2017.05.05 Match Preview

Match Preview: Colorado Rapids vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC | Friday, May 5

The last time that the Rapids suffered successive shutouts was late June of 2015. As with the most recent reversals, both came on the road, and one involved a 2-0 loss at Orlando City SC. The team put the disappointment of those results behind them with back-to-back home wins, the first of which was against this Friday's opponent, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (TICKETS). 

Indeed, the Rapids boast an almost unblemished home record against the Whitecaps. In eight previous meetings at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the Canadian club has avoided defeat just once, though they did manage to inflict upon the Rapids a rare 4th July loss back in 2012.

Games involving these teams have rarely been dull affairs. Two wonder goals from Jose Mari in 2014 secured only a second win for the Rapids at BC Place.

More recently, both games in British Columbia last year were emotionally-draining encounters. In the first, Eric Miller was sent off for the Rapids, who then came back to tie 2-2 with a stoppage-time goal from Axel Sjöberg. On a return trip to BC Place, Kendall Waston saw red for the Whitecaps, a goal of the season strike from Shkëlzen Gashi looked to have sealed it for the visitors, only for Erik Hurtado to make it 3-3 in time added on.

In the three matches last season a total of 12 goals were scored - the Rapids took the home game 2-0. They would settle for a 1-0 victory on Friday as they look to halt their six-game winless run.

Vancouver, meanwhile, are looking for consistency. Over the past six games they have alternated between victory and defeat. Their most recent result was a come-from-behind 2-1 win at Montreal Impact, a match in which head coach Carl Robinson was able to, for the first time this season, field the same starting 11 for a second game in a row. It brought them their first road win of 2017.

Tim Howard and Kortne Ford have served their suspensions and are available for selection, while Joshua Gatt appears back to full fitness, having missed the trip to Orlando due to illness. This is the third game of a four-game road run for the Whitecaps. For the Rapids, this is the start of a stretch through July 4 which brings them eight home games in the next 11 matches.

Home form in 2016 played a key role in Colorado’s second-place finish in the Supporters’ Shield. Home form over the next eight-and-a-half weeks may go a decent distance in determining the direction of the 2017 campaign.

TEAM NEWS

Rapids: Caleb Calvert (out - concussion), Nana Boateng (out - back), Axel Sjöberg (out - hamstring).

Whitecaps: Marco Bustos (out - hamstring), Christian Dean (foot), David Edgar (out - PCL/MCL tear), Kyle Greig (quad), Erik Hurtado (out - foot contusion), Brett Levis (out - ACL tear), Yordy Reyna (out - foot).

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Assistant 1: Jeffrey Hosking
Assistant 2: Andrew Bigelow
4th Official: Younes Marrakchi

HOW TO FOLLOW

TV: Altitude
Radio: Altitude Sports Radio AM 950, SiriusXM (both English); La Invasora 87.7FM (Spanish)

WHAT TO KNOW

Colorado has only lost once in their last six regular season games against Vancouver (3-1-2) and has scored multiple goals in three straight matches against the Whitecaps.

Vancouver has conceded five goals in the final 15 minutes of play, tied for the most in the league so far this season.

Colorado’s Micheal Azira ranks fifth among MLS midfielders in ball recoveries, having amassed 67 recoveries up to now.

Vancouver has won three of their last five MLS games (3-2-0). They had three wins in their previous 18 MLS matches combined (3-9-6).

Series: 

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