The teams scored a goal each in a bracing first few minutes of the match. The first came off another Eddie Johnson header — a skill Seattle's been trying to acquire for years without much luck until now. And the answer came shortly after when a Brian Mullan cross on the ground was allowed to roll all the way through the box to be knocked into the goal by Drew Moor at the far post. But that early excitement turned out to be fools gold as the game settled into a lumbering, physical affair in difficult conditions.
Colorado was perversely content to completely concede possession in the first third of the game, relying on counterattacks and long shots to generate offense. The book is that defending takes more energy than attacking, but Colorado found a way to defend without working much, as they only contested the ball in their own third and it seemed like Seattle was the team tiring themselves out in possession. Despite their control, Seattle's only dangerous attack in the rest of the half came when Johnson skinned ex-Sounder Tyrone Marshall to get a grasscutter shot off that Matt Pickens may have gotten a fingertip on before it cannoned off the far post. Other than that, the Rapids effectively closed down any chances as they were being created.
The early second half was much more even as it looked like Seattle was getting tired legs. The fullbacks were punished repeatedly and Colorado had the better chances early. It took some strong work from Michael Gspurning and some unimpressive headers from Conor Casey to keep the game tied. And then against the run of play Alex Caskey knocked a ball to a wide open Eddie Johnson, who crossed to a wide open Osvaldo Alonso, who volleyed it into the net for a 2-1 lead.
From that point it was all Colorado as Seattle just tried to hold on and barely succeeded. It took a number of desperate dives to block shots and lunging tackles to keep the Rapids off of a good look at goal. You felt that if the game had gone 10 minutes longer, an equalizer was inevitable. But the soccer gods in their infinite wisdom decreed that a game is 90 minutes plus some random amount of time an official pulls out of his behind, and so Seattle held.
Other than the win, Gspurning being back was a positive. You can make a strong case that if one of his replacements was in, this game ends 2-2. And Johnson can't stop scoring (and assisting), which will keep opposing teams nervous even when Fredy Montero isn't finding his scoring touch.
The win keeps Seattle alive for a run at 2nd in the West, and the loss drop Colorado's playoff hopes to razor thin, especially given the earlier Galaxy result. Couldn't happen to a nicer team.