The Seattle Sounders visit the Colorado Rapids on Saturday (6:00 p.m. PT; JOEtv, YouTube TV, 1090 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM) in Week 27 MLS action. Here are three matchups to watch, presented by Toyota.
Nicolás Lodeiro vs. Jack Price
On any given matchday, the Sounders’ possession-focused attacking scheme flows through Lodeiro. But with ten First Team players unavailable due to international call-ups, the diminutive Uruguayan will play even more of an outsized role in driving the Sounders forward. With eight goals and 12 assists to his name this season, Lodeiro’s quality in the final third is undeniable. But given the likelihood that new signing Emmanuel Cecchini and 16-year-old Homegrown Danny Leyva will feature in this Western Conference clash, the Sounders captain will need to guide his relatively inexperienced teammates as they face a steely Rapids midfield.
Price, 26, made 97 appearances for the Wolverhampton Wanderers before crossing the pond to sign with the Rapids in 2018. If Lodeiro can wrestle control of the midfield from Colorado’s English enforcer, the Rave Green can pick up a result.
Luis Silva vs. Tim Howard
Between integrating in the squad and the return of Raúl Ruidíaz, minutes have been hard to come by for Silva. An astute, technical No. 9, Silva has shown promising flashes in his 78 minutes since signing for Seattle in the Summer transfer window. In particular, his movement and quick release nearly grabbed a late winner against the Galaxy in Week 24, but he was denied by an acrobatic David Bingham save.
During his second stint with RSL, Silva bagged two goals against Howard and the Rapids in 2017. Operating alongside a top-notch chance creator in Lodeiro, look for Silva to spearhead the attack in Colorado.
Kelvin Leerdam vs. Jonathan Lewis
Lewis, 22, is a bit of an enigma. An elite 1-v-1 player with high-level productivity, the Akron product has eight goals and seven assists in just 1510 career minutes. Herein lies the issue with Lewis: he’s amassed just 14 starts across four seasons in MLS. New Rapids Head Coach Robin Fraser could be the key to unlocking Lewis’ undeniable talent, as he bagged a brace in Fraser’s first match, a 2-0 road win against the New York Red Bulls.
Although Lewis lined up in a 3-5-2 in Fraser’s Rapids debut, he’ll likely come up against Leerdam on several occasions. He’s not really a No. 9 or even a second forward, so he likes to drift wide to the left, where he can cut inside and wreak havoc. Leerdam’s ability to limit Lewis’ influence on proceedings will likely determine the result on Saturday.