2017.09.23 Sjoberg
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Roster Notes: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Colorado Rapids | Saturday, September 23

Starting Lineup:

GK Tim Howard surpassed 11,000 MLS minutes during the 1-1 draw against New York City FC. The USMNT international made four saves, taking his season tally to 63. This season, Howard has played 1,800 minutes in 20 appearances for the club.

DEF Eric Miller, at 2,166 minutes logged, has now surpassed his previous high set in his first season with the club. After arriving via trade from Montreal Impact prior to the 2016 campaign, Miller has appeared in 48 contests for the Rapids. The 24-year-old defender has started the last 13 matches, going the distance in all but two.

DEF Kortne Ford will be paired at centerback alongside Sjöberg for the fourth consecutive match. This year, Ford has started 13 of his 14 appearances, logging 1,187 minutes along the way. This will be Ford’s first game against the Whitecaps FC, after being an unused sub in the first two meetings at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

DEF Axel Sjöberg will be making his fifth straight start, and 10th in the last 11 regular season games. Sjöberg’s first and only score of the year came in the 2-2 draw against Vancouver on August 5. In fact, two of his three professional tallies have been against the Canadian side. This will be Sjöberg’s 60th appearance and start of his career.  

DEF Mekeil Williams was in the Starting XI during the 1-1 draw against New York City FC, registering just his third shot of the year. Williams was sent off during the first meeting of the season against Vancouver on May 5 and did not feature in the second contest three months later. The Trinidad & Tobago international will be appearing in his 15th match of 2017.

MID Micheal Azira is now 193 minutes away from tying his career-high (2,503) set in his first season with the club. The Uganda international has missed just one game in 2017, the 3-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo on July 1, due to yellow card accumulation. Azira made his 50th MLS start in the 1-0 home defeat to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on May 5.

MID Jared Watts went the distance against NYCFC, for just the first time in the last five matches. Watts is three appearances, two starts, and 244 minutes from setting career-highs since joining MLS in 2014. Watts will be appearing in his 70th contest and 60th start of his career.

MID Marlon Hairston made his 50th start of his career during the 1-1 draw against New York City FC. In his last four appearances against Vancouver, Hairston has one goal and three assists. The 24-year-old will be making his team-high 29th appearance of 2017.

MID Mohammed Saeid has appeared in all but two matches since arriving in Commerce City via trade from Minnesota United FC on March 31. One of Saeid’s four assists of the season came during the 2-2 draw against the Whitecaps FC on August 5. Saeid is 172 minutes from reaching 2,000 minutes for Colorado.

MID Joshua Gatt played the first 65 minutes of the 1-1 draw against New York City FC. Gatt has now seen the field in six consecutive matches – three from the start and three off the bench. He will be making his 16th appearance and seventh start of 2017.

FWD Dominique Badji has now found the back of the net in successive matches for the first time since July, when he tallied goals against Seattle (7/4) and Toronto (7/22). Badji’s four shots against New York City FC tied his career-high (47) set in 2016. The Senegalese forward will be making his 70th appearance and 50th start for the Rapids.

On the Bench:

GK Zac MacMath has appeared in eight regular season matches, as well as two U.S. Open Cup contests in 2017. MacMath is undefeated against the Whitecaps FC, registering one win and two ties while with the Philadelphia Union.

DEF Mike da Fonte returns to the 18 for the first time since the 4-1 defeat at Real Salt Lake on August 26. Da Fonte was an unused sub in the 1-0 defeat against Vancouver on May 5 before playing the entire match of the 2-2 draw three months later. In his first MLS season, da Fonte has logged 1,080 minutes in 13 appearances.

DEF Bobby Burling will look to make his first regular season appearance since the 1-0 victory over Sporting KC on May 27. In his 12-year career, Burling has faced off against the Whitecaps FC nine times - four with the Rapids, three with Chivas USA, and two with San Jose Earthquakes.

MID Nana Boateng was an unused sub during the 1-1 draw against New York City FC. Despite seeing the field in six of the last 10 regular season matches, Boateng has started just two of those contests. The Ghanaian midfielder replaced Azira in the 86th minute of the 2-2 draw against Vancouver on August 5.

MID Dillon Serna’s Major League Soccer debut took place in the final match of the 2013 regular season - playing the last 13 minutes of the 3-0 defeat against Vancouver. Serna remains 222 minutes away from reaching the 1,000-minute mark for the second time in his career (2014).

MID Stefan Aigner came off the bench for the third match in a row, replacing Gatt with 25 minutes remaining in the 1-1 draw against New York City FC. Aigner will have to wait at least one more week to make his first start as a Rapid.

FWD Alan Gordon played the final 15 minutes of the 1-1 draw against New York City FC, registering one shot on goal. One of Gordon’s four starts of 2017 took place during the 1-0 defeat against Vancouver on May 5. The 35-year-old forward will look to make his 15th appearance against Vancouver since they joined the league in 2010. So far he has played the Whitecaps twice with the Rapids, six times with LA Galaxy, and six with San Jose Earthquakes.