Gameday_SitePreview_09.10

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Colorado Rapids (8-12-9, 33 pts) enter their final five games of the regular season still chasing a spot in the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs as they host Vancouver Whitecaps FC (9-13-7, 34 pts) at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park on Saturday, September 10 (7:30 p.m. MT; Altitude Sports, Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM).

Saturday’s match will be a pivotal “six-pointer” as the Rapids continue their bid to make the postseason for a third consecutive year. Vancouver currently sits one place above Colorado in the standings with 34 points, one more than the Rapids, and eight points behind the final playoff spot. Robin Fraser’s side will be facing the ‘Caps for the second time in under a month following a 2-1 loss at BC Place on August 17. That loss marked Colorado’s only defeat against Vancouver in their previous four encounters (1-1-2,).

The Rapids will be returning home for the first time following a three-game road stand and looking to extend a five-match unbeaten run at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. In their most recent match, a scoreless draw against D.C. United on Sunday, goalkeeper William Yarbrough spoiled Christian Benteke’s home debut for D.C., saving his penalty kick in the 66th minute to ensure the Rapids walked away with at least a point. The shutout marked his 25th in Burgundy and tied him with Joe Cannon for third-most clean sheets in club history. Yarbrough reached the mark in his 76th appearance for the Rapids, while Cannon did so on his 82nd appearance with Colorado. 

Rapids midfielder Felipe Gutiérrez earned a spot in the MLS Team of the Week bench for his efforts against D.C. A minute after Yarbrough’s PK save on Benteke, the former Crystal Palace forward was denied again as Gutiérrez headed the ball off the line to preserve the scoreline. The Chilean midfielder recorded 85 touches, 50 successful passes, gained possession 10 times, delivered five crosses and made three tackles, all were the highest of any Rapids player on the pitch that night.

Also helping the Rapids hold the shutout against D.C. was defender Steven Beitashour who recorded his 100th clean sheet in MLS. A native of San Jose, California, Beitashour, began his career with his hometown club after being drafted by the Earthquakes in the second round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft (30th overall). Since then, the veteran defender has won the Supporters’ Shield (2012, 2017, 2019), Canadian Championship (2015, 2016, 2017) and MLS Cup (2017). Beitashour has also gone on to make six appearances for the Iranian national team, including being part of Iran’s 2014 World Cup squad. The 35-year-old is familiar with Whitecaps FC, having spent two seasons in Vancouver (2014, 2015) and registering 58 appearances, 4,795 minutes and eight assists across all competitions while helping the ‘Caps capture the Canadian Championship in 2015.

Colorado will be facing a Vancouver side that enters the match following a 2-0 defeat on the road against San Jose on Sunday. Whitecaps FC has only recorded four wins in their last 38 away matches dating back to September 2020 (4-20-14, W-L-D, incl. playoffs), while currently being winless in their last six games on the road. Canadian forward Lucas Cavallini leads his side with eight goals, while Ryan Gauld has been the top deliverer with seven assists in his 2022 account, though both players will miss Saturday’s game through suspension. Goalkeepers Cody Cropper (14 appearances) and Thomas Hasal (13 appearances) have split time in goal this season with Cropper leading the two with four clean sheets this season to Hasal’s two.