Colorado have games in hand versus the Sounders, including more matches at home than any other team. This game has more value in the standings than any other this month. It reminds the league that home is where the Sounders feast, and forces the Rapids to pause in their attempt to pass Seattle.
One could think that the Sounders are lucky to have baby Arsenal (Rapids owner also owns the Gunners) after a midweek match and on a day when their best player is in South Africa attempting to play the greatest match in US soccer history.
One would be wrong.
The Rapids recently traded for Pat Noonan, a different National Team player and an MLS Cup winner. In addition, Omar Cummings has played his way into the Golden Boot race now with 6 goals and 6 assists in 1140 minutes (PP90 = 1.42). Behind the two forwards will be Colin Clark (0.85) and Mehdi Ballouchy (0.61). This is a potent offense that will require Sounders to have the defensive will that Sigi and Keller expect.
Likely the best way to combat that offense is for Sounders to play their own game - The Enemy's Goal is Down. Forcing their will on the opposition, placing them on their heals running backwards.
With the injury status of Zakuani and Le Toux the burden may be placed on the Freddyain. With Montero and Ljungberg flipping from withdrawn forward to right winger at surprising moments they MUST break down Harvey. The connections between the Colombian and Swede must also lead to Jaqua punishing the centerbacks with his height and determination.
Watch Brad Evans to be more involved in the offense as well, so that Pablo Mastroeni can't cheat forward. The Rapids have enough offense without getting a defensive mid into the mix.
Sounders likely get the Back Four back today, for one last match until the Gold Cup is over with Tyrone Marshall getting the call from Jamaica. He and Hurtado will likely start and Ianni will sit the bench in this one. There may be a possibility that if Sigi wants to change the dynamic of the offense and both of the ankle injuries are too bad that he could slot Evans back at Left Mid slide Alonso to the Center Mid and play Ianni as the Defensive Mid, but that depends on injuries.
With two weeks before the next league match there is little need for resting players - except for that July 1st match in Portland. I would rather focus on today's match and later pay attention to how to win in Portland.
Oh, and people, watch the US National Team take on Brazil. Leave early, stay late, whatever it takes. Today might just be your day of dreams.
Canadians will be rooting for the Red White and Blue today.
My DVR will be full when I get home. Too much good soccer.