COMMERCE CITY, Colo.- The usual suspects were at the heart of the Seattle Sounders’ 4-1 win at the Colorado Rapids on Sunday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, a win that had massive implications for both sides.
Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins played a direct role in all four Seattle goals - three of which came in an active first half - polishing off a resounding win and leveling them with the LA Galaxy in the race for the Supporters' Shield. Victory also leaves them out front in the chase to be the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs with just three games left of the regular season.
On the other side of the table, the loss extended the Rapids' winless streak to a franchise record 11 games and eliminated them from postseason contention for the second time in three seasons. After having victory snatched from them in the closing seconds of last Saturday’s 1-1 draw against San Jose, they looked horrific defensively once again on Sunday, allowing four more goals despite the anticipated debut of former EPL defender Zat Knight.
Martins’ brace gave the Nigerian his 16th and 17th goals of the season, putting him ahead of Gyasi Zardes for fourth in MLS scoring, and four more Seattle goals pushed them into second on MLS’ scoring charts with 61 strikes on the season, second only to the Galaxy.
Coming in with a two-game road losing streak in tow, Seattle pushed hard for the quick opener, and they were rewarded for their efforts. In the 11th minute, the Sounders struck first with a little help from Rapids center back Marvell Wynne. Wynne handled a ball in the box, and Dempsey finished cheekily from the spot, chipping the spot kick down the middle for the 1-0 lead. The goal was Dempsey’s 14th of the season.
Seattle, however, was far from done in the first half, and this time it was Martins’ turn to get involved. The Nigerian took advantage of two terrific passes down the heart of the field, the first from Osvaldo Alonso and the second from Marco Pappa, and Martins calmly finished for the first of his goals on the afternoon.
But the best goal of the half was reserved for the 33rd minute. Pappa and Dempsey linked up for a beauty of a strike, with the American’s delightful back heel setting up a classy chip from Pappa from eight-yards out. The goal was the Guatemalan’s fourth of the season.
The Rapids pulled one back on Deshorn Brown’s drive through a sea of legs just short of the interval, marking the Jamaican’s 10th goal of the season and bringing Colorado back within two at the break.
But, the second half featured more strong Seattle attacking despite a two-goal advantage. The visitors controlled the chances and shots, and Martins got his second of the afternoon in the 70th minute on a terrific feed from Lamar Neagle.
The Rapids hit the road for a tilt at Chivas USA on October 11, which can be seen on Altitude 2 (kick-off 8.30 p.m MT).
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Obafemi Martins||Ho hum. Two more goals, and even more reason to think he's an MVP finalist. Any arguments?|
|2||Marco Pappa||Wonderful goal in the first half and nearly had a gorgeous assist to Dempsey in the second half. Fun stuff.|
|3||Clint Dempsey||Has now scored or assisted in eight straight matches. Five goals and four assists in that stretch.|