• Richard Fleming

Match Preview: Colorado Rapids Tackle Top Dogs At Home

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

Colorado Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders FC DICK’S Sporting Goods Park Wednesday, October 20 | Altitude 2

With the four top teams all losing at the weekend, it’s as you were heading into a busy midweek fixture list, which includes third-placed Colorado Rapids against Western Conference-leading Seattle Sounders (STANDINGS).

The Sounders arrive off the back of a shock 2-1 reversal at Houston Dynamo FC. The Rapids return after three on the road, the most recent of which was a bitterly disappointing 3-1 defeat at Real Salt Lake.

Diego Rubio will be absent for the Rapids as he serves a suspension for yellow card accumulation, though defender Danny Wilson returns after missing the Rocky Mountain Cup decider following his red card in Minnesota.

Expect head coach Robin Fraser to shuffle the pack once again, for a game the Rapids must win if they are to retain any glimmer of hope of challenging the Sounders for top spot in the West. They are currently six points behind, with five games to play.

Sitting third, the Rapids are one point behind Sporting Kansas City, who don’t play until Saturday, when they visit Seattle for a lunchtime encounter.

The Rapids also have to be wary of the lurking threat posed by Portland Timbers. They are currently fourth, five points behind, but the two meet in Commerce City on Saturday night.

Fraser has done an excellent job rotating his numbers this season, but he will be mindful of mixing up things too much heading into these final five games. Yes, with so many games crammed into a short space of time, rested bodies are required. He must balance that with the need to field his best 11 for the best finish possible, and to make sure momentum is with them heading into the playoffs.

And so, fitness issues aside, we should expect Michael Barrios, Younes Namli, Kellyn Acosta, Mark-Anthony Kaye, and Danny Wilson to feature among the starters against Seattle.

On losing to RSL previously (July 24), the Rapids went unbeaten in 12. That run began with five wins in seven. The Rapids remained unbeaten for the next five games, albeit with just the one win.

Having gone 5-0-2 since the first loss at Rio Tinto, the Rapids have since had a run of 2-2-4, during a spell which is beginning to look like the ‘wobble’ most teams suffer at some stage throughout a campaign.

The first of those two losses came at Lumen Field at the start of the month, a 3-0 defeat by the Sounders in which the Rapids had their chances. The upset inside Rio Tinto also brought with it chances, but on both occasions the Rapids slipped behind early on.

Seattle’s run to the finish will provide a few tests, with games against the Rapids, Sporting KC, LAFC, LA Galaxy, and Vancouver Whitecaps before the regular season wraps up on November 7.

Brian Schmetzer has an 8-2-1 record against the Rapids, including playoffs. His side managed a 1-1 draw on their last visit to DICK’S Sporting Goods Park, on July 4, with Barrios canceling out a first MLS career goal for Alex Roldan.

FC Cincinnati aside, the Sounders are the only team in MLS with more road wins than home success. They are 8-3-4 at Lumen Field, yet 9-3-2 on their travels. Even without Jordan Morris the entire season, and Nicolas Lodeiro for most of it, the Sounders have continued to dominate.

Jimmy Medranda has been injected with a new lease of life since arriving from a brief stop at Nashville. Raúl Ruidíaz, with 16 goals on the season, continues to be a lethal striker, while Joao Paulo orchestrates from midfield, highlighted by his 10 assists. That said, Ruidíaz is unlikely to feature on Wednesday as he continues his recovery from a leg injury which has sidelined him since September 29.

Schmetzer will likely start Nouhou Tolo and Alex Roldan in Commerce City. Both emerged off the bench in Houston having endured a hectic schedule on international duty, for Cameroon and El Salvador respectively.

The Sounders wander into this game in search of their 200th franchise win all-time. The Rapids are chasing win number 300. More importantly, the Rapids will be eager for another ‘statement’ win, to follow the phenomenal comeback in Minnesota the weekend before last.

Coverage on Altitude 2 from 6.30pm with Tyler Maun and Marcelo Balboa.

Check HERE for a full list of all remaining games for the teams currently occupying the top seven spots in the Western Conference.

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