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Sounders vs Rapids, recap: Kings of the mountain

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Sounders win 3-0 over the Rapids to retake 1st in the West.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders stayed on top of the Western Conference after a 3-0 win over the visiting Colorado Rapids. It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but an impressive first half left Seattle with a three-goal lead heading into the second half.

The opening 45 had been open, with both sides getting into each other’s ends, but while Colorado’s finishing boots were left at home the Sounders had no such issues. The first goal somewhat set the tone, as pressure from Jimmy Medranda on Colorado’s end line produced a turnover. Will Bruin slid the ball through the box for Cristian Roldan’s shot, and while Clint Irwin got his hands to it he couldn’t keep the ball out. Another banger from Medranda and a masterful solo piece by João Paulo wrapped up the scoring before the halftime whistle blew.

The second half was no less eventful, but there wasn’t the same kind of joy. A bit of technical beauty on a goal by Medranda was disallowed by VAR in the opening minutes of the second half due to a pretty soft foul on Fredy Montero. Then just over the hour mark Colorado’s Lucas Esteves was shown a red for a pretty ugly series of plays and the Rapids played the final half-hour with 10 men.

While that should have given Seattle space to continue to punish the struggling visitors, the game instead turned chippy and messy. The Sounders had chances to add to their lead, but ultimately those looks went wasted. Three goals and three points will have to be enough to settle for. Seattle now have almost a week before their next game when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, Oct. 9.

Key moments

2’ — Goal Sounders! Cristian Roldan finishes the play off when his shot is too much for the ‘keeper to handle after Jimmy Medranda forced a turnover on the endline. 1-0

22’ — Jimmy Medranda! Excellent plays from Will Bruin and Cristian Roldan allow João Paulo’s touch in the box to set up perfectly for an on-rushing Medranda to smash home! 2-0

27’ — Arreaga finds himself in the right spot again, this time to clear the ball off the line when Stefan Frei got caught out.

45’ +1 — João Paulo is the proud new owner of the Colorado Rapids. JP dribbled the entire defense, starting in his own half, before calmly slotting it through the ‘keeper’s legs! 3-0

48’ — Jimmy Medranda seemed to have added another one, but a review of the play sees the goal disallowed for a soft foul by Fredy Montero.

61’ — Lucas Esteves sees a straight red for a challenge on JP. A scuffle ensues, but no further cards are shown.

66’ — Frei gets a foot in ahead of an onrushing attacker to avoid embarrassment after a poor Arreaga back pass.

88’ — A point blank save from a header by Frei maintains the shutout late in the game.

Quick thoughts

Goals from the gallery: Cristian Roldan has now scored in three consecutive MLS games, and four straight games in all competitions. He also added a pair of assists tonight to help lift the load with Raúl Ruidíaz out of the lineup. João Paulo added a goal and an assist, and Will Bruin tossed in an assist as well. Whether Ruidíaz is on the field or not, the Sounders will need goals from the rest of the squad if they want to add to the trophy case this season. They’ve been getting those contributions of late, with much of the increased production being fueled by JP and Cristian Roldan. If they can keep that up, and Ruidíaz can return and hit his stride again, this will be a very difficult team to stop when the playoffs start.

Speaking of João Paulo: JP was a monster tonight. He is a tone-setter and an emotional leader, but he also puts in ridiculous work. He and Will Bruin tied with the most duels for the Sounders, but JP’s 61.5% success rate was a team-best. João Paulo’s goal almost perfectly encapsulates his presence on the field and what has made him such a pivotal part of the team. The big picture on that play is the nearly 70-yard run that lead to the goal, but JP also rides several challenges that would have brought down a lesser being, he nutmegs a defender and slots his shot under the GK, and never slows down from a full sprint. He is something more than a man, he’s our MVP.

Hope you’re well: Recent injury talk around the team has been pretty positive: although Nico Lodeiro is out after having to get a second knee operation, he’s expected to be back for the playoffs along with Jordan Morris. Then Nico Benezet was out, and Ruidíaz joined him after tabbing to sub out at halftime against San Jose. Tonight Xavier Arreaga left the game following an apparent injury, and Nouhou seemed to pick up a knock of some sort after all of the subs had been used. The team is pretty deep, but if any of those injuries are more than just minor it could press Schmetzer’s roster to its limits down the final stretch of the season.

Did you see that?!?

Sorry Stan Kroenke, João Paulo owns the Rapids now.

He said what?!?

One stat to tell the tale

3 — 3 points in each of 3 games in 8 days. 3rd time the Sounders have managed that feat or better this season.


Poll

Man of the match

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Cristian Roldan
    (54 votes)
  • 1%
    Will Bruin
    (16 votes)
  • 88%
    João Paulo
    (776 votes)
  • 3%
    Xavier Arreaga
    (32 votes)
  • 0%
    Stefan Frei
    (3 votes)
881 votes total Vote Now