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July 20, 2013 at 12:23 AM

Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids, preview and prediction

Colorado Rapids LogoSounders FC (7-7-3) vs. Colorado Rapids (8-7-6)
Saturday, July 20, 1 p.m., CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.
Local TV/radio: KONG 6/16, KIRO 97.3 FM (Ross Fletcher, Taylor Graham)
Spanish TV/radio: THIS-TV (KOMO 4.2), La Gran D 99.3 FM
Referee: Ismail Elfath

KEY RAPIDS PLAYERS

M Nathan Sturgis — Yep. That Nathan Sturgis. The former Sounder from 2009-10 who started to find his footing here until being taken in the expansion draft. His rights have been controlled by four teams since then, but he’s having a career year in Colorado and has been one of the biggest surprises leaguewide. He’s got four goals in his last 10 games after having just one (a penalty kick) in his previous 84 games over seven seasons.

F Deshorn Brown — The speedy 22-year-old has been one of the more active players across MLS with 66 shots, third-most in the league. The rookie out of Central Florida is the team’s co-leading scorer with five goals, and he notably has four of those goals on the road, so he hasn’t been phased playing in hostile environments. Crazy enough, he might not even be the top Rookie of the Year candidate on his own team.

M Dillon Powers — The honor might go to this central midfielder, a fellow first-round pick and another in a phenomenal young core. This 22-year-old, with experience for the U.S. U-20 and U-18 national teams, has three goals and three assists this season. He started the first 11 games of his MLS career and has been a vital cog in the Rapids’ push to get into a playoff position.

KEY MATCHUPS

Mauro Rosales vs. Chris Klute — I mentioned this in a previous post, but the Sounders DP hasn’t factored into a scoring play in his last 477 minutes. It’s been a disappointing campaign with just three assists on the heels of two-straight 13-assist seasons. Klute has been another breakout player this season for the Rapids. He’s loaded with physical tools and also has a team-leading five assists pushing up the left wing.

Edson Buddle vs. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado — Buddle has played the villain before in his time against the Sounders. Remember this goal (at the 3:32 mark)? He’s only scored five league goals since that wonderstrike in the 2010 playoffs, so fortunes have changed. Hurtado is fighting to make sure things don’t go that way for him as he’s been in and out of the lineup.

Injuries vs. history — There is no team in MLS affected by injury like the Sounders. Nine players are out. It’s getting out of control. On the other hand, no team has been on a hotter streak against an opponent than Seattle’s dominance over Colorado. It has been seven-straight wins, tied for the league record, dating to 2010. The Rapids are 0-5 at CenturyLink Field.

PREDICTION

I’ve been way off on my picks the past several games.

I really can’t figure the Sounders out right now.

I’m just going to have to go with something.

Sounders FC 1, Colorado Rapids 1

COL — Atiba Harris (Nick LaBrocca) 56′
SEA — Obafemi Martins (Lamar Neagle) 74′

*     *     *

What do you think? You have a feel for this one? How do you see it playing out?

| More in Preview and prediction

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