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Playoff-eliminated teams can be the most dangerous, Stefan Frei says

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The freedom to take unconventional risks poses an added threat, the keeper says.

MLS: Seattle Sounders at Minnesota United FC Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

TUKWILA, Wash. — Seattle Sounders keeper Stefan Frei said the club is taking the Colorado Rapids very seriously ahead of their match against them at CenturyLink Field Saturday. While the 6-17-6 Rapids will end their season on Decision Day, Frei said it makes them dangerous at this stage in the season.

“Some of (our remaining schedule) may look past this year and say ‘it’s a done deal,’” he said. “Those are very dangerous opponents. They can afford to lose. They could care less if they lose 2-0, 3-0, 4-0. They’ll cheat (players further up the field). They have numerous guys who are very skillful. Very aggressive and attacking minded. When those guys aren’t expending too much energy defensively, it’s dangerous for us.

“It’s an opportunity to get out of the funk a bit and get an important three points. They’re going to be a dangerous team. They’re a high-risk team right now, leaving lots of players up top; three at least up front. It’s difficult, we’re going to be very careful.”

Perched perilously on the red line (albeit with a game in hand against fourth-placed Portland, fifth-place Real Salt Lake and seventh place LA Galaxy), the Sounders cannot afford to be careless. After scoring 19 goals in a nine-match win streak, the Sounders have been goose-egged in their last two outings.

As the loss to Philadelphia proved, the margin for error, even clubs dominating matches, is razor-thin.

Seattle will have to get used to playing against those with the freedom to take chances. Three of Seattle’s remaining four opponents (Colorado, Orlando City, San Jose) have already been eliminated from the playoffs and the Houston Dynamo may follow if Seattle takes a point this weekend and Houston bungles an outing against the Earthquakes.

Still, the Rapids boast the second-worst goal differential in the league, -23 to Orlando City’s -26. Saturday’s match provides an opportunity for the Sounders to put their foot down and try to turbo jump back into the form that carried them into playoff contention, if they come mentally prepared to do so.

They just have to watch out for the most dangerous men of all: those with nothing to lose.

“The hottest team at the league at any time can lose to the worst team,” Frei said. “If we want to achieve something this year, during home games we have to get the three points and be dominant about it.”