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Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders FC Preview

September 20, 2023 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Colorado Rapids News Release


COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - The Colorado Rapids (4-13-10, 22 pts) host Seattle Sounders FC (11-9-9, 42 pts) at DICK'S Sporting Goods Park this Wednesday, September 20, for Matchday 33 (7:30 p.m. MT; Apple TV - MLS Season Pass, Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM).

The Rapids enter Wednesday's match on the heels of a 2-1 victory against a visiting New England Revolution last Saturday, marking the team's first win under interim head coach Chris Little in his first game at the helm since being appointed to the role following Robin Fraser's dismissal on September 5. Homegrown midfielder Cole Bassett scored his first goal since May, heading home a free kick from midfielder Connor Ronan-the Irishman's team-leading eighth assist of the season-just minutes into the second half. Fifteen minutes later, Rapids Designated Player Rafael Navarro recorded his first assist with the club with a cross-pitch pass that found forward Calvin Harris right outside the opposition box. Beating his defender one-on-one, Harris found the back of the net on a strike that beat the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. His goal marked his first with the club and the second of his MLS career.

Wednesday's match against Seattle will be the second time the two clubs face each other this season. The first match was the season opener for both teams. At Lumen Field, Sounders FC won 4-0 after the Washington side scored a pair of goals in each half. Notably, the Rapids were without the club's 2022 leading scorer, Diego Rubio, who had picked up an injury during preseason, while four players made their club debuts after joining in the offseason: defenders Andreas Maxsø and Alex Gersbach, midfielder Connor Ronan, and forward Kévin Cabral.

The midweek matchup adds an intriguing layer to the competition, as Rapids interim head coach Chris Little, originally hired as an assistant coach before the 2021 MLS season, has a significant history with the Sounders organization. Little, hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland, previously held the position of head coach for Tacoma Defiance (formerly Seattle Sounders FC 2) during the club's tenure in the USL Championship. He also served as the Director of Coaching for the Seattle Sounders FC Academy. Additionally, Rapids midfielder Danny Leyva is currently on loan from Seattle where he made history as the youngest signing in club history after a signing a Homegrown Player contract with the team in 2019 at the age of 15. Since then, the central midfielder has made 54 regular-season appearances for Seattle, 25 as starts, and recording two assists during that time. Leyva has also featured in 33 matches across the USL Championship and MLS NEXT Pro for Tacoma Defiance since 2018, playing under the guidance of current Rapids interim head coach Chris Little during his tenure as Tacoma's head coach.

On the other end of the pitch, Sounders FC arrives in Colorado with just one win in their last five games (1-1-3). Despite its recent record, Seattle is third in the Western Conference with 42 points, buoyed by a stout defense that has conceded the second-fewest amount of goals in the league and the least amount in the Western Conference. However, after starting the season with a league-high 11 clean sheets through July 1, the Sounders have conceded at least a goal in every game since. Most recently, Seattle traveled to Dallas where they conceded an early goal to FC Dallas but were able to find an equalizer in the second half courtesy of El Salvador international Alex Roldán who scored the game-tying goal in the 57th minute to salvage a point for The Rave Green. Forward Jordan Morris leads the team with 10 goals, followed by Raúl Ruidíaz and Léo Chú who have scored five and four goals, respectively. Chú also adds on eight assists, second-most on the team behind Nicolás Lodeiro's 10 assists.

The Rapids and Sounders FC have played each other 33 times since Seattle's inaugural season in 2009. Seattle has a 21-8-4 record against Colorado, in large part due to a 14-2-1 record at home. Although Seattle has the slight series lead in Colorado (6-7-3), the Rapids are unbeaten in the last five games at home, posting three wins and two draws. The Burgundy Boys have scored at least one goal in 11-straight matches at home against Seattle.

Following Wednesday night's game, the Rapids Unified team will close out their season with a match against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks Unified Team. The Rapids' team played the Switchbacks earlier this season on August 4, a 3-2 loss at Weidner Field. The two teams will have a rematch following the Rapids' first-team match against Seattle, with the series winner earning the I-25 Cup.


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