In Pictures: Sounders put four past the Rapids in dominant performance

After two-straight losses, Seattle Sounders FC rebounded at home with a dominant 4-0 win over Colorado Rapids on Saturday. Seattle was aggressive from the opening whistle and were rewarded with two goals from Raul Ruidiaz, a penalty kick goal and two assists from Nico Lodeiro, as well as a final goal from Victor Rodriguez to seal the win.

“It was a home game. It was a game we needed to win so we messaged [the team] all week about having a comeback performance from the last two,” said Brian Schmetzer when asked about the aggressive start. “And again I give all credit to those guys in the locker room. That’s a pretty experienced group of players and we had a couple bad results but that team knows how to win.”

Colorado did their best to weather the early attacks from Seattle but after conceding in the 22nd minute there looked to be little hope of a comeback for the visitors. Although taking six shots in the first half, Colorado finished with eight shots total and only Tommy Smith’s header on the 50th minute was kept on target.

Overall it was a strong performance all around from Sounders but the play of Lodeiro stood out amongst the rest. Both of his assists to Ruidiaz were a direct result of Lodeiro giving the extra effort to keep the play alive and find his teammate for the goal while leading all players with a staggering 114 touches.

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No goal was more important though than the goal from Rodriguez who was visibly relieved after scoring. “I needed this goal because I’ve had a hard season…” said Rodriguez. “It’s very important for me, for my daughter, for my family. They are my ‘Super Always’ and this goal is for them.”

There was also high praise from Schmetzer of Ruidiaz’s play and integration with the team as the Peruvian has scored five goals in 11 matches as a Sounder. When asked about the relationship between Lodeiro and Ruidiaz, Schmetzer highlighted that it’s not just Lodeiro who Ruidiaz has partnered well with.

“The relationship between Raul and Nico, Raul and Victor, Raul and Ozzie [Alonso], Raul and Cristian [Roldan]… and there’s been a lot of history in MLS of mid-season signings not really catching on so I think we’ve done a good job, I think the front office has done a really good job in getting us a player who does actually fit in.”

Next up for Sounders is a visit from Houston Dynamo on Monday, October 8th as Seattle now sitting in 4th place in the West looks to solidify a playoff position with just four matches remaining.


Colorado Rapids vs Orlando City | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Colorado Rapids vs Orlando City

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Sunday, April 29 2018 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)

Colorado Rapids vs Orlando City: Preview

Sunday afternoon sees Colorado Rapids welcome Orlando City to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids sit 8th in the Western Conference, while Orlando are 3rd in the East.

Last weekend was Colorado’s first loss since Week 1. They can feel hard done by not to see performances reflect a higher position in the standings – having won two, drawn two and lost two.

This is going to be a test for Anthony Hudson’s side, who are welcoming an Orlando outfit in good form. They are going to be without their ‘keeper, Tim Howard, who saw red for handling the ball outside of the area.

Orlando have won four games on the bounce. That is most certainly playoff form and they are hoping the good run can continue here.

It is not going to straightforward though and they must iron out some defensive frailties. Their 3-2 win over San Jose last weekend should have been far more comfortable. At 3-0 up the game was out of sight but weak defending from crossing made for a cagey ending to that one.

The only previous meeting between the two in Colorado ended 0-0, while the Lions are yet to lose against the Rapids. That by no means implies an away is guaranteed, which Orlando will be all too aware of.

Colorado Rapids vs Orlando City: Team News

Colorado Rapids

❌ Suspensions: Tim Howard.

❓ Doubts: Danny Wilson (undisclosed).

🚑 Out: Kortne Ford (knee) and Marlon Hairston (knee).

Orlando City

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: RJ Allen (hamstring).

🚑 Out: Mason Stajduhar (localized Ewing sarcoma), Scott Sutter (lower body) and Jonathan Spector.

