Colorado Rapids vs Seattle Sounders FC
MLS Regular Season, Week 27
September 7, 2019 - 7:00 PM
DICK'S Sporting Goods Park - Commerce City, Colorado
A dream start...
The Colorado Rapids (8-14-6, 11th in MLS Western Conference) delivered a statement victory in new head coach Robin Fraser’s debut, defeating the New York Red Bulls 2-0 at Red Bull Arena, a stadium in which they had never won. Fraser deflected praise onto his players in his postgame remarks. When speaking about what aspect of the victory he most reveled in, the 52-year-old noted the heart that this Rapids squad plays with. “As [New York] are pushing for the game, the resilience of this group [showed]. We won balls in good spots and we have guys that are dead tired from defending and they’re still bombing forward. I just can’t say enough about them,” said Fraser following the win.
Rapids fans might share in the sentiment of the new head coach when describing the play of Jonathan Lewis on Saturday night. The 22-year-old winger played arguably his best game to date in MLS, scoring a brace in storybook fashion. His first goal came in the 14th minute after a Danny Wilson clearance Lewis took the ball in open space and raced down the pitch to eventually place in a beautiful chip to the far corner. Then late in the second half, after a number of good opportunities created by a frontline trifecta of Lewis, Sam Nicholson, and Diego Rubio, the former NYCFC man put the game away for good in the 87th minute with an expertly-placed shot off an assist from Nicholson. Lewis, along with defender Tommy Smith, earned placement on the MLS Team of the Week for their performances.
Jonathan Lewis and the rest of the Burgundy Boys won’t have too much time to rest on their laurels with a match against Seattle Sounders FC upcoming. National team call-ups will limit Fraser’s options for the match, especially along the frontline with forwards Kei Kamara and Diego Rubio (as well as Sebastian Anderson, Cole Bassett and Abdul Rwatubyaye) out. Expect more of the frenetic and lively pace of action preferred by Lewis and Nicholson in Saturday's match.
Speaking of national team duty…
Though every team is hampered by the loss of regular rotation players due to international play, it’s almost comical the amount of holes the call-ups have left in Seattle’s roster. The Sounders will potentially miss 10 healthy players, including:
|Joevin Jones||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Nouhou Tolo||Cameroon U-23|
|Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez||US U-17|
Player to watch: One constant that the Rapids will have to beat to claim victory against Seattle is goalkeeper Stefan Frei. The 33-year-old from Switzerland had the Rapids number when the two teams met earlier this year, keeping a clean sheet in a 2-0 Sounders win. He’s also coming into this match hot, with 11 saves against 15 shots on goal in his last two matches combined.