It is common to face adversity during the long MLS season and the Vancouver Whitecaps are getting a taste of it.

Vancouver suffered their first road loss of the season last Saturday in Los Angeles to LAFC. That was a 3-0 defeat. It was by far the worst performance of the season. Everybody had an off night.

But the Whitecaps will look to turn the page and get back on track as they head to Commerce City, Colorado. On Wednesday night, it is a clash with the Colorado Rapids.

Rapids bouncing back after disastrous 2023

The Rapids finished second last in MLS last season. They went 5-12-17 with only 27 points. Only Toronto FC were worse than them.

So far this season, the Rapids have a respectable 5-3-4 record with 18 points, the same amount the Whitecaps have. They sit sixth in the Western Conference. 

Colorado is going to come out ticked off. They are going to want to bounce back from Saturday’s 3-2 home loss to the San Jose Earthquakes. They ended up blowing a 2-0 lead.

The Rapids brought in a bunch of new faces in the winter. One of those was former CF Montreal Djorde Mihalovic who was bought for 2.73 million Euros from AZ Alkmaar of the Eredivisie. Mihailovic currently leads the Rapids in assists with four.

Goalkeeper Zack Steffen was signed from Manchester City on a free transfer. So far, he has two clean sheets.

The Rapids have scored 20 goals. They are in a four-way tie for sixth-most in MLS. Striker Rafael Navarro leads the way with six goals. He is signed on loan from Brazilian side S.E. Palmeiras until July. However, they have the option of making it a permanent deal.

Colorado has given up 18 goals this season which is the 14th most in the league.

First-year head coach Chris Armas has his team playing a style that involves a lot of pressing and hustling. The Whitecaps will need to adapt and keep up.

Bouncing back

The Whitecaps stayed in Los Angeles to train and flew to Colorado on Tuesday. The altitude there has made it tough for them and other teams in the past. The last time Vancouver won at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park was on May 3, 2019, and they won 3-2. Kei Kamara scored two penalties for the Rapids and Fredy Montero and Lucas Venuto got on the scoresheet for the Whitecaps. Andy Rose got an 87th-minute winner.

With the Western Conference standings already being as tight as a can of sardines, getting the three points would be massive for either side.

“They play a very dynamic brand of football,” said Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini on the Rapids per TheCanadianPress/TSN. “We need to be much better than Saturday in our pressing so that we can regain more balls, as high as we can, and try to expose them with our counterattack.”

“It’s not a crisis because we lose one game,” said centreback Bjørn Inge Utvik on the team’s current form.

“We still need to work on a lot of stuff to make sure we’re going to be up there at the end of the year,” said midfielder and captain Ryan Gauld on the importance of the game.

Vancouver needs to prove the loss in LA was a blip and not the start of a slump. Sartini has repeatedly said they have to do the things they are supposed to do. That means, being defensively solid, pressing, and quick on transitions.

Basically, they need to be taking care of business in every way. Kickoff is at 6:30 pm Pacific.