Well I won't lie, the Rapids still suck. The problem is, they have more points than us. That can't stand. They can't stand. Mastroeni's boys are in 3rd in the West, 3rd! and they average one goal a match. The best news is just that, they only score once a match. Colorado is not an offensive juggernaut, just like every year. In seven matches, they've given up five goals, so defensively they are pretty astute still. The bad news, they've won their last two matches 2-1 against SKC and NY Red Bulls meaning that they have recently discovered scoring, this match though should be different.
Injuries will play a major factor in this one. Dempsey is 50/50 on our side but that isn't what will be the lynchpin in this one with Valdez (maybe), Gomez, and Morris all looking good upfront (right now). Colorado meanwhile has injuries to Kevin Doyle and Marco Pappa meaning they a very different offense than they have rolled out so far. Jermaine Jones will be the number 10, at we'll get to that, but Doyle was expected to be the big man for Colorado while Pappa has been the key creator in an offense that has struggled when he's been on the bench. It has struggled when he's been on the field too but he is a net positive to the offense. The backline has plenty of injuries and is makeshift but Jared Watts and Sean St. Ledger are not too important. Dillon Powers may or may not go but he hasn't appeared to be in their plans this season anyway.
Marc Burch, who remembers that hair? Great, you'll see it again today. He's cemented himself at LB this season. Yes, he is a quality starter for them, his play is still average or just below and his hair is exquisite. Expect the tandem of Eric Miller and Bobby Burling to be in the middle. They'll beat our guys up. Burling is always likely to make a poor foul near the box at least once per half. Eric Miller played more fullback than CB in Montreal but he's filling in for an injured Axel Sjoberg and needed to move inside. His vacated RB spot has been taken by Mekeil Williams. He's not a great attacking fullback, which COL rarely uses, but is strong in the air. He is a good contributor to the CBs at stopping crosses, which will cause Seattle's attack problems, but if you attack down the left and beat him off the dribble then cross, you exponentially increase the chances of completing the cross.
Jermaine Jones - I said we'd get to him. He was suspended for six matches for doing...poor extracurriculars at the end of last season. Last week he came back to play against New York RB and started in the center as a #10. That is Pablo's plan for him for reasons no one understands, I guess so he doesn't have to run as much. Sam Cronin and Michael Azira will start behind him patrolling the space between Jones and the centerbacks. They can be broken down. They've needed the support of Dillon Powers to keep the midfield from being a gaping hole and Jones can provide that cover but he may decide he's too tired and neglects to. With only one match that he's been on the field for and that one had Marco Pappa providing the width and support, it is unclear what will happen with the offense. What we do know is: Jones will play long balls wide for Gashi and Badji flanking Solignac on deep runs. The ball will get played back into the middle from there for a shot from Jones or the other winger that has tucked inside by then. They love to shoot from distance and must be closed out. They are not a threat in the box. Jones is not a threat at getting the ball into the box. The Sounders have been beaten by long shots and while Frei typically can clean them up easily but if Ozzie or others do not close out on a distance shooter like Jones or Cronin, the green could be punished.
Overall, Colorado is not good. They are adequate. They're record is better than it should be. Colorado has a good offensive style to match up with the Sounders defense, they will get shots off. The Sounders have a great offense and possession style to match up against the Rapids. Seattle should win this one with possession and Ozzie closing out Jermaine Jones and a lack of other offensive threats, we'll earn a shutout. Jordan Morris has confidence after his goal, he and the rest of the band of strikers will grab a couple including from a Bobby Burling foul outside the box that Andreas Ivanschitz turns into a goal for someone (either himself or a header).
Projected Lineups -
Colorado (4-2-3-1): MacMath, Williams, Burling, Miller, Burch, Cronin, Azira, Badji, Jones, Gashi, Solignac
Sounders (4-3-3): Frei, Mears, Marshall, Evans, Remick, Alonso, Friberg, Ivanschitz, J. Jones, Morris, Anderson
Nelson Valdez should be in the 18 but not starting.