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Sounders face surging Rapids in chase for top spot

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The Seattle Sounders will look to bring some of the good mojo they have generated on the road into a game back home.

The Western Conference-leading Sounders (15-5-6, 51 points) will play host to the streaking Colorado Rapids (13-4-9, 48 points) on Sunday night.

The Sounders actually have a better away mark (9-2-2) than they do at home (6-3-4) this season.

They won 2-1 at Sporting Kansas City in a first-place showdown last Sunday and then posted a 3-1 victory Wednesday at San Jose as Raul Ruidiaz scored two first-half goals before leaving at the intermission with an apparent leg injury.

Coach Brian Schmetzer said Ruidiaz, who is second in the league with 16 goals, is questionable for Sunday’s match.

“It’s important that we recognize that we had these really good results on the road,” Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei said. “We’ve had our missed opportunities at home. The messaging is strong that we’ve been able to bank points on the road, but we really have to deposit them by getting a ‘W’ at home.”

The Rapids are unbeaten in their past 12 matches (6-0-6) dating to July 31.

After four consecutive draws, the Rapids got back in the win column by defeating expansion Austin FC 3-0 Wednesday as Jonathan Lewis, Nico Mezquida and Auston Trusty scored.

“To get a win and get back that winning feeling and feel like you’ve really spent yourselves and you’ve played at the appropriate pace and you’ve pushed yourselves,” said Rapids coach Robin Fraser, “to do all that to get a win, I think it can only strengthen the team’s confidence and … self-belief.”

Rapids goalkeeper William Yarbrough posted his franchise-record 11th shutout of the season, which is tied for the league lead.

“I think it was a big game for us,” Yarbrough said. “We’d come off of two home draws and we knew that we needed to do something different. We needed to change the gear and try to get a good result at home with our fans and keep putting ourselves in a good spot in the league and I think (Wednesday), we saw that. Everyone was mentally locked in.”

The Sounders hold a 19-6-2 edge in the all-time series. The teams played to a 1-1 draw July 4 at Colorado.

–Field Level Media

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