Seattle has just one win in past seven Major League Soccer games
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Through all of Sounders FC’s tribulations in a subpar start to the season, the team’s performances away from home have always been a bright spot.
Misfortunes, however, followed the team on the road Saturday, as Seattle gave up a second-half goal and was denied a clear penalty kick moments later in a 1-0 loss to Colorado on a blustery night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Despite the hard-fought effort, Seattle is now 3-5-3 on the season and has won just once in its past seven Major League Soccer games. The even run of play against the Rapids was little consolation.
“It’s been frustrating, because I don’t think we’ve walked off the field being an outplayed team,” said Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid. “That’s what gets frustrating. We just have to keep working. We have to keep our belief in ourselves. The team spirit has to remain there.”
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A back-and-forth game turned in favor of Colorado (5-3-1) in the 63rd minute, when forward Conor Casey shrugged off a challenge from Seattle defender Jeff Parke, then calmly chipped a shot over goalkeeper Kasey Keller and two other Sounders into the far corner of the net.
It was Casey’s fourth goal of the season. The previous three for the U.S. men’s national team pool player had come off penalty kicks.
“It was a phenomenal goal,” Keller said. “I mean, Conor shouldn’t even have been here. He should have been with the U.S. team going to the World Cup.”
Parke, who was the closest defender on the play, said he was stepped on as he tried to clear the ball, but made no excuse.
“We’ve got to be stronger, and I’ve got to be better there,” he said.
In the 66th minute, Rapids defender Marvell Wynne appeared to use his hand to knock down a ball in the penalty box, but no call was made.
“It hit his hand blatantly,” said Sounders midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, who had the best chance at an equalizer late in the game, but curled an 83rd-minute free kick around the goal.
Schmid also thought a penalty kick should have been called, but declined further comment on the play. It appeared to be just another example of the bad run of luck this season.
Another round of poor finishing was hardly a result of chance. The Sounders have been shut out in nearly half of their league games this season (5 of 11) and struggled again offensively.
“We have to be patient, but at the same time we have to have that killer instinct in the final third whether it’s the last pass, shot, cross, whatever it is,” said forward Pat Noonan. “It’s got to be precise. Right now it’s a little bit off, and it’s costing us goals.”
And costing Seattle points in the standings.
• Keller was disappointed with more than just the result Saturday. The veteran goalkeeper said a Rapids fan threw beer on him during the game. “It’s a problem that they (MLS officials) need to address,” he said, “and they need to address it sooner rather than later.”
• The Sounders were without four potential starters due to injury: forward Nate Jaqua (lower abdomen), midfielders Peter Vagenas (thigh) and Osvaldo Alonso (thigh) and defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (knee).
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org
RAPIDS 1, SOUNDERS FC 0
|Seattle||0 0 — 0|
|Colorado||0 1 — 1|
First half — None. Second half — 1, Colorado, Casey 4, 63rd minute. Goalies — Seattle, Kasey Keller; Colorado, Matt Pickens. Total shots — Seattle 9, Colorado 10. Shots on goal — Seattle 1, Colorado 5. Saves — Seattle 4, Colorado 1. Offsides — Seattle 2, Colorado 3. Corner kicks — Seattle 4, Colorado 6. Fouls — Seattle 8, Colorado 13. Yellow cards — Gonzalez, Seattle, 46th+; Mastroeni, Colorado, 48th+; Ianni, Seattle, 52nd; Ljungberg, Seattle, 53rd; Wynne, Colorado, 71st; Casey, Colorado, 96th+. Referee — Jair Marrufo. Assistant referees — Greg Barkey. Peter Manikowski. 4th official — Ramon Hernandez. A — 18,416 (18,086).
Seattle — Kasey Keller, Tyrone Marshall, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Freddie Ljungberg, Steve Zakuani (Sanna Nyassi, 64th), Brad Evans, Fredy Montero (Miguel Montano, 76th), Pat Noonan (Roger Levesque, 83rd).
Colorado — Matt Pickens, Julien Baudet, Danny Earls, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Mehdi Ballouchy, Wells Thompson (Colin Clark, 60th), Conor Casey, Omar Cummings (Quincy Amarikwa, 89th).