With every match becoming more important to the club’s hopes of making the postseason, the Seattle Sounders are hoping that a three-game road stand, beginning with a midweek clash against the Colorado Rapids tonight can spur them back toward the red line in the Western Conference standings.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park has traditionally been kind to the Sounders, who boast a 6-3-1 record against the Rapids all-time in MLS play when visiting the Centennial State. Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer recalled this fact Tuesday when asked about the difficulties of playing at altitude.
“Altitude is something up here,” Schmetzer said, pointing to his head. “You can power through that. Your tactics can prevent any feeling you might get. The ball never gets tired. We’ve had some good results there including when we won the Western Conference championship in 2016. We’ll get after them.”
The Rapids recently picked up their first road win of the season against the Vancouver Whitecaps over the weekend but have struggled at home. The Rapids have failed to capitalize on their altitude advantage, compiling a mediocre 3-4-2 record in Commerce City in 2018.
Schmetzer thinks his team is poised to capitalize on the disappointment of Seattle’s June 30 Cascadia Cup loss at home to the Portland Timbers.
“They’re determined,” Schmetzer said. “Obviously, the last game stung. It hurts and it still hurts. It’s good that we have a midweek game against an in-conference opponent, that gives them something to look forward to. We’ll roll a team out there that gives us a good chance to win.”
The trick for Schmetzer will be choosing how to balance minutes against a struggling Rapids team with the looming prospect of a trip to Foxborough, Mass. where they’ll take on the New England Revolution Saturday. The Revolution are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference and Seattle is in dire need of a string of positive results to attempt to kickstart the midsummer comebacks that have propelled them to two consecutive MLS Cup finals.
For midfielder Cristian Roldan, however, the club cannot afford to look past the Rapids, despite the increasing likelihood that Colorado is looking at 2018 as a rebuild year after sacking manager Pablo Mastroeni last August and replacing him with Anthony Hudson, the son of former NASL Sounder Alan Hudson.
“I’ve seen really good moments by them,” Roldan said Tuesday. “(Forward Yannick) Boli has created a spark. They’re very good players. I expect a lot. It’s a decent squad, they just haven’t gotten the results, much like us. It should be interesting. They’re going to push forward a lot, but on the counter they’re very susceptible.”