On Tuesday, November 22nd, the Colorado Rapids will travel to the Emerald City to face the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field in the first leg of the Western Conference Final. Kickoff is set for 8:00pm MT and the match will be broadcast on Fox Sports One.
The Colorado Rapids will have to overcome the loss of goalkeeper Tim Howard as the Conference finals commence in the Major League Soccer playoffs. The FIFA International break came at an unfortunate time and the United States opened up the final Hexagonal qualifying phase against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio. Tim Howard was injured as he appeared to slip while taking a routine goal kick and the former Everton goalkeeper had to undergo season-ending surgery on a groin injury. Zac MacMath is a talented backup and will have another chance to impress in Howard’s absence.
Seattle has had a resurgence since the Emerald City side sacked long time coach Sigi Schmid during the midway point of the season. Brian Schmetzer has succeeded Schmid and recently had the interim coach tag removed. The Sounders also signed Nicolas Lodeiro from Boca Juniors and the Uruguayan international has been nothing short of an MVP candidate for Seattle. The Rapids will need to find a way to stop Lodeiro and minimize his playmaking abilities from the attacking third of the field.
Colorado head coach Pablo Mastroeni has to be pleased that Jermaine Jones came out of the international break unscathed. However, the chance that Jermaine Jones lasts 90 minutes in the first leg is unlikely after the USA international completed the full matches in both the Mexico and Costa Rica fixtures. Jermaine Jones will be vital in helping the Rapids hopes of making the first MLS Cup appearance since 2010.