Rapids Seek Revenge in Seattle

As far as boring matches go, the 0-0 draw between the Colorado Rapids and the San Jose Earthquakes was one of the worst. Very little life and very few chances were had by either team. According to the Rapids’ website, there was one official shot on goal, coming from Deshorn Brown in the 25th, but I know that Alan Gordon had a header that hit the crossbar in the 1st minute, so unless those do not count, their number is incorrect.

For a match that had two (allegedly) shots on target, it was even worse than that seems. There was very little talk about the match, save for the Rapids organization – and fans alike – looking for justice for Alan Gordon’s blatant elbow to the face of Shane O’Neill and Adam Jahn’s intentional shoulder to the face of Jared Watts. What did seem to come out of the match was an indication that things are tense in the locker room. I don’t think there is anything to it, but the scuffle between Edson Buddle and the ever-worthless Danny Mwanga, seemed to be the big event of the day.

There were reporters in the locker room, so of course they are going to make a meal out it, but it seemed to be nothing more than expressed frustration with the match result.
Now that that’s over with, let’s take a look at this week’s opponent of the Rapids, Seattle Sounders FC.

Seattle has had the Rapids’ number the last eight times at home in league play (7-0-1) and even knocked the Rapids out of the playoffs last season in Seattle. With this being another trip to Seattle, it is difficult to think that the Rapids could get a solid result this week. I am not saying it’s impossible, because this is the team that dismantled Seattle at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park last season 5-1 on 10/5/2013. However, the Rapids are facing a team that is in-form, a combo of Martins and Dempsey that could be one of the best in MLS, and it is on the awful turf in Seattle.

Let’s take a look at the tactics for this one: Seattle will most likely run a 4-4-2 with the two up top being Dempsey and Martins. Having not watched too much from the Seattle Sounders, I can’t specify how they run their 4-4-2, but I would presume they want to run the ball through the inside, given the players they have. They will look for Dempsey at every opportunity, but with Alonso and Pineda, they are not short on creativity. They will most likely look for checking runs to Dempsey or try to get the wingbacks out on the flanks to get an early ball in. With Martins’ speed, if I am Sigi, I would be having the lads feeding the ball in space to Dempsey all day and have Martins looking for the diagonal runs into space to break through the backline.

Against any normal team, that may be a good tactic, but the Rapids, while being very young, are very stout defensively. There are only a few weaknesses that I see in Rapids defense, Shane O’Neill’s inexperience and Drew Moor’s speed (lack thereof). O’Neill is young, but has been known to shutdown players 1v1 (Thierry Henry last year, for example), so it is tough to say if he will even be a weakness for this match. Drew is one of the brightest players in the league and is probably the best in the air in the league.

If the Rapids have a healthy Jose Mari, I don’t foresee Dempsey being very successful tomorrow. The Rapids will most likely also go with a 4-4-2 (diamond midfield). They will more than likely stick with the same “tactics” as last week, but will obviously want more from their strikers (story of the season). I think the key to this game is Dillon Powers. Sure, he is the big name player for the Rapids right now, but he also does the little things exceptionally well, and with a midfield as good as Seattle has, the Rapids will need to be doing these little things well. Things like: showing into space for the ball, finding feet, making a quick splitting pass and advancing to the next layer, and finding the forwards in good positions to pull the trigger.

The Rapids need someone, offensively, who will step up and score goals. I think this guy will be Gaby Torres. Yes, he is a DP, and much is expected from him, but he has the ability to punish this Sounders team and hasn’t really shown up yet this season. He will find the net at least once this weekend, I think. The Rapids will be looking for the flanks to be integral to advance the ball.

Thomas Piermyr is a guy to watch this match. If you haven’t seen him this season, watch the kid play. He is the only Austrian player in MLS, and at RB, he has been a great source of dangerous crosses in the box thus far. This team has dealt with some injuries early on, but I think they are going to find a little more strength and confidence for this one and get into their stride moving forward. This will be a game that propels them to the next level if they get a great result. They already broke one streak by going up to Toronto and earning their first win ever at Toronto FC, so why not get their first win at Seattle, as well?

Projected XI for the Colorado Rapids- 4-4-2: Clint Irwin; Chris Klute, Drew Moor, Shane O’Neill, Thomas PierMyr; Jose Mari, Dillon Powers, Vicente Sanchez, Nick LaBrocca; Gaby Torres, Deshorn Brown

Due to the turf, this lineup could be different. Buddle has been known not to play, hence his omission, but he could play. Same goes for Vicente Sanchez (Although, I’ve heard he is playing).

I think this will be a great match to watch this week. I have thought a lot about this and think that the Rapids will win 2-1 and get the monkey off of their back, as well. I was going to say 1-1, but something tells me there will be a late penalty or some controversial call that gives the Rapids the edge. Law of averages tells me that Dempsey, et al, are bound to have an off week. This is that week, methinks.

(image courtesy of mlssoccer.com)