MLS Conference Final preview: Colorado Rapids v Seattle Sounders

MLS: Western Conference Championship-Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders FC lead Colorado Rapids 2-1 aheads of tonight's MLS Cup Play-Offs Western Conference Final second leg,

Colorado Rapids (1) vs (2) Seattle Sounders

2016 Western Conference Final – Leg 2

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado

Sunday 27th November 2016

16:00 ET/ 21:00 GMT

MLS: Western Conference Championship-Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders go into the second leg of Major League Soccer's Western Conference Play-Off Final with a 2-1 lead.

After initially going behind to Kevin Doyle's away goal in the 13th minute of the first leg, the Sounders rallied to comeback through goals from their key men - namely Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris and the stand-out Nicolas Lodeiro.

MLS: Western Conference Championship-Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders

Doyle's away goal may well prove to be decisive in this second leg, but Seattle can point to their impressive run of form towards the end of the regular season and into the off-season, where they have won four of their last five matches.

The early part of MLS 2016 saw the Sounders languishing near the bottom of the West with 20 points from their opening 18 games, In July, they disposed of Sigi Schmid, their only ever MLS manager, and replaced the 63-year-old former Columbus Crew and LA Galaxy boss with his assistant Brian Schmetzer.

MLS: Western Conference Championship-Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders

On the same day the Sounders signed their talisman Lodeiro - who would help Seattle rise to fourth-place finish in the West and, despite only joining mid-season, would be named MLS Newcomer of the Year as the Sounders finished the regular season in the play-offs.

MLS: Western Conference Championship-Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders

Irrespective of Seattle's impressive run of form, Colorado are unbeaten in their last 12 home games and know that the Sounders have lost their previous two away matches 2-1. A repeat pattern tonight and the Western Final goes into extra-time. 

Colorado may have the away goal, but unless the Rapids win the second leg then the first MLS Cup slot goes to Seattle. The Rapids will be hoping that home advantage pays off as the 2010 MLS Cup Champions hope to repeat the feat of six seasons ago, which remains the club's only MLS Championship.

MLS: Western Conference Championship-Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders

Team News and Predicted Line-ups

Tim Howard remains sidelined for Colorado due to his season-ending abductor injury, as does home grown player Dillon Serna. Perhaps the most significant loss for the Rapids though may be that of Sam Cronin, after the combative midfielder picked up a suspension for yellow card accumulation.

MLS: Western Conference Championship-Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders

Seattle have their own ex-Premier League Designated Player absentee, Clint Dempsey, who continues to be unavailable after heart issues. 

However, the Sounders will be boosted by the return to fitness of Morris, Andreas Ivanschitz and Alvaro Fernandez - with the trio all initially doubtful for the first leg.  

MLS: Western Conference Championship-Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders

Colorado Rapids (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath; Eric Miller, Jared Watts, Axel Sjoberg, Marc Burch; Micheal Azira, Jermaine Jones; Sebastien Le Toux, Kevin Doyle, Shkelzen Gashi; Dominique Badji

Seattle Sounders (4-4-1-1): Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Roman Torres, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan, Nicolas Lodeiro, Erik Friberg, Jordan Morris; Nelson Valdez

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