Colorado Rapids vs. Vancouver Whitecaps | MLS Match Preview

COLORADO RAPIDS vs VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
June 28, 2014 (WEEK 16, MLS Game #144)
7 p.m. MT (Altitude; TSN)

The Colorado Rapids and Vancouver Whitecaps FC meet in a crucial match in the Western Conference as the clubs face off Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The teams are level in the divisional table with 22 points each. The Rapids had a three-game unbeaten run put to an end before the World Cup break in a 3-2 loss at FC Dallas. Whitecaps FC resumed after the recess by extending their undefeated run to eight matches in a midweek scoreless draw with the Montreal Impact.

REFEREE: Ted Unkel. AR1 (bench): George Gansner; AR2 (opposite): Andrew Bigelow; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 5 games; FC/gm: 22.0; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 1; pens: 1

SUSPENDED: COL: Dillon Serna (through June 29)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Nick LaBrocca … VAN: Gershon Koffie, Matias Laba, Andy OíBrien, Pedro Morales
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Rapids 5 wins, 13 goals … Whitecaps FC 3 wins, 12 goals … Ties 1
AT COLORADO (4 meetings): Rapids 3 wins, 7 goals … Whitecaps FC 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0
FUTURE MATCH: 10/25: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Colorado Rapids, 7 p.m. PT

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Jose Mari scored a pair of goals two minutes late in the second half to haul the Rapids back for a 2-1 win, April 5 at BC Place.
  • It was the second victory for the Rapids at BC Place. Whitecaps FC won in 2012 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for their lone triumph on the Rapids’ home ground
  • Coaches record: Carl Robinson vs. COL: P1 W0 L1 D0 … Pablo Mastroeni vs. VAN: P1 W1 L0 D0

LAST MEETING (MLS):
4/5: VAN 1, COL 2 (Mattocks 67 – Jose Mari 79, 81)

  • Whitecaps FC took the lead on 66 minutes when Darren Mattocks opened his 2014 account, finishing off a breakaway after Kenny Miller sent him in alone with a flicked pass up the center of the park.
  • But the match turned around in the 77th minute when referee Ioannis Stavridis showed Vancouver's Matias Laba a second yellow card.
  • Just two minutes later, the Rapids leveled the game at 1-1 when Jose Mari used the outside of his left foot to bend an effort past David Ousted from outside the penalty area.
  • Then two minutes later, he fired the Rapids into the lead with a right-footed effort teed up by teammate Nathan Sturgis, again from outside the box, this time straight on from goal.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-3-1-2): David Ousted - Steven Beitashour (Erik Hurtado 90), Andy O'Brien, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey - Gershon Koffie (Sebastian Fernandez 57), Matias Laba (ejected 77), Russell Teibert - Pedro Morales - Darren Mattocks, Kenny Miller (Kekuta Manneh 74).
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-3-1-2): Clint Irwin - Thomas Piermayr, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Marc Burch - Nathan Sturgis (Jared Watts 90), Jose Mari, Dillon Powers - Kamani Hill (Nick LaBrocca 59) - Deshorn Brown (Charles Eloundou 69), Gabriel Torres.

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids saw their three-game undefeated run come to an end last time out, dropping a 3-2 decision to FC Dallas on June 7 at Toyota Stadium. The Rapids are in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 22 points from 15 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids opened the scoring in the 25th minute. Drew Moor nodded a cross back across the face of goal and Deshorn Brown reacted quickest to it, chipping FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez from inside the six-yard box.
  • The home side were level just eight minutes later. Jair Benitez hammered a free kick straight out from goal, just beyond the restraining arc. The ball took a deflection off FCD striker Andres Escobar and wrong-footed Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin on its way to goal.
  • FCD took the lead in first-half stoppage time when Fabian Castillo saw his dribbling run halted just before reaching the Colorado penalty area, but Moor drove the loose ball goalward, again leaving Irwin little chance as it deflected slightly off a defender before reaching the back of the net.
  • The Rapids again leveled terms in the 52nd minute when a corner kick by Dillon Powers was powerfully headed on goal by Jose Mari. Benitez nearly nodded the ball off the line, but the ball still crashed into the top of the goal.
    That set the stage for a brilliant match-winner. Castillo won the ball near the center circle, beat three Rapids defenders directly off the dribble and then took a quick shot from the left side of the penalty area for the 62nd-minute winner.
  • Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni made eight changes to the team that reached a scoreless draw with the Chicago Fire at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Only center backs Shane O'Neill and Drew Moor and midfielder Nick LaBrocca kept their places in the team.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute - Dillon Serna, Jose Mari (Gabriel Torres 90), Nick LaBrocca (Charles Eloundou 83), Kamani Hill (Marlon Hairston 55) - Dillon Powers, Deshorn Brown.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Rapids had their three-game undefeated run put to an end in the loss at FC Dallas, after a win and a pair of draws.
  • “It’s frustrating,” said Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni. “But that’s why you can’t get too caught up in results, or at least I don’t. I look at the big picture, I look at where we were four months ago, [and] I look at where we are today.”
  • The Rapids have scored multiple goals in three of their last four games (9 goals in that span), after scoring four goals in seven games April 12-May 17 (with no more than one goal in any game).
  • Deshorn Brown has three goals over the last three games for the Rapids, and four of his five goals on the league campaign have come since May 11.
  • “[Brown’s] been in great form as of late, and we hope he continues that,” Mastroeni said. “What people don’t realize is how hard he works when he doesn’t have the ball, and I stress this to all the players: The kind of work you do on the other side of the ball will allow you to get in good spots when we win the ball.”
  • Dillon Powers has two goals and three assists over the last three games, recording his fourth assist of the season.
  • The Rapids are expecting to have a couple of key returnees following the World Cup break, as Edson Buddle and Vicente Sanchez should be available. Sanchez suffered a knee sprain on May 3 and Buddle injured his groin on May 24.
  • “They should be available for selection,” Mastroeni said. “Now you’ve got to get them into the speed of the game [and] get them grooving again.” Said Sanchez: “It’s better. I have to wait to play a bit more soccer and the doctors to get fully cleared. But I’m happy.”
  • Following the league match, the Rapids opened up their U.S. Open Cup campaign with a 5-2 demolition of USL PRO side Orlando City SC in the fourth round. Deshorn Brown netted a hat trick (32, 47, 54), while Nick LaBrocca (41) and Dillon Powers (74) also scored.
  • Here’s the Rapids team: Clint Irwin, Marvell Wynne, Shane O’Neill, Drew Moor, Marc Burch, Jose Mari, Nick LaBrocca, Dillon Powers, Dillon Serna, Kamani Hill (Vincente Sanchez 63rd), Deshorn Brown (Edson Buddle 63rd)
  • But the Rapids were dumped out of the competition in the fifth round, falling 2-1 to the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL on June 24. The Rapids lone goal came via a penalty kick in the 75th minute, converted by Dillon Powers.
  • Here the Colorado side: Clint Irwin - Drew Moor, Marc Burch (ejected 62), Shane O'Neill, Thomas Piermayr - Dillon Powers, Dillon Serna, Jose Mari, Nick LaBrocca - Deshorn Brown (Edson Buddle 83), Vicente Sanchez (Kamani Hill 68)

