Colorado missed an opportunity to knock off another Western Conference playoff contender in its previous match. Getting their leading goal scorer back may help the Rapids accomplish that feat Saturday.
With Deshorn Brown likely returning, the Rapids will seek to end Vancouver’s postseason hopes when they host the Whitecaps in the opener of a home-and-home set.
Colorado (13-10-9) has a slim one-point lead in the chase for the final berth in the West with two games remaining after a 1-0 loss at San Jose on Oct. 9. The Whitecaps (12-11-9), meanwhile, pulled within three points of a playoff spot with a 4-1 win over Seattle the same day.
The Rapids can eliminate Vancouver with their second win in as many matchups this season. Should Colorado lose, it would set up a pivotal match Oct. 27 in Canada.
“It’s a playoff series for us,” Rapids coach Oscar Pareja told the team’s website. “When you have Vancouver back-to-back and (you have) the needing of the points for both teams, it really is a playoff series for us.”
The Rapids will wrap up a postseason berth with a victory and if San Jose loses at Los Angeles on Sunday.
Colorado should get some help this weekend with Brown and fellow striker Gabriel Torres returning from international duty. Brown, who has nine goals, made his debut for Jamaica in one of its final World Cup qualifiers Oct. 11 against the United States.
“I feel all right,” he said. “I’m excited to go (against Vancouver).”
Brown scored in the 36th minute of a 2-0 home win over the Whitecaps on Aug. 17 and Edson Buddle added the other goal to end Colorado’s three-game winless skid in the series.
Vancouver enters this match looking to extend another modest streak after winning back-to-back road games for the first time in the franchise’s three seasons. The Whitecaps have won those matches with relative ease, prevailing by a combined 7-1, and are 2-1-1 in their last four overall after going 1-5-3 in the previous nine.
Kekuta Manneh scored three goals, surpassing his total from his first 17 MLS games, in last week’s victory over Seattle.
“We talked about it before that if he showed up, he could make a big impact, and he did,” coach Martin Rennie said.
The Whitecaps are expected to have four players back from stints with their national teams, including Jamaican forward Darren Mattocks. Fellow striker Kenny Miller might be available after missing three matches because of tightness in his right groin.