The Colorado Rapids head into Saturday night’s showdown with the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field (11 pm ET, NBC Sports Network, live chat on MLSsoccer.com) having lost three of their past four games, but they're hoping to reverse the losing skid and a series of unfortunate blunders against a key Western Conference opponent.
Late goals sank the Rapids in a 1-0 loss in Vancouver June 16 and a 2-1 loss to San Jose on June 20, and on Wednesday, it was a missed clearance by center back Drew Moor that allowed the lone goal in a 1-0 home defeat to Vancouver. But despite the ball not seemingly bouncing the Rapids’ way of late, head coach Oscar Pareja is encouraging his team to stay positive heading into Saturday’s key tilt in the northwest.
“I want them to keep their heads up,” Pareja said after Wednesday’s loss. “That’s what I want. I want it because there are 17 games to go still and they’re doing the right things. We didn’t put the ball in the back of the net [Wednesday], and we missed a lot of chances. It was that final touch that could have changed the story of the game but they did all they could.”
The fourth-placed Sounders and fifth-placed Rapids both come in struggling — Seattle haven’t won a league match since May 9 — offering an opportunity for both sides to get off their respective slides.
The first time these two played on April 14 Zach Scott’s 63rd-minute header doomed the visiting Rapids to a 1-0 setback in a game where Colorado managed just four attempts on goal, compared to Seattle’s 18. But generating chances on goal hasn’t been an issue of late for the Rapids, who will hope to better convert on their opportunities in the Emerald City than they did against Vancouver.
“I thought we were in control of the game, that’s all you can really ask is to have possession and keep creating chances,” striker Conor Casey said on Wednesday. “[The Whitecaps] sat back, which made it a little harder, but still we had chances in the second half, too, just couldn’t get it in.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.