Colorado's offense is at the most complete and talented it has been this entire season right now. Tony Cascio is the only player missing from the equation going into the game against the Whitecaps today, and he hasn't exactly set the world alight in his second season.
A disappointing season from Edson Buddle and the same exact season that Atiba Harris has had every single year he's been in MLS have left the Rapids leaning on young Deshorn Brown for goals at the top all season, and his finishing has proven to be an issue. Their other offensively minded players have usually been either injured (Jaime Castrillon) or ineffective (Danny Mwanga). They've gotten goals in from guys like Nathan Sturgis and Dillon Powers, but the Rapids have lacked much punch from their men roaming the final third.
It's now or never. If the Rapids can't get goals flowing against the Whitecaps, there's probably not much reason to hold out hope for the rest of the season.
The offense is in the best situation we've seen all season. Not only is Gabriel Torres likely going to get a start -- he confirmed that he was 90 minutes fit despite the altitude -- but the Rapids also have a healthy Jaime Castrillon back, a wily Vicente Sanchez to call on and, of course, a version of Deshorn Brown that's likely going to have big chip on his shoulder after the worst game of his short career against Chivas USA. That's just up top, too. Right behind them, Martin Rivero will be back at full health and is in form after a super performance in LA last weekend.
They'll all be going up against a Vancouver defense that isn't exactly on fire at the moment. It's their attack that has brought them into the playoff picture, with their 36 goals being the second most of any Western conference team and puts them into a four-way tie for second in the league. (The three teams at the top of the Eastern conference all have 36, while Real Salt Lake lead the league with 39.) Defensively they haven't been a sieve like DC United or Chivas USA have this year, but their 30 goals allowed are tied for the most allowed by any team currently in the Western playoff picture.
It's been mostly due to mediocre road scoring form that they've got such a tight goal differential. Over 2/3 of their goals scored have come at home, masking any defensive deficiencies by piling the numbers onto the opposition. On the road, they've scored a measly 11 and have a road GD of -6.
All signs point to Colorado finally having the breakout attacking game that we've been clenching our teeth and waiting for all season. If they can't do it now, with everything on their side, it's going to be a nervous final eight games of the year.
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