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Seattle Sounders at Colorado Rapids - Life at Elevation

Colorado Rapids Back Collar - From
Colorado Rapids Back Collar - From

This is a mile high club that you hope to not be a part of, but one where often you just hope to survive. Elevation (because they are still on ground) is something for which all Denver based teams take advantage. And like the other football, the Colorado Rapids preach their Mile High with pride. There is a reason why the Rapids and Real Salt Lake are listed in the top 6 hardest stadiums to get a win by players, and for Colorado it has nothing to do with the crowd.

So Sigi Schmid has an additional challenge this week, one that he will only get twice a year inside League play. At the least every player is healthy, though likely not fit. But that increases the chances of substitution changes for this match. Because Seattle should treat this match differently, because speed late means more Friday night than it usually does.

Some managers/coaches would try to train differently for this match, showing up earlier than usual to acclimatize. But there really isn't a point. It takes weeks, not days, to get use to life at elevation. Seattle is treating this fairly standard, in fact compressing their training schedule due to the short week, not the elevation directly.

But there are a few players who probably should get an extra look due to lung capacity and foot speed. This list contains Mike Fucito, Lamar Neagle, Steve Zakuani, O'Brian WhiteJames Riley and maybe Mauro Rosales. These are all players that use speed to their advantage. Now, of course, Colorado has the lungs for a full 90, this is their home. But they will be effected a bit, so Seattle should use at least half of those guys heavily in the first half, and then advance their typical substitution pattern by 5-10 minutes.

This isn't about capturing a disadvantage of the Rapids. What it is is diminishing a disadvantage that every visitor to Denver has. Several of Seattle's players will be exhausted at half, and they won't get their lungs back. If this is the case, Sigi and staff should move on and put in a new fresh player. This isn't your typical road game.

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