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.

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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: 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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs LA Galaxy

Competition: MLS Cup Playoffs (Western Conference Semifinal – Second Leg) – Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy

Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Sunday, November 6 – 14:00 ET (19:00 GMT) 

Match Odds: Colorado 1/1 – Draw 11/5 – LA Galaxy 11/4 

Match Preview

A place in the Western Conference Final is up for grabs on Sunday as Colorado Rapids welcome LA Galaxy to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the biggest game of the 2016 MLS campaign for these sides.

Colorado have work to do, they fell to a 1-0 defeat in the first leg last weekend. They are still more than in the game and know they are capable of progressing.

The Rapids now haven’t beaten Galaxy in their last three attempts, but the last meeting here ended with a Colorado win.

Pablo Mastroeni’s side are under a huge amount of pressure to perform, they just need to keep a calm mentality and start well. If they can get an early goal, or most importantly, the first goal in the game, the momentum will swing their way.

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LA Galaxy’s fate is in their own hands, avoid defeat and they’ve reached the Western Conference final, yet this game will be anything but straightforward.

Bruce Arena will be fully aware his side are going to be under pressure from the moment they step out to warm up. The Colorado fans are going to do everything possible to make this an uncomfortable atmosphere.

Giovani dos Santos’ strike was enough to give Galaxy a lead into the second leg, but it is a slender one, he, like many of LA’s star-players are going to have to dig deep and show what they’re made of.

Galaxy have plenty of players with big-game experience they will be relying on here. The LA defence are going to expect to face more than one shot on their goal as they did in the first leg, so it is important they’re switched on from the get-go.

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Team News

Colorado Rapids are expecting to be without Dillon Serna and Marlon Hairston for the second leg. Mastroeni’s starting XI are going to have to give everything from the off to ensure they give Galaxy their hardest game of the season.

LA Galaxy will be without Gyasi Zardes, while Steven Gerrard remains a doubt as continues to struggle with a hamstring injury.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ last five: W/W/L/D/L

LA Galaxy’s last five: L/W/D/W/W

Key Stat: Fortress – Colorado are unbeaten in their last 17 games at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. They need to make their home advantage count if they’re going to progress.

Key Player: Brian Rowe – The Galaxy ‘keeper is going to need to be at his best. Colorado are going to throw everything at him in this tie, he will be relied on as the last line of defence. Rowe will be looking to slow the game down all the while the result is in Galaxy’s favour, that will break up the flow of the tie and frustrate the Rapids.

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Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 1-1 LA Galaxy – Colorado to fall short in the semis. This has the makings of a cagey game with little to split the sides, much like the first leg. Galaxy will be looking to finish the job off, but know they could well regret not bringing a bigger advantage into the second leg if they’re not careful.

MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: MLS Cup Playoffs (Western Conference Semifinal – First Leg) – LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids

Venue: StubHub Center – Sunday, October 30 – 19:00 ET (21:00 GMT) 

Match Odds: LA Galaxy 5/6 – Draw 23/10 – Colorado 100/30

Match Preview

LA Galaxy host the Colorado Rapids in what looks an intriguing Western Conference Semifinal first-leg clash on Sunday night, with one of the league’s most potent attacks coming up against the league’s best defence at StubHub Center.

LA eased past Real Salt Lake in the Knockout Round on Wednesday night and will undoubtedly have their eyes firmly set on the MLS Cup title. However, they have a long way to go yet and need to try and navigate their way past a very solid Rapids team over the next two weekends to reach the Conference Final.

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The Galaxy have been dealing with injuries to key players for a number of weeks but appear to be coping well, with the likes of Alan Gordon and Emmanuel Boateng stepping up to deliver the goods when needed.

The onus is on LA to take Sunday’s game to Colorado, with the home fans no doubt expecting a victory in this first leg. That’s not unusual for the players, but they must make sure they don’t press too hard or risk being undone on the counter-attack.

Colorado are preparing for their first MLS Cup Playoff game for three years. They have not played in a Conference Semifinal since 2011 but know that they have more than earned their place in the postseason after a fine season.

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The worry for the Rapids is that they ended the regular season poorly, losing out to Dallas on the Supporters’ Shield after failing to win either of their last two games.

These two met three times during the regular season, drawing twice at StubHub with Colorado winning the only meeting at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park back in March. This will be their first playoff clash since 2005.

