Torres expected to make his debut for the Rapids.
It is expected that Colorado’s first DP Gabriel Torres will make his MLS debut on Saturday when the Vancouver Whitecaps visit Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Panamanian striker has played a game for the Rapids Reserves, in which he scored the winner against Chivas USA reserves.
Saturday’s game against Vancouver is the first of three against the Western Conference competitors between now and the end of the season. The two sides are on 36 points, four behind conference leaders Real Salt Lake and one point ahead of fourth place Portland Timbers.
“It’s a direct rival. They have the same amount of points as we do, so it has all the elements to be a clasico because of the objectives that each team has to reach the playoffs,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja told ColoradoRapids.com Thursday.
The Rapids and Whitecaps have met five times in the two years since the Canadian team joined MLS. In 2011, Colorado won both matches – including the season finale in Vancouver which secured the Rapids a direct berth in the playoffs, as opposed to the wild card spot. Last year, the Whitecaps won the first two meetings before the teams drew 2-2 at BC Place in late September.
With the Whitecaps having two games in hand, and the Rapids having next week off, the importance of obtaining the three points on Saturday is clear to see.
“We can neither avoid nor hide the importance of this game, we all know it,” Pareja said. “That brings a normal pressure to everyone, but it’s a good pressure. It’s actually beyond pressure. It’s the responsibility that we have and feel in facing Vancouver with all those elements. We have to win.”