Heading into the game on Saturday night, the Seattle Sounders and Colorado Rapids were missing a total of 14 players due to international call-ups, and 10 of them were from the Sounders. As a result, both teams played weakened sides from their normal starting XI, but the Sounders were particularly depleted. In fact, they only brought 16 players on the trip to Colorado, including two short-term signings from their USL side.
As you would hope, the Rapids managed to see their way past the Sounders with a 2-0 victory.
Rapids open the scoring (42’)
This goal just makes you wanna watch it over and over again. It starts with Sam Nicholson beating his man by just enough to get the cross off. His speed in this situation makes it difficult for any defender to try and stop him from making a simple touch like this to open space for him to serve a ball in.
At first, the ball seems a little disappointing because it appears to be going long. As it continues to hang there, however, you can see a wide-open Jonathan Lewis heading to meet it when it comes down.
What Lewis does when the ball gets to him is spectacular. You are always taught to try and get this ball back into the middle if you are Lewis, but he takes it to the next level. He knows exactly where Andre Shinyashiki is and has the ability to tap the ball to him on his first touch. That’s not an easy ball to hit folks.
From here, it is all Shinyashiki. After missing a few chances earlier in the game, he makes no mistake as he roofs Stefan Frei at the near post. The shot comes so quick and rises so fast that no goalie is going to save that. Was he planning on putting it off the crossbar? He will tell you yes now that it has gone it, but I imagine he was just trying to blast it near post and see what happens. Either way, it ended up in the back of the net.
Rapids seal the win (70’)
This goal is just too easy. It all starts with Harry Shipp giving the ball away in a terrible area. He gets caught dribbling a little too much and Shinyashiki steals the ball away. From here, Nicolas Mezquida takes the ball and starts a 3v2 breakaway. The Rapids run the 3v2 clinically and it ends with Keegan Rosenberry playing a simple ball for the Shinyashiki tap-in. Simple as that.
It should have been worse
Throughout the whole game, the Rapids were given chance after chance to rack up the goals. Due to a combination of great saves by Frei and some blown chances, the Rapids only finished with two goals.
I would like to see the Rapids take advantage of their opportunities and bury a team. The Sounders were able to hang around until the 70th minute, but this game should have been over by half-time. Sadly, some of this falls on Shinyashiki, Lewis, and Nicholson. Yes, Shinyashiki deserves Player of the Week and Rookie of the Year, but everyone can get better, right?
The press was lethal
One thing the Rapids did fantastically on Saturday was use their front to press the Seattle defense and midfield. Time after time, they were able to steal the ball up the field and start a fast break the other way. Like I said before, I wish more of those would have ended up in the back of the net, but it was a great play to create those opportunities. Props to Fraser for setting his team up to press like that against a weak Sounders side at altitude.
They got the job done
As I sat down to the watch the game with one of my friends (who happens to be a Sounders fan), he mentioned how much the Sounders were in trouble considering their starting lineup. That is when I reminded him that the Rapids have lost to USL opponents in two consecutive Open Cups, so even a half-USL Sounders side was a threat.
That being said, it was refreshing to see the Rapids get the job done. Yes, I would have been very disappointed had they lost and the result was what everyone expects from this team in that situation, but we could say the same about Nashville and New Mexico.
Have any other thoughts on the game? Let us know in the comments section!