(Photo credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
The Seattle Sounders will be vying for their first five-match unbeaten streak in more than two years when they take on the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday in Commerce City, Colo.
The Sounders (11-9-9, 42 points), sitting in third place in the Western Conference, drew 1-1 with FC Dallas on Saturday to move to 1-0-3 over their past four matches. The franchise went 15 regular-season matches without a blemish from November 2020 to June 2021, but times have not been as kind to Seattle since then.
After missing last year's MLS Cup playoffs altogether, the Sounders are in fair position with five matches to go. But the conference standings are tightly bunched, with just eight points separating second and 10th place. The top nine teams in each conference make the postseason.
The Sounders know they cannot trip up against the last-place team in the West.
"We're not overconfident," Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said. "We're not gonna go in there and say, 'This is gonna be (an) easy three points.'"
Schmetzer said forward Raul Ruidiaz (five goals) has a tight hamstring and missed practice Tuesday, leaving his match status up in the air.
Jordan Morris, who leads Seattle with 10 goals, has seven career goals against Colorado in nine meetings, including playoffs.
On Saturday, Alex Roldan scored his first goal of the season in the 57th minute against Dallas to tie the match.
The Rapids (4-13-10, 22 points) are coming off just their second win since May, ending a 1-10-4 stretch with a 2-1 home victory over Eastern Conference power New England on Saturday.
Colorado had been shut out in nine of its previous 10 matches before Cole Bassett struck in the 48th minute and Calvin Harris doubled the lead in the 62nd. Interim head coach Chris Little was a winner in his debut after the Rapids dismissed Robin Fraser.
One victory doesn't change the Rapids' reality, however. They sit at the bottom of the Western standings, and they saw fans protest at the Revolution game in a planned walkout.
The Rapids got a morale boost Tuesday when midfielder Jack Price returned to the training facility. He suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in March and has just started to run again.
"He unifies everybody. He's a great leader," Little said. "For us as a coaching staff, having him back around, he's going to travel with the team. He's invaluable."
Bassett leads the Rapids with a mere three goals on the season. The club has scored 18 goals, fewest in the league.
--Field Level Media