Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - Seattle Sounders FC and the Colorado Rapids are
set to do battle in a key Western Conference clash at CenturyLink Field on
The two sides are only separated by two points in the table as Seattle (7
points) trails Colorado (9 points), and Saturday's result could reveal which
is a true contender and which has some work to do.
Seattle and Colorado both started the season with back-to-back wins, but they
have hit a slight rough patch since. Over their last three games, the Rapids
have accumulated three points while the Sounders have managed to pick up just
David Estrada's brilliant start to the season seems like a distant memory for
Sounders fans. The youngster netted four goals in the opening two games, but
has not scored since. Estrada's struggles are indicative of the team's
impotency in front of net as Seattle has been held scoreless for its last 245
minutes of league play.
"The goals will come," defender Jeff Parke said. "Keep zeroes in the back,
that will do. As long as you keep a blank sheet in the back, anything can
The Sounders defense did just that in their last outing, playing to a 0-0 draw
with D.C. United to salvage a point at RFK Stadium. Sigi Schmid's men have yet
to concede more than one goal in a match this season.
"It's great," defender Patrick Ianni said. "We have some good defenders here.
They've done a good job of bringing guys in all over the field. We're a deep
team and it will help us in the long term."
The odds may be stacked in Seattle's favor as Colorado has a 1-2-0 record away
from home this season. The Rapids have also conceded three goals in the
opening 20 minutes of their road matches this year, a total that may increase
against a Sounders side that is desperate for goals.
"That first 10, 15, 20 minutes [away from home], we haven't been good enough,"
defender Drew Moor said. "I don't think there's one thing you can put your
finger on, we just need to start better."
Colorado's last encounter, a 2-0 defeat at Real Salt Lake, saw head coach
Oscar Pareja make a defense-minded adjustment by moving Drew Moor into the
center of midfield alongside Jeff Larentowicz in an attempt to neutralize the
Claret and Cobalt's possession-oriented style of play.
"We wanted to be more solid defensively, partnering Drew with Jeff
[Larentowicz]," Pareja said. "I thought it was a need to have somebody who
could help Jeff to get the ball back for us. I thought we did a pretty good
job in that part. But we gave [possession] right back to them."
Seattle's formidable midfield, with MVP-candidate Osvaldo Alonso as the
lynchpin, may encourage Pareja to employ a similar tactic Saturday but with
more emphasis on maintaining possession.
The Sports Network