It definitely hasn’t been an enjoyable past couple weeks for the Seattle Sounders. They’ve been handed three consecutive defeats, and 3 points from an attainable 15. A home match against a struggling Colorado Rapids team could be a good place to turn their poor run of form around. Here are five things to know:
The Rapids are really bad away from home
The Rapids finished atop the Western Conference standings in 2021. It was a wildly overperforming team, and it definitely hasn’t translated to 2022 league play or their short-lived CCL campaign. Part of what put that 2021 Rapids team in the position they were in was their ability to grind out results away from home. In 2022, they are still yet to win a game away from their home stadium. We are well past the halfway point of the MLS season, so if the Rapids want to make a late push for a playoff spot they have to start getting positive results in games like this.
Big pieces missing for both teams
Midfielder Obed Vargas and DP Striker Raul Ruidiaz will both be unavailable against the Rapids on Saturday night. Big blows, but expected ones. Colorado is also missing some big pieces, though. Star center back Danny Wilson will be unavailable due to yellow card accumulation, and defensive midfielder Jack Price is listed as questionable. Both are irreplaceable in terms of what they bring to this Rapids team. In addition, Braian Galvan, Aboubacar Keita, and Oliver Larraz are all listed as unavailable.
Ending the Sounders’ run of losses and poor performances
Three consecutive defeats at the hands of the Portland Timbers, Nashville SC, and the Chicago Fire have left the Sounders in a bit of a point deficit. We, as fans, expect more from this team than we have been getting. And we all know what they’re capable of. A win against a bad Rapids team at home is incredibly important. The race for playoff spots in the Western Conference is getting very heated as we approach the final third of regular season matches. Five points separate 13th place from 7th, and it will get even more congested as we approach Decision Day.
We could see some experimentation with attacking options
Ruidiaz is still unavailable, and the Sounders attacking gameplay in recent matches has been too slow and predictable. They have scored 0 goals in their past three games, with only seven registered shots on target in that same span of games. Yes, seven shots on target in over 270 minutes of soccer. We think Brian Schmetzer could experiment with Jordan Morris at center forward against the Rapids, giving somebody such as Leo Chu the chance to make his mark on the match from the start.
Important match for the Sounders wide players
Let’s be clear — this is an important match for every Sounders player who takes the field against the Rapids this weekend given their recent form. But it is especially important for the Sounders wide players to be alert against a team that plays like the Rapids. They rely heavily on service from wide areas of the pitch. Their fullbacks will get very high up the field to create space for their inverted wingers to exploit. This will leave plenty of space behind them for wide players, especially Cristian Roldan and mystery left winger. Usually Jack Price is the guy to snub counter attacks, and he does a very good job at it. But his availability is questionable, so that is an inclusion/exclusion to keep your eyes on as the lineups roll out.