April 9, 2019 / 10:44 PM / 2 months ago

Sounders brace for angry Rapids

The Colorado Rapids were left seeing red after their last match Saturday at Orlando City.

Apr 6, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Colorado Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett (26) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Orlando City SC during the second half at Orlando City Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Only not the type of red they wanted.

The Rapids (0-4-2), who play host to the Seattle Sounders (4-0-1) on Wednesday night in Commerce City, Colo., held a one-goal lead midway through the second half when Orlando City’s Nani went down inside the penalty box after a challenge by Kellyn Acosta.

Nani, upset that he didn’t receive a penalty kick from referee Jair Marrufo, jumped to his feet and appeared to twice head-butt Acosta.

“It’s in the FIFA rulebook. That’s a red card,” Rapids striker Kei Kamara told the Denver Post. “We’ve seen softer red cards.”

To make matters worse for the Rapids, Orlando City rallied to tie the score, and then Nani made a penalty kick in the 89th minute for the winner in a 4-3 match.

“These things affect results,” Rapids coach Anthony Hudson told the Post. “The story line is Nani’s goals and the comeback, but the reality is he shouldn’t have been on the pitch.”

It was the second consecutive game in which Rapids yielded four goals, giving them a league-high 16 goals allowed.

That doesn’t bode well against a Seattle side that is tied for fourth in MLS with 11 goals scored. The Sounders have allowed a league-low three goals.

The Sounders are 18-5-2 all-time against the Rapids, including a 2-0 victory in Seattle in the second week of this season. Kelvin Leerdam and Raul Ruidiaz scored in the opening eight minutes, and Stefan Frei posted a shutout.

The Sounders, who have a history of slow starts, are off to their best this season.

Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said because of that history, the Sounders won’t be looking past the Rapids.

“MLS is such, and we know it all too well, you can start off slow and continue (to the playoffs),” Schmetzer told reporters after practice Monday. “(The Rapids) will be a desperate team that will be at home and will try to get as many points as possible. This is MLS, we’re not taking anything for granted or lightly at all.”

The Sounders hope to have Ruidiaz, a forward who shares the team lead with three goals, back after he missed Saturday’s 1-0 home victory against Real Salt Lake with an ankle injury.

—Field Level Media

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