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 Colorado Rapids

Rapids Topple Vancouver Whitecaps at Home Following Navarro Penalty Kick Conversion

May 16, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Colorado Rapids News Release


The Colorado Rapids recorded their third clean sheet of the season on Wednesday night after beating the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 at DICK'S Sporting Goods Park. The midweek matchup saw Rafael Navarro's fourth converted penalty kick of the season, as Djordje Mihailovic's shot was deflected directly in front of goal by Bjørn Inge Utvik's arm in the fourth minute of first half stoppage time. Navarro calmly converted the penalty for his sixth goal of the season and Utvik received a red card for denial of a goal scoring opportunity. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen collected his third shutout in the contest, making two saves, including a denial of Levonte Johnson in the 39th minute to keep the 'Caps scoreless.

The Rapids will travel to Sandy, Utah to take on Real Salt Lake this weekend for their third game in seven days. Kickoff on Saturday night for the potentially Rocky Moutain Cup-deciding matchup is set for 7:30 p.m. MT.

Notable:

F Rafael Navarro scored in his third consecutive match, marking his sixth goal across his last seven appearances. His goal tonight ties him for the seventh-most in MLS this season.

Navarro converted his fourth penalty kick as a member of the Rapids, tying him with Diego Rubio and Kei Kamara for the fifth-most penalties scored in club history.

D Andreas Maxsø recorded a pair of clearances tonight, bringing his 2024 total to 47, tying him for the fourth-most in MLS this season.

GK Zack Steffen recorded his third clean sheet of the season.

The Colorado Rapids have scored in 12 of their 13 games in MLS this season, scoring in their last eight matches. This streak marks their longest run of games with a goal in MLS play since a 10-game stretch from July 5, 2022, to August 21, 2022.

Colorado's win tonight extends their unbeaten run against Vancouver to five matches (2-0-3) and extends their unbeaten run against Vancouver when leading at halftime to five matches (4-0-1).

COLORADO RAPIDS HEAD COACH CHRIS ARMAS

On the match:

"Yeah, look, it was another tough game for us. We came out ahead on the night against a good team, it's nice to see the boys win in a different way, to manage the game the way they did. After halftime being up a man, I thought it was a mature performance in the second half, which is never easy just because you're up a man. I saw some good stuff there in the second half and we had a lot of control. Yes, it's a shutout, which is really important. It's a victory here for us at home. The fans once again came out. Pride night is so important to our club, to so many of our fans, and to our team. So yes, even extra special on the night. We look forward to a few days from now. We know what's coming up."

On Saturday's matchup against RSL for the Rocky Mountain Cup:

"I wish we were hosting this one. This Rocky Mountain Cup is such an important cup to us as a team and to our fans. It would have been nice if maybe we played one on the road and then one at home, or one home and one on the road. To have the first two on the road, it's tricky but that's what it is. The fact that we have the slight edge at the moment is what it is, it's an edge. We have a lot of work to do to go there and get the trophy. However, I think you can go through an entire season and not really play for a trophy, and now we are 12 games in or so. The fact that we have a chance to bring one home this early in the season, that we've put ourselves in that spot, is a really big positive. We know Salt Lake, they're a really good team. We've played them and we've gotten a look at them, but they also have managed a busy week. What team do they put out? It'd be hard to predict that and then even prepare in detail without knowing exactly who they're putting out with two days [to go]. I think the most important thing is that we went there, we had a victory, and the guys have some confidence that we can go there again. To be clear, we will be going after that. It's important to our fans. After the match tonight, I can't say how many were chanting "Beat Salt Lake", so we will go after them with everything that we have. I can promise our fans that."

On Rafael Navarro's performance:

"There's so much more that goes into it for goal scorers like him. I think the club knows that he can score and there's a lot of trust in him from his teammates as well. We said that we have to get him into spots to do that. If it's at the penalty spot, that's one way, but you can see that he's dangerous in many other moments. He's worked hard at all the little things in his game, the holdup play, he's a real worker. To see him get rewarded, as his coach I'm always happy that these guys can - I wasn't a goal scorer, I scored a few in my time but not too many - but I know that feeling for him, I know it has to feel good."

COLORADO RAPIDS MIDFIELDER COLE BASSETT

On the match:

"Yeah, it's a weird one. We're happy with the win, but for me, especially as an attacker, you want to get goals and assists in that game. And yeah, we didn't get enough in the second half. Personally, a little frustrated that we didn't score more. I think our progression as a team is, we've had a couple of times where teams have gotten red cards this year and we haven't buried a lot of chances, even though we've created a few of them. So, I think that's the next step as a team. Obviously, we're happy with getting the win, moving into a tie for second place and then you know, a big game on the weekend."

On what bringing home the Rocky Mountain Cup would mean to him:

"I think that was technically my first trophy per se, in professional football back in 2020 when we did it at their place, so that'd be special to do it there again. I mean, you have a chance to go there and end it before they have a chance to come here. So, I think if you have an opportunity to win twice in their building that would be pretty sweet, but they're on a roll right now. They're a very good team, there's a reason why they are first in the West. We've got a quick recovery and we're going to have to have a quick match plan, but I know the coaches are already preparing for that and just going to get us prepared so that we have the best chance to win the game."


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