Sounders poor finishing results in loss to Rapids, 1-0

May 21, 2016, 9:09 PM

The Colorado Rapids rode into town for their second matchup with the Seattle Sounders this season on Saturday, and the fairly evenly contested match ended 1-0 in Colorado’s favor.

The first half was dominated early by the home side; Seattle held 75 percent of possession through the first 20 minutes. A few solid chances came and passed in those first minutes, most notably when Clint Dempsey used a brilliant touch to go around a defender and slip Jordan Morris in with a through ball. None of those early chances made it into the net, but it kept the Sounders in control and held the visitors to just one shot in 30 minutes.

Seattle continued to dominate for the rest of the half, but the Rapids managed a short spell of possession that led to a corner late in the half. Axel Sjoberg headed the corner in after losing his marker (it appeared to be like Andreas Ivanschitz) to put the Rapids up 1-0 going into halftime.

The second half started pretty similarly to the first, with a long spell of Seattle possession and opportunities to score but nothing actually going in for the Sounders. The Rapids continued to utilize their absorb pressure-and-counterattack game plan, getting a few quick chances on the break that Seattle mostly dealt with.

More chances came for the Sounders, including a number of corners that they failed to do anything with. Seattle was very unfortunate to lose Oalex Anderson minutes after he had come on for Ivanschitz with what looked like some sort of leg injury.

The Sounders continued to knock at the door late in the half, but nothing came of any of it.

Seattle started without central defender Chad Marshall for the first time this season, and Nelson Valdez was out yet again with a calf strain. Valdez isn’t a lock for a start even when fit, as he has yet to score a goal for the Sounders this season.

New Rapids signing Jermaine Jones has quickly become a talisman for his team, and his solid form continued in this match.

Man of the match: In a game of far too many missed chances for Seattle, Dempsey probably played the best. He showed off his technique a number of times, beating defenders and putting in excellent passes for teammates.

Turning point: I think I can objectively say that the Sounders looked like the better team for all 90 minutes of this match, and their lack of finishing ability means that a 0-0 draw would have been a pretty fair result. Sjoberg’s goal changed that, against the run of play.

One reason to worry: With Dempsey leaving to play for the US national team, the Sounders are going to need to find a way to be dangerous in their impending stretch without him. The team’s inability to capitalize on their many chances could doom them in their quest for the playoffs.

One reason to relax: The Rapids are the best team in MLS right now and could go all the way this season. Seattle was the better team on the night, but the Rapids are quite good on both sides of the ball.

Key stat: The Sounders had four shots on target from 16 total shots. That’s not good.

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