COMMERCE CITY, COLORADO – Expect to see a number of new faces when Vancouver Whitecaps FC return to MLS action on Saturday as they conclude a tough four-match road swing with a visit to second-place Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
KICKOFF: 6 p.m. PT | TV: TSN2 | RADIO: TSN 1040
Here’s everything you need to know about the match, the first since the end of a busy transfer window for both clubs.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
New acquisition Giles Barnes will be available for selection for the first time for Carl Robinson, and the head coach has talked about the dimension the Jamaican forward adds to the attack.
It will be interesting to see if Barnes can help the 'Caps get off a three-game scoreless streak on the road, their longest such drought since July to August 2014.
He'll get support from the midfield from Christian Bolaños, who's coming off a productive July when he picked up a pair of assists, while leading the team in chances created and touches.
The added depth will be a welcome addition to a team that will be competing in their third away match in six days, all in tough playing conditions. However, not every player made the trip to Trinidad and Tobago, with a group staying behind to train and acclimatize themselves.
One player who is unlikely to play is Jordan Harvey, who continues to deal with a left knee sprain. Marcel de Jong stepped in at left back in last week's match at FC Dallas and may get the call again. Another option is David Edgar, who was on the bench for the first time in MLS play last week, before making his competitive debut in the CONCACAF Champions League opener on Tuesday.
After an early surge to the top of the table, the Rapids have tamed down as of late, winning only one match in their last six outings.
Defence and goalkeeping remain as their calling card, conceding a paltry 0.905 goals per match, best in the league. However, the Rapids were exposed in a big way last week, giving up five goals to New York City FC, albeit playing a man down for 53 minutes.
Star 'keeper Tim Howard mans the net for Colorado after joining the club mid-season, collecting a 1W-1L-3D record so far with a 0.692 save percentage,
The Rapids were busy on the final day of the transfer window, trading away striker Luis Solignac to Chicago, and acquiring former Whitecaps FC midfielder/forward Sebastian Le Toux from Philadelphia.
The French striker brings creativity on the ball, and has a knack of setting up his teammates, while having the ability to finish himself.
The 'Caps will have their hands full if he makes his debut on Saturday.
'Caps right back vs. Shkëlzen Gashi (W): The Albanian forward is behind only David Villa, Ola Kamara, and Sebastian Giovinco in shots on target per 90 minutes (minumum total of 15 shots on target). Cole Seiler has started the last two MLS matches at right back for Vancouver, while Jordan Smith held down the position in Tuesday's clean sheet performance at Central FC.
Whitecaps FC record vs. Colorado Rapids: 5W-8L-2D overall, 1W-6L-0D on the road
This will be the 16th all-time meeting between Whitecaps FC and Colorado Rapids in MLS regular season competition.
The two clubs have met once this season, drawing 2-2 at BC Place on July 9. Kendall Waston opened the scoring in the 10th minute, then Kevin Doyle equalized it for the Rapids early in the second half. Cristian Techera’s penalty kick gave the ‘Caps the lead with three minutes left, but Axel Sjoberg tied it up in the dying moments. It was Tim Howard’s second match with the Rapids.
After Saturday, the 'Caps head back home for their first-ever Friday night home match when they host San Jose Earthquakes at BC Place on August 12. Click here for tickets.
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