The Colorado Rapids return to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for their first meeting with Vancouver Whitecaps FC as the clubs face off Saturday night. The Rapids are coming off a second draw in a row, a 1-1 tie with Sporting Kansas City at midweek. Whitecaps FC lost a gutting 1-0 decision for a second consecutive league match, also at midweek, falling at home to a last-minute Columbus Crew goal.
REFEREE: Alex Prus. SAR (bench): Eric Boria; JAR (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Mark Declouet
MLS Career: 184 games; FC/gm: 27.4; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 42; pens: 50
COLORADO RAPIDS – QUESTIONABLE: FW Macoumba Kandji (L knee ACL tear); PROBABLE: GK Matt Pickens (R groin strain); MF Joseph Nane (R shoulder strain); FW Omar Cummings (R ankle sprain); MF Jamie Smith (R calf strain); MF Brian Mullan (lower back spasms); DF Anthony Wallace (R quad strain)
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: DF Jay DeMerit (R adductor strain); FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery); DOUBTFUL: MF John Thorrington (R calf strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Davide Chiumiento (R hamstring strain); FW Eric Hassli (R foot contusion)
COL: Pablo Mastroeni (caution accumulation; through July 10)
VAN: Shea Salinas (through July 10)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD:
VAN: Terry Dunfield, Jordan Harvey
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS:
COL: Conor Casey, Ross LaBauex, Jeff Larentowicz, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Anthony Wallace
VAN: Camilo, Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Leathers, Alain Rochat
- ALL-TIME: First meeting.
- RETURN MATCH: 10/22: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Colorado Rapids, 4 p.m. PT
- Coaches' records: Tom Soehn v COL: P6 W3 L3 D0 … Gary Smith vs. VAN: first game
The Colorado Rapids played to a second successive draw, this time a 1-1 result with Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park. The Rapids have 24 points from 19 games, sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference.
- Colorado took the lead in the 32nd minute. Tyrone Marshall’s long free kick from inside the Rapids’ half found Conor Casey outside the top of the penalty area. Casey took the ball down with his chest, let it bounce once and hit a shot on the half-volley past a diving Jimmy Nielsen.
- Sporting equalized just after the hour. A flowing move from their own end culminated in a low shot from CJ Sapong that was saved by Rapids 'keeper Matt Pickens. But the rebound fell directly to Graham Zusi and he calmly slid the ball into the back of the net.
- Rapids head coach Gary Smith made three changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with the Houston Dynamo at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Ross LaBauex and Wells Thompson came into the midfield for Brian Mullan and Jamie Smith, and Conor Casey started up top for Caleb Folan.
- COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor - Ross LaBauex (Sanna Nyassi 65), Pablo Mastroeni (Joseph Nane 30), Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson - Omar Cummings (Caleb Folan 82), Conor Casey.
- The Rapids have scored just six goals in their last seven games, without scoring more than one in any single contest, since the 2-2 draw with New York on May 25.
- “It was a very spirited and hardworking display,” Gary Smith said. “The guys did a tremendous job to weather that period [after the goal], but I felt we could have made some better attacking choices ourselves and maybe take it 2-1.”
- Conor Casey scored a fifth goal in his last six appearances, all since May 28. He returned to the lineup after missing the scoreless draw with Houston through injury.
- The Rapids didn’t have their first-choice wide players, Jamie Smith and Brian Mullan, available because of injury. Neither made the trip to Kansas City.
- Smith was also forced into a change before the first half was over when captain Pablo Mastroeni came off second-half in a robust midfield challenge and had to be replaced by Joseph Nane, who made his first appearance since May 28.
- “I thought we could have nicked it, but we’ll take the point and go from there,” said Nane. “I think the game was tough and physical and also the conditions, the weather — it was too humid. It was tough for both teams, actually, but it was very competitive.”
- The Rapids have still won just one of their 11 games, and have won just twice in league play since opening the season with three consecutive victories.
- “The first 50 or 60 minutes, we played like the champions we are. After they scored — it was a tough one to give up — they had us under a lot of pressure. I think we showed fantastic character in not giving them a second,” defender Drew Moor said.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC lost a third match on the trot and second in a row by the game’s lone goal, falling to the Columbus Crew on Wednesday at Empire Field. Whitecaps FC have 14 points from 19 matches, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference.
- The game burst to life over the final 20 minutes. In the 72nd minute, Whitecaps FC fullback Alain Rochat was dragged down in the box and midfielder Terry Dunfield stepped up to take the penalty. But Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer read Dunfield's effort, diving to his right to make the stop.
- The home side played a man down for the final 12 minutes as Whitecaps winger Shea Salinas saw red in the 78th minute for a late tackle on fullback Josh Gardner.
- Then with the clock having ticked over into the 90th minute, a corner was cleared just to Josh Gardner at the left corner of the area. He swung in a cross that found Jeff Cunningham unmarked in the area, and the veteran made no mistake in nodding it past Joe Cannon to tie atop the MLS all-time goalscoring charts.
- Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn made five changes from the team that lost 1-0 to Toronto FC in the league match on June 29 at BMO Field. Joe Cannon, Alain Rochat, Jonathan Leathers, Nizar Khalfan and Camilo came into the team for Jay Nolly, Greg Janicki, Blake Wagner, Russell Teibert and Jeb Brovsky.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Wes Knight, Alain Rochat, Michael Boxall, Jonathan Leathers - Shea Salinas (sent off 78), Peter Vagenas (Terry Dunfield 64), Gershon Koffie, Nizar Khalfan - Omar Salgado (Michael Nanchoff 73), Camilo.
- Whitecaps FC lost for a third consecutive match in league play and a fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions. They have not scored in their last three games in all competitions, a span of 345 minutes since Camilo put them into the lead June 25 at Kansas City.
- “We didn’t manage to score. It’s just, the problem, you can say, “oh they lost again,” but it was 0-0 and first we shoot the post, then we miss a penalty, then we take a red, and then give up a last minute goal,” said goalleeper Joe Cannon. “It’s really a hard situation, but we have to make a step now and get hungry and try to win again.”
- Nizar Khalfan was given his first start in a league game since April 10, while Wes Knight made a second consecutive MLS start after missing five matches.
- “We had a lot of young, fresh legs and for the most part they did a good job of executing our tactics and keeping them under pressure and creating chances, but you have to finish your chances and then with the energy that we put into the game, we have to reward ourselves,” Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn said. “You have to take advantage of them and we didn’t.”
- Shea Salinas made his 10th consecutive league start after missing the first seven games of the campaign through injury, but he will not be available for the Colorado game while serving a one-match ban.
- “I had a head full of steam and couldn’t really stop - it was too late,” Salinas said. “It was a reckless challenge. It changed the game. I felt I cost the team some points. I think we would have caught a goal there late, so I feel bad.”
- With Eric Hassli unavailable with a foot injury, Terry Dunfield stepped up to take the penalty, but saw it saved by Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer. Hassli had converted all three penalties awarded Vancouver this season.
- “You credit him for stepping up, but you rely on your senior guys to put situations like that away. That’s why they’re your senior guys,” Soehn said. “He obviously didn’t do that. We rely on senior guys to put a stamp on the game and it wasn’t Terry’s night tonight.”