COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – It took six games and a little help from the woodwork, but the Seattle Sounders are finally in the win column.
The Sounders used Obafemi Martins’ first MLS goal to claim a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, snapping the Rapids’ two-game win streak and allowed Seattle to pick up their seventh straight win against Colorado in MLS play.
The Rapids controlled the majority of the possession and created most of the game’s chances, including several close second-half opportunities. But Martins’ composed strike proved to be the difference as injury-hit Colorado struggled to finish in the final third of the field.
Sounders midfielder Steve Zakuani, playing in his first match since suffering a devastating broken leg at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in April 2011, recorded the game’s first meaningful chance in the 15th minute when his shot outside the penalty box flew high over Clint Irwin’s crossbar.
But the Sounders broke through just a few minutes later. Shalrie Joseph’s blast from just outside the penalty box required a diving save from Irwin, and Martins gobbled up the rebound and finished easily from short range for his first MLS goal. It was only Seattle’s third league goal of the young season.
Lamar Neagle nearly doubled the visitors' lead two minutes later, but his dipping blast bounced off the crossbar and away from danger.
Just before the half, Atiba Harris and Brad Evans traded headers that nearly went in, but the Sounders remained ahead 1-0 at the break.
On the other side of the half, Colorado came out actively looking for the equalizer, and they almost got it 10 minutes in. Rookie midfielder Dillon Powers niftily spun around his defender and his 56th minute shot barely missed Michael Gspurning’s post.
Three minutes later the Rapids were back at it again, with a deflected Harris header clanging off the crossbar before Gspurning made a diving save on Danny Mwanga’s rebound header.
Against the run of play, however, Neagle again nearly scored for the Rave Green, with Irwin making a highlight-reel save to deny the Tacoma native.
Second-half substitute Kamani Hill’s 85th minute volley required a point-blank reflex save from Gspurning, and the Austrian came up with another big stop on Drew Moor’s second-half injury time header, helping the visitors Seattle hang on and collect all three points.
The Rapids next hit the road for a road matchup at BBVA Compass Stadium against the Dynamo next Sunday (5 p.m. ET, UniMas), while the Sounders have a week off before heading to Philadelphia to take on the Union May 4 (4 p.m. ET, MLS Live).
SEA – Obafemi Martins (unassisted) 27’
COL – Dillon Powers (caution) 41
SEA – Djimi Traore (caution) 67
SEA – Leonardo Gonzalez (caution) 84
Colorado Rapids lineup: Clint Irwin, Brian Mullan, Marvell Wynne (Shane O’Neill 55), Drew Moor, Chris Klute, Hendry Thomas, Dillon Powers, Nick LaBrocca (Kamani Hill 46), Tony Cascio (Jamie Smith 77), Atiba Harris, Danny Mwanga
Substitutes not used: Steward Ceus, Anthony Wallace, Nathan Sturgis, Dillon Serna
Seattle Sounders FC lineup: Michael Gspurning, Leonardo Gonzalez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, DeAndre Yedlin, Shalrie Joseph, Steve Zakuani (Alex Caskey 70), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle (Marc Burch 89), Obafemi Martins (Mauro Rosales 61)
Substitutes not used: Marcus Hahnemann, Zach Scott, Samuel Ochoa, Mario Martínez
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Obafemi Martins (SEA)||The Nigerian veteran was quiet for long stretches, but sniffed out the game-winner for his maiden MLS goal.|
|2||Brian Mullan (COL)||Provided inspiration for his young teammates and at least one of his excellent crosses should've been put away.|
|3||Osvaldo Alonso (SEA)||Won so many battles, you'd never have known he was -- technically -- outnumbered in midfield.|