Seattle Sounders FC looking to create chances in Leg One of Western Conference Finals Playoff series versus Colorado Rapids.
Tuesday night’s Leg One Western Conference game ( 7:00 pm PT) between the Seattle Sounders and Colorado Rapids will be a classic soccer battle of styles. The Rapids were Major League Soccer’s stingiest defensive team with just 32 goals given up. The Rapids strategy is simple, clog the middle of the field in your defensive half of the field with all ten field players behind the ball and dare teams to find a way through the logjam. The strategy of parking the bus in the middle of the pitch makes it difficult for opposing teams to create any type of tempo when trying to mount an offensive attack.
The Sounders lost both of their regular season matches against the Rapids, 3-1 at Dicks Sporting Goods Park and 1-0 at CenturyLink Field in May 2016. In the first game, the Sounders won the possession battle ( 57 percent to 43 percent ) but were unable to mount any type of attack once they crossed into the Rapids defensive half of the field. Game two was similar in that Seattle was able to build some momentum when it had the ball in its half of the pitch but was unable to create substantive chances once in the Colorado end of the field.
Seattle will need to be patient with the ball and capitalize on the few chances the bunkered Rapids defense will give them. With MLS Newcomer of the Year Nicolas Lodeiro in the midfield, Seattle will have some creative play in the middle it did not have in the team’s first two matches.
INJURIES IMPACT ON THE GAME
While the Rapids will be without USMNT Goal Keeper Tim Howard ( right adductor tear) backup
For Seattle, the injury list is longer and who is available will have a dramatic impact on the home side’s chances of advancing.
Seattle will be hoping, MLS Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris is fully recovered from a hamstring strain suffered in the teams 2-1 loss to FC Dallas on November 6th. The Sounders advanced to the next series on the aggregate score. Seattle is hoping Roman Torres ( hamstring ) Andreas Ivanschitz (knee), Alvaro Fernandez ( hamstring), and Brad Evans will all be available for duty if called upon. Any combination of one or two players healthy for the match will strengthen the Sounders chances of winning.