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Navarro, Steffen propel Rapids to victory over Whitecaps

Levonte Johnson Moise Bombito Vancouver Whitecaps Colorado Rapids Levonte Johnson Moise Bombito - The Canadian Press

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) — Rafael Navarro scored on a penalty kick after Vancouver's Bjørn Inge Utvik drew a red card during first-half stoppage time and Zack Steffen made it stand up as the Rapids beat the Whitecaps 1-0 on Wednesday night.

Utvik, a rookie defender making his fourth start and sixth appearance, drew a hand ball foul following a video review. Navarro converted the PK in the fifth minute of stoppage time with a right-footed shot to the bottom right corner of the net.

Navarro is 4 for 4 on penalty kicks this season. He has scored in three straight matches and has seven goals and two assists. The 24-year-old forward had a goal and an assist in 10 appearances — all starts — last season, his first in the league.

Steffen finished with two saves for his third clean sheet of the season for Colorado (6-4-3).

Yohei Takaoka saved two shots for Vancouver (5-4-3).

Colorado was coming off a 3-2 loss at home to the San Jose Earthquakes in which the Rapids blew a 2-0 lead.

The Whitecaps entered play with a 3-1-3 record in their last seven matches with Colorado.

The victory vaults the Rapids past the Whitecaps and into a four-way tie for second place in the Western Conference, four points shy of top dog Real Salt Lake. Colorado finished last in the West last season. The Rapids have accumulated 21 points so far, just six less than their season-ending total in 2023.

Vancouver stays on the road to play the Seattle Sounders on Saturday. Colorado travels to play Real Salt Lake on Saturday.


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