When the Colorado Rapids lost starting forward Edson Buddle during prematch stretches the signs were ripe for the Sounders to get a win. The Rapids would be snake-bit throughout the match. The crossbar would defend for the Sounders, loose balls would wind up at the feet of Seattle too often (three during the scoring play) and fortune would go the way of the Rave Green. The highlights show most of the scoring play, but not all of it.
In the 26th minute the scoring play would develop. At 25:55 Obafemi Martins would pick up a loose ball. He was closer to his own goal than the Rapids' net. He would dribble towards the Sounders defense due to pressure and then the passing starts. He found Brad Evans who dropped it out to Yedlin. He would then find a more forward Joseph, but the ball would be knocked loose falling to Evans again. Then Brad pushed it to Alonso, to Evans, to Yedlin. DeAndre would then drive up the pitch with the dribble. His dive from the elbow into the heart of the defense pulled Colorado with him and opened up the pass out to Lamar Neagle. Neagle's cross was low and through several defenders. Steve Zakuani was on the end of the cross with bodies between he and the goal. He laid it off to an onrushing Shalrie Joseph. Shalrie would place a strong shot through the traffic that Clint Irwin could not control, though he did save it. The rebound fell right at Martins' feet. He would take a touch to settle it at his feet. Oba would then finish the sequence with his right foot to the far post at 26:25. Thirty seconds. Seven players. Eleven passes. Two shots. One goal. It will take a majority of Americans longer to read the play than it took Seattle to bring the ball two-thirds of the pitch through traffic.
While the results aren't showing up in the win column the Sounders are one of the teams with one of the highest passes per possession. They also play some of the highest tempo of matches in MLS. Last night's win contains numbers to think that remains true. There were 26 attempts on goal between the two sides and 780 completed passes, which is low for a Seattle match. All of the predictive measures went against the Seattle club. The backward looking stat of Goals For minus Goals Against was in their favor.
The effort was gritty. A late scratch of Eddie Johnson forced Obafemi Martins to start despite a lingering injury. Lamar Neagle earned his second straight start at forward. Steve Zakuani would return to the field where his career was nearly ended. He would be matched against the man whose extraordinarily harsh tackle injured him. When leaving the pitch he would shake Brian Mullan's hand.
Seattle has played prettier and lost. But getting that first win is more important than beautiful soccer. They have two weeks to rest, to heal and to become a more cohesive team.
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SEA - Obafemi Martins 27'
Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kenndy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzaelz, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Shalrie Joseph, Steve Zakuani (Alex Caskey 70), Lamar Neagle (Marc Burch 89), Obafemi Martins (Mauro Rosales 61).
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Evans 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 players, 1); FOULS: 14 (Alonso 3); OFFSIDE: 2 (Evans, Neagle 1); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Neagle, Rosales 2); SAVES: 3 (Gspurning 3).
Colorado Rapids - Clint Irwin, Brian Mullan, Marvell Wynne (Shane O'Neill 55), Dew Moor, Christopher Klute, Atiba Harris, Hendry Thomas, Dillon Powers, Tony Cascio (Jamie Smith 77), Danny Mwanga, Nick LaBrocca (Kamani Hill 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Steward Ceus, Anthony Wallace, Nathan Sturgis, Dillon Serna.
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Harris, Thomas 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 players, 1); FOULS: 12 (Harris 5); OFFSIDE: 1 (Hill 1); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Mullan 3); SAVES: 2 (Irwin 2).
COL - Dillon Powers (caution) 41'
SEA - Djimi Traore (caution) 67'
SEA - Leo Gonzalez (caution) 84'
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Referee's Assistants: Jeff Hosking, Eric Proctor
4th Official: Edvin Jurisevic
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Cloudy and 57-degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
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Quotes from Club Release
Colorado Rapids Head Coach Oscar Pareja
On the match:
Disappointed. Nothing else we can say about a game that I thought we controlled. A few mistakes there in the first half gave them the chance to lead the game, and then it was hard for us to react. We said this before, and I'm thinking like I'm saying this over and over, but they created chances and we couldn't equalize. But it was a good effort for the players, I have to say that. The players tried very hard today, especially in the second half, in a game that was adverse in many senses, and we came out with no points.
