Preview: Seattle Sounders host Colorado Rapids for second home match

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Seattle Sounders FC
Stefan Frei gets his team ready for the Seattle Sounders FC contest against FC Cincinnati last week. Photo courtesy of Mike Fiechtner/Seattle Sounders FC.

Seattle, Washington (March 9, 2019) — The Seattle Sounders FC have it pretty good with their schedule so far. After hosting the newcomers of MLS, FC Cincinnati, last weekend, Seattle has a second consecutive home match today.

This time, the Sounders will take on the Colorado Rapids. There’s history between these two sides, as Seattle was the reason the Rapids didn’t make the MLS Cup final in 2016. With both sides being in the Western Conference, they meet up twice a year.

This year will be the last year attacking players like Nico Lodeiro, Jordan Morris and Raúl Ruidíaz will get a crack at Tim Howard. The longtime goalkeeper has announced that this season will be his last. Last year, Seattle put six goals in Howard’s net in two matches.

This year, Morris is added to that attack, so more goals could be in the foreseeable future. However, Colorado has a healthy Axel Sjöberg on the backline and has added midfielder Benny Felihaber.

Could things be different this time around? Seattle isn’t going to let Howard have an easy ride to retirement.

Seattle Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids
2019 MLS Regular Season
Century Link Field
March 9, 2019 — 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET
Stream: ESPN+

What to Watch For

Jordan Morris sets his own tone

This is repetitive of last week’s Seattle preview, but for good reason. Against FC Cincinnati, emotions ran high for Morris as he scored his first competitive goal in a year. Morris celebrated by tacking on another goal against the “new kids.”

It’s not realistic to expect a two-goal game from Morris every weekend. However, Morris has a perfect opportunity to build on consistency. Instead of setting the tone for a rollercoaster season, Morris needs to have a strong match tonight. That’s not saying that he has to go out and score two goals again.

He just needs to be attack-minded and at least take some shots.

Morris is a quality striker and after missing last season due to injury, he’s going to want to have a fantastic 2019 season. His energy is high and it’s clear that his emotional return and desire to win is spreading through the team like wildfire.

Colorado managed to get a draw last weekend against Sounders rival Portland. That was because Portland got discombobulated on defense and failed to wrap up the match. Seattle, of course, needs the defense to play at a high level. But, scoring a goal early on helps, too.

The Injury Report

Seattle Sounders FC

It’s a miracle! For the second week in a row, there is only one player on the Seattle Sounders injury report. If you look at last season compared to this season, it’s a complete flip of the coin already in that regard.

Henry Wingo is the only name on the injury list. He is reported as questionable with left groin pain.

Colorado Rapids

Colorado has a couple more than just one player on the injury list.

Two players are listed as out. Kortne Ford is out with a knee injury while his fellow defender Kofi Opare is out with a foot injury. Meanwhile, midfielder Sam Nicholson is listed as questionable with a back injury. Defender Tommy Smith is questionable with a knee injury.

Last Meeting: Sept. 29, 2018

Remember those six goals that Seattle put in the back of Howard’s net? Four of them came in this match. On Sept. 29, 2018, the Sounders hosted the Rapids at CenturyLink Field. Two of the four goals came from Ruidíaz.

Meanwhile, Víctor Rodríguez tallied a goal and Lodeiro added to his impressive season.

This year, the Sounders have all three of those players back. Last year, it was hard to get Rodríguez on the same pitch as Lodeiro and Ruidíaz. However, so far, Rodríguez has remained healthy.

And when he’s healthy Rodríguez is extremely good.

Prediction: Seattle 2, Colorado 0

There might not be four goals in this match, but the reason behind that will be a healthy Howard and Sjöberg. Other players like Kellyn Acosta and Felihaber are going to be a test for Seattle, but it’s not like these players are foreign to them.

Coming from FC Dallas and Los Angeles FC, respectively, Seattle had to face both players twice last year. It’s nothing new that they’ll meet with them again. By now, Seattle has also figured out how to get past Howard.

Meanwhile, on the other end, Stefan Frei is a tough goalkeeper to crack. Cincinnati might have scored against him for the opening goal last week, but he hunkered down and kept them out of his net for the rest of the match. In last year’s two meetings, Colorado only got one goal past Frei.

Last week, I got my prediction right. Let’s see if we can shoot for a second consecutive correct prediction.

PHOTO: Stefan Frei gets his team ready for the Seattle Sounders FC contest against FC Cincinnati last week. Photo courtesy of Mike Fiechtner/Seattle Sounders FC.

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