in BC Place, Diego Rubio and Andre Shinyashiki both scored on the way to a 2-2 draw. The last win Colorado had against Vancouver was in 2018, a 1-0 victory on the road.
No head-to-head meetings since early 2019 means 'Caps head coach Marc Dos Santos doesn’t have any tape to review when competing directly against a side coached by Robin Fraser.
Expect a competitive match this weekend between a Rapids team that is looking to get back on track and a Vancouver side that narrowly missed the playoffs in 2020 and is trying to continue their strong start to the year.