Rapids fall to Sounders on 4th of July

Written by Paul Fritz

Picture(Photo Credit: SaJorden Miller / The SkyBoat)

Denver, CO- The Colorado Rapids hosted the Seattle Sounders for this July 4th, Tuesday night match that officially kicks off the second half of the MLS Season. Since neither team finds themselves at the bottom half of the Western Conference standings, both teams were desperate to steal a win and push their momentum in the right direction. The Sounders were the team that created more chances and won by a score of three goals to the Rapids’ one.

The Sounders grabbed an early lead in the 6th minute after forward, Clint Dempsey found space in the box and slotted a left-footed shot past a diving Rapids’ goalkeeper Tim Howard. The Rapids, looking to respond quickly, were provided a unique opportunity as two Sounders’ starters were substituted due to injury. Sounders’ midfielder, Osvaldo Alonso, was carted off the field in the 17th minute after being on the receiving end of a strong slide tackle. Soon thereafter, Sounders’ defender, Chad Marshall, injured his ankle in the 21st minute but could limp off the field, unassisted. Despite the injuries, the Sounders’ defense remained formidable and kept the Rapids from creating space and potential chances. The Sounders capitalized on their lead in the 30th minute with a cross and grounded finish by forward Will Bruin. Although the Rapids had no trouble maintaining possession and completing passes, they did not create enough chances in the final third that were necessary to cut the deficit. The first half ended with a score of 2-0, Sounder’s leading.

Two early yellow cards in the second half for the Rapids would signify that they were more aggressive to regain possession. However, with corners finding only defender’s heads and crosses that did not connect with the attackers, the Rapids lacked the composure needed to finish against the Sounder’s disciplined defense. It wasn’t until Rapid forward Alan Gordon was subbed on to bolster the Rapid’s attack force that legitimate chances were created. Two back to back opportunities from crosses demonstrated that the Rapids were eager and ready to come back. The first chance came in the 75th minute on a cross that bounced through multiple defenders and found its way to the newly subbed forward, Gordon. He was unable to finish the chance, however, missing the net wide to the right. Immediately after but still on the same possession, another cross was met with two headers towards the net; the first hitting the bar, and the next hitting the hands of Sounders goalkeeper, Tyler Miller. The score remained 2-0 until the 78th minute when the Rapids scored on a cross from midfielder, Marlon Hairston, that found forward, Dominique Badji, who finished it off. The prospect of equalizing the match, while present, faded quickly after a breakaway goal by Dempsey in the 85th minute. The game ended with a final score of 3-1 in the Sounders’ favor.

After the game, Rapid’s head coach, Pablo Mastroeni, expressed that the team was well-prepared for this match even with the consideration that they’ve played 8 matches in 22 days. However, he also said that “we got behind a team that has a lot of firepower, and when you’re chasing the game against this kind of team, it makes it very difficult. Still, though, I couldn’t be more proud of the effort and the commitment to one another that they showed tonight.”

Mastroeni went on to address that his team will not make excuses for having a busy schedule and they are looking forward to their upcoming matches with confidence.

The Rapids will prepare for their next match against Toronto FC, which takes place on Saturday, July 22nd at BMO Field in Toronto, Canada. The Sounders will head back home on July 19th to take on DC United at Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington.

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