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Colorado Rapids vs. Vancouver Whitecaps | 2017 MLS Match Preview

Colorado Rapids vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
2017 MLS Match Preview
Dick's Sporting Goods Park 
– Commerce City, Colo.
Saturday, August 5 – 10 pm ET
WATCH: TSN 1, MLS LIVE in the US

Conventional logic suggests the Vancouver Whitecaps should use Saturday's visit to the Colorado Rapids as a springboard for a late-season push after their 4-0 thrashing of FC Dallas in Week 21.

If only conventional logic applied to either of these teams this season.

The Whitecaps have seemed forever positioned to make a move, only to keep treading water. And although they've several matches in hand on most Western Conference rivals, nonbelievers could be forgiven even after their impressive display in Frisco. After all, it was only a week before that they failed to take even a point at home off a Portland Timbers side so ravaged by injuries, international duty and suspensions that they had to dip into their USL Timbers II ranks to dress 16 players.

Meanwhile, the Rapids have kept resurfacing just as they begin to be counted out. And although they sit last in the Western Conference after a 1-0 loss to a San Jose Earthquakes team that previously been leaking goals, results like their 1-0 win over conference leaders Sporting Kansas City in late May, or their more recent 1-1 draw at Toronto FC, suggest this group will keep clawing until the last.

Colorado Rapids

More than any other struggling team this season, the issue for Colorado continues to be scoring goals. New signing Stefan Aigner may be able to help that problem when he is fully fit and ready, but with 20 goals in 20 matches, coach Pablo Mastroeni's offense needs improved performances across the board.

On the plus side, Colorado's 14 remaining matches are more than most sides have at this point in the season, which should give Aigner and any other additions more of a puncher's chance at a late run. On the minus side, after Saturday's game against Vancouver, Colorado plays eight of their final 13 on the road, where they have earned only one point so far in 2017.

  • Suspended: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D Bobby Burling (foot) GK Zac MacMath (knee); QUESTIONABLE: F Shkelzen Gashi (calf), M Joshua Gatt (ankle)

Projected Starting Lineup (4-4-2, left to right): Tim Howard – Mike da Fonte, Axel Sjoberg, Jared Watts, Eric Miller – Dillon Serna, Mohammed Saeid, Micheal Azira, Marlon Hairston – Kevin Doyle, Dominique Badji

Notes: Colorado have won five of their last seven games at home, but are 1-2-0 in their last three. The last time the Rapids lost three of four games at home was from October 18, 2014 to April 18, 2015 (3L-1D).

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

After a quiet May and June, July was better for Whitecaps striker Fredy Montero, who finished with three goals after hitting a brace Saturday against Dallas. With eight goals in 20 league appearances in 2017, he's only five away from matching his best MLS year as a scorer, when he had 13 goals in 33 league games for the 2012 Seattle Sounders.

The Whitecaps have been among the better away sides in MLS (4-5-1) and could boost that reputation even further Saturday. A second victory at Dick's Sporting Goods Park this season would make three straight road wins overall for coach Carl Robinson's group, and five in their last eight away games.

  • Suspended: None
  • Int’l Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D Brett Levis (ACL tear), D David Edgar (PCL, MCL tear), M Alphonso Davies (right Adductor strain) 

Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, left to right): David Ousted – Marcel de Jong, Tim Parker, Kendall Waston, Sheanon Williams – Tony Tchani, Matias Laba – Brek Shea, Yordy Reyna, Bernie Ibini-Isei – Fredy Montero

Notes: Vancouver have scored four goals in a match four times since the start of the 2016 season, after doing so just seven times in their previous four.

All-Time Series

Vancouver's 1-0 victory at Colorado earlier this season was just the second the Whitecaps have ever produced in nine away trips to the Rapids

  • Overall: Colorado 9 wins (25 goals), Vancouver 6 wins (22 goals), 3 draws
  • At Colorado: Colorado 7 wins (14 goals), Vancouver 2 wins (6 goals), 0 draws

Officials

  • Referee: Nima Saghafi
  • Assistant Referees: Matthew Nelson, Peter Balciunas
  • Fourth Official: Armando Villareal
  • Video Assistant Referee: Fotis Bazakos