SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 14: Zach Scott #20 of the Seattle Sounders heads in a corner kick for a goal against the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field on April 14, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The Sounders defeated the Rapids 1-0. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
A now nine-game winless streak could come to define what once looked to be an incredibly promising season if the Sounders aren't able to turn it around soon, and a loss to the visiting Colorado Rapids could make the playoff race uncomfortably tight as the second half begins.
The Colorado Rapids will make their second visit to Seattle on Saturday evening, and the Sounders will be desperate to ensure that things end in a fashion similar to that which they did the last time around; on April 14th, Zach Scott's 63rd minute header gave the team the goal they needed to end a two-game winless skid and move to 3-1-1 on the year. It was the beginning of a five-game winning streak that gave Seattle its best-ever start and had the fanbase buzzing. But it's no secret that things have changed dramatically these past few months, and with each game that passes without the Sounders securing three points the situation becomes more dire.
That's especially true against a team like he Rapids. Unless things sing back around to the winning side, the Sounders biggest rivals are teams like Colorado, the Vancouver Whitecaps and the LA Galaxy rather than the San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake. A loss in this game would be as close to disastrous on you can get at this point in the season, with Seattle failing to pick up ground on the all-important third spot in the standings and allowing the Rapids to move within two points of the Sounders with a game in hand.
"Must-win game" is a cliche, and unless elimination is on the line it's never really true. But the Sounders have got to end this slide if they hope to set themselves up for playoff success and build momentum heading into the postseason. There's still plenty of time remaining to salvage things and the postseason offers an excellent opportunity to erase all memory of this unpleasant stretch of games. But despite some positive signs in recent weeks things are still clearly not all well with this team, and until the first hurdle is cleared the possibility of things continuing to slide off the cliff is all too real. Colorado is not a bad team, but they are a beatable one. There was a time a few months ago that such an opponent would inspire little fear, but now the dread is palpable. Seattle needs to once again become a team that expects victory and plays with the swagger of an elite side, but they have to stop this run of disappointment first.