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Match Preview (Part 2): Vancouver Whitecaps @ Colorado Rapids

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A special double dose of the match preview. Who will prevail at mile high?

MLS: New England Revolution at Vancouver Whitecaps Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

While the Vancouver Whitecaps might not be terribly pleased with their current run of form, registering four straight draws, those struggles pale in comparison to the Rapids’ current losing skid. The Colorado side has lost six consecutive matches in league play after losing 3-2 at home against the Portland Timbers last weekend.

Something will have to give in Commerce City on Friday night as both sides look to find winning form for the first time in awhile. Somehow, the Whitecaps still find themselves sitting at 6th in the western conference (above the playoff bar) even though they’ve already conceded 27 goals this season, the second most in MLS.

Match Information

Where: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park — Commerce City

When: June 1 - 6 pm PT

How: TSN, ESPN+

Who’s Available?

For the Whitecaps, Defender Kendall Waston is absent on international duty. Stefan Marinovic (left knee sprain), Midfielder Jordon Mutch (right hamstring strain), and Defender Marcel DeJong (hamstring) are out due to injury.

For the Rapids, Defender Kortne Ford (left MCL sprain) and Defender Marlon Hairston (right knee surgery) are out due to injury. Leading scorer Dominique Badji is only one more card away from suspension.

Who’s Worth Watching?

While Dominique Badji has 5 goals in 10 matches so far this season, Enzo Martinez has been the real offensive centrepiece. The Rapids have scored 1.2 goals per 90 minutes in the nearly 926 minutes that the Uruguayan midfielder has been on the park. Without Martinez, the rate drops to a meagre 0.6 goals per 90 minutes.

Despite being in the twilight of his career, Rapids Goalkeeper Tim Howard always makes his presence felt, and is the highest paid keeper in the league, making a whopping 2.48M. While Howard has never been able to recreate his miraculous 16 stop performance against Belgium during the 2014 World Cup for his MLS side, the American keeper can hardly be blamed for the Rapids recent struggles, as crucial defensive errors have led to clinical finishing from opposition sides.

While much has been made of the Whitecaps defensive struggles of late, Kei Kamara’s comical inability to finish go-ahead chances last weekend equally drew the ire of many amongst the Whitecaps faithful. Despite starting the season in terrific form, the star striker has struggled to find the back of the net consistently since returning from injury. For the Whitecaps to win this match, and have a successful season going forward, they will need Kamara to re-discover his confidence in front of goal.

Also worth noting is Christian Techera, who’s coming off an MLS Player of the Week performance in only 25 minutes of action while also recording the Whitecaps first hat-trick since Camilo Sanvezzo scored three (against the Rapids) in the final game of the 2013 regular season. In three matches played against the Rapids last season, Techera registered only one assist.

Who’s Going to Win?

This matchup has every ingredient necessary for a wide-open, high-scoring match. Both teams have suffered from defensive lapses recently and are desperate to record a full three points. Ultimately, I think that the quality and variety of attacking options in the Whitecaps side will win out, just so long as they survive the full 90 minutes at altitude.

Vancouver Whitecaps 4-3 Colorado Rapids

Potential Lineups:

Vancouver Whitecaps (4-4-2, right to left) GK: Brian RoweJake Nerwinski, Aly Ghazal, Jose Aja, Brett LevisCristian Techera, Felipe, Russel Tiebert, Alphonso Davies — Kei Kamara, Yordy Reyna

Colorado Rapids (3-5-2, right to left) GK: Tim Howard — Deklan Wynne, Danny Wilson, Tommy Smith — Bismark Boateng, Sam Nicholson, Jack Price, Enzo Martinez, Edgar Castillo — Dominique Badji, Joe Mason