Preview: Colorado at Seattle

The Rapids travel to Seattle to take on the Sounders in the first of three match-ups in 2012

Seattle Sounders FC return home to entertain the Colorado Rapids in a key Western Conference test for both clubs, Saturday evening at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC are coming off their first road trip of the campaign, reaching a scoreless draw at D.C. United. The Rapids are coming off a loss on the road, a 2-0 defeat at Real Salt Lake.

REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. SAR (bench): Ian Anderson; JAR (opposite): Kevin Duliba; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal
MLS Career: 128 games; FC/gm: 24.9; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 47; pens: 48

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INJURY REPORT:

  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC - OUT: GK Josh Ford (R knee stress fracture); DF Michael Tetteh (L hamstring strain); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); FW Babayele Sodade (R ACL tear); QUESTIONABLE: DF Adam Johansson (L hamstring strain); MF Mauro Rosales (R knee sprain); PROBABLE: DF Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (pelvic sprain)
  • COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: MF Jamie Smith (R ACL tear); DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); QUESTIONABLE: FW Conor Casey (L Achilles tear); DF Eddie Ababio (concussion); PROBABLE: MF Ross LaBauex (sports hernia)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Sounders FC 4 wins, 12 goals ... Rapids 1 win, 7 goals ... Ties 1
AT SEATTLE (3 meetings): Sounders FC 3 wins, 9 goals ... Rapids 0 wins, 4 goals ... Ties 0
RETURN MATCHES: 7/7: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids, 8 p.m. PT (NBC SN); Colorado Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7 p.m. MT

LAST YEAR (MLS):

4/22: COL 0, SEA 1 (Montero 19)
7/16: SEA 4, COL 3 (Fernandez 7; Levesque 48; Montero 82; Rosales 84 - Thompson 1; Larentowicz 43; Folan 90)

  • Sounders FC have won the last three meetings between the clubs. Colorado's only victory in six all-time league meetings came May 29, 2010 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
  • Seattle also won a U.S. Open Cup play-in match between the teams in 2009.
  • Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. COL: P35 W18 L10 D7 ... Oscar Pareja vs. SEA: first game

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

Seattle Sounders FC went out on the road for the first time this season and gained a result, reaching a scoreless draw with D.C. United on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. Sounders FC are in a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference with 7 points from 4 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: Woodwork denies Seattle road win

LAST MATCH

  • Former United player Marc Burch then nearly stole the show for Seattle in stoppage time. A shot from outside the box was punched away by D.C. goalkeeper Joe Willis, but the ball fell to Burch six yards from goal. Although the substitute made good contact, his header smacked off the bar.
  • Willis was called upon to make two saves in the shutout, while Sounders FC goalkeeper Michael Gspurning was credited with four saves for the game.
  • Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made four changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes at CenturyLink Field. Jeff Parke and Leo Gonzalez came into the back four for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Marc Burch, and Roger Levesque and Brad Evans came into the midfield for Christian Sivebaek and Servando Carrasco.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning - Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez - Roger Levesque, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez (Marc Burch 92+) - Fredy Montero, David Estrada (Eddie Johnson 66).

TEAM NEWS

Sounders Scouting Report: Colorado Rapids

  • Sounders FC are playing at home for the fourth time in five games already this season. They won two of their first three before drawing at D.C. United last weekend.
  • "I thought the battle that battle that we showed was good," Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. "We talked about that, about being the team that was hungrier. I thought last week, San Jose out-competed us a little bit. I thought we did that tonight."
  • Sounders FC were shut out for a second consecutive match, their goalless streak extended to 245 minutes. Midfielder Mauro Rosales has missed all three matches since suffering a knee sprain in the Sounders' season opener.
  • "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 happen."
  • Sounders FC also kept a clean sheet for a second match on the season, and have not allowed more than a single goal in any of their four games. Their two goals allowed on the year is behind only Sporting Kansas City (1), level with Houston and San Jose.
  • "It's great," Sounders center back 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."
  • Parke made his first start of the season, in place of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. He had come on for Hurtado at halftime of the San Jose match.
  • "As a player, you're not going to be happy sitting on the bench and all you can control is your effort and performance," Schmid said. "Opportunities are going to come and you have to wait for your opportunity. The opportunity came and he was part of a team that got a shutout, so that's a good thing for him."
  • While still listed as questionable on the club's injury report, both fullback Adam Johansson and Rosales returned to training during the week.
  • "Both him and Johansson are veteran players, so you let them decide a little bit more," Schmid said. "These guys know their body pretty well and know when they are ready to go."

COLORADO RAPIDS

The Colorado Rapids suffered a second consecutive road defeat, falling 2-0 to Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Rapids are in third place in the Western Conference with 9 points from 5 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: Rapids fall in Rocky Mountain opener

LAST MATCH

  • Real Salt Lake grabbed the lead just 20 minutes into the game when defender Tony Beltran picked out Saborio with a left-footed ball behind the Rapids backline. Saborio timed his run to perfection, ghosted in behind the defense, chested the ball down and easily poked it past Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
  • In the 57th minute, Esp"ndola scored RSL's second. The Argentinean appeared to bring down a Luis Gil pass with his left arm just outside of the area, but play wasn't stopped and somehow Espindola was able to poke the ball away from two closing defenders and past Pickens.
  • Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made one change to the team that knocked off the Chicago Fire 2-0 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Tyrone Marshall came into the side in place of Tony Cascio.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura (Tony Cascio 60), Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Luis Zapata - Jeff Larentowicz, Drew Moor - Brian Mullan, Martin Rivero, Jaime Castrillon (Kamani Hill 76) - Omar Cummings.

TEAM NEWS

Tony Cascio and the remote control airplane

  • A year ago, the Rapids won as many games at home - six - as on the road. This season, both of their wins have come at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, while their two losses (along with one victory) have come away from Commerce City. The Rapids have allowed three goals in the opening 20 minutes of matches on the road.
  • "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."
  • Rapids boss Oscar Pareja made a significant change for the RSL match, moving Drew Moor forward into a defensive midfield role, alongside Jeff Larentowicz. Tyrone Marshall made his first start of the season, in central defense.
  • "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."
  • Rookie Tony Cascio, who had started each of his first four professional matches, was relegated to the substitutes' bench. He still came on for the final half-hour.
  • "There was no sense of fluidity in the first half and we didn't appear to be a real dangerous team," Pareja said. "But this is a long season, and overall I feel that we are still in a good position."
  • The Rapids were shut out for the first time this season, after scoring seven goals in their opening four matches.
  • "In every part of the field, we need to get better," Jeff Larentowicz said. "We just need to continue to work on how we're going to produce goals and how we're going to stop them."