Whitecaps FC-Rapids Preview

The Associated Press

Already on a roll heading into a key Western Conference matchup, the Colorado Rapids will likely get an additional boost Saturday night.

The Rapids' first designated player, Gabriel Torres, is expected to make his debut against the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps as his new club looks to match the longest unbeaten streak in franchise history.

Colorado (9-7-9) hasn't lost in its last eight matches and is one shy of tying the team mark set April 30-June 11, 2011. The Rapids, though, would certainly like three points out of this matchup with the Whitecaps (10-7-6) after playing to draws in each of their first two games this month, the latest a 1-all tie with Chivas USA on Sunday.

Colorado and Vancouver are tied for second in the West, and the Whitecaps are eager to build on their first victory in nearly a month. They topped San Jose 2-0 last Saturday to snap a three-game winless skid.

Torres will try to provide some help by continuing his high-scoring ways. The Panamanian forward was one of the leading goal scorers at the CONCACAF Gold Cup along with MLS stars Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski.

"He's scored big goals, still only 24 years old, still a couple years before he gets into his prime," technical director Paul Bravo told the league's website. "If you look at the makeup of our group, (it's) a young nucleus of quality players that we hope can grow together and give us some sustainable success over the next few years. And he fits as a goal scorer in that group."

Along with matching a team record, the Rapids will try to extend a five-game home unbeaten streak and snap a three-game winless skid against the Whitecaps. Vancouver has gone 0-1-2 in its last three road contests.

"We can neither avoid nor hide the importance of this game. We all know it," Colorado coach Oscar Pareja told the team's website. "That brings a normal pressure to everyone, but it's a good pressure. It's actually beyond pressure. It's the responsibility that we have and feel in facing Vancouver with all those elements. We have to win."

Whitecaps forward Darren Mattocks could return from a minor knee injury Saturday, joining Camilo Sanvezzo, who scored his 14th goal last week against San Jose and is tied for the league lead.

"(Scoring is) very important,'' Sanvezzo said. "I'm more happy (when) our team wins the really important games."

The Rapids could get midfielder Hendry Thomas back from a two-game suspension.

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