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Healing Rapids face Seattle

April 21, 2011 | 9:57 am No comments
By Shaun Schafer

A recuperating Rapids squad looks for a boost of confidence and a better result as Seattle Sounders FC visit Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Friday night.

The weekend starts with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff, as the Rapids attempt to shake-off a woeful two-game stretch. The Rapids, 3-2-0, fell apart in a 3-0 loss at FC Dallas, but came back five days later and played Real Salt Lake even until a 93rd minute goal from Fabian Espindola.

While the team has had time to forget the offsides strike, the break since April 13 also gave a key component of the midfield a chance to heal. Captain Pablo Mastroeni, who picked up a calf knock against D.C. United on April 3, returned to training on Monday. Mastroeni missed the two road losses while he healed.

Not There: Still missing is forward Conor Casey, who has been out with a hamstring tweak and has not returned to practice.

Also Better: The team’s reserves took out a bit of frustration on Tuesday in a scrimmage with the University of Denver. The Rapids reserves torched the Pioneers 5-1. Joseph Nane started the scoring from the penalty spot, and Ross LaBaeux scored twice from his forward slot.

Struggling to Score: Seattle, 1-2-3, has been stalwart in defense, but weak in attack this season. The team has given up seven goals in six games, but only scored six in that same time period.

The Sounders sandwiched road draws around a 2-1 home win over the Chicago Fire on April 9. Goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who plans to retire at the end of the season, picked up the CSN vote for player of the week after he spent the day stoning the Fire.

Hail to Keller: One of the best ‘keepers to pull on the U.S. jersey, Keller remains a wonder. He tends the nets and manages defenses as well as ever. If this is to be his last appearance in Colorado, Keller deserves an ovation for his professionalism and his skill. Watching him play since the early ’90s has been a treat.

On the Air: Fox Soccer Channel returns to Dick’s to broadcast the clash nationwide. Hopefully the Rapids will see a crowd similar to the one that filled the park and greeted the Portland Timbers to start the season.

Records: This is only the fifth meeting between the two teams. The Rapids are 1-2-1 against the Sounders, having been outscored 7-4 in those games. This is the first clash between the holders of the U.S. Open Cup (Seattle) and the MLS Cup (Rapids) this season.

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