Sounders FC 3 : 1 Colorado Rapids
Sounders emerged victorious from a combative and entertaining match which only came alight in the second half. Goalless half time, with Colorado the better side; Sounders came out a far livelier side after Sigi Schmid’s half time team talk. He decided at half time to keep his forwards high to create space behind them for Fernandez and Zakuani to exploit.
O’Brian White came on and created two goals with his assists to give Sigi Schmid a nice selection headache for next Tuesday.
Both sides looked very strong with Sounders fielding a full line up, the same one that started against Portland. Colorado fielded a very strong line up akin to their MLS final winning side. Tyrone Marshall and Sanna Nyassi are on their bench.
Early on, Steve Zakuani and Blaise Nkufo interchanged positions. James Riley blocked Conor Casey in the 9th minute after Jeff Parke failed to intercept a Brian Mullan through ball. Keller was alert to retreat back and catch a Casey lob, after Mastroeni had launched a free kick.
Rapids posed all the early threats. Parke hauled down Cummings in the 20th to set up a dangerous free kick. Larentowicz’s drive from a Jamie Smith lay off forced Keller down low where he made a clean save.
Keller pouched another Mastroeni drive in the 32nd minute. Two minutes later, he punched a Wallace cross out. He saved once more from Cummings low down four minutes later as the Rapids threatened to run wild. Matt Pickens was finally made to work in the 40th minute.
Montero had dispossessed Larentowicz possibly unfairly to supply Nkufo. Pickens ran out and foiled him down low. It was the last significant action of a poor first half in which the Rapids had been the better side.
Colorado changed goalkeeper at half time, and six minutes in, Evans limped off with a right hamstring injury for Erik Friberg, a change that may have happened later in the game anyway. Mullan and Kosuke Kimura interlinked well in the 55th and only a good Hurtado block prevented a cross into a more dangerous area. Gonzalez was yellowed for a high forearm on Smith.
Hurtado opened the scoring for Seattle after cleverly losing his marker to connect with a Montero free kick. Casey missed the defensive header and Hurtado was smart and agile enough to shake off his marker Omar Cummings to leave Steward Ceus no chance.
Seconds later the roles were reversed when Hurtado barged over Cummings in the penalty area. Larentowicz buried the penalty for the equaliser. Gary Smith swapped Joseph Nane and Andre Akpan in for Mastroeni and Casey immediately after the goal. O’Brian White replaced the moribund Nkufo in the 65th minute.
Montero regained Seattle’s lead a minute later. Friberg picked up a loose defensive header and deftly found the Colombian who finished coolly from seven yards. White was credited with a second assist though, seeming to indicate he had headed the ball down to Friberg. Rapids then made a raft of changes including former Sounder Tyrone Marshall who replaced Marvell Wynne. Sanna Nyassi also came on among a total of five changes. Pat Noonan replaced Alvaro Fernandez in the 75th.
Montero added the best goal of the night in the 78th minute. O’Brian White superbly prodded a side footed ball to the Colombian who finished superbly. It was White’s second assist in just 12 minutes on the pitch.
That was the end of the meaningful action.
Sounders will be relieved to end a losing streak but Gary Smith post match wasn’t too overtly concerned either.
Tomorrow Tyrone Marshall on coming home – exclusive interview and the photo gallery.
Seattle Sounders FC – Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Patrick Ianni 85), Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez, Alvaro Fernandez (Pat Noonan 76), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Erik Friberg 52), Steve Zakuani (Michael Tetteh 81), Fredy Montero (Lamar Neagle 81), Blaise Nkufo (O’Brian White 65)
Substitutes Not Used: Servando Carrasco, David Estrada, Taylor Graham, Roger Levesque, Miguel Montano, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl, Terry Boss, Josh Ford
Colorado Rapids – Matt Pickens (Steward Ceus 46), Kosuke Kimura, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Anthony Wallace, Pablo Mastroeni (Joseph Nane 61), Jeff Larentowicz (Ross LaBauex 68), Jamie Smith (Quincy Amarikwa 71), Brian Mullan (Sanna Nyassi 71), Omar Cummings (Wells Thompson 71), Conor Casey (Andre Akpan 61)
Substitutes Not Used: