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July 28, 2012 at 7:48 AM

Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids, preview and prediction

Colorado Rapids Logo.jpgSounders FC (8-5-7) vs. Colorado Rapids (7-13-1)

Saturday, July 28, 6 p.m. Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colo.

TV/radio: KONG-TV 6/16, KIRO-FM 97.3 (Rob Palmer, Kasey Keller)

Spanish TV/radio: KOMO2, La Gran D 99.3 FM

Referee: Paul Ward

KEY RAPIDS PLAYERS

F Omar Cummings — The speedy Jamaican is the team’s co-leader in goals with five and scored Colorado’s lone goal in the last game in Seattle. He’s always had good success against the Sounders and has two goals in his last four games. Hasn’t started three games in a row since early May and could use some consistency this season.

M Jeff Larentowicz — The multi-skilled central midfielder is coming off a suspension last week, when he wasn’t available in a rivalry game against Real Salt Lake. So he should be ready and raring to go. Has a couple goals this season, both of which came at home, and he’s also had some good success against Seattle in the past.

D Tyson Wahl — The former Sounder has started the past two games for the Rapids at left back. He’s yet to record an assist this season in 13 games (including time spent with Montreal), but should feel somewhat comfortable playing his ex-teammates. We’ll see if he can make Colorado is new home playing for his third club in about nine months.

KEY MATCHUPS

Eddie Johnson vs. Marvell Wynne — You might not find two faster guys in MLS and they’ll be going head to head all night. The Sounders forward likes to get in behind defenses, but there’s not a harder center-back to separate from than the Rapids speedster. EJ wreaked some havoc in the last meeting, and probably earned a PK that went uncalled, but will he have a similar impact on short rest Saturday?

Seattle goalkeeper vs. Colorado goalkeeper — There’s some uncertainty when it comes to the Sounders, as Michael Gspurning appears ready to go after missing the past 13 games with a hip strain, but you can never be too sure. Coach Sigi Schmid indicated Andrew Weber would start if Gspurning isn’t able to go. There’s no uncertainty with Rapids backstop Matt Pickens, who leads the league with 78 saves and recently signed a new deal.

Rapids motivation vs. Sounders rest — Schmid made an interesting point in the buildup to this game. He said the Rapids will be playing with some added motivation to make Colorado happy following the tragic shooting in Aurora. That will give the hosts a little something extra to play for. Seattle hasn’t played a league game in a couple weeks now, so it should have a full, healthy complement of players to choose from — except Alvaro Fernandez, of course.

PREDICTION

You take a look at Seattle’s road record recently? 2-2-6. Not good. Not bad.

Now you can look at that with the glass half full (unbeaten in their last three 0-0-3) or half empty (0-2-5). For me, I think the trend indicates another tie coming up on Saturday, which I think is the most likely result.

Colorado has lost five straight, which isn’t reflective of this team’s ability. I think there’s a little bounce-back and is yet to put together a full game.

Sounders FC 1, Colorado Rapids 1

SEA — Osvaldo Alonso (pk) 35′

COL — Jeff Larentowicz (pk) 64′

* * *

What do you think? How do you see this one playing out?

COMMENTS

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