Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids | 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs Match Preview
Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids
2016 Western Conference Final – Leg 1
CenturyLink Field | Seattle, Washington
Tuesday, Nov. 22
10 pm ET (FS1 in the US | TSN1, TSN3 and RDS2 in Canada)
The Seattle Sounders have had quite a second half to 2016 thanks to the impressive playmaking of Nicolas Lodeiro and their strong attack, but now have to face off against the stingiest defense in MLS in the Colorado Rapids. Seattle enter this first leg after having picked up a convincing 4-2 series win over FC Dallas in the last round while Colorado dramatically edged the LA Galaxy in penalty kicks after a 1-1 aggregate score.
The two sides could be missing some key players in this showdown at CenturyLink Field. Jordan Morris and Roman Torres are two of several Sounders players currently fighting to get back to full health while Shkelzen Gashi is a question mark for the Rapids after sustaining an ankle injury in the win over LA. One player guaranteed to be out for Colorado is No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Howard, who is set to undergo season-ending surgery on Thursday after suffering a fracture of the right adductor longus with the US national team. Zac MacMath, who made all but one of his 17 starts this season before Howard arrived in Colorado over the summer, is the likely man to replace the USMNT mainstay in goal.
- Who has the edge in Seattle-Colorado series?
- Stejskal: Top Conference Championship storylines
- Morris aside, Sounders close to full health as Rapids showdown approaches
- The moves that made the Colorado Rapids contenders
- Tim Howard out for season after surgery
- MacMath relishing playoff opportunity as Rapids battle injury concerns
- Wiebe: Fear not Rapids, MacMath can deliver MLS Cup
- Rapids say attacker Shkelzen Gashi doubtful for Leg 1 vs. Seattle
- Colorado president says Mastroeni's future will be decided after playoffs
- Sounders using international window to get injured players healthy
- Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard dealing with an adductor injury picked up on USMNT duty
- Seattle forward Jordan Morris wins MLS Rookie of the Year award
- MLS Goal of the Year claimed by Colorado's Shkelzen Gashi
- Jordan Morris focused on Sounders-Rapids but honored to be named Rookie of the Year
- Center back Axel Sjoberg raises Rapids' defense to new heights
- MLS NOW | Sounders continue storybook postseason run by beating FC Dallas
- Playoff victory over LA Galaxy emotional for Colorado midfielder Marlon Hairston
- Seattle had to play "their hearts out" to advance past Dallas
- MLS Disciplinary Committee fines Jared Watts of Rapids
- Injury picked up by Jordan Morris dampens Sounders' spirits
- Seattle Times: Marshall not the Sounders' highest profile player, but he is most beloved
- The Rapids' road to the Western Conference Championship
- The Sounders' road to the Western Conference Championship
- Seattle's Nicolas Lodeiro voted Newcomer of the Year
- Watch: The best of Newcomer of the Year Nicolas Lodeiro
- The moves that helped the Colorado Rapids rebuild their roster for 2016
- Pushing through playoffs in Seattle | SNHU A Day With: Tyrone Mears
- Rapids' Micheal Azira eager to face familiar Seattle players
- Linchpin Lodeiro wants to cap strong debut season with MLS Cup
Seattle Sounders Snapshot:
- 2016 Regular Season Finish: West No. 4 seed (14-14-6 record, 48 points, 10-5-2 home record)
- Current Form: L-W-W-W-L
- Strengths: Have one of the more talented attacks in the league and one of the hottest and dangerous players in Nicolas Lodeiro.
- Weaknesses: Injuries could leave club shorthanded, as several players are nursing knocks and trying to get back to full health in time for the match.
- Injuries/Suspensions: Clint Dempsey (heart) -- out; Jordan Morris (hamstring) -- questionable; Andreas Ivanschitz (knee) -- questionable; Alvaro Fernandez (hamstring) -- questionable; Roman Torres (hamstring) -- questionable; Dylan Remick (concussion) -- unknown
- Player to Watch: Nicolas Lodeiro. One of the hottest players this postseason, the playmaking Uruguayan scored three goals in the last series vs. FC Dallas.
- Probable Starting XI: Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Roman Torres, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan, Nicolas Lodeiro, Erik Friberg, Jordan Morris; Nelson Haedo Valdez
Colorado Rapids Snapshot:
- 2016 Regular Season Finish: West No. 2 seed (15-6-13 record, 58 points, 4-6-7 away record)
- Current Form: W-L-D-L-W
- Strengths: The team defense continues to serve as the foundation for success, and the club has not given up more than one goal in five straight games.
- Weaknesses: While very strong defensively, the team lacks a reliable scoring threat on the other side of the ball and has scored more than one goal only once in the last five matches.
- Injuries/Suspensions: Tim Howard (adductor) -- out; Shkelzen Gashi (ankle) -- questionable; Dillon Serna (knee) -- out
- Player to Watch: Jermaine Jones. The veteran midfielder has been working his way back to full fitness in recent weeks, and he will be busy on both sides of the ball trying to generate something in the attack while limiting Lodeiro.
- Probable Starting XI: Zac MacMath; Eric Miller, Jared Watts, Axel Sjoberg, Marc Burch; Sam Cronin, Jermaine Jones; Sebastien Le Toux, Kevin Doyle, Shkelzen Gashi; Dominique Badji
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: CJ Morgante (AR1), Jeff Muschik (AR2)
4th Official: Sorin Stoica
Seattle vs. Colorado Head-to-Head
All-Time (18 meetings):
Seattle 13 wins, 33 goals • Colorado 3 wins, 19 goals • Ties 2
All-Time Playoff (1 Meeting):
Seattle 1 win, 2 goals • Colorado 0 wins, 0 goals
All-Time in Seattle (10 meetings):
Seattle 8 wins, 19 goals • Colorado 1 win, 8 goals • Ties 1
2016 Meetings (2 meetings):
COL 3, SEA 1 (April 23); SEA 0, COL 1 (May 21)