Competition: MLS Playoffs (Western Conference Final – First Leg) Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids
Venue: CenturyLink Field – Tuesday, November 22 – 22:00 ET (03:00 GMT)
Match Odds: Seattle 4/5 – Draw 23/10 – Colorado 7/2
The Sounders have been in incredible form since August and look in a strong position to go all the way after winning seven of their last eight games at CenturyLink Field.
As the home side, the pressure is on Seattle to breakdown a strong Colorado defence. They might be missing Tim Howard, but the Sounders know they need to be at their absolute best if they are to take a strong lead into the second leg.
A 2-1 loss at Dallas last time out was disappointing, but Seattle advanced easily because of their 3-0 win in the home leg a week before. A similar plan will be in place for this clash.
Colorado edged past LA Galaxy on penalties last time out but they have only scored two goals in their last four and are struggling for form at a pivotal stage of the season.
They head to Seattle as underdogs and will be looking to remain tight at the back and try and hit the hosts on the counter. Avoiding a heavy loss will be crucial if they are to reach the MLS Cup Final in a month’s time.
These two sides met twice during the regular season with Colorado winning both games. They are looking for a fourth-straight win against the Sounders here. They have only met in the playoffs once before, with the Sounders eliminating the Rapids 2-0 in 2013.
Clint Dempsey remains out for the Sounders, who have a number of players that are in danger of missing the game. Jordan Morris, Andreas Ivanschitz, Alvaro Fernandez and Roman Torres are listed as questionable, while Dylan Remick is likely to miss out again with concussion.
Colorado have been rocked by the loss of Tim Howard, who has been ruled out for four months with a groin injury. Dillon Serna is also out, while Shkelzen Gashi is a doubt with an ankle problem.
Seattle Sounders’ last five: L/W/W/W/L
Colorado Rapid’s last five: W/L/D/L/W
Key Stat: Seattle have won their last five home playoff games, while Colorado have lost each of their last five road games in the playoffs, dating back ten years.
Key Player: Nicolas Lodeiro – The Sounders playmaker is one of the league’s most creative players and he’s proven his worth time and time again. If Seattle are going to win the first leg, they need Lodeiro at his best to carve open a resolute Colorado defence.
Seattle Sounders 1-0 Colorado Rapids – The Sounders have had an incredible ride into the playoffs and their strong form should continue with another win here. They have kept back-to-back home clean sheets in the playoffs this season and look poised to keep another here, with the bigger challenge coming at the other end of the field. The Rapids are the best defensive team in the league and so Seattle will need to create something special to break them down. They should get at least one goal and take a narrow lead into the second leg.