On the other side of Saturday’s home match against first-place Colorado is a three-game East Coast road trip, and the Sounders (4-5-1) are 0-3-1 away from home this season.

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It would be melodramatic to suggest that this upcoming six-match stretch will define the Sounders’ season, that a loss to first-place Colorado on Saturday night at CenturyLink Field would bring doom and disaster.

The only must-wins are playoff games, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid is fond of saying, so take your make-or-breaks elsewhere.

To suggest otherwise would be melodramatic — but not incorrect.

On the other side of Saturday’s match is a three-game East Coast road trip, and the Sounders (4-5-1) are 0-3-1 away from home this season.

Forwards Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris and Nelson Valdez will miss most, if not all, of the stretch for Copa America Centenario, and the attack hasn’t been productive even at full strength. National-team absences foreran last summer’s collapse, and the Sounders haven’t stockpiled as many points to weather a similar midseason swoon this time around.

July looms as the toughest stretch on Seattle’s schedule. The Sounders were facing six difficult MLS games even before a friendly vs. West Ham was jammed into the middle. Help in the form of a Designated Player — as uninspiring as Seattle has often looked this season, there is plenty of talent that the right addition could bring to life — cannot arrive until the summer transfer window reopens July 4.

In the meantime, the Sounders must at least tread water and keep pace.

Colorado would pull 14 points ahead of Seattle in the Western Conference standings with a victory Saturday. With the realization that the Rapids probably are a playoff team, if nothing else, that displaces one of the six postseason qualifiers from last year.

Portland is even worse off than Seattle, with 12 points from 12 games and an injury list that seemingly grows by the week. Kansas City has been drab since its vibrant start. San Jose is characteristically steady and unspectacular. But what of Real Salt Lake, which, like rival Colorado, has been impressive in 2016 after missing the playoffs last year?

On Saturday night, the Sounders will face an unabashedly defensive system that is designed to prey on their biggest weakness.

Colorado has allowed nine goals, easily the fewest in the league. The Sounders have scored 10, fewest in the Western Conference by three.

Former Sounder Micheal Azira has settled in nicely with his new team, and his game is a helpful personification of what Colorado does well: tactical discipline with very little flash, minimal risk and therefore few costly mistakes. The Rapids’ worst-to-first turnaround has underlined a pair of MLS truths: 1) The margins between good and bad are small; and 2) mastering those aforementioned attributes will win a lot of games.

The teams’ first meeting was one of Seattle’s poorest overall performances this season. The Sounders had nearly 57 percent of the possession but managed fewer shots. The Rapids absorbed pressure and hit on the break, a tactic they likely will deploy Saturday.

Seattle will need a sharp performance out of Erik Friberg.

Midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz is “100 percent” healthy, Schmid said, and his creativity should help. Valdez has been ruled out because of a calf injury, however, and center back Chad Marshall is questionable with muscle tightness.

“We want to win every game that we step into and play,” Schmid said when posed a version of the dreaded “must-win” question.

Road trips to New England, D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls follow, then a home game against New York City FC and a visit to Toronto FC.

Depending on Saturday’s result, that list could become a whole lot more foreboding.