Sounders FC is back at home at CenturyLink Field this weekend with a chance to sweep its season series with the Colorado Rapids. To preview this weekend’s match-up, SoundersFC.com spoke with Richard Fleming, Senior Director of Broadcasting for the Rapids.
Since the Last Time We Met…
For the Rapids, this season has included massive changes both on and off the field. There are a lot of new faces, new players and to be frank, that took awhile to settle down. There is a lot of new potential and it has taken the Rapids awhile to determine the best formations and personnel.
They may have landed that in the last two matches, as they’ve seen two wins, but time will tell. A 4-2-3-1 formation was allowing them to be well organized, but it also exposed that they weren’t consistently threatening. This 4-3-3 shows them to be a bit more aggressive going forward and more positive overall.
I think they’re utilizing their strengths now. Kevin Doyle has been the front man for the last two games and previously had been just behind. Things are beginning to turn a bit of a corner. There’s still a massive way to go after a disappointing first half of the season.
I think one player who has looked revitalized is Vicente Sanchez. He may be 35, but he’s had experience at the highest levels. He’s added a spark. I don’t think he’ll play 90 minutes this weekend, but he’s looking a lot more attack-minded and certainty more motivated the last few matches.
Earlier this season, it was an 11-man collective. Now, the Rapids have to look for a difference maker. The team has shown they can sit tight and defend, but now they are looking to take that next step. Sanchez has been that spark.
Kevin Doyle has worked well with him and provided an offensive threat. Those two guys are the difference-makers.
They’ll be without Luis Solignac (hamstring) and Bobby Burling is out because of yellow card accumulation. That’s two changes – one on the backline, one up front. This speaks to the problem they had earlier in the season. The difference this year is that there’s a roster with depth and options; sometimes, it’s been a case of there being so many movable parts that they haven’t been able to settle on the ideal starting XI off the bench. They’re beginning to settle on that now but they’ll have to switch things around for this match this weekend.
The Fortress that is CenturyLink Field
It’s been a tough place for the Rapids to play. I think this is the only of the current away grounds where the Rapids have never won a match. They’re 0-8-1 in regular season. It’s a tough environment and I think when you talk to the players and coaches, one of the reasons is the intimidating atmosphere that the fans are able to create at CenturyLink Field. That gives the Sounders a lift.
Final Thoughts on SEAvCO
The Rapids have to have a quick start to their game against Seattle. Players will tell you that you can’t go to CenturyLink Field and try to soak up pressure. You have to attack. The game plan is to go there and get off to a fast start and rough up the Sounders and get them out of their comfort zone.
If they can do that and get an early goal, it will silence the big crowd.
I think the Rapids need to make it count when they’re playing well and be more clinical in the final third. They need to remain tight and organized defensively. They haven’t had a clean sheet since the beginning of June and they haven’t scored a goal on the road since May. History is against the Rapids, but they’ll try to draw a positive and remain positive when they visit Seattle this weekend.