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Two more points dropped at home

The Sounders drew 1-1 against the Rapids, and saw Josh Atencio sent off as they remain winless on the season.

Last Updated
5 min read
Photo by Charis Wilson

SEATTLE – The Seattle Sounders played host to the Colorado Rapids needing to get their season rolling and set an improved tone at home. That, unfortunately, is not what happened as the Sounders scored their second goal of the season – another penalty – but drew 1-1 as they continue to look for their first win of the season.

Seattle opened the scoring thanks to a penalty that was both won and scored by Raúl Ruidíaz. Ruidíaz and Léo Chú played a nifty one-two around the top of the box before the striker chipped the ball up only for Keegan Rosenberry to swat at it for someone, giving the Sounders a chance from the spot. Ruidíaz was the player to take the penalty and as Zack Steffen dove to his left, Raúl casually lifted the ball over him for a panenka. The goal was Ruidíaz’s 79th in all-competitions for the Sounders, moving him into a tie for most all-time with Fredy Montero.

Both sides had chances to add to Ruidíaz’s tally during the first half, but neither side could get the finishing touch quite right. Ruidíaz and Xavier Arreaga both had looks go just over the bar, while Colorado forced a save from Andrew Thomas off of a Jackson Ragen giveaway, a Nouhou block on the doorstep, and were inches away from an Omir Fernandez goal following what seemed like a defensive breakdown on a throw-in near midfield.

The second half started pretty slowly, but a 48th minute yellow to Josh Atencio for a foul to slow a Colorado attack was a harbinger for what was to come. Nine minutes later Atencio picked up his second yellow and Seattle went down to 10 players. About 10 minutes after that, Jackson Ragen tripped Colorado striker Rafael Navarro in the area to give the Rapids a penalty. Djordje Mihailovic stepped up to the spot and hit his penalty to Andrew Thomas’s right, but Thomas dove and caught the ball to make the save. Despite that moment, which could have served as a rallying moment for the Sounders, Colorado continued to push and eventually found their breakthrough just before the end of regulation time. In the 88th minute Danny Leyva committed a foul at the top of the box and gave the Rapids a dangerous free kick. The shot from the set piece was headed for the upper corner at the near post, but Thomas came flying in to deflect the shot off of the bar, only to have Kévin Cabral beat any Sounders players to the rebound to put the ball away and tie things up.

After the tying goal the most excitement the Sounders generated was Ruidíaz being shown a yellow on the bench, followed by a mistaken red card which was then rescinded as the referee realized the yellow was his first rather than his second. Seattle now prepare for a road matchup against the San Jose Earthquakes next Saturday, still looking for their first win of the season.

Key moments

10 - GOAL! Ruidíaz draws a penalty, steps up to the spot and opens his account for the season with a panenka over Zack Steffen. 1-0 Sounders

24 - Léo Chú has a dangerous moment at the top of the box, but he takes a bit too long to make a decision and the threat fizzles out.

28 - Ruidíaz doesn’t miss out on his second goal of the day by much, ripping a shot from about 20 yards out that zips just over the crossbar.

31 - Colorado’s first chance of the game comes off of a poor giveaway from Jackson Ragen. The intercepted pass leads to Rafael Navarro shot that’s saved by Thomas.

32 - Xavier Arreaga nearly gets a goal himself, rising up on a corner and winning the header but his shot is inches high.

57 - Josh Atencio is shown a second yellow card for what was a pretty innocuous foul some time earlier in play, and the Sounders are reduced to 10 players.

67 - Jackson Ragen trips up Rafael Navarro in the box, and Colorado has a penalty. Andrew Thomas stonewalls the take, though, and Seattle stay on top.

88 - Goal. Danny Leyva gives up a free kick, and Thomas makes a save on the initial effort, but the rebound falls to Kévin Cabral who puts it away. 1-1

Quick thoughts

A lack of composure: Josh Atencio’s two yellow cards for arguably unnecessary fouls are the clearest example, but hardly the only evidence of struggles with composure and decision making for the Sounders today and so far this season. Josh’s decisions will leave an already shorthanded Seattle team with one fewer important player when they take the field next week, but it took more than that to take the Sounders’ points haul from this game from three to one. Sloppy passes from usually steady players like Atencio, Jackson Ragen and Alex Roldan, to name a few, all put the defense under unnecessary pressure. Similarly needless extra touches and passes in the final third from all of the team’s attackers turned what were, or at least could have been, dangerous attacks into turnovers. It’s hardly the only problem facing the Sounders at this point, but the lack of composure isn’t helping.

Next, next man up: The Sounders have spent the opening three games (and five minutes of a fourth) of the season missing several key players. Albert Rusnàk and Yeimar both made their first appearances of the season as substitutes tonight, but Stefan Frei and João Paulo both have yet to play. Pedro de la Vega is still a month-plus out from playing after picking up an injury in the second game of the season, and the injured and unavailable list continues from there. Given those absences, some players have had an unusual opportunity to step up – Andrew Thomas in goal is a prime example – and now with Atencio suspended for next week’s match against San Jose it may be another player’s turn. Rusnák’s return might mean a shift in formation or approach, but we don’t yet know if he’ll be ready to start. Instead, it might be time for the next, next man to step up.

Working with what youre given: Cristian Roldan discussed the fact that so far this season opposing players are playing particularly narrowly against the Sounders. This approach crowds the middle of the field, and forces the Sounders to operate primarily in wide spaces. At times against the Rapids the Roldan combination created some promising moments for the Sounders, as Cristian and Alex worked together to move the ball down the right wing and eventually either hit a cross or, preferably, cut the ball to the top of the box or play a teammate into the penalty area to create chances. Too often, as Roldan noted, when Seattle have gotten into those sorts of spaces they’ve hit crosses into the area with only Morris and/or Ruidíaz for targets. The Sounders have the talent to create real chances from those situations, but we haven’t seen them do it with any kind of regularity so far. I don’t know what the solution is, but when that’s what your opponent is giving you the answer can’t be to simply play it wide and hit a cross, ad infinitum.

Notable quote

Man of the match

Andrew Thomas – The goalkeeper saved a penalty to keep the score 1-0 in favor of the Sounders, then had what he called probably his “best save ever” only for Colorado to score on the rebound. His goal kicks could use work, but the man playing in place of Stefan Frei has done about as much as anyone could have asked.