Preview: Rapids seek momentum in visit to Whitecaps

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC vs COLORADO RAPIDS
BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.

October 22, 2011
7 p.m. ET (RogersSN, Altitude2; watch  LIVE online)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC conclude their inaugural MLS campaign when they entertain a Colorado Rapids still in need of a win, as the clubs meet Saturday afternoon at BC Place. Whitecaps FC are looking to make it three home wins in a row, though they dropped a 2-0 decision at FC Dallas last week. The Rapids need to win to ensure they will play host to a wild card game at midweek, coming off a scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake last weekend.

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REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. SAR (bench): Fabio Tovar; JAR (opposite): Ian Anderson; 4th: Paul Ward. MLS Career: 124 games; FC/gm: 24.9; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 47; pens: 47

INJURY REPORT:

  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC - OUT: FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery); GK Brian Sylvestre (L knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jonathan Leathers (R hamstring strain); DF Carlyle Mitchell (R groin strain); MF Russell Teibert (R toe laceration); PROBABLE: MF John Thorrington (L groin strain)
  • COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: FW Conor Casey (L Achilles tear); DF Anthony Wallace (R knee arthroscopic surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF Pablo Mastroeni (concussion); MF Jamie Smith (R hamstring strain / R calf strain); PROBABLE: GK Matt Pickens (R groin strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: COL: Drew Moor (caution accumulation; through Oct. 23)

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (1 meeting): Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 1 goal...Rapids 1 win, 2 goals...Ties 0
  • When the teams first met this season, Conor Casey and Scott Palguta scored to lead Colorado to a 2-1 win, July 9 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • Coaches record: Tom Soehn v COL: P7 W3 L4 D0 à Gary Smith vs. VAN: P1 W1 L0 D0

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • 7/9: COL 2, VAN 1 (Casey 25; Palguta 67, Camilo 77)
  • The Rapids took the lead in the 25th minute. Jamie Smith played a cross over the Whitecaps defense into the path of Conor Casey, and he settled before snapping a quick angled shot past Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
  • Colorado doubled the lead at the three-quarter mark of the match. Casey powered a header on goal from a free kick that Cannon couldn't hold, and substitute Scott Palguta slammed home the rebound.
  • Whitecaps FC pulled a goal back in the 77th minute, when Nizar Khalfan released Camilo behind the Rapids defense. The Brazilian rounded Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens and slid his shot inside the post, but no equalizer was to come.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-1-1): Joe Cannon - Jonathan Leathers, Alain Rochat, Michael Boxall (Greg Janicki 57), Jordan Harvey - Nizar Khalfan, Peter Vagenas (Jeb Brovsky 71), Gershon Koffie, Michael Nanchoff - Omar Salgado (Long Tan 46) - Camilo.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Danny Earls (Scott Palguta 23) - Omar Cummings (Sanna Nyassi 81), Wells Thompson, Jeff Larentowicz, Jamie Smith - Conor Casey, Caleb Folan (Brian Mullan 65).

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC saw their winning streak come to an end at two games, dropping a 2-0 decision to FC Dallas on Saturday evening at Pizza Hut Park. Whitecaps FC have 28 points from 33 matches, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • FC Dallas went ahead in the 35th minute. A clearance from Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman found the head of Brek Shea near midfield, and he redirected the ball into the path of Marvin Chavez. The Honduran international dribbled toward goal, cut inside Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit and curled a shot to the back post for the opener.
  • Then FCD put the game out of reach in the 54th minute. A free kick was headed around in the box before falling to Shea, who volleyed home from close range.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn made three changes to the team that defeated D.C. United 2-1 at BC Place. Michael Boxall came into central defense in place of Carlyle Mitchell, Shea Salinas came back into the team for Alain Rochat, and Mustapha Jarju started up top in place of Long Tan.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-1-3-2): Joe Cannon - Jeb Brovsky, Jay DeMerit, Michael Boxall, Jordan Harvey - John Thorrington - Nizar Khalfan, Gershon Koffie, Shea Salinas (Alain Rochat 52) - Mustapha Jarju (Long Tan 57), Camilo (Eric Hassli 69).

