From time to time, we check in with other sites across SB Nation to find out what our opponents are up to. Seattle is a team that you can never take for granted, so we talked to Dave at Sounder at Heart to find out what our Colorado Rapids can expect this evening.
1. For the past couple of years, the Sounders have struggled through the beginning of the season, made a big summer signing, and then powered into the playoffs. With the big win over FC Cincinnati last weekend, do you think things will be different this year?
Seattle has a few things going for them that they didn’t in the last few seasons. They aren’t in CCL and didn’t compete into December in back-to-back years. For many players, this means they actually had time to rest. Ideally, that will mean fewer injuries, which hampered the early seasons in both 2017 and 2018.
They also have a core that stayed close to intact. Their familiarity with each other and the league is greater than ever. Finally, they are saying the right things about every game is a must win (last year there was talk about no must-win games in March/April).
2. Which offseason acquisition will have the biggest impact on this team?
There weren’t many to choose from. Trey Muse is the third keeper and will play for Tacoma Defiance. Jonathon Campbell is a depth centerback behind the leagues deepest set of CBs. So that probably leaves Saad Abdul-Salaam as the most significant acquisition. Some days he may be in the 18. Abdul-Salaam will be able to flex into the right back, left back, right wing and centerback roles, but he will not start frequently.
3. Considering that Jordan Morris is back and the club already has a handful of other scoring threats, what do the Rapids need to do to slow down Seattle’s offense?
Step one is to keep eyes on Ruidiaz. His off-ball movement is extraordinary and it is paired with MVP caliber finishing. No matter how Colorado controls the rest of Seattle’s attack they have to find a way to be wary of Raul. He needs just a single touch to change games. Step two would be to attempt to channel the Sounders possession to their right. Forcing Jordan Morris into possession play should limit the effectiveness of the Sounders attack.
Stefan Frei; Brad Smith, Chad Marshall, Kim Kee-hee, Kelvin Leerdam; Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan; Victor Rodriguez, Nicolas Lodeiro, Jordan Morris; Raul Ruidiaz