On if his team was unlucky:
I do believe in one thing: it's work. I don't believe in anything else. I don't think it's good luck or bad luck, I just think that you've gotta work, and it looks like sometimes the harder you work the more luck you have. That's the only thing I believe in.
On losing Edson Buddle in warm-ups, and other injuries:
It seems like we have to wait. There are a few things that happened today that I haven't seen before in my life. But as a group, I thought the group and the coaches dealt with the situation very well. We jumped over that hurdle and put a team that was competitive there, and stick to a kind of different plan in the last minutes and fought through. I gotta say that it was a few players that came today and did a good job, and stepped up. But we say that we need somebody who can put the ball in the back of the net, and we have said that a lot. We continue with that weakness for sure.
On what it was that he hadn't seen before in his life:
I haven't seen this many missing people with injuries. Seriously, it's unbelievable. I had to check to see if I had seen it before - I have not, not that I remember. And then after the warm-ups, somebody comes up to the coaches and says we lost another player. Then you have to adjust, and things like that. Let's say that it doesn't happen often.
On making last-minute adjustments due to players being out:
It's difficult but I guess that's the job. It comes with the job. I guess sometimes that's probably the small letters that you don't read. And I think I gotta read those too. But we did well, I thought the response from the group and the coaches in those situations were good. Because it was not just Edson [Buddle] today, it was Deshorn [Brown] yesterday and almost [Dillon] Powers, who got 40 stitches in his head yesterday afternoon and we were afraid to lose him for the game too. But you know guys that I don't make excuses. We've gotta push.
Colorado Rapids defender Drew Moor
On the team's performance:
I thought it was a good performance. We possessed the ball well, created chances, obviously we gave up a soft goal but I don't understand how we come out of that game without at least a point. We have to keep our heads up, we did play well. There was a lot of positive play. We can't hang our heads; we were on a nice run going into this game. You know that's one team we need to beat, we need to beat Seattle. I don't know what it is, but we have to take the pieces from this game and don't hang our heads, because it's a quick turnaround.
On facing Houston next week:
Just play like we played today and finish our chances. We have to stay compact in the back, limit their chances, obviously, that's a fortress we are going into. We have to go in with the belief that we can get three points. We don't go on the road with the belief that we are just going to hang in there or get a point. If we do, that's great, but we have to have belief that we are going to go in and get three points; that we can go in and preform extremely well like we did tonight. Score our chances and limit their chances.
On having so many injuries:
Yeah, it's definitely more than I'm used to for sure. But that's another thing, we can't hang our heads because of that. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us, nobody is going to play differently because we have some injured guys. I think we have seen in the last couple weeks, we do have a deep team. We have guys who can step in and perform well. Same thing again today, but that's just noise, that's something that we can't think about. We have to step out on the field and play if you're on the field.
On having to adjust to the changing personnel due to injuries:
As a player you don't really think about that. You are really focused on what you have to do. If everybody goes in there and does their job and does it to the best of their ability and performs well, then everything else will take care of it. Yeah you have to organize other people, you have to talk to other people, sometimes there is a bit of a transition, but that's why we train during the week. All the defenders train together, all the midfielders train together, and we train together as units. And you don't really think about that on the field.
On returning to the starting lineup:
It was nice. I think I have said it was a tough couple weeks for me. Probably one of the lower points of my career but it's always nice to be back and it was the first time I had prepared to start a game in a month. It was kinda fresh, it was kinda nice, just wish we got the result.
Colorado Rapids defender Chris Klute
On the match:
I think maybe the first half we came out slow, maybe a little bit unorganized. Second half was much better though, I think we outplayed them. We had our chances and we just didn't put them away.
On the Sounders' goal:
I think it was just a lucky break. They got an open [shot] and Clint blocked it, and the man happened to be there and just put it away. It was just unfortunate I guess, the right place at the right time.
