Rapids-Whitecaps FC Preview
The Colorado Rapids were on quite a roll heading into an MLS break they hope won't slow that momentum.
Back in action, the visiting Rapids look for a season-high third straight victory while trying to avenge an earlier defeat to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.Colorado (4-9-3) endured the worst start in franchise history - including an eight-game losing streak - and a coaching change to ultimately regroup and become one of the hottest clubs in MLS at the moment. The Rapids are amid a 4-0-1 stretch and as confident as any team in the league.
While their last two victories have come at home, the Rapids also won at the Los Angeles Galaxy and drew at Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia during this unbeaten stretch.
"For us, we have to continue what we've been doing. And we've been doing really well," star Kei Kamara, who scored his team-leading eighth goal in the 1-0 victory over Minnesota United FC on June 8, told the Rapids' official website.
Ex-Whitecap Kamara recorded both goals - each on penalty kicks - in Colorado's 3-2 home loss to Vancouver (4-6-6) on May 3. The Whitecaps jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 26 minutes, but it was level on 53. Andy Rose then provided the winner in the 87th minute for Vancouver's third victory in its last four matches versus Colorado.
Though Kamara knows the Rapids don't face an easy task on the road, the state of his team is nowhere near where it was for last month's meeting.
"We're a different team, you can obviously see that," said Kamara, who returns to Vancouver after scoring 14 goals in 28 matches in 2018 during his only season with the Whitecaps. "We're focused, we know what we can do. And we know what we've done recently, and we can take that same energy and drive into this one."
While Colorado has talented youngster Jonathan Lewis on duty with the U.S. national team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Vancouver has keeper Maxime Crepeau, defenders Derek Cornelius and Doneil Henry and midfielder Russell Teibert all away with Canada.
Those personnel losses, combined with Colorado's strong form, won't make things easy for Vancouver in this match between clubs trying to work their way into playoff position in the West.
"(The Rapids are) just three points away from us in the standings," Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos told his club's official website. "We are very aware that is not the same Colorado team we faced in May."
With Crepeau gone, ex-Rapids keeper Zac MacMath is set to make his home debut for a Vancouver club that's lost just once in eight matches and is amid a 1-0-3 stretch.
"There's not a team that I want to beat more than Colorado, but at the end of the day you just go out there and do your job," said MacMath, who started 32 matches for Colorado over the past four seasons.
Fredy Montero scored his team-leading fifth goal in Vancouver's most recent MLS match, a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at home on May 31. The Whitecaps appeared headed for the victory until TFC's Nick DeLeon equalized in the 90th minute.
Updated June 20, 2019