Team News

LA Galaxy remain without Gyasi Zardes, who is out for the season, while Steven Gerrard remains a doubt as he’s struggling with a hamstring problem. Robbie Keane missed out again on Wednesday night but could make a return to the starting lineup in place of Alan Gordon if passed fit in time. Landon Donovan will be hoping to start once again.

Colorado have had longer to prepare for this game than LA and also have three key men back and available to start after overcoming injuries, with Jermaine Jones, Marlon Hairston and Bobby Burling all ready to start. Dillon Serna remains Pablo Mastroeni’s only absentee.

Key Points

LA Galaxy’s last five: L/L/W/D/W

Colorado Rapids’ last five: W/W/W/L/D

Key Stat: Colorado Rapids have the best defence in MLS this season, having conceded only 32 goals in 34 games. They kept a clean sheet in two of their three meetings with LA during the regular season.

Key Player: Tim Howard – Colorado know that this is a very tricky first-leg against an experienced side who will be looking to take full advantage of the home crowd. Tim Howard will expect to be busy but he has the ability to keep the Galaxy out and if he does, the Rapids will be in a very strong position.

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Score Prediction

LA Galaxy 1-0 Colorado Rapids – This is likely to be the most tense and cagey affair of all the Conference Semifinal games on Sunday, with neither team likely to take too many risks. LA know they need to take the game to Colorado, but the Rapids are so good defensively that it will take something special for the Galaxy to seal a victory. However, they have enough talent to nick a goal and should take a small lead into next week’s game in Colorado.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids

Venue: Providence Park – Sunday, October 16 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)

Match Odds: Portland 5/6 – Draw 12/5 – Colorado 3/1

Match Preview

Portland Timbers host Colorado Rapids in a crunch Western Conference clash on the penultimate weekend of the 2016 regular season on Sunday evening.

Portland come into the game outside of the top six and need a win to keep hopes of retaining their MLS Cup title alive.

The Timbers have lost their last two on the spin – the most recent coming away at Colorado – and are now two points behind Sporting KC in the race for the postseason.

They need a win here, and need SKC to pick up no more than a point at RSL if they are to move into the top six ahead of the final week.

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Caleb Porter’s side are struggling for form but they are still a force at home, having won their last five in front of their own fans. They need to keep that run going here.

Colorado come into the game top of the Supporters’ Shield standings after beating San Jose on Thursday night. It’s an incredible turnaround and they will now have their sights on securing the title over the last two weeks.

The Rapids have won their last three on the spin and are set to enter the playoffs in great form. They have the best defensive record in the league and are very tough to break down.

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However, they have conceded five goals in their last two away games and that will give Portland confidence ahead of what is a crucial fixture for both sides.

Their previous meetings this season both came in Colorado, with a 0-0 draw in July followed by a 1-0 home win just two weeks ago.

Team News

Portland are still without centre-back Nat Borchers, while Darren Mattocks is listed as ‘questionable’. Gbenga Arokoyo is a doubt.

Colorado will be without Jermaine Jones once again, who is ruled out along with Bobby Burling and Dillon Serna. Marlon Hairston is a doubt with a leg injury but could be passed fit in time to play.

Key Points

Portland Timbers’ last five: L/W/W/L/L

Colorado Rapids’ last five: D/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Portland have won their last five home games against Colorado, outscoring their Western Conference rivals 11-2.

Key Player: Kevin Doyle – The Rapids’ Irish striker scored twice in midweek to earn three points for his side. He has six goals in 22 appearances but remains a clinical finisher if given the right service.

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Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 2-1 Colorado Rapids – It’s a massive game for both sides but a loss for Portland could see them eliminated from postseason contention. With that in mind, plus the fact that Colorado have already played twice over the last week, the Timbers could just edge this one to keep playoff hopes alive.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Thursday, October 13 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST) 

Match Odds: Colorado 19/20 – Draw 11/5 – San Jose 3/1

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids take on the San Jose Earthquakes in a rare Thursday night MLS clash, with the home side looking to go top of the Supporters’ Shield standings with just two weeks of the regular season to go.

The Rapids have had a great season and have already guaranteed a playoff berth. But they will have eyes on the main prize right now, considering they’re only two points off league leaders FC Dallas so this game in hand is a big one for the Colorado fans.

A 3-2 win in Houston on Saturday kept them on track for the Supporters’ Shield and a win at home here would put them in a great position with just two more regular season games to play after Thursday night’s clash.

