06/18/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/18/2019 16:49
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Colorado Rapids
MLS Regular Season, Week 16
June 22, 2019 - 8:00 PM
BC Place - Vancouver, British Columbia
For Club & Country
The 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup kicked off on June 15th and will continue through July 7th. While players are proud to represent their country, their service leaves holes across MLS rosters. Vancouver and Colorado are no exception. Vancouver will be missing four players in Saturday's affair - goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau, defenders Derek Cornelius and Doneil Henry, and midfielder Russell Teibert are all away representing Canada. Crepeau's absence thrusts former Rapids goalkeeper Zac MacMath into the starting spot. The former Rapids goalkeeper spent three seasons and made 30 starts with Colorado before being traded last offseason for midfielder Nicolás Mezquida.
For their part, the Rapids will miss recently-acquired winger Jonathan Lewis. The 22-year-old, who has scored twice in just four games since arriving in Colorado, was called up to the USMNT earlier this month. While it's not easy to replace the rising MLS star, interim head coach Conor Casey has options at his disposal. Sam Nicholson, Diego Rubio and Andre Shinyashiki have all played a massive role in the last two regular season games, and each could once again make an impact come Saturday evening at BC Place.
Right Place, Right Time
Vancouver's season parallels the Rapids in many ways. After a rocky start to coach Marc Dos Santos' first campaign in charge, the team was winless through six games, but Whitecaps FC flipped the script on April 17 when they defeated league-leading LAFC 1-0. Since that game, the 'Caps have only lost twice in nine outings, both 1-0 defeats.
Now just one point in back of the Western Conference playoff picture, the team appears to be finding a rhythm at the right time.
'Now it's the second part of MLS, and that's where it counts,' said Vancouver midfielder Felipe Martins. 'Because MLS is a crazy championship, anything can happen, especially in the second part of the season. If you look at past years … other teams, what they did after the break, like Portland, Seattle … we are (also) ready to make a big statement in the second part of the season.'
What to watch for...
Connor Cape, Radio Play-by-Play Announcer
We're back! The international break and 10 days without Rapids soccer comes to an end this weekend with a trip to Vancouver. Even with the Burgundy Boys in tremendous form in league play, having this rest period should pay dividends long term.
Whitecaps FC have had an up-and-down season where they're not scoring a ton of goals but they're not conceding many, either. Along with the Caps already picking off the Rapids earlier this season, they also have the lone victory over league leaders, LAFC. BC Place will be full and they'll be confident they can do the double over the Rapids in 2019.
The international break is over, the boys are rested and ready to keep the unbeaten streak in league play going full steam ahead into the summer stretch.