What You’ll Watch
The Seattle Sounders stay at home for the second week of the season when they host the Colorado Rapids this Saturday night. The Sounders are coming off a high with their 4-1 victory on Opening Weekend, their first opening win to start the season since 2015. The Rapids came from two goals down to tie the Portland Timbers 3-3 in the coldest game in MLS history.
The Sounders currently find themselves at the top of the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield standing (yes, it’s after only one week but work with me here) and Colorado sits in 5th place in the West with their one point last weekend.
This is the first of two games against the Rapids this season and the only one at home. This will be the 25th regular season meeting between the two teams. Seattle leads the series 17-5-2 with 46 goals scored and 25 conceded. The Sounders are 10-2-1 at home with 26 goals scored and just nine conceded.
Tale of the Tape
Leading Goal Scorer: Jordan Morris, two
Assist Leader: Nicolas Lodeiro and Victor Rodriguez, two each
Leading Goal Scorer: Andre Shinyashiki, Benny Feilhaber, Kei Kamara, one each
Assist Leader: Kellyn Acosta and Dillon Serna, one each
Injury Report, Suspensions and International Duty
Out: Kortne Ford (knee injury) and Kofi Opare (foot injury)
Questionable: Sam Nicholson (back injury), Tommy Smith (knee injury) and Sam Vines (quad injury)
Suspensions: Axel Sjoberg (red card)
International Duty: N/A
Questionable: Henry Wingo (left groin pain)
International Duty: N/A
REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo
AR1: Mike Rottersman
AR2: Felisha Mariscal
4th: Alejandro Mariscal
VAR: Fotis Bazakos
AVAR: Joshua Patlak
What to Watch
Formation: It’s a wildly rebuilt team making the trip for Colorado, but the straightforward 4-diamond-2 structure that head coach Anthony Hudson began installing last year has stayed (even if the team seems better built to run a 4-3-3). It’s tough to gather much information from their first match, which was played in atrocious conditions that left it a real mess on the scoreboard, box score, and field, as well as had at least one late scratch for injury.
Primary paths to goal: Kei Kamara with good service is a dangerous afternoon for anyone. Feilhaber, Acosta, and Nicolas Mezquida are all capable of pushing the ball forward in different and dangerous ways. With Feilhaber playing deeper there’s a lot of weight on Mezquida to orchestrate. There are a lot of competent pieces that will need time to gel and develop on-field relationships that don’t yet exist.
Defensive structure: This team looks to be built to defend all over the field and on a functional field they’d likely be active in pressuring top to bottom. With Sjoberg out, however, we’ll probably see a very cautious set of outside backs limiting their forward pressure to ensure the centerbacks have sufficient support. Something approaching a bucket midfield with a low double pivot is definitely possible. After a refreshing evening of Cincinnati continuing to attack, it’s likely that the away-team bunker returns to Centurylink Field.
What to keep an eye on: How will the Rapids defense hold up without one of its key contributors in Sjoberg? Are Colorado’s midfielders able to generate threatening long balls against the Sounders’ defense? Can Seattle contain Kamara?
How to Watch
Date/Time: Saturday, March 9 @ 7:00 PM
Location: CenturyLink Field — Seattle, WA
Streaming: YouTube TV
Radio: 950 KJR AM (English), El Rey 1360AM (Spanish)