For the third time this season, Sounders FC is set to take on Colorado Rapids. The club leads the season series 2-0-0 and looks to sweep when they meet this Saturday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Sounders FC broadcaster Ross Fletcher provides his analysis in this week's edition of Off-Camera Observations.
On the Rapids improvements:
The Colorado Rapids are better than their standing in the conference dictates. They've only won four matches on the year, but they have won their last two which is something they haven't been able to do in 13 months. That has to do with two things. First, a change in formation - they've gone from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-3 in recent games and looked pretty solid and they've conceded the third fewest goals in MLS. They have found a formation that allows them to get their best players on the field.
They have also found a quality striker in Kevin Doyle who played a long time in the English Premier League and The Championship. He played alongside Marcus Hahnemann in Reading and they have found a genuine goalscorer. He had the game-winner against Vancouver two games ago. He has two great feet and he's excellent in the air. He is the goal-scoring threat that they never really had in the past few seasons.
On the Sounders earning a result against Colorado:
It's great for the Sounders that they are at home. When you look at their record, it's terrific and they have only conceded six goals and lost twice at CenturyLink Field. They have to keep the ball better. The Sounders have to be more confident in posession. That comes down to a lot of factors: Quality on the ball, quality runs on the ball that the outside midfielders make and the team has to make the effort to be in the right positions. They obviously won't play the same style as they do with Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins and their posessive game, but they have to be better in possession overall. They can't afford to turn over the ball as often as they did in Chicago, otherwise they are inviting pressure from the Rapids.
On playing on a different surface at CenturyLink Field:
It will be even for both sides because it's a different type of surface than both teams are used to playing on. If you ask anyone, even Sounders players, they'd say they prefer to play on grass. That won't be a ngative at all, despite being used to playing on turf. This turf has been layed over the field turf so conditions will be different. For both sides, it'll be a little slower and the bounce isn't quite as true as it normally would be. It will be important in the warm-up for the Sounders to get used to the surface but it's te same for both teams. Whoever adapts best will be able to win the game.