Rapids-Sounders Preview


Coach Sigi Schmid has had the luxury of using multiple starting lineups with successful results due to the depth of the Seattle Sounders.

No matter the combination Schmid puts together Saturday, the Western Conference leaders appear to have an advantage as they look to deal the visiting Colorado Rapids a sixth straight defeat.

"What's a first-choice lineup? You always have little aches and little injuries," Schmid said following Sunday's 4-2 win at Portland, his club's fifth match in 15 days. "It was a lineup we were very happy putting out on the field."

That doesn't necessarily mean it will look the same in this contest.

"We'll see what team we can put out against Colorado, but then against Chivas (on Wednesday) it all changes again," Schmid said. "If everybody's healthy and everybody's there, I have an idea of what it would be, but right now we haven't had that situation so I haven't had to make those final decisions."

It's a near certainty Schmid will have Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey on the pitch. Martins scored twice and assisted on Dempsey's goal Sunday, while Dempsey also added an assist on Chad Barrett's tally.

"In big games, you want to step up and play well," Dempsey said. "It's not just doing it here and there, it's doing it on a consistent basis. That's what got us up the table early on in the season and hopefully we can get back to that."

Seattle (14-7-3) holds a two-point edge on Los Angeles and three-point lead over Dallas and Real Salt Lake in a tight West race. It has taken advantage of its opportunities at home, with a 4-1 win over Colorado on April 26 beginning a 10-1-2 run at CenturyLink Field.

Dempsey had two goals and Martins added another in that matchup as the Sounders improved to 7-0-1 all-time at home against the Rapids (8-11-6).

Colorado is 0-7-2 on the road since falling to Seattle, and its overall skid continued with a 4-3 loss to the Galaxy on Aug. 20. It held leads of 2-0 and 3-1 in the first half before falling apart.

"I think we're finding ways to shoot ourselves in the foot," coach Pablo Mastroeni said. "I can't say anything but how proud I am of the effort. Now it's just preparation and on to the next match."

Edson Buddle left early with a minor injury that won't keep him out of this contest, but not before becoming just the eighth player in MLS history to record 100 goals when he scored in the 17th minute.

"When you score that many goals, it's just another goal, but people have been saying it over and over so it has been on my mind," Buddle said.

The individual accomplishment isn't as important as how the Rapids will respond to another tough defeat.

"I'm curious to see who's going to rise above and who's going to push themselves and not get too low," Buddle said. "Even when we're doing well you don't want to get too high either."

Seattle is 10-2-2 all-time against Colorado.