“Let’s play two.” The legendary Ernie Banks loved doubleheaders and you should too. Immediately following the Seattle Sounders at Colorado Rapids match is the Tacoma Defiance at Rapids 2 match. Yes, one ticket is good for both. Sure, the stadium will likely be empty, except for the players for both teams who will almost certainly watch their friends and protégés on the pitch.
Defiance are hovering around the red line, 3-2-3 (2 bonus), +7, good for fifth in the West as of this writing. Wade Webber’s side has settled into a comfortable 14 or so players, with their youngest coming from the First Team. Tonight’s match should see a mix of veterans from the USL-era and youth currently on MLS contracts.
Rapids 2 are struggling. They also give up goals in bunches, losing to Quakes 2 by six goals last weekend. Former Sounders Academy player Blake Malone had his first start with the Colorado org in that loss. Last year he was on loan to Omaha Union from Orange County. (Both clubs won their titles.)
“Well, the first-ever doubleheader is exciting enough itself,” said Rapids 2 head coach Erik Bushey. “The stadium does bring additional energy. You know, playing a late kickoff under the lights, the lights always bring energy. University of Denver is certainly our home and we are happy to be playing there, but there is something different about playing in our venue. We know that there are still going to be people around to watch. We know that the first team is here and will be represented in our match. Eyes will be on us. It’s all just positive, so there are a lot of good things that come from playing here at the stadium.”
Why you should watch
- Double Duty — A certain number of Sounders and Rapids players will have suited up for an MLS match in the afternoon and then re-suit up for an MLS Next Pro match in the evening, playing on the field that they wanted to enter in the early game. This “double-header” rule doesn’t allow a player who took the pitch to play in the later game. It does allow someone who didn’t enter the field to play. It is unlikely a player on the bench for the MLS game starts the Next Pro game because they won’t have prepped the same way as the rest of the XI for the late game.
- RBW — No one knows what position he’s best at, and maybe that’s fine. Reed Baker-Whiting may just be the next Cristian Roldan. Imperfect at many positions, willing and able to play them all — Baker-Whiting defends from the front, finds the right pass and, new this season, has a bite to his game.
- Academy playing up — It’s time to see the younger of the youngsters. Tonight’s game is perfect for it because a handful of the GA Cup winners were on the bench last match. They saw the difference between professional preparation and amateur. They saw the fans. Now it’s time they see the field.
How to watch
Match date/kickoff time: Sunday, May 22, 8:00 PM PT
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado
Online Streaming: MLS NEXT Pro
Defiance Absences: Hal Uderitz (left knee pain)
Rapids2 Absences: Unknown