Colorado Rapids vs Orlando City: Key Stats

Colorado Rapids’ MLS form: D/W/D/W/L

Orlando City’s MLS form: L/W/W/W/W

Key stat: Orlando City are one win away from equalling the longest win streak (five) since their inception to MLS.

Colorado Rapids vs Orlando City: Prediction

Colorado Rapids 2-2 Orlando City: Given Rapids recent form it’s difficult to see them losing this one, despite missing Howard and having lost last time out. Orlando’s winning run adds pressure to both sides – it is going to be an interesting tie which has the potential for goals. Score draw.

2018 Key Transfers: Colorado Rapids

As the 2018 MLS season closes in, we will run through the key additions and losses for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we look at all Colorado Rapids’ key transfers and what it could mean for them in their 2018 MLS campaign…

Colorado Rapids go into the new MLS Season with a new manager as Anthony Hudson has replaced Pablo Mastroeni permanently after Steve Cooke filled the role in the interim following Mastroeni’s departure in August. Hudson was most recently the head coach for the New Zealand national team, and has also held coaching positions at Tottenham Hotspur and with the Bahrain national team. At 36, he becomes the youngest head coach in Rapids history. His job will be to get the Rapids back to the level they were at in 2016 after a shocking 2017 season. They finished 10th in the Western Conference, scoring just 31 goals.

Key signings

Jack McBean: McBean has been brought in via a trade from LA Galaxy. The 23yearold striker has been on the fringes of the Galaxy team for a few years now and will relish a fresh chance. In return, Galaxy received a conditional fourth-round draft pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. With two goals in 18 appearances last term (10 of those from the bench), McBean will be looking to start more games in Colorado.

Jack Price: The English midfielder has spent the entirety of his career to date with Championship high-flyers Wolves in England. Having fell out of favour with the midlands outfit, Price has crossed the Atlantic. A central midfielder who played as a winger at a young age, Price will be used to operating in a 4-4-2 system and could flourish in an open league like MLS. Having only played five games for Wolves this year he should be fresh and raring to go in time for the start of the 2018 season.

Danny Wilson: Scotland international Wilson has joined from Rangers. As a promising youngster he got a dream move from the Scottish giants to Liverpool in the Premier League. But after spending three years with them and only playing two games for the Reds he moved back north. Most recently, he has had three successful years back at Rangers winning the Scottish Championship in the 2015-16 season.

Andrew Dykstra: He will be a backup to USMNT keeper, Tim Howard but nonetheless, he will be a solid option. Formally of DC and Chicago Fire, Dykstra spent last season with Sporting Kansas City, and also went on loan to Swope Park Rangers – the recently formed SKC affiliate. SKC received a second-round pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft in return.

Notable Departures 

Joshua Gatt: Josh Gatt is a quick winger whose career has somehow drifted of course. Once a prodigy lighting up the Norwegian top tier playing under Ole Gunner Solskjær. Gatt has left after only 15 appearances for the Rapids, following an early season trade from Minnesota United. With only the single goal for the Rapids in a frustrating season, there’s no surprise why he has been let go.

Mohammed Saeid: Saeid is the former Columbus Crew midfielder who was part of the trade that saw Gatt join the Rapids from Minnesota. And much like Gatt, Saeid was disappointing and has been let go. Playing 29 games and also chipping in with just the solitary goal last term, Saeid has joined Lyngby BK after they snapped him up in December – a Danish Superliga side that finished in a respectable third last season.

Alan Gordon: The powerful striker has parted ways with the Rapids after just one season in which seems to be a theme after such a disappointing 2017 campaign for the club. The two-time MLS Cup winner played 26 times last season, scoring three. Seen as merely a good option for the bench these days, it will be a shame if he isn’t picked up by another MLS side but at 36 years old, retirement is by no means out of the question.

