These two clubs are going to get to know each other really well over the course of the next week.
With the playoffs nearly in the clutches of the Colorado Rapids, they have to negotiate a home-and-home series with Vancouver to make it to the promised land.
Colorado sits in fifth place, just a point ahead of the infamous red line, where Whitecaps lurk along with San Jose.
The Rapids are reeling after a tough 1-0 loss at San Jose, but they’ll be happy to return home for such an important game. They haven’t lost at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park since June 15.
“If we lose, we’re out of the playoffs,” said Vancouver’s Jordan Harvey. “If we win, we live to fight another day.”
Colorado’s in a better position, but for Vancouver, that is the reality. Lose and it’s over for the Whitecaps. Three points back of Colorado, they would be mathematically eliminated with a loss Saturday.
Last week’s 4-1 victory over Seattle was monstrous for not only their playoff chances, but their confidence as well. Coming off the bench for much of the season, 18-year-old Kekuta Manneh’s hat-trick was from as out-of-nowhere as it gets, but just as impressive – and promising – was the play of secondary striker Diago Kobayashi.
“Daigo is a No. 10” said Nigel Reo-Coker. “I’ve always been a big Daigo fan. Technically he’s such a great player. He’s one of the best technical players I think in the league and a lot of people just haven’t had the opportunity to see that yet consistently. But he can see a pass, he can make a pass and he’s the perfect No. 10. He’s one of the best ones in the league, and hopefully he’ll get a bit more credit for his ability.”
The 30-year-old assisted two of Manneh’s goals last Saturday, and will be vastly important for Vancouver as they try to unlock the Colorado defense.
There’s goals in this match, and with so many playoff scenarios hinging on this result, it will be one of the most exciting matchups of the weekend.