Marco Pappa picked a fine time -- and a fine way -- to get his first goal of the season. Pappa's 16th minute beauty stood up as the only goal of the match as the Seattle Sounders beat the Colorado Rapids 1-0 on Wednesday to vault, at least temporarily, into the Supporters' Shield lead.
There was never little doubt as to what the Rapids intended to do: defend, defend, defend and look for the counter. If the Sounders hadn't jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute, it could have gone very different. As it was, Pappa's beautiful, curling, right-footed shot forced the game to open up at least a little bit.
Of course, it didn't do much to change the first half when the Rapids went down early and then held on for dear life as the Sounders completed an almost unbelievable 90 percent of their 426 passes. That was more attempts and more completions than any MLS team during the five years Opta has tracked those stats.
But for all their statistical domination, they weren't able to really test Clint Irwin who only had to make one first-half save.
That almost came back to bite the Sounders. Pablo Mastroeni brought in Juan Ramirez at halftime and immediately changed the game. With Ramirez making dangerous runs at the Sounders defense, the Rapids created several dangerous opportunities and generated five or six free kicks from dangerous areas.
The Sounders weathered that storm, though, and were probably a bit unlucky not get one or two more in the final 20 minutes. Obafemi Martins, who returned after a two-game absence, was a touch or two away from getting in on goal and nearly connected with Clint Dempsey on a couple more occasions.
In the end it was a relatively straight-forward shutout, the Sounders' seventh in 12 games.
- It was great to see Pappa get his first goal, if only because it was probably starting to weigh on him a little. Pappa has quietly been having a strong season, and his career-high five assists are a testament to that. But he's always been a goal scorer and after he got this one, you could see the confidence building. He nearly got a second and generally looked as strong on the ball as we've seen all year.
- Chad Marshall was on the bench, presumably to give him some rest during a busy week. But again we saw how far Brad Evans has come, cleaning up messes Zach Scott left for him on a couple occasions. Scott made a couple mistakes, but was mostly his reliable, predictable self. That's enough sometimes. Sounders are 2-0-1 in Scott's starts.
- For whatever reason, the Sounders have the Rapids number. This is the 13th time in 17 all-time regular-season meetings that the Sounders have beaten the Rapids and the last time they lost was that debacle in Colorado from 2013.