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 Colorado Rapids – Alan Gordon Axel Sjoberg

Bobby Burling: The defender is out of contract with the Rapids and it seems as though it will stay that way. Former Chivas USA and San Jose Earthquakes defender Burling would still be a good squad player for any MLS side. But at 33, doubts remain over his fitness, having spent periods of last season out on the sidelines.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Competition: Major League Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Friday, May 5th – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST)
Match Odds: Colorado 10/11 – Draw 23/10 – Vancouver 3/1

Match Preview

Struggling Colorado Rapids welcome Vancouver Whitecaps to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Friday night as they look to snap a six-game winless run in front of their own fans.

Colorado’s 2-0 loss at Orlando on Saturday was their fourth on the spin and they find themselves at the bottom of the West coming into the weekend.

The Rapids have started the year in the worst way possible after such an encouraging campaign last year. Colorado were nine points better off after seven games last year. They have conceded 11 goals so far this term – the same number they had conceded after 17 games last term.

Paulo Mastroeni is under pressure. The players aren’t performing and the team traded two of it’s most consistent players in Sam Cronin and Marc Burch to Minnesota United, who have since moved four points clear of them.

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Failure to win Friday’s game would leave the club in a deep hole. They are six points behind Vancouver in the final playoff spot at this early stage but can’t afford to keep dropping points, especially at home.

The Whitecaps have hardly been convincing themselves, with inconsistency proving a problem as they try to climb the West. They have won two of their last three though, including a 2-1 win in Montreal on Saturday to pick up their first road points of the campaign.

They’ll be looking to follow that up with three points in Colorado on Friday – something they haven’t been able to do for five years.

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The ‘Caps remain a solid outfit but must start winning more regularly. They haven’t won back-to-back regular season games since May last year but look to be in a strong position to do that here.

These two sides met three times last season, drawing twice in Vancouver either side of a 2-0 Colorado win in August. The Rapids have won their six home games against the Whitecaps, conceding just three goals in the process.

Team News

Colorado Rapids should welcome Tim Howard back between the sticks after the goalkeeper completed his recent three-game ban. Kortne Ford is also eligible again after being suspended for the weekend trip to Orlando. However, Axel Sjoberg is still out along with Bismark Adjei-Boateng, while Dillon Serna is a doubt.

Vancouver are still missing six players through injury with Brek Shea, Brett Levis, Yordy Reyna, David Edgar, Erik Hurtado and Marcos Bustos still sidelined.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ form: D/L/L/L/L

Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L/L/W/L/W

Key Stat: Colorado have won six home games in a row against Vancouver, with the Whitecaps only ever win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park coming back in the 2012 season.

Key Player: Fredy Montero – The Whitecaps DP has started to find some form, after scoring three in his last three. He has played the full 90 minutes in Vancouver’s past four games and is clearly back to full fitness. If he is on form on Friday, it could be another tough evening for the Rapids.

Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – This is a massive game for Colorado. They have to stop the rot and show their fans an encouraging performance to inspire belief in the team for the rest of the season. They have a great record against the Whitecaps, but they are starting to find some form now and will offer a stern test. We can’t split the two on paper, so don’t be surprised to see this one end level.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. Colorado Rapids
Venue: Orlando City Stadium – Saturday, April 29 – 15:55 ET (20:55 BST) 
Match Odds: Orlando 3/4 – Draw 5/2 – Colorado 7/2

Match Preview

Orlando City welcome Colorado Rapids to Orlando City Stadium on Saturday afternoon as they’re looking to continue their 100% home record in the 2017 season.

The Lions come into this fixture after their 2-1 win over NYCFC, that result has put them top of the Eastern Conference despite having played the joint least amount of games in 2017.

Jason Kreis will be delighted with how his side have been playing and will see this as a more than winnable game. However, they cannot afford to let their great run of from change their approach and must see this is a huge opportunity to continue their challenge for the Eastern Conference title.

Colorado Rapids are struggling. They are bottom of the Western Conference and their only win of the season came on the opening weekend.

