SEATTLE -- For the Seattle Sounders, one was enough on Saturday afternoon.
Clint Dempsey tallied a highlight-reel 53rd-minute goal off a Marco Pappa corner kick and the Seattle defense took care of the rest, paving the way for a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle were unable to break through in the first half despite holding 61.5 percent of the possession and several good looks at Colorado goalkeeper Joe Nasco, who was making his MLS debut for the Rapids.
Forward Obafemi Martins had perhaps the Sounders’ best opportunity for a first-half tally in the 34th minute off a free kick from Pappa, but his attempt went just wide. Neither side managed a score after that and the game at a scoreless deadlock through the first 45 minutes.
But Seattle grabbed the lead for good just minutes into the second half when Dempsey swooped in and smashed Pappa’s corner kick past Nasco into the top-right corner to give Seattle the 1-0 advantage. The goal was Dempsey’s team-leading 11th of the season and marked his second consecutive game with a score for the Sounders.
The Sounders had several chances to extend the lead after that but none that led to a second goal. Martins came dangerously close again in the 58th minute after breaking free inside the Colorado box to unleash a blast that looked sure to give the Sounders a commanding 2-0 lead. But the shot clanged off the crossbar, keeping the visitors within striking distance.
But the slumping Rapids never could quite find an equalizer against Seattle’s backline of DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott and Leo Gonzalez, struggling to generate looks on Seattle ‘keeper Stefan Frei. The 1-0 line would ultimately hold, sending Seattle to their second consecutive victory and keeping them atop the MLS Supporters' Shield race.
With the win, the Sounders (15-7-3) also keep their hold on the Western Conference lead with 48 points in 25 matches. Colorado have now lost six matches in a row, and remain stuck on 30 points on the season with an 8-11-6 record.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Clint Dempsey||Seattle's star player produced a star moment to secure the three points that Colorado nearly denied them. Also dazzled with his usual array of flicks and tricks.|
|2||Brad Evans||Covered miles along the Sounders' right flank, defending well and surging into the attack with good effect.|
|3||Joe Nasco||The 30-year-old more than held his own in his first career MLS start, keeping his defense organized and nearly stealing a point for the Rapids with several athletic saves.|