In the second of three contests between the teams this season, Sounders FC hosts the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday. Seattle earned three points in the first meeting by virtue of a 3-1 win at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on April 18.
Here are three positional battles to keep an eye on in Wednesday night’s game.
Lamar Neagle vs. James Riley
After posting career highs of nine goals and nine assists in 2014, Neagle has just two goals this season and has yet to record an assist in 11 matches. Both of his goals came against Colorado, however. The veteran midfielder scored a first-half brace in the last meeting, finding the net on a curling strike from the edge of the box and then finishing his own rebound to give Sounders FC a halftime lead. On Wednesday, he’ll line up across from a former teammate in Riley, who has started at right back in six of the Rapids’ last seven games.
Stefan Frei vs. New Colorado forwards
Colorado brought in two strikers since its last meeting with Seattle: Luis Solignac and Kevin Doyle. Solignac, 24, comes to the Rapids from Nueva Chicago of the Argentine First Division and has also spent some of his career in Europe. Doyle is the club’s third Designated Player, an Irishman who played several seasons in the Barclays Premier League. Frei had an outstanding game in the 3-1 victory earlier in April, but this is an entirely different group of Rapids forwards. Both Solignac and Doyle made their MLS debuts last weekend and will likely be featured in Wednesday’s contest.
Clint Dempsey vs. Drew Moor
The Rapids are tied with Sounders FC for fewest goals against in the league (nine), aided by Moor’s return from injury at the centerback position. A ruptured ACL caused Moor to miss the first four games of the season, but since his return, Colorado has earned impressive victories over Vancouver Whitecaps FC and FC Dallas. Wednesday could provide Moor’s toughest challenge to date, as Dempsey and company will be eager to score following their scoreless draw with Sporting KC over the weekend. In addition, Dempsey had four goals in three matches against Colorado last season.