The Colorado Rapids will be hoping to continue making solid progress when they play host to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday night. In fact, both teams have unbeaten runs of different kinds to preserve.
For the second time this season, these two will lock horns. Back in May, Vancouver hosted Colorado, but were unable to walk away with anything to show for their efforts, as the Rapids left Canada with all three points in the bag, thanks to a 0-1 win.
Colorado Rapids – Edging forward
The Colorado Rapids have been flying high this season, so much so that they’re only three points behind Western Conference leaders SKC, who’ve played two extra games. In terms of recent form, things have gone well for Robin Fraser’s men, who’ve not tasted defeat since the last week in July, which means that they’ve gone nine games unbeaten, five of which they’ve won.
At home, the Rapids really have become a force to be reckoned with, losing only once, and that was back in April! They’ve avoided defeat in each of their last ten at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, so any team travelling to the Commerce City stadium has their work cut out.
Expected Line-Up: Yarbrough – Moor, Wilson, Rosenberry – Galvan, Warner, Acosta, Esteves – Kaye, Lewis, Barrios.
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Vancouver Whitecaps – Not easy to face
The Vancouver Whitecaps are in a less favourable position than Sunday’s hosts, as they currently sit ninth in the Western Conference, though their hopes of making the postseason are still very much alive, while their recent form hasn’t been too displeasing, that’s for sure.
A quick glance at the away record of the Whitecaps shows that they’ve picked up just one travelling win all season which is perhaps cause for concern, but if we dig a little deeper, we realise that they’re no easy team to beat. In fact, Sunday’s visitors have avoided defeat in each of their last six on the road, so they can definitely grind out a result.
Expected Line-Up: Hasal – Bikel, Godoy, Jungwirth, Gaspar – Owusu, Baldisimo, Teibert – Dajome, Gauld, White.
Expert Pick #1 – Under 2.5 Goals @+130
Given how strong the Rapids have been at home this season, they’re the likely winners, but at very short odds, they don’t warrant much support. Instead, going for a low-scoring game appeals at odds of +130.
Part of what has made the hosts so strong at this venue is their tough defense. They’ve not conceded more than once at home since May, while they’ve kept a clean sheet in two of their last four. Factor in that they surrender an average of just 1.00 expected goals per 90 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and it’s easy to conclude that they know how to keep it tight.
Moreover, the visitors don’t exactly have the most menacing attack, as they average just over a goal per game on the road, as well as 1.25 expected goals, which while not terrible is far from incredible. Similarly, for all they’re strong, the Rapids haven’t exactly gone crazy in terms of goals scored at home, scoring more than once in three of their last seven, scoring more than twice in none of those seven.
Put all of the above together and a low-scoring game starts to look slightly more likely than the early prices suggest.
Expert Pick #2 – Both Teams to Score – NO @+110
As touched on above, the Rapids have been partial to a clean sheet at home, shutting out two of their last four visitors, as well as three of their last six. Yes, both teams have been involved in plenty of games where both teams find the net, though given that we’re talking about a home team that is about as good as it gets defensively (at home) in the west, and a visiting side that doesn’t have the most potent attack, a small play on both teams not to score offers value at odds of +110.
Expert Pick #3 – Goal in Both Halves – No @+150
Staying on the low-scoring theme, and if you’re looking for something a little more rogue, betting that at least one of the halves will remain goalless appeals. Everything above plays into this one, but so does the fact that the hosts, whose approach is reasonably low-key, have made a habit of keeping the goals out of at least one half of late. A goal has been scored in only one half (or neither) in each of Colorado’s last five games overall, as well as their last four at home.
The hosts have been strong at home and thus this is probably their game to lose, though there’s plenty of reasons as to why this may not be the most exciting fixture in terms of goals. Even if a home win happens, which the moneyline suggests is very likely, it would be no surprise if it was a low-scoring one, so bettors are advised to go down that route.