It’s a must-win weekend in the MLS as Vancouver Whitecaps FC travel to the Centennial State to take on the Colorado Rapids this Saturday evening; a match-up that has the potential to once again shake up the standings as the race towards the playoffs continues full strength.
Overall Record vs. Rapids
Down to the Wire
Saturday marks the first of three meetings between the Western Conference rivals who currently share 2nd place, tied with 36 points apiece. (The Whitecaps visit Dick’s Sporting Goods Park again October 19th before closing out the season with a home game at BC Place on October 27th). While Colorado (9W-7L-9D) has 2 games on Vancouver, the Whitecaps hold a better overall season record (10W-7L-6D). The winning team will retain 2nd place while a loss will cause either team to drop to 3rd or possibly right out contention as major conference rivals Portland, LA, Seattle and Dallas will also see action on the field Saturday. The stakes are especially high for this game as the former three teams can overtake 2nd place with a win if Vancouver loses or manages only a draw. Coming off a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes last week, along with several key members of the team returning from injury, expect the Whitecaps to be ready to deliver a do or die performance.
Although Andy O’Brien was dressed for last Saturday’s game against the San Jose Earthquakes, he was kept on the sidelines as a substitute. This Saturday’s match against the Rapids could see the English defender see some action, either as part of the starting eleven or as a second-half substitute if coach Martin Rennie makes no changes to the starting lineup. Midfield is not expected to see any major changes after noteworthy performances by Nigel Reo-Coker and Gershon Koffie. The jury is still out on whether or not [Daigo] Kobayashi will be part of the starting eleven or relegated to the sidelines as a substitute.
David Ousted is most likely to be in net for the Whitecaps after an energetic performance in net saw the Danish netminder make some key saves when put under pressure by the Earthquakes forward line. For his efforts, Ousted has also been nominated for MLS Save of the Week.
Jamaican forward Darren Mattocks is being hinted as a possible contender for lineup selection after participating in his first full training session since undergoing knee surgery July 25th, impressing Rennie in Monday’s practice. Whether Mattocks will be dressed as a substitute or given a role in the starting lineup remains to be seen.
Captain Jay DeMerit (Achilles tendon) took part in a team scrimmage at Monday’s practice and continues to show great progress in his post-injury recovery, but is not likely to be part of Saturday’s match, citing a desire to be at 100% capacity (including possible participation in a Whitecaps reserves game) before making a return.
Scottish striker Kenny Miller (who scored for his home team in the second half in spite of an eventual 3-2 defeat in Wednesday’s friendly against England), will fly out to meet his Whitecaps teammates in Colorado and is expected to be selected for play.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30PM PST. You can tune in to the game on Sportsnet One or TEAM 1410 radio to catch all the highlights.