Whitecaps, struggling Rapids aim to end winless droughts

Both teams are on streaks they want to reverse, but the mood is very different for both. They are both looking for wins, but for one a mere point would be a change.

The Vancouver Whitecaps are on a four-match draw streak that isn’t ideal but is preferable to what the Colorado Rapids are going through. Colorado (2-7-2) has lost six straight matches and has dropped to the basement of the MLS Western Conference standings.

The Rapids have a chance to end that streak when it hosts the Whitecaps at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Friday night in Commerce City, Colo. It is one of the roughest stretches for the franchise but the team hasn’t lost faith. There’s plenty of season left to turn it around, and the attitude reflects that.

“The morale of the team is incredible considering the run we are on,” first-year coach Anthony Hudson said on Altitude Radio on Wednesday. “I think everyone sees we are not far, everyone sees the good we are doing, and we also know the areas that are costing us. One thing’s for sure, to play in front of that big crowd last Saturday and hopefully another big crowd on Friday, we want to do what we can to repay the support from the fans.”

The return of midfielder Jack Price from suspension wasn’t enough of a boost in a 3-1 loss to the Portland Timbers on Saturday night.

“I think it’s difficult in our run to take about lots and lots of positives,” Hudson said after the match. “All I would say is they kept going, they kept working and we’re better than the results are showing recently. We’re a better team than that.”

That positive outlook will be put to the test against Vancouver on Saturday night. The Whitecaps (4-5-5) rallied from a two-goal deficit against FC Dallas to get the draw on May 19, and then Cristian Techera had his first MLS hat trick in a 3-3 tie against the New England Revolution.

The ties have earned Vancouver five points but it would be better to have earned 15 in the same span.

“We need to stop conceding silly, stupid needless goals and that’s just individual detail,” coach Carl Robinson said after the match against the Revolution. “The defending has not been good enough and we need to address it.”

Fittingly for the way things are going for the Whitecaps, their last meeting with Colorado was a 2-2 draw on Aug. 5, 2017.

Vancouver will be without captain Kendall Watson, who has joined the Costa Rican national team in preparation for the 2018 World Cup. That won’t be used as an excuse, Robinson said.

“It’s the next person to step up,” Robinson said. “You’ve got a squad for certain reasons. When you have a chance, you have to take your chance. People will probably not expect anything better because Kendall is a starting player and a key player for us. What I say is, I’ll agree to disagree on that, because sometimes people surprise you. So the player who gets the opportunity to step in might just surprise a few people.”