The Seattle Sounders conceded first, but rallied well to claim a 2-1 victory over Western Conference opening leg visitors Colorado on Tuesday night.
The home side won the midfield battle and carried flank play as Nicolas Lodeiro and Ozzie Alonso led the team to their eighth victory from the last nine games at CenturyLink Field.
As a periodic reminder, all marks are given on a scale with "6" as the average. The grades are also relative to pitch time, meaning a full shift "7" is more impressive than one handed out for a 15-minute showing.
GK Stefan Frei (6) – After conceding a deflected opener to Colorado, Frei rang up five easy saves.
RB Tyrone Mears (6.5) – The Englishman didn't have much defensive work to do and he was guilty of a few bad giveaways in the Seattle end, but he spent much of the night pressuring the Rapids down the flank. A couple of his crosses narrowly missed the intended target.
CB Román Torres (5.5) – The Panamanian defender was fooled by a dummy move on the Rapids' goal and he also had a few troubles passing out of the back. On the plus side, he did come up with a few big interventions around the Seattle area.
CB Chad Marshall (5) – While the stats show Marshall made 10 defensive stops in and in front of the home box, it was still a rather shaky night for the veteran. His poor positioning put the team in trouble a couple of times and he was timid in closing down the shooter on the lone Colorado goal. Like his defense partners, he was also charged with a few poor passes in the Sounders' end.
LB Joevin Jones (6.5) – The left back was a bit more busy than Mears, but like his fellow wide back, he spent plenty of time sending the Rapids backpedaling without ever connecting on a final ball.
CM Osvaldo Alonso (7.5) – It should come as no surprise that Alonso was key to Seattle's win. The veteran made a litany of stops in the middle of the field, with 15 of them coming after the break. When he wasn't halting Colorado rushes, ol' Ozzie was often found changing the point of attack for the victors.
CM Cristian Roldan (7) – While the importance of Alonso was rather obvious, Roldan's can be a lot more sneaky. He's a terrific glue guy who completed an impressive 24 positive passes in or into the Colorado half. His most notable contribution, of course, came with a long shot off the post that Morris pounced on for a quick reply equalizer.
CAM Erik Friberg (6.5) – Seattle's No. 8 shirt started the game off lukewarm and improved as it progressed. He would have notched a helper on the half-hour were it not for a save by big Rapids GK Zac MacMath.
LW Jordan Morris (7) – Though he was pinned to the flank passing backwards for much of the night, Morris proved to be Jordan-on-the-spot on Seattle's first goal. The youngster did an admirable job in staying onside to clean up Roldan's rebound.
RW Nicolás Lodeiro (7.5) – The Uruguayan playmaker was decent but not deadly until he acrobatically sent Roldan running for the post-pinger that Morris buried. After that play, he took over, constantly forcing the Rapids to defend until he earned and bagged the winning spot kick. It was just another day at the home office for the transformative midseason pick-up.
FW Nélson Valdez (6) – The hard-luck forward started brightly, and then faded from view to an extent while the Seattle midfield turned the game around. Still, the hard-working Valdez kept Colorado's back line shuffling around with his movement and physicality.
Head Coach Brian Schmetzer (6.5) – His team fell behind, but stuck to their guns and eventually won the day. We'll call it "held serve," but another goal sure would have been nice and Schmetzer could have freshened the attack sooner.
CM Brad Evans (5.5) – The consummate handyman picked up a small knock just after entering with 20 minutes left and played it very safe from there.
LW Andreas Ivanschitz (6) – The former Austria playmaker did not look shy in his first appearance for over a month, but lacked a cutting edge.
GK Zac MacMath (6) – One could certainly ding him for flailing at the Roldan shot off the post that directly led to Seattle's leveler. At the same time, you'd need to marvel at his huge pair of saves near the half-hour that kept Colorado in the game. After that, he was largely un-bothered in the run of play.
RB Eric Miller (5.5) – The Rapids right back was their most solid defender on the night for the most part, harassing Lodeiro enough to send the Seattle star to the inside lanes. Miller also completed a few troubling passes in attack. The big problem came when he mistakenly assumed Morris was offside as he strolled in to score.
RCB Jared Watts (5) – The Rapids right center back was often more effective on and off the ball when he stepped up toward the midfield stripe. However, he also badly lost Morris in the area and it proved fatal.
LCB Axel Sjoberg (5) – It was an off night for the Defender of the Year finalist, who was fortunate to have a couple of crosses just miss Seattle runners he failed to adequately track. Sjoberg was also pulled well out of position as Joevin Jones' deflected cross found Lodeiro, who drew the winning penalty kick in his vacated zone.
LB Marc Burch (4.5) – Before being whistled for the penalty foul that decided the contest, Burch was already being given a hard time by the insistent prodding of Mears and Lodeiro. On the by-now forgotten positive side, the left back did support his attack across midfield on a handful occasions.
CM Sam Cronin (5) – Like the defenders behind him, Cronin experienced some uncharacteristic struggles. Most of his defensive stops came across midfield, while some of his worst passes were picked off in the Colorado end. To top it all off, the Rapids captain got himself banned for the home return thanks to a late booking.
CAM Jermaine Jones (7) – The US midfielder was the most consistently bright light for the visitors, chalking up an assist to go with six pass picks and a host of recovery stops. Jones also played several incisive balls up the gut and kept his tendency toward wild challenges in check.
RW Sebastien Le Toux (5.5) – The veteran attacker was involved in many of Colorado's best rushes on the night, but could have done a lot more with all the good positions he was granted. For prime example, Le Toux could only muster a feeble attempt when he broke in alone from a Jones long ball.
CAM Kevin Doyle (6.5) – The Ireland forward dropped into midfield to offer a professional performance highlighted by a fortunately deflected goal. Doyle's hold-up play was central to most of Colorado's advances.
LW Shkelzen Gashi (5.5) – After his clever dummy aided Doyle's opener, Gashi disappeared for a huge portion of the game. He picked it back up after Seattle took the lead, but slipped when he had a big chance to level matters late and fired agonizingly wide.
FW Dominique Badji (5) – The Rapids' speedster didn't poke and prod enough with his runs, and he shot meekly when presented with a pair of area chances.
Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni (5) – It wasn't a terrible showing by the visitors, but some of the boss' lineup choices were curious and he waited too long to shake up the field group. Had Seattle been a little more exact on final balls, this could have gotten out of hand.
CAM Marlon Hairston (6) – Apart from teeing up the stray Gashi shot mentioned above, Hairston was not overly involved during his 20 minutes of action.
CM Michael Azira (6.5) – Unsurprisingly, Azira had a positive effect on the team upon entering with but 12 minutes to play.