Friday, July 23, 2010

SOUNDERS FC: Sounders face Rapids in MLS West matchup

After their first week-long break since the World Cup, the Sounders will host the Colorado Rapids at Qwest Field this Sunday as they plot a course for the playoffs. During the rare hiatus, Seattle (5-8-4, 19 points) quietly slipped into sixth place in the Western Conference, ahead of Chivas (4-9-2, 14 points) and Houston (5-7-4, 19 points).

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The Rapids (6-4-5, 23 points) currently hold fourth place in the West, but after a strong start the team has gone win-less in their last five matches dating back to June 5. The Sounders on the other hand are riding a two-game MLS win streak. Besides the obvious need to pull three points from Colorado, this game signifies more than just a late season run to the playoffs.

Starting Sunday, the Sounders will play five games in a 15-day span, including the play-in round of the CONCACAF champions’ league tournament versus Metapán of El Salvador. Six days later the Sounders will travel to South America where they will finish their two game series with Metapán.

Colorado represents Seattle’s first chance at a home victory since June 5, and an opportunity to score their first points against a Western Conference opponent. All five of the Sounders’ wins this season have come as shutouts against Eastern Conference teams.

The all-time series versus the Rapids stands at 1-1-1, with the Sounders losing to Colorado for the first time when they last met. Colorado’s Conner Casey scored the lone goal in that match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Expect to see another youth-filled starting lineup for Seattle as they search for a combination of players who can put the ball in the net. Freddie Ljungberg, if he makes the game day roster, could be playing his final match as a Sounder as news of his imminent departure has flown thick and fast this past week.

The match will be broadcast nationally on the Fox Soccer Channel and will be carried on the radio by 97.3 FM and in Spanish on 1210 AM.

Reach Galen Helmgren at