In the parity-driven world of Major League Soccer, teams can sometimes just hold a match-up advantage over another. That has been the case with the Sounders FC and Colorado Rapids over the last 25 months, where Seattle has won each of their five meetings.
That includes two wins this season at CenturyLink Field – one a 1-0 victory on April 14 and the other a controlling 2-1 performance on July 7. The latter of the two is part of a five-game losing skid for the Rapids, whose last win came in a 3-0 trouncing of the Portland Timbers on June 30.
Those two streaks will undoubtedly yield a motivated Rapids side on Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“Obviously, when a team hasn’t won games for a while, there’s a little extra bite to their game,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “There’s a little extra effort, pressure that’s being put on from the coaching staff and players themselves, so they’re going to be rearing to go.”
In their two matches this season, Seattle has outshot Colorado 33-10, dominating both sides of the ball.
However, they are well aware that the Rapids have the pieces in place to turn their season around in a hurry. That includes the forward pair of Omar Cummings and Conor Casey and a midfield that features Jaime Castrillon, Martin Rivero, Brian Mullan and Jeff Larentowicz.
Cummings scored Colorado’s lone goal against the Sounders this season and matches Castrillon for the team-lead with five goals this season. He has recently been hindered by injuries, but has appeared in each of Colorado’s last six matches.
“They’re a good team and they’ve got good players. If Omar starts, it’s a different game and gives us different challenges,” Sounders FC defender Jeff Parke said. “They keep the ball a lot, but we’ve got to get behind the ball and defend and wait for our chances.”
The team Seattle takes with them to Colorado is going to be well-rested, as the Sounders are riding a four-game unbeaten streak and haven’t played a league match since a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls on July 15. They took three days off over the weekend, and added an extra day on Wednesday to get rejuvenated as they get into another busy stretch of games that includes their first match of the 2012-2013 CONCACAF Champions League next week and the US Open Cup final against Sporting Kansas City on August 8. In between, they will also face the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes as they look to get back in contention for a top playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“It’s back to work, but it was important to get the three days, get that little bit of rest physically and mentally, and I think we’re rearing to go,” Schmid said.
Kickoff is set for 6 pm Pacific Time with television coverage on KONG 6/16 and the radio broadcast on 97.3 KIRO FM.