SEATTLE — The fringes of the Western Conference playoff race didn't get much clearer.
The Colorado Rapids ended a seven-match losing streak against the Seattle Sounders, but the two teams settled for a 1-1 tie here on Saturday at CenturyLink Field.
Although their dominance over the Rapids was halted, the Sounders managed to break their own inauspicious streak by earning a point after allowing the opening goal for the first time this season. The Sounders came into the match having gone 0-7-0 when allowing the first goal.
The Sounders have newly minted MLS All-Star DeAndre Yedlin to thank for that. The rookie right back scored his first career goal in the 65th minute, slamming a header into the back of the net after his initial shot was saved by Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin. The scoring sequence started when Lamar Neagle fought off his defender to was able to fire off a shot that rung off the far post. Yedlin hit the rebound first time and then followed up Irwin's save by heading in the rebound.
Just five minutes earlier, the Rapids had taken the lead on a Drew Moor header from a corner kick. If Moor hadn't scored, there was a very good chance that Nick LaBrocca's corner could have gone in as Sounders goalkeeper Andrew Weber -- getting his first start for Seattle, due to injuries to number one Michael Gspurning and backup Marcus Hahnemann -- whiffed on his attempt to play it earlier.
It was the fourth goal the Rapids have scored off a corner this year and the eighth time the Sounders have allowed a goal on a set piece.
The Rapids will probably feel reasonably satisfied with the point as the goal sequence was one of the few times they threatened goal all night.
The Sounders didn't exactly have a ton of chances, either, but had two other great chances to score.
In the 3rd minute, Neagle rose to meet a freekick from the right side, but Irwin stretched magnificently to push Neagle's header just around the bar.
In the 39th minute, Osvaldo Alonso picked off an errant pass deep in the Sounders' end and set in motion a lightning-fast counterattack. He pushed the ball forward to Mauro Rosales, who dribbled through the midfield stripe before laying off a ball to Obafemi Martins on his right.
Martins dribbled past one defender and cut it back, allowing Shane O'Neill to slide past. But with a open look ahead of him and Lamar Neagle unmarked af the top of the six-yard box, Irwin timed his rush perfectly and forced Martins to shoot wide.
- OPTA CHALKBOARD: Drew Moor's masterful defense
The result sees the Rapids -- who beat New England at home on Wednesday -- extend their current unbeaten streak to five games. They, at least temporarily, move into sole possession of 5th place and the final Western Conference playoff spot.
Seattle ended a two-game losing streak but have not won in their past three. They also ran their goal-less run to a season-long 245 minutes before Yedlin's goal.
The Rapids now return home to face the LA Galaxy next Saturday. The Sounders stay in Seattle, where they host Chivas USA on Sunday, July 28.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Drew Moor (COL)||The goal was just the icing on a tasty defensive cake|
|2||Hendry Thomas (COL)||What he does goes largely unnoticed, but his ability to stop all but one of the Sounders' counterattacks was the difference.|
|3||Lamar Neagle (SEA)||He was busy all day, and that turn and shot off the post deserves an assist on Yedlin's equalizer.|