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May 31, 2024 9:21 pm

Familiar foes Rapids, Whitecaps looking for leg up in standings

Rafael Navarro

The Colorado Rapids defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps on May 15 and haven’t since left the field victorious.

In a similar vein, the Whitecaps went through a six-match MLS winless skid before picking up a victory on Wednesday.

Vancouver now attempts to avenge the recent loss to Colorado when it hosts the Rapids on Saturday night.

Both teams are tied for the sixth-most points (22) in the Western Conference despite their recent hiccups. Colorado’s recent 1-0 home win over Vancouver improved it to 3-1-4 in its last eight matches vs. the Whitecaps.

Colorado (6-6-4) is 0-2-1 since defeating Vancouver, and the stretch includes Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to the host Houston Dynamo.

The Whitecaps (6-5-4) were mired in a 0-3-3 stretch before producing a 2-1 road win over Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.

Ryan Gald scored goals in the 39th and 82nd minute for Vancouver. He leads the squad with seven goals, two more than Brian White.

“You could say we’ve needed that for a couple weeks now,” Gald said of the club’s performance. “Everyone’s buzzing to finally put an end to that. … Getting three points away from home is huge for us and everyone is buzzing now for Saturday.”

Whitecaps coach Vanni Sartini said the Colorado match is a big one for his squad.

“Now we face a team that has the same points as us,” Sartini said. “It’s a team if we beat, we go ahead of them.”

The Rapids won the first encounter with Vancouver due to Rafael Navarro’s successful penalty kick in the fifth minute of first-half stoppage time.

Navarro, who has a team-high nine goals, took another penalty kick against Houston and his attempt was stopped. But Djordje Mihailovic scored on the rebound in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time for Colorado’s lone tally.

Mihailovic has four goals and six assists over his last 10 matches after being scoreless prior to the stretch.

He wasn’t much for talking about his personal exploits in the wake of another setback.

“We need to put this one way and recover as quick as possible for Saturday,” Mihailovic said after the loss to Houston.

The Rapids have scored seven goals over their past three matches but have allowed 11.

“We’re a work in progress. We’re going to make some mistakes,” Colorado coach Chris Armas said. “We look as always at how we can be better defensively.”

–Field Level Media

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