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Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids | MLS Match Preview

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs COLORADO RAPIDS
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
April 26, 2014 (WEEK 8, MLS Game #65)
1 p.m.PT (UDN; KCPQ-13 FOX; Altitude)
MLS Free Stream of the Week

A pair of clubs which have risen to the top of the Western Conference charts come together as Seattle Sounders FC play host to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC return home off an undefeated three-game road swing, punctuated with a 2-1 win at Chivas USA. The Rapids have now gone three games without loss, their last match a home scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes.

REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Jeff Hosking; AR2 (opposite): Corey Parker; 4th: Juan Guzman
MLS Career: 33 games; FC/gm: 23.8; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 14; pens: 10

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Osvaldo Alonso
DISABLED LIST: SEA: Damion Lowe; Kevin Parsemain
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (12 meetings): Sounders FC 8 wins, 20 goals … Rapids 2 wins, 15 goals … Ties 2
AT SEATTLE (6 meetings): Sounders FC 5 wins, 13 goals … Rapids 2 wins, 6 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 8/30: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids, 1 p.m. PT; 10/5: Colorado Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 1 p.m. MT

LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/20: COL 0, SEA 1 (Martins 27)
7/20: SEA 1, COL 1 (Yedlin 65 – Moor 60)
10/5: COL 5, SEA 1 (Brown 1, 31; Powers 10; Moor 41; Torres 91+ - Johnson 63)

  • The teams met a season ago in the Knockout Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs, Sounders FC getting goals from Brad Evans and Eddie Johnson for a 2-0 win at CenturyLink Field.
  • The Rapids won 5-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park last Oct. 5, their first victory against Sounders FC since May 29, 2010. Sounders FC had a seven-game winning streak in the series before the teams played to a 1-1 on July 20 in Seattle.
  • Sounders FC have not lost to the Rapids in Seattle, in eight meetings in all competitions.
  • Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. COL: P41 W22 L11 T8 … Pablo Mastroeni vs. SEA: first game

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC won their second match in a row, coming back for a 2-1 win against Chivas USA on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. Sounders FC are in a tie for second place in the Western Conference with 13 points from 7 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Chivas USA were in the lead just five minutes into the match. Leandro Barrera was taken down just inside the box and referee Ismail Elfath awarded the penalty. Erick Torres converted with ease, beating Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei for his sixth goal of the season.
  • Sounders FC were level in the 24th minute, when Lamar Neagle cleaning up after a Clint Dempsey attempt at goal after Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy fumbled the ball inside the box.
  • The match turned when Chivas USA midfielder Marco Delgado was sent off in the 73rd minute, and Sounders FC hit for the winner just eight minutes later. Obafemi Martins played a one-two with Dempsey, collecting the return pass in the area and beating Kennedy with a chip shot for the match-winner.
  • Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made one change to the team that came back for a 3-2 win against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. Marco Pappa came into the team in place of Kenny Cooper.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - DeAndre Yedlin, Djimi Traore, Chad Marshall, Leo Gonzalez (Dylan Remick 90) - Lamar Neagle, Gonzalo Pineda, Osvaldo Alonso, Marco Pappa (Brad Evans 67) - Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins (Chad Barrett 90).

