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Three Keys To the Game - Rapids vs. Sounders

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This is probably my second favorite picture after Benitezface.jpg.
This is probably my second favorite picture after Benitezface.jpg.

The Colorado Rapids are coming off of two straight losses, though neither of those losses were necessarily true showings of the Rapids talent. Playing a patchwork squad without Pablo Mastroeni, Conor Casey and for a while Anthony Wallace against Dallas led to a 3-0 loss at Pizza Hut Park. Against Real Salt Lake, the Rapids played quite well to a 0-0 draw only to have their tough road point foiled by a terrible call in the dying moments as Fabian Espindola scored a goal from approximately 28 yards offside.

So after a few tough weeks on the road that saw the Rapids battered, bruised and losing, it's good to see them back home again. To get back on track they're going to have to take on a tough, tough Seattle Sounders team that is starting to raise themselves up after a tough start. Here's the three keys to the Rapids taking a 3-0 record at home.

Score Early, Score Often - I know, I know. Saying that scoring more goals than the other team will lead to an easy win is commentary on the verge of heading into Alexi Lalas territory, but hear me out here. The idea isn't just that the Rapids need to put goals onto the board, it's that they need to do so early on in the game, at the very least in the first half (or first half hour?). The Sounders have had a surprising amount of trouble matching their opponents goals this season and there are few teams in the league that can match the Rapids goal for goal when the Rapids are hot. After two weeks going goalless on the road, the easiest way to get their confidence back is to knock a quick one past Kasey Keller. If they struggle in front of goal the way that they did against

Pablo Mastroeni - "Oh, Pablooooo Mastroeni! They say he's just defense... they say he's just defense..." Rapids fans sing that chant in the terraces every week. After seeing him missing from the team for two weeks, it's pretty clear that when they're saying he's just defense, they're talking out of their behinds. Pablo's underrated ability to control the midfield and pretty much launch attacks via the counter after stealing the ball in midfield was painfully missing against Dallas as Joesph Nane attempted and struggled to fit the same position. As a result, we saw almost nothing out of the offense simply because the strikers never seemed to get the ball. If he's back in the game against Seattle, we're certain to see a much more fun match from the perspective of the Rapids fan. After all, "That's why he's our captain."

Health Once Again - I had this as my third key to the game before Colorado played FC Dallas and it was destroyed before the game had even began. Losing Pablo Mastroeni in addition to the already injured Conor Casey was just deadly for Colorado and happened so soon before the game that Gary Smith didn't have any time to change his tactics like he did leading up to Salt Lake. Against Salt Lake even more people fell with Quincy Amarikwa being injured only minutes after coming into the match. Colorado is going to run out of depth if they can't stay healthier during and even before this game starts than they have the last few matches.