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Rapids-Whitecaps FC Preview
By KATE HEDLIN
(AP) -- The Vancouver Whitecaps have a deep offensive attack, with Darren Mattocks the latest to step up. While injuries have kept the Colorado Rapids from having similar success, they may finally have the manpower following a lengthy layoff.
In their first MLS game in three weeks, the Rapids visit the Whitecaps on Saturday night.
Vancouver is in fourth place in the Western Conference - three points ahead of Colorado, which hasn't played in a league game since a 3-2 win over Montreal on May 26.
The Whitecaps (6-3-4) haven't been idle as long. They ended an 0-1-2 stretch with a 3-1 victory over Houston on Sunday, improving to 4-1-2 at home and 3-0-1 in their last four games there.
Mattocks led the way with two goals for Vancouver. The second overall pick in this year's MLS SuperDraft, Mattocks missed the first six weeks of the season while recovering from severe burns suffered during a cooking accident and then played limited minutes over the previous month.
The speedy forward is now tied with Sebastien Le Toux and Camilo for the team lead with three goals. Nine players have scored at least once for the Whitecaps.
"There are a lot of fantastic guys on the team," Mattocks said. "Anyone can make the starting 11 at any point, that's the depth of our team. Once you get your chance you just have to make the most of it."
Vancouver, playing its next two games at home, will be facing a Colorado squad that is 2-5-0 on the road while being outscored 12-6.
"Every time we get a chance to play at home, fans get behind us and there's a lot of passion in the stadium," coach Martin Rennie said. "We look forward to the next one and I hope the fans do as well."
However, the Rapids (6-6-1) may have reinforcements on the way, as Conor Casey, Omar Cummings and Brian Mullan could return this weekend.
Cummings, who is tied for second on the team with three goals, has missed the last three games with a high ankle sprain. Casey has played in only four games because of a lingering ankle injury.
"We are always just challenged with injuries," coach Oscar Pareja told the Rapids' official website. "We are not complaining about it or making excuses, it's just a fact."
Cummings is cautious about returning on turf.
"(It) is not necessarily the best thing (for) playing your best game," he said. "We'll see how it goes."
Colorado defender Drew Moor, who signed a multiyear extension earlier this week, could also return after suffering a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for a 2-0 win over Kansas City in a U.S. Open Cup match June 5.
"Drew has been a critical piece of our squad since he joined us in 2009, and was essential to our MLS Cup run in 2010," Rapids technical director Paul Bravo said.
Colorado won both meetings against Vancouver last season.
Updated June 15, 2012