Thursday, April 21, 2011

SOUNDERS FC: Sounders vs. Rapids match preview

Omar Cummings
Tomorrow night the Sounders will travel to Colorado to take on the defending MLS Cup champion Rapids.

For the Sounders (1-2-3), they are coming in unbeaten in their last four matches. Although an unbeaten streak is impressive, it is somewhat misleading. The Sounders have indeed tied three games, but with only one win, it is safe to say the team has not lived up to expectations.

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The Rapids (3-2-0) started the 2011 season the same way they ended 2010, on a tear. After winning the first three matches they sat at the top of the table, but are now coming in on a two game skid.

After coming on as a substitution in last weeks match, I expect Fredy Montero to be inserted back into the starting lineup. He made an immediate impact in the short time played against the Union and assisted on Fernandez’ game tying goal.

If Montero is indeed back in the starting 11, then who gets bumped? My guess is that Rosales takes over on the wing for Erik Friberg. Or perhaps Fernandez showed well enough against the union to earn the start, but we will have to wait and find out.

The Rapids are not as lucky as Conor Casey is still out due to injury. However, Rapids forwards Omar Cummings and Caleb Folan are very dangerous themselves and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go the whole match.

Keys to the Match:

1) Dealing with the elevation:

Whenever a team travels to Colorado there is always talk about the high elevation and how hard it is to adjust. The problem is there really is no magical way to get used to it unless you have played in it numerous times. This means substitutions could play an even more important role in the match. Perhaps Sigi will choose to insert them sooner than usual as players tire faster.

2) Pressure the defense into mistakes:

Tyrone Marshall: He plays for Colorado now. Although Marshall was fairly solid for the Sounders over the first two seasons, he did make some costly mistakes when pressured. Putting pressure on Marshall as well as the other defenders could force mistakes, which could lead to a cheap goal for Seattle.

3) Control Omar Cummings:

This guy is good. Chances are Leo Gonzales will be in charge of defending Cummings. Leo is a solid defender who has the skill to contain Cummings, however poor tackling will result in him getting burned.

Match time is scheduled for 6:30 and will be shown on Fox Soccer Channel.

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