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For San Jose, it’s a really tough fixture at a really tough stage of the season. A whole of first-team players are unavailable and Dominic Kinnear’s men are six points off the playoffs coming into this one.

A win for the Quakes would make them believe they can secure a top six finish, but that’s a real tough ask considering they have one of the league’s worst away records this season.

A 2-1 victory at home to RSL ended a seven-game winless run last time out but it would take something very special for the Quakes to qualify for the playoffs over the final two weeks.

Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes

 

Team News

Colorado Rapids may line up with the same side that beat Houston at the weekend. Dillon Serna, Jermaine Jones and Bobby Burling all remain out, while Kevin Doyle and Sean St Ledger are doubts. Dominique Badji looks set to lead the attack after scoring two at Houston last time out.

San Jose travel to Colorado without a whole host of first-team stars. David Bingham and Chris Wondolowski are with the US National Team and won’t feature, while Quincy Amarikwa, Marc Pelosi, Mark Sherrod, Clarence Goodson, Kip Colvey, Jordan Stewart and Alberto Quintero are all injured.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ last five: W/D/D/W/W

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five: D/D/L/L/W

Key Stat: Colorado Rapids are unbeaten in 15 home games in MLS, picking up the third-highest points total at home of all sides this season.

Key Player: Shkelzen Gashi – The Albanian playmaker is the Rapids’ top goalscorer this season with eight. He has six of those in his last nine and looks to be in great form at the playoffs edge closer.

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Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 1-0 San Jose Earthquakes – Games between these two don’t produce many goals and that trend is likely to continue on Thursday night. The Rapids should get back to winning ways at home and will move to the top of the league if they do manage to seal all three points. Don’t expect this to be the most thrilling of ties, but the Rapids should edge it.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Houston Dynamo vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids

Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Saturday, October 8 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST) 

Match Odds: Houston 11/10 – Draw 23/10 – Colorado 23/10

Match Preview

Houston Dynamo take on the Colorado Rapids on Saturday in this weekend’s lone MLS clash in what is an important battle in the West.

It may be international week, but neither of these sides have any call-ups to contend with and so an intriguing battle is expected to take place on Saturday evening.

Houston’s 2-0 loss to NYCFC last time out effectively ended their playoff hopes. They looked to be mounting a late-season surge, but they failed to register a single shot on target in that defeat and will likely struggle against a strong Colorado side here.

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The Dynamo are rock bottom of the Western Conference, 11 points off the playoff spots with four games to play so it’s all about preparing for 2017 now.

On the other hand, Colorado are still fighting for the MLS Supporters’ Shield. They are five points behind league leaders FC Dallas but have two games in hand over the Texan side.

A win in Houston on Saturday would move the Rapids to within two points of FCD, setting up what should be a thrilling end to the regular season.

After struggling for the past couple of seasons, 2016 has been a fantastic year for Colorado. They have the best defence in the league and have only suffered five defeats all season.

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They come into Saturday’s game unbeaten in four and are expected to prove too strong for the Dynamo in what could be a low-scoring affair.

These two sides will meet again on the final day of the regular season at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, in a game that could see the Rapids crowned Supporters’ Shield winners.

Team News

Houston Dynamo have two players sidelined, with Tyler Deric and Agus both out. Midfielder Alex is one booking away from suspension and will need to watch his step as a result.

Colorado Rapids could be without five first-team players. Dillon Serna, Jermaine Jones and Bobby Burling are all definitely out, while Kevin Doyle and Sean St Ledger are doubts. Sam Cronin, Marc Burch and Dominique Badji are all one booking away from suspension.

Key Points

Houston Dynamo’s last five: L/D/W/W/L

Colorado Rapids’ last five: L/W/D/D/W

Key Stat: Houston Dynamo have lost just one of their ten all-time regular season home clashes against the Rapids, with that lone loss coming in the 2011 campaign.

Key Player: Tim Howard – The signing of Tim Howard turned the Rapids into a real force. Their defensive solidarity is proven by the fact they have kept 13 clean sheets this season – the most in MLS, and Howard is a key reason for that. He has three clean sheets in his last four and will expect to keep Houston out on Saturday night.

Tim Howard, MLS: New York City FC vs. Colorado Rapids

Score Prediction

Houston Dynamo 0-1 Colorado Rapids – The Rapids have the best defence in the league and should be able to keep a clean sheet against a side that tend to struggle for goals. This might not be the most entertaining of games but a Rapids win would put them in a strong position at the top end of the Western Conference heading into their final three games.