In its sixth match of the 2015 season, Sounders FC faces a Colorado Rapids side that it has beaten 11 times, more than any other opposing team in Seattle’s history. The Rave Green won all three matches against Colorado in 2014, including a pair of 4-1 victories.
The Rapids, however, are coming off a 4-0 win over FC Dallas that tied the largest margin of victory in their history. Here are three crucial matchups to watch in Saturday night’s contest.
Marco Pappa vs. Clint Irwin
Pappa’s stellar play was one of the main reasons why the Sounders had so much success against Colorado last year. First, the Guatemalan midfielder’s corner kick found Clint Dempsey for the only goal in a 1-0 result on August 30. Then, just five weeks later, Pappa assisted Obafemi Martins and scored one of the team’s best goals of the season as Seattle trounced the Rapids, 4-1, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Pappa has yet to score in 2015, meaning he’ll be extra motivated to put one past Irwin on Saturday. It could be a challenging task, as Irwin currently leads MLS with four shutouts and a 0.40 goals-against average.
Seattle backline vs. Dillon Powers
At age 24, Powers is already one of the leaders on Colorado’s team. Last season, the young midfielder wore the captain’s armband after Drew Moor went down with a season-ending injury and finished the year with a team-high nine assists. Powers, an attacking-minded midfielder, earned a spot on the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week by notching a goal and an assist against Dallas last Friday. The Notre Dame product was the MLS Rookie of the Year and Rapids MVP in 2013.
Sounders motivation vs. Rapids momentum
This is the first time Colorado has carried any sort of momentum into a match since the middle of last season. Prior to their win over Dallas, the Rapids hadn’t scored a goal in 2015 or earned a victory in MLS since July of 2014. They’ll be eager to put on a show for their home crowd Saturday night. On the other hand, Sounders FC was upset with its 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy last weekend, when the Rave Green felt they played well enough to win. Another defeat would bring Seattle’s record below .500 for the first time since the beginning of the 2013 season.