Preview: Whitecaps FC off to Colorado for important Western Conference clash with the Rapids

'Caps looking to extend club record eight-match unbeaten streak

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (5W-2L-7D) are off to Commerce City this weekend for their second game of the season against Western Conference rival Colorado Rapids (6W-5L-4D).

Kickoff for Saturday’s match is set for 6 p.m. PT at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. You can watch the match live on TSN, Bell mobile devices, and TSN GO. The match will also air live on TEAM 1410 and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 4 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show immediately following the match.

The fifth-place ‘Caps enter Saturday’s contest unbeaten in eight matches, a club record, after playing to a scoreless draw with Montreal Impact Wednesday night at BC Place. Vancouver and Colorado are level on points with 22 apiece, though Whitecaps FC have one game in hand.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Highlights: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0-0 Montreal Impact

Vancouver’s scoreless draw with Montreal on Wednesday was their first game after a two-and-a-half week World Cup break. Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted earned his third clean sheet of the season, making a pair of key saves, and was named the Budweiser Man of the Match.

It was also just the third time Vancouver had been kept off the scoresheet this season. They’re still second to only Seattle Sounders FC with an average of 1.79 goals per game.

The ‘Caps were without Nigel Reo-Coker on Wednesday, as the Englishman left for New York that morning to join his wife for the birth of their first child. In his absence, centre back Carlyle Mitchell stepped in at right back and made his first MLS appearance of the season.

After the match, Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said he was hopeful that right back Steven Beitashour would join the team in Colorado. Beitashour missed Vancouver’s last four games while away with the Iranian national team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Iran’s 3-1 defeat to Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday officially eliminated them from the competition.

While Beitashour could be back this weekend, the back line will still be missing centre back Jay DeMerit, who suffered a torn tendon in his left ankle June 7 against Philadelphia. Honduran defender Johnny Leveron filled in for DeMerit on Wednesday, while Designated Player Pedro Morales wore the captain’s armband.

COLORADO RAPIDS

Highlights: FC Dallas 3-2 Colorado Rapids

Unlike Whitecaps FC, Saturday’s contest will be Colorado’s first after the league’s World Cup break – though they have been busy in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Most recently, the Rapids were eliminated from the tournament on Tuesday after suffering a 2-1 defeat at the hands of North American Soccer League side Atlanta Silverbacks. The result was overshadowed a five-minute brawl that took place just after the hour-mark, resulting in four red cards.

In MLS play, the Rapids have picked up at least a point in three of their last four games – though their last game before the break was a 3-2 loss to FC Dallas. The Rapids have found success largely through their defensive play this season – they’re conceding an average of just 1.2 goals per game – but they also boast a strong nucleolus up front. 

Uruguayan Vicente Sanchez, who has returned to full health after missing Colorado’s last seven games with a sprained knee, is tied with second-year striker Deshorn Brown for the team lead with five goals. Brown also collected a hat-trick in Colorado’s 5-2 U.S. Open Cup win over Orlando City on June 17.

Meanwhile, second-year midfielder Dillon Powers plays the role of provider, leading the team with four assists. Powers, the 11th overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, was the 2013 MLS Rookie of the Year.

HEAD TO HEAD

Highlights: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-2 Colorado Rapids

This will be the second of three meetings between Vancouver and Colorado this season – the Western Conference rivals will also meet in their regular season finale at the end of October for the third time in four years. 

The Rapids are one of just two teams to have beaten Whitecaps FC in 2014. That was back on April 5 when Rapids midfielder Jose Mari scored two goals in as many minutes to seal a 2-1 victory over the 10-men ‘Caps at BC Place.

Colorado holds the all-time edge over Whitecaps FC in MLS play with a 5W-3L-1D record.

NEXT UP

Following Saturday’s contest, the ‘Caps return to Vancouver for two straight matches at BC Place. First, the Blue and White host Cascadia rival Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, July 5, before a tilt with Chivas USA on Saturday, July 12. Tickets for both matches are still available at whitecapsfc.com/tickets.

It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including prorated season tickets ($202), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets, and a youth soccer half-season ticket. Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.