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Sounders at Rapids, recap: high and dry in Commerce City

Sounders fall 0-1 on the road to the Rapids.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Colorado Rapids Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Sounders followed a couple of league wins with a trip to face the Colorado Rapids. Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep their good run going, as a Jonathan Lewis tap-in goal proved enough to sink the road team.

Missing Alex Roldan due to suspension and Nico Lodeiro for the birth of a child, Brian Schmetzer opted to revisit the 3-4-2-1 formation that was used to such good effect throughout 2021. The Sounders were able to control a good chunk of possession — a valuable approach at altitude, where chasing the ball is likely to lead to tired bodies and minds — but struggled to generate real scoring opportunities through it.

The lone goal came from some poor defense and a bit of bad luck as Stefan Frei made a good play to dive and deal with a cross intended for Lewis, but the rebound hit Yeimar as he tracked the runner and it deflected back toward goal. Lewis was quick to react and that was that. The Sounders contended a foul occurred on the buildup but VAR did not deem it worth reviewing.

The best chance for the Sounders to get back in the game came four minutes later when a defensive error let a ball run through Colorado’s backline for Jordan Morris to attack. Morris had a 1-v-1 and chipped the goalkeeper, seemingly leveling the game, but the effort wasn’t hit hard enough and Lalas Abubakar was able to clear it.

It seemed like Seattle should have had another sure shot at equalizing after Raúl Ruidíaz was clearly fouled, but even after a pause for VAR the penalty was not awarded when the center ref did not feel as though a definitive angle showed that the foul occurred in the box. The good news is that the Sounders now have a full week before their next game, hosting Charlotte FC on Sunday, May 29 at 6:30 PM.

Key moments

7’ — Colorado plays the ball in behind the Sounders defense, but some scrambling limits the danger until Obed Vargas clears it.

10’ — Jackson Ragen perfectly weights a through ball for Jordan Morris to run onto down the left. Morris hits a ball back across, but it’s just too far in front of Raúl Ruidíaz.

41’ — The Rapids get in behind and force a point-blank save from Stefan Frei at the near post on a ball deflected off of Yeimar. Frei puts it out for a corner.

49’ — Colorado take the lead as Frei dives across to paw away a cross, but it hits Yeimar and Jonathan Lewis is there to put it in the net. 0-1

53’ — A defensive error gives Jordan Morris a good look on goal. He chips William Yarborough, but doesn’t put enough on it and the ball is cleared.

66’ — Ruidíaz appears to have been taken down in the area, but the ball falls to Albert Rusnák whose shot buzzes wide of goal and after video review the no-call stands.

89’ — Ruidíaz picks up the ball outside of the box, cuts around a defender and gets a nice shot off, but the ‘keeper parries it away.

Quick thoughts

Defensive dilemmas: It’s probably fair to say that we haven’t seen the Sounders play at their best in the league so far this season. Maybe the win over Minnesota is the closest they’ve come, but even that game required them to make up for conceding a frustrating opening goal. For the highest of highs that the team reached in CCL, the defense has been a genuine source of frustration in other competitions. Allowing 15 goals in 11 games and having a -2 goal difference are far from what we’ve all come to expect from this team, particularly under Schmetzer’s leadership. Losing João Paulo certainly hasn’t helped, but the issues have to be addressed. Maybe the upcoming rest will help.

Jackson Ragen rocks: No one was really shining for Seattle in this one, but Jackson Ragen stood out once again. As the team tried to use possession to dictate tempo, and Colorado dropped deep in response, much of the burden of moving the ball around fell to the young centerback. Ragen was the victim of a couple of strange calls that saw him penalized primarily for being taller than Mark-Anthony Kaye. Ragen once again showcased his comfort on the ball and impressive range of passing, skills that will help him to reach the heights the club expects him to reach.

Referee’s decisions: I don’t want to spend much time on this, because there’s little value in it. The referee was bad tonight. Fouls were called inconsistently, there was no real apparent effort to control the game by handing out cards in a predictable way, and what was a clear penalty went uncalled even after a visit to the VAR booth. The referee was hardly the reason the Sounders lost, but it certainly didn’t help.

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One stat to tell the tale

0 — The Sounders took 0 shots through the first half.


Poll

Man of the match

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Cristian Roldan
    (6 votes)
  • 18%
    Albert Rusnák
    (63 votes)
  • 72%
    Jackson Ragen
    (253 votes)
  • 7%
    Xavier Arreaga
    (26 votes)
348 votes total Vote Now

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