The Seattle Sounders are visiting the Colorado Rapids on Sunday (5:08 p.m. PT; FOX 13+, Prime Video, 93.3 KJR FM, El Rey 1360 AM) in their first match of the season. Here are three matchups to watch:
Fredy Montero vs. Mark-Anthony Kaye
With rotations expected from Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzter in the club’s third match in eight days, look for the veteran Montero to be active and influential in the final third. Whether he plays as a No. 9 or in a deeper playmaking role, Montero will try and occupy space in and behind Kaye in the deeper part of midfield. How well Montero can connect in the final third and find those gaps will go a long way in creating goalscoring opportunities.
Kelyn Rowe vs. Jonathan Lewis
With Alex Roldan suspended following a red card midweek at Houston, Rowe will almost certainly be called upon to fill in at right back. There aren’t true wingers in Head Coach Robin Fraser’s 3-4-2-1 formation, but Rowe will need to keep the pacey Lewis, who loves to run at defenders and also stretch lines, in front of him. If Rowe can do that, it will help the rest of his back line focus on stopping…
Jackson Ragen vs. Gyasi Zardes
If Ragen, who has missed the last two matches because of Health and Safety Protocols, is cleared to play, he’ll have a tough challenge in slowing down a longtime MLS goalscorer. Zardes joined Colorado via a trade with Columbus Crew SC last month, and he has a goal and an assist in five matches so far. The Rapids have lacked a productive No. 9 for a while, and now that they have their man, they’re going to need to rely on him to bag goals. If Ragen & Co. can keep him off the score sheet, there’s a legitimate chance that the Sounders can take a point or three back to Seattle.