TEAM NEWS

  • Whitecaps FC weren’t able to build upon their two-game winning streak, their first back-to-back wins since coming into MLS.
  • “We’ve had a decent stretch, especially at home. (Against FC Dallas) when we showed up, I felt like the soccer wasn’t there,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn. “We held the pressure down quite well, created some counterattacks, but in the flow of the counterattack, we just gave up some bad balls. We really caught them shorthanded, so it was unfortunate that even their goal was against the run of play when we had the better chance.”
  • After opening BC Place with a 1-0 loss to Portland, Vancouver won their next two in their new home ground, against Real Salt Lake and D.C. United ahead of this weekend’s home season finale. Whitecaps FC will finish their expansion with at worst a .500 record in home games (6-5-5 with one game to play).
  • “It’s very important to us,” said goalkeeper Joe Cannon. “We’ve shown that we can put some good games there, and I think to end the season on a positive note is a must. It’s a long week until then. We’ve got to work hard and hopefully all of the guys will come out hungry like in the first game of the year.”
  • Whitecaps FC became the fourth team in MLS history, and the second expansion team, to go winless away from home over an entire season, joining the LA Galaxy in 2003 (0-9-6), Real Salt Lake in 2005 (0-14-2) and New York Red Bulls in 2009 (0-13-2).
  • “We’re still looking for our first road win, so it’s disappointing that we finished without one. But we still go back home, we’ve had a good stretch at home, great fan base and we want to give them something to be happy about,” Soehn said.
  • After making back-to-back starts in central defense Carlyle Mitchell was ruled out of the FC Dallas game with a right groin strain.
  • Camilo and Mustapha Jarju were paired in attack for the first time this season, with Camilo still chasing the MLS Golden Boot. He enters the final week three goals behind joint leaders Dwayne De Rosario (DC) and Chris Wondolowski (SJ).

COLORADO RAPIDS

The Colorado Rapids recorded a shutout for a second consecutive match, this time in a goalless draw with Real Salt Lake on Friday evening at DickÆs Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids have 46 points from 33 games, sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids held the better of the chances in the hard-fought rivalry match. They had 12 attempts at goal, and Real goalkeeper Nick Rimando was called upon to make four saves.
  • RSL in contrast did not have a single attempt on the goal protected by Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens. The teams combined for 36 fouls for the game.
  • Rapids head coach Gary Smith made two changes to the team that defeating FC Dallas 1-0 at Pizza Hut Park. Tyrone Marshall came into the back four for the suspended Miguel Comminges, and Wells Thompson started on the wing in place of Jamie Smith.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor - Brian Mullan, Pablo Mastroeni (Jamie Smith 76), Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson (Macoumba Kandji 82) - Sanna Nyassi, Omar Cummings (Caleb Folan 68).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Rapids have put together back-to-back shutouts in league play for the first time all season after their scoreless result vs. Real Salt Lake.
  • “I think our form, if we look at the way we’ve played now in the last three home games - San Jose, Dallas, and Salt Lake - three good teams, and we’ve steadily improved,” said Colorado head coach Gary Smith. “I’d like to think that all the fans that came (to Salt Lake) and everyone that was watching are starting to see a side that are just regaining some of that passion and that desire that we showed. I think they’re getting back into the groove.”
  • With the results the day following the RSL draw, the Rapids secured their place in the MLS Cup Playoffs. They will be in a wild card at midweek next week, but must wait out the weekend to see if it will be in Commerce City.
  • “That performance, whilst we haven’t been able to convert, is as good as any performance because of the caliber of our opponent [is as good] as we have seen in a good while," Smith said. "It should certainly catapult them into [in the CCL match], Vancouver, and hopefully we can keep that momentum going into what we seriously hope to be a home wildcard game.”
  • After scoring 20 goals over a nine-game span from July 6-Aug. 20 - and scoring multiple goals in eight of those, the Rapids have hit for just three goals in their last six league games - shut out on three occasions and scoring a solitary goal in each of the other three.
  • “I think we are getting close to where we were at this time last year,” Macoumba Kandji said. “We have been getting unlucky in front of goal, but I think we are definitely building that little bit of momentum going into the playoffs, which is the best thing that could happen for us.”
  • Linchpin midfielder Pablo Mastroeni was diagnosed with a mild concussion following a clash of heads with RSL defender Jamison Olave that eventually forced him from the field in the 76th minute.
  • On Wednesday, the Rapids dropped a 2-0 decision to Santos Laguna of Mexico at Estadio Corona in Torreon in the CONCACAF Champions League.
  • Here’s the Rapids team: Steward Ceus - Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne (Eddie Ababio 78), Miguel Comminges, Scott Palguta - Kosuke Kimura, Jeff Larentowicz, Ross LaBauex (Sanna Nyassi 58), Wells Thompson - Caleb Folan, Macoumba Kandji (Omar Cummings 62)
  • The result left the Rapids needing for AD Isidro Metapan of El Salvador and Real Espana of Honduras to draw on Thursday night if they were to qualify for next year’s knockout phase.
  • “It’s a bloody difficult competition for all sorts of reasons and we have learned an awful lot,” Smith said. “In those two games we lost [at home], we were well beaten by Santos and I still believe we did enough in that first period in the game against Espana. But mistakes costs us dearly and we weren’t able to capitalize with our finishing, a bit like (Wednesday).