SEATTLE – A 16th-minute golazo by Marco Pappa was all the Seattle Sounders needed Wednesday night, as Seattle struck early then comfortably managed their lead to a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field.
Pappa’s strike, a right-footed curler from just outside the Colorado penalty box, was his first goal of the season for the Sounders. He is also tied for the team lead in assists (5) with forward Clint Dempsey.
After dominating possession from the outset, Seattle struck first after Pappa received the ball from a cross by rookie midfielder Cristian Roldan that took a fortuitous deflection off of Colorado defender Jared Watts. The Guatemalan set himself up with a touch, then sliced the nifty right-footed attempt past Rapids ‘keeper Clint Irwin, staking the Sounders to the early 1-0 advantage.
The Sounders held the momentum throughout the opening 45 minutes, holding 76 percent of the possession and completing a whopping 426 passes compared to just 135 for Colorado. The 426 passes was the most for an MLS team in a half in five years.
Despite the statistically one-sided first half, the Rapids did have a good look at a first-half equalizer in the 43rd minute on a long distance shot off the boot of forward Kevin Doyle, who was making his first MLS start. Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei managed to block the shot and then snag the rebound before Colorado’s Luis Solignac could get to the loose ball.
Substitute winger Juan Ramirez livened the Rapids' attack to start the second half, which would be more evenly played. But the Sounders would also bring in fresh legs of their own and despite Colorado's 13 shots on the night, the visitors never managed to find an equalizer.
With the win, Seattle took over first place in the Western Conference and will roll into Sunday's nationally televised home matchup with the New York Red Bulls (5 pm ET on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes) at a tidy 7-3-2 (23pts).
Colorado, on the other hand, became the last team to lose a game on the road this season as their record fell to 2-3-7 (13pts) and will remain in the Western Conference basement ahead of their matchup on Saturday: a home clash with the Portland Timbers (9 pm ET, MLS LIVE).