Preview: Whitecaps FC wrap-up regular season against Colorado Rapids at BC Place
VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (12W-12L-9D) will wrap-up their Major League Soccer season this weekend in the back-half of a home-and-home series with fifth-place Colorado Rapids (14W-10L-9D).
Kickoff for Sunday's match between Vancouver and Colorado is set for 5 p.m. PT and is live on Sportsnet ONE, and Bell mobile devices. 'Caps fans can also listen to the match live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 3 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match.
Whitecaps FC will also celebrate Fan Appreciation Night on Sunday at BC Place, with a number of initiatives planned to thank fans for their continued support. Prior to kickoff, there will be a Cascadia Cup presentation and Young Pyo-Lee will be honoured in his final professional match. The first 7,000 fans through the gates will receive a free Whitecaps FC Kia toque. The one millionth fan to attend a Whitecaps FC Major League Soccer match will also walk through the gates on Sunday and receive a special prize package. After the match, the players will give their jerseys off the back to 28 lucky fans.
Tickets are still available at whitecapsfc.com/tickets.
These two teams met last Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, as the 'Caps fell by a score of 3-2 in a crushing loss which eliminated them from playoff contention. Vancouver will now look to end their 2013 campaign on as they look to build on already-established club records for wins, points, and goals scored in an MLS season.
Last match: Colorado Rapids 3-2 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Last weekend’s 3-2 road defeat at the hands of the Rapids was Whitecaps FC's first loss away from home since September 7 – a span of four matches.
The win was in sights in the early going after budding superstar Kekuta Manneh opened the scoring with a world-class strike from just outside the 18-yard box. However, the Rapids then took the lead with goals from Designated Player Gabriel Torres, who scored from the penalty spot after Carlyle Mitchell was given a foul in the box, and rookie Deshorn Brown.
Down 2-1 late in the second half, a tremendous change of fortune helped Vancouver tie it when fullback Jordan Harvey was taken down in the box. Camilo converted the penalty kick at 71 minutes of play to even things up. Things then took another turn just six minutes later, however, as Torres scored his second of the match to end Whitecaps FC’s playoff hopes in a season where they have set new franchise records for wins and points.
Despite the loss, head coach Martin Rennie said the 'Caps intend to put on a good performance for the fans this weekend. Rennie also said he will look to end the season by potentially starting Homegrown rookie Sam Adekugbe in place of Harvey, who is suspended for caution accumulation.
On the injury front, striker Kenny Miller made a brief appearance late in last week’s match, but his battle with patellar tendinopathy in his right knee has taken him to see a world-renowned specialist in Europe and he will not be available on Sunday. Meanwhile, Omar Salgado (right foot fracture) and Brad Rusin (right ankle sprain) are both back to full training, but are unlikely to play on Sunday.
In other news, Vancouver handed out their 2013 team awards on Wednesday. Brazilian striker Camilo was the big winner with two awards, including the BMO Player of the Year and the Domenic Mobilio Golden Boot. Camilo is currently third in MLS with 19 goals, second in MLS in shots (113), and is tied with LA Galaxy’s Robbie Keane for the league lead in multi-goal games (5). Camilo will be a key figure to keep an eye on Sunday as he chases the MLS Golden Boot.
Mitchell took home the Jock MacDonald Unsung Hero Award, while Harvey was named the Humanitarian of the Year for his efforts in the community.
Though they've yet to officially clinch their spot, the Rapids are almost a lock to make the playoffs in the Western Conference, as San Jose Earthquakes would need to win their game against FC Dallas and score at least 12 goals to even have a shot at overtaking them.
Oscar Pareja’s side put themselves in this great position last Saturday, when they secured the victory in a back and forth contest with Whitecaps FC. Goalscorers Torres and Brown now each have three goals in their last two appearances.
Brown and fellow rookie Dillon Powers have been lights out for the Rapids this season as they both continue to be in the hunt for the MLS Rookie of the Year award. Brown, who just earned his first cap with the Jamaican senior men’s national team, leads the team with 10 goals – followed by Powers, Edson Buddle, and former ‘Caps striker Atiba Harris with five tallies. Powers’ status for Sunday’s match is unclear though after he missed Colorado’s last match with a possible concussion.
Also on the injury front, Davy Armstrong (right ACL surgery) and Kory Kindle (sports hernia) are both unavailable as they recover from their respective injuries. Midfielder Jamie Smith is also questionable with an injury to his right knee.
With a point this weekend, Colorado would officially clinch a playoff spot for the 12th time in the club’s MLS history. The Rapids have one win in their last five road matches.
August 17, 2013: Colorado Rapids 2-0 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
This will be the third and final meeting between the two clubs this season. Colorado won the previous two matches, both which took place at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, by an aggregate score of 5-2.
Colorado holds the all-time edge over Whitecaps FC with a 4W-2L-1D record, but in Vancouver the two clubs are all square with a 1W-1L-1D record. Last season, the ‘Caps went undefeated against the Rapids and won two of their three meetings – including a 1-0 victory at BC Place on June 16, 2012.
This weekend’s contest is Whitecaps FC’s final match of the 2013 season. Tickets are still available at whitecapsfc.com/tickets.