TEAM NEWS

  • Sounders FC concluded their three-game road swing with two wins and a draw, coming from behind to secure points in each one of the matches.
  • “I think it speaks to the character of our team and our ability to be able to stick that away,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “One-nothing is nothing and you just have to overcome it and you've got to play again. I think that’s what we’ve shown and we’ve been able to do that. Obviously, ideally we’d like to get in front at the beginning and win the game that way. But right now we’ll take what we get.”
  • Sounders FC have taken 10 points from four road matches this season, most in MLS – after winning just five road games and drawing two a year ago. At CenturyLink Field, the Sounders are just 1-2-0.
  • “Obviously we want to continue and win games at home. Our road record has been very very good and our home record is not so good at the moment. We got to make our home record good as well,” said Schmid. “The game’s been physically demanding for us and we got to make sure we recover and get our team ready to play the next battle as we prepare for Colorado because it’s a big conference game. But winning this game, winning in Dallas and being able to win on the road is really important.”
  • Clint Dempsey saw his goalscoring streak come to an end, but still added two assists against Chivas USA. Dempsey has six goals and three assists in his five games played this season, playing a part in nine of the 11 goals Sounders FC have scored in those matches.
  • Obafemi Martins scored his second goal of the season, his first since March 23. Martins does have four assists on the season.
  • “There was a few times we linked up really well, where I was able to put him through this time. He went close on one occasion and he scored on the other one so happy with him scoring, happy to contribute in the game and getting two assists. So it’s about keeping going,” said Dempsey. Said Schmid: I thought [Obafemi Martins] deserved the goal based on the hard work he did. Clint [Dempsey] had two assists. So as long as he is involved in goals that’s what’s important for us.”
  • Brad Evans made his first appearance since March 15, when he was forced off in the first half in the Toronto FC match, coming on for the final 29 minutes.
  • “We have some depth and we have some options,” said. “[Gonzalo] Pineda has played a lot in the middle of the midfield. Brad gives us that option in the middle of midfield and he and Ozzie [Alonso] have played a lot of games together. He gives us someone who is strong in the air with his heading, who has that ability to see and make those late runs into the box. That’s something that you don’t necessarily get with Pineda. Brad has also shown he’s capable of playing right back and wide in in midfield. It all depends on what we think is the right mix.”
  • Marco Pappa made his first start since March 15, playing 67 minutes in a wide midfield role. Pappa had come on as a substitute in each of the previous two matches.

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids stretched their undefeated run to three matches, playing to a scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are in fourth place in the Western Conference with 11 points from 6 games.

LAST MATCH

  • There was only one shot on target between the teams, a 25th-minute effort from Deshorn Brown that brought a save out of Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch.
  • The Quakes were left a man down in the 86th minute when midfielder Adam Jahn was sent off by referee Edvin Jurisevic after a challenge on Rapids rookie Jared Watts.
  • Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni made four changes to the team that defeated Toronto FC 1-0 at BMO Field. Christopher Klute came into the back four for Marc Burch, Jared Watts and Vicente Sanchez started in midfield in place of Nathan Sturgis and Jose Mari, and Deshorn Brown came in up top for Gabriel Torres.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Clint Irwin - Thomas Piermayr, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute - Jared Watts, Dillon Powers, Nick LaBrocca (Dillon Serna 63), Vicente Sanchez - Deshorn Brown (Gabriel Torres 82), Edson Buddle.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Rapids were held off the scoresheet for the first time this season in the draw with San Jose. But they did record a shutout for a second consecutive match and have now not allowed a goal in 203 minutes.
  • “I think for the first time this year we encountered a team that actually came in to make it hard for us to play,” Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni said. “This is a great learning experience for our group, and if we continue on the same form, there’s going to be more and more teams that are going to come to this place and kind of sit in and look to break.”
  • Said defender Drew Moor: “A 0-0 game is kind of a funny one because defensively you think: OK we got the shutout. But that’s one of those games where on a better night, maybe we win 1-, 2-, or 3-0. Or at least take away three points and we are disappointed not to. And I think that’s a good sign in this locker room, that against a good San Jose team that had their backs against the wall you don’t concede. Not only do you not concede a goal but other than one chance you don’t concede many chances.”
  • Vicente Sánchez made his first start in three matches, coming in on the left side of midfield and playing the full 90 minutes.
  • Jared Watts made his second start of the season, playing the full 90 minutes in a wide right role in the Rapids midfield.
  • “The focus moving forward is how do we move the ball quicker, knowing where you’re going to go before you get it. The longer you take on the ball the easier it is for a team like that just to rotate positions and be decent defensively, make you put balls in the box that at times aren’t the best option. Patience as well,” Mastroeni said. “For the most part, I think the guys handled the game well.
  • Christopher Klute made his first appearance since the season opener, when he was forced off the field before the hour mark, coming into the side at left back.
  • José Mari missed the Quakes match after suffering a quadriceps injury in training leading up to the match, and his availability is in doubt for this weekend.
  • “I’m adding more and more things and hoping to get back into the full group soon,” José Mari said. “I’m happy to be back training – it bothers me not to be out there.”