The Rapids look a shadow of the side they were last season. They’ve lost all three of their games on the road in 2017 and given Orlando’s home form, that run looks set to continue here.

Pablo Mastroeni will be disappointed with how the opening six games have gone for his side but there is plenty of time to turn things around. Their main focus must be finishing in the top six and a positive result at Orlando would go a long way to start to rebuild some confidence at Colorado.

Team News

Seb Hines remains on the sidelines through injury, while Rafael Ramos, Jose Aja and Kaká are being assessed from day to day.

Axel Sjoberg and Bismark Adjei-Boateng are out, while Dillon Serna is a doubt for the visit to Orlando.

Key Points

Orlando City’s form: W/L/W/W/W

Colorado Rapids’ form: L/D/L/L/L

Key Stat: Fortress – Orlando have won all four of their games at home so far this season.

Key Player: Cyle Larin – The Orlando striker netted twice again last weekend against NYCFC, he’s in fine form and you can expect him to take any chances that come his way in this fixture.

Score Prediction

Orlando City 2-0 Colorado Rapids – Another win for the machine that is Orlando City. Their home form has been outstanding and given the stats ahead of this game it would be a shock to see Colorado come away from Orlando City Stadium with anything.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Sporting Kansas City vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids
Venue: Children’s Mercy Park – Sunday, April 9 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST) 
Match Odds: Sporting KC 3/4 – Draw 5/2 – Colorado 7/2

Match Preview

Sporting Kansas City host Colorado Rapids in an important Western Conference clash on Sunday night in the final fixture of what will be an action-packed Week 6 in MLS.

Sporting KC remain unbeaten through four games after last week’s 0-0 draw at Toronto. However, they have only managed to score two goals so far this season but have done well to only concede once.

All those goals came in the 2-1 win at home to San Jose. Three 0-0 draws on the road isn’t ideal but SKC will need to be a little more adventurous if they are going to challenge for the Supporters’ Shield this season.

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Pete Vermes will expect his side to win on home soil yet again but Colorado will offer a stern test as they are a tough unit to break down themselves.

The Rapids have had three full weeks to prepare for this game. Their game with FC Dallas last weekend was postponed following the international break and it’s unclear how that length of time off will affect them.

On one hand they’ve had a long time to prepare for the trip to Children’s Mercy Park, but on the other it means they are lacking match sharpness that SKC have been able to build upon.

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The Rapids lost 1-0 at the Red Bulls in their only away game of the season so far and have now suffered defeats in their last four MLS away games in total.

These two sides met three times last season with Colorado winning all three clashes, conceding just one goal in the process.

Team News

Sporting Kansas City will remain without Diego Rubio, who is out with a torn ACL, while Benny Feilhaber is set to miss out with a thigh strain that kept him out of last week’s draw in Toronto.

Colorado Rapids head coach Paolo Mastroeni has had three full weeks to prepare for this game but he will be without John Berner and Axel Sjoberg, who remain injured. Marlon Hairston and Eric Miller are listed as doubtful. Sam Cronin and Eric Burch have been sent to Minnesota United in a trade that has seen Mohammed Saeid and Josh Gatt head the opposite way, so both will be in contention to start.

Key Points

Sporting KC’s form: D/D/W/D

Colorado Rapids’ form: W/L/D

Key Stat: Colorado Rapids have won their last five games against Sporting KC in MLS, scoring eight and conceding only two in that time.

Key Player: Dom Dwyer – The SKC striker has yet to get off the mark for the season but has looked lively through his side’s opening games. If he can get in behind the Rapids defence on Sunday he’ll undoubtedly cause them all kinds of problems.

