Against the Seattle Sounders in a stadium that they had never won in, it was all we could ask of the Colorado Rapids to at least look better than they did against Real Salt Lake. In that regard, they succeeded. Sadly, it wasn't to the tune of a win as the Sounders snagged a hard fought 1-0 victory at CenturyLink Field.
Oscar Pareja was clearly frustrated by his tactics backfiring in Salt Lake so the Rapids came out with a very different game plan against Seattle. Where they had bunkered against Salt Lake they were going forward early and often against Seattle. Where they had been countering heavily against Salt Lake they were possessing the ball as much as they possibly could against Seattle. It was a very nice display that led to 60/40 possession win at halftime for Colorado.
Chances remained few and far between in the first half, with the more interesting ones going to Seattle. Fortunately for the Rapids, most of their chances went wide other than a big chance that Matt Pickens saved well early on. Meanwhile the offensive story was the same for the Rapids as it has been a few times this season, great possessing right up until the final third when most of the chances broke down right near the box. The only real exception was a great chance by Omar Cummings that Brian Mullan stuck into the net, but from an offside position.
In the end, both teams only had one shot on goal when the halftime whistle blew. The score was 0-0 and a well deserved 0-0 with both teams playing good, flowing football with turnovers a-plenty.
The second half started with quality for Colorado as well, keeping the possession and putting some more chances toward the net than they had in the first. As Marcelo Balboa said during the Altitude broadcast though, and I'm paraphrasing here, 'In a game with two evenly matched teams in a high pressure environment, it only takes one mistake.'
That mistake came on a set piece in the 63rd minute. The Rapids had been giving Seattle a worrying number of corners during the game and on a second attempt at a corner, Zach Scott raced unmarked past Tony Cascio and Jeff Larentowicz to sneak a header into the corner. Pickens had a chance at it but was diving the wrong way to get any contact and the game was 1-0.
The Rapids kept their solid game up even after the goal but they also kept their offensive inability near the goal up and the 1-0 scoreline held. The game ended with only that single shot on goal by the Rapids from the first half as their only one. There was also quite a bit of chippyness in the game after the goal, including a hilariously crowd pandering move by Baldomero Toledo to give Mullan a yellow card after a blatant dive by Osvaldo Alonso.
It was possibly the best game that Colorado had ever played at CenturyLink Field, but a typical result nonetheless. Moral victories ain't enough at this point, Oscar Pareja needs to figure out what is wrong with this offense.
At least there was no controversy of any sort this time around.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Nobody was particularly great in that game - though everyone was approaching good - so I'll go with Brian Mullan, simply for playing a decent game despite having a target on his back. Was also a Baldomero Toledo miscall away from scoring. (And make no mistake, Toledo and his linesman let quite a few plays more offside than that one was go on so he could have easily called that play onside had he been on one of his RSL kicks!)
GOAT OF THE MATCH: Tony Cascio. Bad showing from the rookie, who had several golden opportunities but was left wanting on them all including a wide open shot near the end that smashed the post.