Coach Vanni Sartini and striker Brian White both remain hopeful the Vancouver Whitecaps can sneak into contention for a playoff spot ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Colorado Rapids.
Vancouver is winless in its last three MLS matches, losing the last two, and is now eight points shy of the Portland Timbers, who occupy the Western Conference’s final payoff place.
But Sartini is hopeful a shift in their form is just around the corner.
“I think we just need to click,” he said.”I think also luck owes us something. So I hope things are going to change as soon as possible. But in order to get luck, you need to conquer luck.”
“We still have that little bit of hope,” added White. “It’s still possible, but we know we need to get results and we need to do it now. So it’s up to us.
“(Saturday) will be a tough test, especially away with the altitude. So we’ve got to execute the game plan that we’ve come up with and do everything we can to come up with three points.”
Colorado is in a similar position, sitting just one point behind Vancouver as the end of the regular season approaches.
Despite the Rapids’ poor run of six matches without a victory, midfielder Felipe Gutierrez has earned plaudits for his recent performances, and coach Robin Fraser has showered praise on the Chilean.
“What none of us knew is how complete of a midfielder he is. His willingness to run, his unselfishness,” Fraser said. “He never carries himself like a player that’s been named the best player in the entire Dutch first division, he never carries himself like that. He just goes to work.
“I’ve been really impressed with his unselfishness and by that I mean he’s willing to go and work in places that probably won’t lead to goals, and he does it without ever asking questions.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Colorado – William Yarbrough
Yarbrough helped out-of-form Colorado earn a point at D.C. United on Sunday by saving Christian Benteke’s 66th-minute penalty. It was Yarbrough’s first penalty save in MLS from the 12th penalty attempt he’s faced. He may need to be on his game once more if the Rapids are to earn a result.
Vancouver– Ryan Gauld
In the absence of suspended top goalscorer Lucas Cavallini, Vancouver will rely on Gauld’s creativity in Colorado – he has scored six goals and added three assists this season.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Vancouver is unbeaten in five straight visits to Colorado (W3 D2) dating back to the start of the 2017 season. This five-match run matches the Whitecaps’ longest at any opponent in the club’s MLS history (5 straight at FC Dallas from 2017 – present).
– The Rapids’ winless run extended to six games after a scoreless draw at D.C. United on Sunday (D3 L3). Colorado has not scored more than one goal in any of the six games (four in total), its longest run of games being held under two goals since a seven-game run in August-October 2018.
– Following a 2-0 defeat at the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, Vancouver has just four wins in its last 38 away matches dating back to late September 2020 (D14 L20, including playoffs). The Whitecaps are winless in six straight on the road, but have lost only two of those games (D4).
– Vancouver has gone consecutive matches without scoring for the first time since the opening two games of the season, failing to score just three times in the 25 matches between those two runs.
– The Whitecaps haven’t gone three straight matches without a goal in over two years, since the first three games after MLS is Back in August 2020.