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Score Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 1-0 Colorado Rapids – It doesn’t look like there will be a flurry of goals in Sunday’s meeting. Both sides are strong defensively and won’t want to allow any space in behind. But with the pressure on Sporting KC to win the game, they will be expected to attack more and could be rewarded with a narrow victory against a Rapids side that might be a little rusty after three weeks off.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs Minnesota United FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. Minnesota United
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Saturday, March 18 – 21:00 ET (01:00 GMT)
Match Odds: Colorado Rapids 2/5 – Draw 16/5 – Minnesota United 13/2

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids welcome struggling MLS new boys Minnesota United to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday in a game that looks like it is going to go only one way.

The Rapids won their opening game of the season but lost 1-0 to Red Bulls last weekend, a result they will be expected to bounce back from here.

Pablo Mastroeni will demand nothing more than a win but will make his side aware they are not to undermine their opposition or take things lightly just because of their previous two results. There will be plenty of respect on the field with Colorado looking to get the job done early.

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Minnesota United have really struggled in their opening two games of their first ever MLS campaign. This is one of the last places they will want to visit off the back of already conceding 11 goals this season.

Adrian Heath’s side were taken apart 6-1 in the coldest game in MLS history last weekend and things will get better for them. The side has plenty to learn and become accustom to and if they put in a solid performance this weekend they will send a message out to the rest of the Western Conference that they’re not just here for a hiding.

Minnesota are conceding a goal every 16 minutes so far this season. Defensively things are going to have to drastically improve if they’re to start picking up points.

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Team News

Colorado Rapids have four injury concerns as John Berner, Axel Sjoberg, Kevin Doyle and Alan Gordon are all sidelined.

Bernardo Anor and John Alvbage are Minnesota United’s only injury concerns heading into this tie.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ form: W/L

Minnesota United’s form: L/L

Key Stat: Fortress – Colorado Rapids have lost just once in their last 20 Major League Soccer home games

Key Player: Dominique Badji – The Rapids forward has netted once already this season and this is a great chance for him to show he can provide on a regular basis.

Dominique Badji celebrating his first goal of the season via:

Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 5-0 Minnesota United – It’s not a prediction made lightly but Colorado are very strong at home and Minnesota have been thumped in both of their fixtures this season. We expect The Rapids to win comfortably.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Colorado Rapids
Venue: Red Bull Arena – Saturday, March 11 – 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT)
Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – Colorado Rapids 16/5

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls welcome the Colorado Rapids to Red Bull Arena as their first visitors of the new MLS season. Both sides will feel positive going into the game after wins in week one, Colorado beating New England Revolution 1-0 and the hosts seeing off MLS new boys Atlanta United 2-1.

The Red Bulls gave up the majority of possession in last weeks clash in Atlanta, as they earned a hard-fought three points after coming from behind late on. We expect them to enjoy the majority of the possession this week as they settle into their home schedule against a resolute Rapids side.

From first glance at the Dax McCarty-less Red Bulls, it is clear they will struggle more often than not to control games without his calming and experienced presence in the middle. It will be interesting to see how the midfield battle pans out in this one as Michael Azira and Sam Cronin both possess experience in dominating that area of the field for Colorado.

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The visitors come into their first road trip off the back of an impressive 2016 season and the start of this season has already proven very little has changed. They saw off a gutsy New England side who marginally won the battle for possession and had more attempts on goal, but still fell short of earning any points in last Saturday’s season opener.

Colorado will want to follow up last season with a strong run into the playoffs, and after narrowly missing out on the Western Conference title last term, they will want to go one better in 2017.

The Rapids picked up 19 points on the road in the 2016 campaign. If they can improve on that tally this term they will be in a great position to challenge for silverware in 2017.

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Team News

New York Red Bulls only have two injury concerns at the moment with defender Connor Lade ruled out for a while with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, while Gonzalo Veron is a doubt with a minor hamstring issue.

