The Rapids begin a very important stretch of three games against close division rivals today against the Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field in Washington. This game, combined with the next couple against San Jose and FC Dallas, could be three pivotal games in deciding both third and fourth place in the West. Currently the Rapids are tied at 23 points with San Jose for fourth at present, with FC Dallas sitting only three points above in third. Houston and Seattle are only four points below with 19 each, tied for fifth. To escape this cluster, one of those teams will need to make a run, and the Rapids will have a golden opportunity to do so.
Seattle lost to Colorado in the only meeting they’ve had thus far, with Conor Casey netting his first goal of the season in regular season play to give the Rapids a 1-0 victory in Commerce City. Seattle is having a fairly down season considering their semi-finals appearance last year, stuck in that tie for fifth place and floundering a bit with a 5-8-4 record including a 3-4-2 record at home.
Coach Gary Smith will most likely be playing a 4-4-2 formation today as opposed to his usual 4-5-1, the same formation that he used to finally get the offense moving against Kansas City in the second half of the Rapids’ last game. Who will be starting in midfield is a bit of a mystery, but we’ll most likely see Mehdi Ballouchy, Pablo Mastroeni and all star Jeff Lerentowicz in the starting line-up along with Conor Casey and Omar Cummings on the attack. If the Rapids can score two or… god forbid, three goals, look to see the 4-4-2 coming in full time.
The game is playing on national TV on Fox Sports Channel at 8:30 PM mountain time.