On attacking down the left side:
When I see open space I like to take it, to help the team go forward. Today it was open a lot, so I definitely tried, we were down 1-0 early on, so I definitely tried to make up for that and give us more chances in the second half.
Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid
On the Sounders' first victory of the season:
We're just happy to get the win. Obviously it's been bugging us for a while. To get a win on the road is always important. I think defensively we've played pretty consistently all season. Today, we gave up maybe a little bit more than we've given up in other games as far as chances, but we finished real well. We had another couple of other really good looks. We've just got to build on this today.
On Martins' first goal:
It was great. He was a real trooper. At first, we didn't expect him to start this game, but then with the situation with Eddie Johnson when he went down on Friday, we said, 'Hey, you think you've got 45 minutes in you?' He said 'yeah' so I said I was going to start him. He gave everything he had for as long as he could, and obviously scored a great goal. He was very influential in the first half, drew a couple of fouls. I think our fans can see what he brings to the table. Now we've got two weeks to make sure he's ready, and hopefully he'll show Philadelphia what he brings to the table.
On if there was any concern with the backflip from Martins:
No, not concerned. Happy to see it. Every time I see the backflip, I know we've scored so I'm not worried.
On what happened to Eddie Johnson on Friday:
He said his hamstring didn't feel right.
On how they kept Colorado from dictating much of the play:
We knew that they try and play balls forward, look for long balls. We knew we had to get up and win duels, win headers, and we did that. We also knew because they push their wide guys forward, that there'd be chances for us to get at them off the counter which we did as well.
On Lamar Neagle stepping up these least three games:
He's been great. Obviously he came off the bench and scored a goal for us down in Santos and that really put us in the mix for that game. Today, once he gets his full game fitness maybe those balls he got in the second half, he can turn those into goals as well. I thought his running was pretty good as the game wore on. He did a much better job of pulling the ball up for us as well. Lamar has done well for us the last few games.
On his emotions after the final whistle:
Happiness. Relief. A little bit of both. Now we can move on. We've got that off our backs and we know that the west is pretty tight. People keep beating each other so if we can win the games that we have in hand we can be back in the mix for a playoff spot.
On keeping momentum before the next game in two weeks:
We have a reserve game on Tuesday so a lot of guys that didn't play tonight, they'll get a chance to get a run out. We'll do something on Friday as well and then give them the weekend off. It gives us a chance to train and work on some things which is good for us right now.
Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans
On being winless before this game:
We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit, took some pressure, but I think we absorbed it well and now we got our first two points of the year.
On the momentum slowing for them in the second half:
I think in the back of everybody's mind is we really want to get this, and let's not blow it sort of thing. We played a little too cautious, not as free flowing as in the first half. Maybe a little bit too defensive for a little too long. We didn't want to make that one mistake that ends up in a tie or something like that.
On getting the result:
The most important thing is we can figure out how to win different ways. I thought in the first half we played well. We played some good soccer and connected well. I thought the goal came from a really good buildup. There's things we can build on the positive side, but there's also things we can look at in the last 20-25 minutes, getting our legs, having some composure and controlling the game a little bit more. We have some work to do. We can win pretty or we can win ugly. The most important thing is to get the points and try to make a run.
Seattle Sounders FC forward Lamar Neagle
On getting the first win:
It's a relief. Now everybody can kind of take a deep breath and we can get back into it. It's good to see us get a shutout and good to see us have a great celebration too.
On playing up top with Martins:
Obviously he's a different player than some of our other forwards. I was trying to get it to his feet as much as possible, and let him create and let him do what he does. The more he sees the ball, the more successful we're going to be. I was just trying to win headers and stretch the defense so he could get space.
On getting some offensive output:
I think we were able to stretch them. Through that, our midfield could move up and those guys can create for us as long as me and the other forwards are moving.
On whether he's getting comfortable in his forward role:
I think my movement off the ball is getting better. My runs are getting better. Martins found me on the one where I hit the crossbar in the first half. I thought that was good movement and a good ball by him.
On having a two week break before the next league match:
It's kind of disappointing. We finally get the first win. It is a little disappointing, but I'm sure we'll be able to work it out.