Colorado Rapids will be without goalkeeper John Berner who is struggling with a wrist injury. Tim Howard is listed as questionable with an adductor injury but is back in training and could start here. Midfielder Shkelzen Gashi is a doubt as he is nursing an achilles problem.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls form: W (2-1 – Atlanta United (A)

Colorado Rapids form: W (1-0 – New England Revolution (H)

Key stat: Leaky – New York have conceded at least two goals in their last three home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Sacha Kljestan – The USMNT creator is the main supplier to star striker Bradley Wright-Phillips. Expect him to provide multiple chances for the Red Bulls here having already chalked up an assist on opening weekend.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-1 Colorado Rapids – Eastern Conference leaders New York Red Bulls will be made to work hard by the Rapids but we see them coming out on top with home comforts behind them in what is an intriguing early-season matchup between two sides expecting to challenge at the top end of the Supporters’ Shield standings again this season.

MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs Seattle Sounders

Competition: MLS Cup Playoffs: Western Conference Final (Second Leg) – Colorado Rapids vs Seattle Sounders

Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Sunday, November 27 – 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT) 

Match Odds: Colorado 1/1 – Draw 9/4 – Seattle 13/5

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids welcome Seattle Sounders in the second leg of the Western Conference Final on Sunday, with a place in the MLS Cup Final up for grabs.

The Sounders take a narrow 2-1 lead into the second leg at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park after they came from a goal down to win in the first clash.

The Rapids have an away goal but still need to go out and win this game if they are to make a first MLS Cup Final in six years.

Seattle Sounders vs Colorado Rapids - MacMath Save

They’ve had an excellent season, regardless, but it would still be disappointing for the home fans if they crash out at the final hurdle here.

Colorado are in poor form coming into Sunday’s game, but they are unbeaten at home in 12 games, including the 1-0 win over LA in the Conference Semifinal – a game they ended up winning on penalties.

Seattle travel to Colorado as the league’s in-form team and showed their resilience with an impressive comeback win in the first leg.

Nicolas Lodeiro was the star man once again and he will need to be at his best here for the Sounders to cause the Rapids defence the same problems they did on Tuesday night.

Seattle Sounders vs Colorado Rapids - Nicolas Lodeiro

Seattle have lost their last two away games 2-1. A repeat scoreline here would take this game to extra-time – something that seems a real possibility given how little there is to choose between the two.

Getting an away goal will be the main aim for the Sounders, but they know they are going to need to defend from kickoff, with Colorado needing to attack.

Team News

Colorado will be without Tim Howard and Dillon Serna once again. Marlon Hairston will be pushing for a start after coming off the bench in last week’s first leg.

Clint Dempsey remains out for Seattle, along with Dylan Remick. Jordan Morris, Andreas Ivanschitz, Alvaro Fernandez and Roman Torres all came through knocks to play last week and should all be involved in the squad again here, with Ivanschitz pushing for a start in place of Erik Friberg.

Key Points

Colorado’s last five: L/D/L/W/L

Seattle’s last five: W/W/W/L/W

Key Stat: Colorado haven’t kept a clean sheet at home to Seattle for six years, only once keeping the Sounders out in nine clashes at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Key Player: Jordan Morris – The Seattle forward has enjoyed an excellent first season in MLS and deservedly won the Rookie of the Year award. He will enjoy playing on the counter-attack in Colorado and proved his danger by scoring the equaliser last week.

Seattle Sounders vs Real Salt Lake - Jordan Morris

Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 1-1 Seattle Sounders – This is sure to be a tense affair as things are so finely poised heading into the second leg. Colorado know they have to win this game if they are to have a chance of making the MLS Cup Final for the first time since 2010. However, the Sounders love to play on the break and have at least one goal in them here. A draw would see the visitors through and that’s how we see this one panning out.

MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs Colorado Rapids

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

Match Preview

Seattle Sounders take on Colorado Rapids in the first leg of the 2016 Western Conference Final, with both sides now two games away from a place in this year’s MLS Cup Final.

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.

Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas - Sounders Celebrate

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.

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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.

Team News

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.

Key Points

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 vs FC Dallas - Nicolas Lodeiro

Score Prediction

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.