Rapids vs. Whitecaps - Three Keys to the Game

VANCOUVER, CANADA - JUNE 16: Kosuke Kimura #27 of the Colorado Rapids trips up Davide Chiumiento #20 of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC during their MLS game June 16, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver won 1-0. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

After such a signature win over the Portland Timbers, it's going to be hard to top for the Rapids on July 4th when they face the Vancouver Whitecaps. It's a July 4th game and we all love watching the Rapids on that particular holiday, but they'll need to be wary. The Whitecaps showed earlier in the season why they can't be looked over on the schedule, beating the Rapids 1-0 at BC Place.

It goes without saying that Colorado can't be having another result like that against the team only four points ahead of them in the table. Here's three keys for the Rapids if they want to get out of July 4th with not only a festive fireworks show to be thankful for...

Someone vs. Mattocks - Everyone breathed a sigh of relief in the last game between these two teams when Darren Mattocks got sent off. He had been carving the Rapids -- specifically Scott Palguta and Kosuke Kimura -- into shreds with his speed and if he had been able to finish some of his chances that game would have likely ended 2-0 or 3-0. We're probably not going to get the luxury of seeing Mattocks get carded this time around if he plays. In that regard, someone needs to step up and stop his speed from absolutely destroying the Rapids.

Of course, having Marvell Wynne back makes this one a lot easier to swallow but if Mattocks attacks down the wings like he did so much in the first game, Hunter Freeman is going to be called to task. Hopefully he's up for it.

Casey/Cummings - The super striker duo had a solid return to form against Portland, and hopefully they'll both get plenty of minutes against the Whitecaps as well. One of the problems the first time around was a lack of luck when it came to finishing chances, but Casey and Cummings seem to make their own luck when they're together up top. Nuff said.

Feed Off The Crowd - There's something to be said about a raucous crowd. Portland knows, they've won most of their MLS games in front of their rabid fanbase, the Timbers Army. While we're not close to Timbers Army levels, we've seen that DSGP can host some brilliant crowds -- Galaxy and Impact games this year come to mind -- and every July 4th is almost a guaranteed sell out.

If the Rapids can feed off the energy that the win-hungry crowd will generate, it can't hurt.

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