Maybe the crowd size gets to the Colorado Rapids. Maybe the CenturyLink artificial turf. Maybe Sigi Schmid's scarf.
Whatever it is, the the Colorado Rapids can't solve the Seattle Sounders puzzle. They are now 0-for-5 in the Emerald City and have only one win in eight matches against Seattle.
For the first 20 minutes on Saturday the Rapids played on their heels and weathered repeated Sounder attacks. Gradually, the Rapids gained the possession advantage, but lacked any imagination or effectiveness in the final third.
The halftime stats telegraphed where this game was headed -- seven Seattle shots to Colorado's one (zero on goal).
Meanwhile, the Rapids gave up bushels of corner kicks and turnovers in the midfield. Considering how sloppily and heartlessly the Rapids played most of this game, it's as if they conceded before stepping on the field. Meanwhile, the Sounders distanced themselves from slumping Colorado in the Western Conference.
It made for a splendid night for the 39,000 in the stands, who saw the end of a nine-game winless streak and the triumphant return of Steve Zakuani against the very guy (Brian Mullan) who broke his leg back in April 2011.
All in all, another patsy visit to the Pacific Northwest for the boys in burgundy.
0 - Awful, horrible, why is he even on the field!?
1-3 - Poor. Why is he starting?
4-6 - Decent. Played a reasonable game, but could have done much more.
7-9 - Great game! Did nearly everything right with few mistakes
10 - Perfect game.
Matt Pickens — 6
Can't pin any of this on our 'keeper. He made a couple brilliant saves as usual and couldn't be blamed for the goals, which were caused by poor marking in the box.
Hunter Freeman — 4
Some decent headers to clear, a nice cross or two into the box from the right, but also a couple giveaways and atrocious marking (along with Luis Zapata) on Alvaro Fernandez that led to Seattle's first goal. Kudos on a slide tackle to keep Fernandez from getting the brace in the 81st minute.
Drew Moor — 5
Acquitted himself well on Eddie Johnson's repeated through-the-gut runs, but didn't jump to defend the Sounders' leading scorer on Seattle's second goal.
Marvell Wynne — 4
Inexplicable pass into the box early in the game was intercepted and nearly (if not for a Pickens intervention) converted into a goal. Moving very gradually back into form.
Luis Zapata — 4.5
Lost track of Alvaro Fernandez on Seattle's first goal and failed to combine with left flank midfielder Jamie Smith. Redeemed himself a bit with a pinpoint cross to Omar Cummings' boot for Colorado's lone score.
Jamie Smith — 3
For most of the game Smith was invisible. A scarcity of imagination in combining with Zapata at the back and even less with Conor Casey up front.
Jeff Larentowicz — 6
His usual solid self in midfield defense. Took it upon himself to generate some second-half offense with a nice 25-yard cracker (Seattle save) followed by an apparent equalizer that was negated by an offside call.
Martin Rivero — 4
Not one of our 10's better games. He should have done better to stem the bleeding in the midfield — which was coughing up the ball much of the night — and his finishing was lackluster. His shot in the 79th minute was point-blank at the 'keeper and his wide-open shot at the top of the box in the waning moments was a skyward whiff for the ages.
Jaime Castrillon — 3.5
Very average outing. No real sparks, no real creativity. If he's our leading scorer, why isn't he at least taking a shot on net?
Brian Mullan — 4
Played with his usual energy. Had a few decent crosses and at least showed ambition to combine with Casey up front.
Conor Casey — 5
Caused a few disruptions that Seattle's defense had to worry about, but didn't get much decent service. He's been back a few games now, but connections with the midfield is still sorely lacking.
Omar Cummings (67) on for Smith — 6
Made a nice run to the far post to finish the Zapata cross, thus keeping the Rapids from being clean-sheeted.
Edu (67) on for Casey — 3
Very little substance — again. Without a tally soon, Edu could prove as big a bust as the Rapids have seen in some time.
Tony Cascio (84) on for Castrillon — N/A