COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- For Deshorn Brown, the Colorado Rapids' season has been about maturing and growing as a team. He credits a coaching staff that won't let them get down.
"This is a staff that won't let us get down on ourselves,'' said Brown, one of several young players on a team that is contending in the Western Conference. "The coaches meet with us daily to remind us to stay focused.''
That paid off when Brown scored in the 36th minute Saturday night to lead the surging Rapids to a 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Edson Buddle added a goal for Colorado, which extended its unbeaten streak to nine games. The Rapids are 5-0-4 since an 0-3-1 stretch.
"We doing it by keeping our young players focused,'' Colorado coach Oscar Pareja said. "Our young players continue to believe what we are doing and feeling like they are playing for something.''
Colorado (10-7-9) moved ahead of the Whitecaps for sole possession of second place in the Western Conference.
Goalkeeper Clint Irwin made three saves to earn his ninth shutout.
Vancouver (10-8-6) applied little pressure, but allowed the Rapids few scoring chances.
The Whitecaps are 1-3-1 in their last five games.
"We had three or four great chances, one when it was 0-0 and another when it was 1-0,'' Vancouver coach Martin Rennie said. "And then we lost a bad goal on their first goal when we played long.''
Camilo Sanvezzo and Kenny Miller, the highest scoring tandem in the MLS with 21 goals, were bottled up in the first half when the defenses dominated. The Rapids didn't have a shot on goalkeeper David Ousted until Brown's seventh goal of the year.
Irwin made two saves before Brown's goal, coming out of the crease to swat the ball away from Sanvezzo in the 27th minute.
Lee Young-Pyo's cross set up a chance for Miller in the 34th minute, but Irwin blocked the shot.
The save appeared to get Colorado's offense on track. Vincente Sanchez took several strides with the ball before pinpointing a pass to Brown, who found space between Young-Pyo and the left post.
"All I had to do was read his (Sanchez') eyes,'' Brown said. "I know where the ball is going because we run that play in practice all the time.''
Brown, who has missed a few open nets this season, had no trouble finding the back of the net with a header.
Ousted blocked a shot by Hendry Thomas at the start of the second half.
Nick LaBrocca set up Buddle's third goal of the year. Buddle faked Ousted out of position and scored in the 79th minute.