COMMERCE CITY, Colo. ― The Colorado Rapids (12-4-7, 43 points) return to DICK’S Sporting Goods Park for the first of three consecutive home matches when they host Vancouver Whitecaps FC (7-8-8, 29 points) on Sunday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. MT. The match will be broadcast on Altitude Sports, with pregame coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m., as well as on Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM at 6:45 p.m.
Colorado enters the match in third place in the Western Conference, three points behind first-place Sporting KC with two games in hand. Vancouver, meanwhile, is in ninth, four points out of a playoff spot.
The Rapids are currently on a league-best nine-game unbeaten run, going 5-0-4 (W-L-D) in that time. Colorado is also unbeaten in its last 10 matches at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park, the longest active streak in the Western Conference.
Colorado is coming off a 2-2 draw in Portland on Wednesday. Jonathan Lewis opened the scoring in the 64th minute before Felipe Mora equalized three minutes later. Michael Barrios appeared to snag all three points with his incredible goal in the 87th minute, but Sebastian Blanco equalized in stoppage time.
The goal was Barrios’ team-leading seventh of the season and his second in as many games, while Lewis scored his fourth of the season, with three coming in his last six games. Captain Jack Price extended his team lead with his eighth assist of the season on Barrios’ goal.
Sunday’s match will be the second and final meeting of the season between Vancouver and Colorado On May 2, Diego Rubio scored on a direct free kick in the 26th minute as the Rapids took a 1-0 victory from Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, where Whitecaps FC was based while travel was restricted between the United States and Canada. William Yarbrough made seven saves to keep his second of nine clean sheets so far this season.
Whitecaps FC is coming off a 1-0 loss to Portland Timbers at BC Place on Sept. 10. Vancouver had won its previous four MLS matches and was unbeaten in 10 league matches before losing to Portland. The ‘Caps are led by interim head coach Vanni Sartini, who took over after Vancouver’s 4-3 loss to Canadian Premier League side Pacific FC in the Canadian Championship on Aug. 26.
Cristain Dájome leads Vancouver with eight goals and four assists, while Déiber Caicedo has four goals and four assists. Ryan Gauld has two goals and two assists in seven appearances, three of them starts, in regular season play.
“[Vancouver is] certainly starting to play better and get results. Since they’ve changed the coach, they’ve been extremely organized, and they’ve only continued that good run of form,” Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said ahead of Sunday’s match. “They’ve brought in a player, [Ryan] Gauld, who’s a different type of player for them—dynamic—and he’s been a difference maker for them, in addition to the players they already had that are really coming into pretty good form.”
This is the first match of a three-game homestand. Colorado hosts Toronto FC on Sept. 25 and Austin FC on Sept. 29. Beginning on Oct. 3, the Rapids close the regular season with five of their final eight on the road.
“Despite the last two games where we were winning and they tie it at the end, the team is very motivated,” Barrios said on Friday. “We are motivated to keep fighting for first place. These three games that we have at home will be a big opportunity to try to get into first place, which is what we’ve been chasing for a while. It won’t be easy, but with the soccer that we’re playing, we will do it. We know we get some players back so we will have the opportunity to play with them again. The most important thing is that each person gives their all for the team to reach its goals.”
News & Notes
- Kellyn Acosta’s next appearance will be the 190th of his MLS career. His next assist will be his 20th.
- Michael Barrios is two goals away from the 40th of his MLS career and is two assists away from the 50th of his career.
- Jonathan Lewis’ next start will be the 30th of his MLS career. The 24-year-old has four goals and one assist this season and has scored in three of his last four starts.
- Keegan Rosenberry’s next start will be the 150th of his MLS career. Rosenberry has played a full 90 minutes in 143 of those matches. He is one of two players to play every minute for Colorado this season, alongside GK William Yarbrough.
- Andre Shinyashiki’s next assist will be his third of the season, tying his career high from 2019.
- Danny Wilson’s next start will be his 22nd of the season, tying a Rapids career high set in 2018, his first season with the club.
- Dominique Badji has four goals in eight career matches against Vancouver.
- Diego Rubio has three goals in seven career matches against Vancouver.
- Michael Barrios has a goal and three assists in 12 career matches against Vancouver.
- Nico Mezquida assisted on goals by Diego Rubio and Andre Shinyashiki in 2-2 draw at BC Place in June 2019. The Uruguayan played 101 MLS matches for Vancouver from 2014 to 2018, adding 12 goals and four assists.