Match Report: Colorado Rapids 3-1 Seattle Sounders
Keegan Rosenberry’s first goal of the year was worth waiting for on a night when the Colorado Rapids edged to the brink of the postseason with a dominant 3-1 home win over defending MLS Cup champions, Seattle Sounders, writes Richard Fleming.
Rosenberry’s first-time volley just before the interval proved to be the game-winner, with other goals from Andre Shinyashiki and Cole Bassett. Jordan Morris canceled out Shinyashiki’s fourth goal of the year, but the Rapids were not to be denied in their final home game of the regular season.
Robin Fraser, the Rapids’ head coach, said: “The guys knew this was not only a big game for us going forward, but a big test for us against a really, really good team. The mentality was good at the start and certainly grew as the game went on.
“You could see our confidence growing as the game went on. I think with that sort of confidence you feel like it emboldens you to be brave.”
The win lifted them to seventh in the Western Conference, with the top eight qualifying for the playoffs. There are now just four teams vying for the remaining two playoff places, though one point from their final two games should be enough for the Rapids.
That next game is against Portland Timbers who climbed to the top of the standings with a 1-0 home win over Vancouver Whitecaps in a game also played on Sunday night.
Seattle entered the weekend as the best in the West, but they were made to look anything but by a Rapids side determined to erase the memories of the previous two games, both losses.
A ninth of the season for Morris aside, Raul Ruidiaz being superbly denied by William Yarbrough in the Rapids goal on the stroke of halftime was about the only other real scare for the home team.
The second half saw Bassett head home another inch-perfect set piece from Jack Price for his team-tying fifth of the season, while Stefan Frei denied Nicolas Benezet, Younes Namli, and Nicolas Mezquida. The Benezet effort, from distance, was pushed over. He did what he could to block a Namli drive, and then somehow got his big paw up to block Mezquida from close in.
Shinyashiki’s opener came 11 minutes in and followed good interchange work down the left-hand side involving Benezet and Sam Vines. Vines it was who delivered the cross for Shinyashiki to rise above former Rapids defender Shane O’Neill and beat Frei at his far post.
Poor positioning allowed the Sounders back into the match on 22 minutes. Roldan was gifted space down the right and his ball across the six-yard box was hooked in by Morris.
Two key moments came just before the halftime whistle. First, Rosenberry smashed in a stunning volley from the edge of the box for a 2-1 lead, while Yarbrough instinctively reacted to thwart Ruidiaz at the other end.
Resuming after the break, Seattle’s first half exertions appeared to take their toll. They were on the back foot for much of it and had Frei to thank for keeping them in touching distance, until Bassett pounced 15 minutes from time.
The Rapids head to Portland is this Wednesday. Coverage on Altitude and AltitudeNOW starts at 7.30pm.
Colorado Rapids: William Yarbrough; Keegan Rosenberry, Lalas Abubakar, Auston Trusty, Sam Vines; Cole Bassett (Braian Galvan 90’+1), Jack Price, Younes Namli (Nicolas Mezquida 72’); Andre Shinyashiki, Diego Rubio (Jonathan Lewis 90’+1), Nicolas Benezet (Drew Moor 80’).
Subs not used: Clint Irwin, Kellyn Acosta, Jeremy Kelly, Danny Wilson, Steven Beitashour.
Seattle Sounders: Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam (Alex Roldan 76’), Yeimar Gomez, Shane O’Neill, Nouhou (Will Bruin 78’); Gustav Svensson (Brad Smith 64’), Joao Paulo (Jordy Delem 78’); Cristian Roldan, Nicolas Lodeiro, Jordan Morris; Raul Ruidiaz.
Subs not used: Stefan Cleveland, Xavier Arreaga.