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Downstream Game 15: Home vs Seattle Sounders

The Colorado Rapids have three games left and need to pick up points to stay in a playoff position—starting against Seattle on Sunday.

SOCCER: MAR 09 MLS - Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders FC Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Seattle Sounders Stats

2020 Record: 10-4-5 W-L-T (1st in the Western Conference with 1.84 PPG)

Goals: 38 for, 18 allowed, +20 differential

Last Result: Won against Vancouver Whitecaps 0-2 on the road

Last MLS Power Ranking Position: 3

The Colorado Rapids’ loss against Sporting Kansas City was sort of to be expected. Losing to Minnesota United was just bad luck, but now the Rapids find themselves in a precarious position. Three points might get us into the playoffs, four points would probably get us in, but five would seal the deal. (Read more about the numbers here.)

The Rapids are still in the playoff picture with a 1.27 PPG, but we have three games remaining and having played fewer games than everyone else in the league, those games are worth far more. Vancouver is currently biting at hour heels with 1.14 and San Jose is just ahead of us with 1.29.

Which brings us to the first of the two “big gun” teams we’ll be playing as we close out our season, the Seattle Sounders. The Sounders are in the top spot in the Western Conference, and surprising absolutely no one, they have been extremely dominant all year. Their offense and defense are both clicking with the second-best goal differential in the league just behind the current Supporters’ Shield leaders (as of now) the Philadelphia Union.

The makeup of Seattle’s roster has set them up to be one of the best teams in the league in the last few years and 2020 is no different. Between Raul Ruidiaz, Jordan Morris, and Nicolas Lodeiro, they have 24 goals and 20 assists—just between those three. They’ve made a handful of signings and trades recently, such as bringing back Brad Smith and Roman Torres to reinforce their back line.

They aren’t currently dealing with many significant injuries, so I would fully expect Seattle to come out with a threatening starting XI and try to add another one to their win column.

Let’s be realistic with our expectations. Both Seattle on Sunday and the Portland Timbers on Wednesday are going to be extremely difficult games. They are both excellent teams, have some of the most lethal offenses in the league, and have an impressive goal differential over the year. The Sounders currently are tied with the Philadelphia Union and Nashville SC for second-fewest goals allowed with 18 and are just behind Columbus Crew, who has only let 17 in. Even in the best of circumstances—plenty of rest, no injuries, and lots of practice with the Rapids being in their best form possible—this would be a challenge.

Rapids head coach Robin Fraser described the team looking about as “sharp as a bowling ball” after the Kansas City game… and yeah, I think that’s an accurate description of that game. But their effort against Minnesota showed that the team improved greatly since their game just a few days beforehand. If we can keep improving, we should be able to go toe-to-toe with the current leaders of the Western Conference and get some points to put ourselves safely in the playoff picture.