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC stretched their undefeated run to a club record eight games, reaching a scoreless draw with the Montreal Impact on Wednesday evening at BC Place. Whitecaps FC sit in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 22 points from 14 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Montreal came close to taking the lead in the 76th minute when Maxim Tissot's looping effort crashed off the bar, and the woodwork came to Whitecaps FC's rescue again in the 83rd minute when Jack McInerney headed a free kick off the right post. Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted made two saves.
  • Vancouver also hit the frame when a rebound from a save by Impact 'keeper Troy Perkins' fell to Jordan Harvey, and his shot crashed off the crossbar. Perkins was credited with four saves for the match.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made four changes to the team that came back for a 3-3 draw with Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Carlyle Mitchell and Andy O'Brien came into the back four for Nigel Reo-Coker and Jay DeMerit, and Darren Mattocks and Kekuta Manneh came into winger roles in place of Sebastian Fernandez and Russell Teibert.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): David Ousted - Carlyle Mitchell, Andy O'Brien, Johnny Leveron, Jordan Harvey - Gershon Koffie, Matias Laba - Darren Mattocks (Russell Teibert 75), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh (Sebastian Fernandez 62) - Erik Hurtado (Omar Salgado 87).

TEAM NEWS

  • Whitecaps FC extended their undefeated streak in league play to eight matches, the longest in the club’s MLS history, surpassing the six-game stretch without a loss last June 15-July 14.
  • Whitecaps FC were also held without a goal for the third time this season, their last attacking shutout coming in their last loss, a 1-0 defeat by the LA Galaxy on April 12.
  • “We have to make up two points somewhere along the line. We go to Colorado on Saturday, a tough place to go, a Western Conference team, and we'll go there and try to win and pick up four points in two games,” said Whitecaps FC manager Carl Robinson. “Yeah, it's two points lost, but they're gone, and I can't get them back unfortunately, but we have to try to make them up somewhere.”
  • Darren Mattocks was in the starting lineup for the first time since May 3, when he had to come off through injury after just a half-hour vs. San Jose. Mattocks was filling a wide right role instead of his usual place as an out-and-out striker.
  • Kekuta Manneh also returned to the first team after not featuring at all in the Whitecaps FC draw in Philadelphia.
  • “Sometimes you pick your team based on what you think is the right thing to win the game. I thought the three speedy guys were going to win us the game today. In hindsight maybe it would have been better to put in the more technical guys and bring the more speedy guys on towards the end,” Robinson said.
  • With Jay DeMerit out through injury, Andy O’Brien returned to central defense after coming off the substitutes’ bench for the only time this season in league play vs. Philadelphia. He partnered Johnny Leveron in the center.
  • Carlyle Mitchell made his first league appearance this year for Whitecaps FC, playing 90 minutes at right back. Mitchell had played both matches in the Canadian Championship for Whitecaps FC. Nigel Reo-Coker was not available with his wife in hospital for the birth of their child.
  • “Reality is [Steven Beitashour is] away, Nigel has stood in brilliantly while he was away, and so it was like putting a square peg in a round hole. And I thought of putting Jordan [Harvey] there, and Russell [Teibert] there, and eventually I came up with [Mitchell],” said Robinson. “But credit to him, I thought he was excellent, he's a center back and he's very athletic, and he was excellent with a very positive performance.”
  • Said O’Brien: “We aren’t talking about players that have got no experience or are new to the league. They’re international players. Mitchell played out of position today for him but it showed his athleticism going forward. They did a lot … Johnny did a lot again.”