Considering the Colorado Rapids and Seattle Sounders finished first and second, respectively, in the Western Conference of the MLS last year, it’s fair to say this season has been a disappointment.
Heading into Saturday night’s meeting at Seattle, the Rapids (6-8-6, 24 points) are in 12th place in the 14-team conference. They have failed to win on the road this season (0-6-3).
This spring, the Sounders (8-10-2, 26 points) became the first MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions League in its current format but are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, which dates to 2009. They’re in ninth place in the West after three consecutive defeats when they failed to score a goal.
That includes a 1-0 loss last Saturday at Chicago.
“Now we have an opportunity to reset, and we’ve got a home game,” said Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland, who filled in against the Fire while Stefan Frei was in the league’s health and safety protocols. “That’s an opportunity where we need to get three points.”
Added Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer: “We addressed it after the game. There’s 14 games left, which seems like a long time, but it’s really not.”
Part of the problem for the Sounders is that leading scorer Raul Ruidiaz has been sidelined by a hamstring strain.
The Rapids snapped a six-game winless streak (0-3-3) with a 2-0 victory last Saturday against the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy. Diego Rubio scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season and Gyasi Zardes also tallied against his former club.
Jonathan Lewis assisted on both goals and William Yarbrough posted his seventh shutout of the season.
“I mean, amazing team performance – I think it was a deserved win,” said midfielder Ralph Priso, who made his Rapids debut after being acquired in a trade with Toronto FC. “Three points, doesn’t get much better than that.”
It was the Rapids’ first victory since they defeated the visiting Sounders 1-0 on May 22 in the first meeting of the season between the clubs.
–Field Level Media