Game Preview: Rapids v Whitecaps

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by Brendan Wyatt

The Colorado Rapids resume MLS play tonight as they take on the Whitecaps in Vancouver.  This is the second time the two teams will have met this season, having met at Dicks Sporting Goods Park at the beginning of May.  In a way, this game will be a bit of a mulligan for head coach Conor Casey, as it was the Whitecaps who were his first opponent after being named Head Coach. 

Vancouver has also had a rough start to the year, it took 7 games for the ‘Caps to find a win but are now on a four-game unbeaten streak.  Sounds somewhat like the Rapids doesn’t it?  To help put things in perspective, should the Rapids prevail and snag three points from today’s game, the Rapids will move into a tie with Vancouver for the 9th spot in the division- a point below the playoff line.

For Vancouver, injuries and international absences will be a hurdle in their way.  As for the Rapids, many believe it will be the mentality.  Will the ten days off after losing to New Mexico United in the US Open Cup be a good thing, or will it be bad?  Could the time off after a loss give room for doubts to creep in?

It’s my experience that a little bit of a rest does a player some good.  We see it near the holidays and international breaks for other leagues around the world. When teams come back from breaks there are always a few stand outs who found their stride after some proper reflection time.  For the Rapids to have a short break after grinding the way they have since the start of May, it might do them a bit of good. 

It may have also helped the medical staff who finally decided it was time to send Kortne Ford to Vail to get his knee fixed for good – let’s just hope it’s not Sean St. Ledger for good.  Kort is officially out for the rest of the season. Deklan Wynne is also out with a foot injury, his situation is much like Dillon Serna’s last year. Only time will tell how bad it is and if his season is done or not.  Sam Nicholson is the only other Rapids player listed on the injury list, as questionable with a hamstring concern.  Vancouver has a turf pitch so it’s unlikely players with muscle injuries will make a forced start at BC Palace. The only other notable absence is Jonathan Lewis who is away with the USMNT for the Gold Cup.

On the brighter side of things, when these two teams met in May it may have been a tough time for the Rapids, but Kei Kamara did put two PK’s past his former team.  It’s quite possible that he scores again.  Also, we can not forget that Nicolas Mezquida was a former Whitecap and he too has been finding his stride; so don’t rule him out tonight.  On the other side, Zac MacMath has been telling Vancouver media how no one wants to beat the Rapids more than him.  Good luck with that Zac.

Predicted starting XI: Tim Howard, Keegan Rosenberry, Tommy Smith, Lalas Abubakar, Sam Vines, Jack Price, Cole Bassett, Andre Shinyashiki, Kellyn Acosta, Diego Rubio, Kei Kamara

Officials:

Referee: Fotis Bazakos

 Assistant Referees: Brian Poeschel, Matthew Nelson

4th Official: Ramy Touchan

VAR: Ricardo Salazar

Colorado

OUT: Kortne Ford (knee) Deklan Wynne (foot)

QUESTIONABLE: Sam Nicolson (hamstring)

Suspended: None

Suspended after next caution: Kellyn Acosta (M), Diego Rubio (F)

International duty: Jonathan Lewis (M)

Vancouver

OUT: Joaquín Ardaiz (F) – left hamstring strain Thomas Hasal (GK) – left shoulder sprain Jasser Khmiri (D) – left knee injury David Norman Jr. (M) – right foot surgery

QUESTIONABLE: Michael Baldisimo (M) – left ankle injury

Suspended: none

Suspended after next caution: none

International duty: Maxime Crépeau (FK), Derek Cornelius (D), Doneil Henry (D), Russell Teibert (M), Lass Bangoura (M)

How to Watch

Match Date/Time: Saturday, June 22tnd at 8:00 p.m. MT

Venue: BC palace, Vancouver BC

TV Information: AltitudeTV

Radio: 92.5 FM

Live Stream: ESPN+ (subscription required)

C38 Watch Parties: C38 Main Event is at Esters at Oneida Park (2201 Oneida St, Denver), there are also Blue Spruce Brewing, & Frolic Brewing available as well.