The Seattle Sounders are deservedly on the way to their first MLS Cup final after dealing Colorado their first home loss of the campaign, and our report cards reflect that.
Protecting a first leg lead, Brian Schmetzer's boys followed the plan to a tee, coolly keeping the home side's attack at bay until Jordan Morris stuck the dagger in with a second half counter strike.
Zac MacMath (5.5) – The Rapids netminder had his feet up for much of the day and had a good day with distribution, but made himself rather small on the path out to challenge Jordan Morris on the lone goal.
Eric Miller (5) – The right back was quite vanilla on both sides of the ball. Miller didn't do enough to support the attack or to slow Seattle's pressure valve play in the second half.
Jared Watts (4.5) – Though the rest of his day was decent, Watts committed a cardinal sin on Seattle's clinching away goal. Not only was his weak clearance inexplicably sent to the middle, the effort pulled him out of the area that Morris exploited to score. The center back piled on 10 total defensive stops after that leak, but the damage had been done.
Axel Sjoberg (5.5) – The Defender of the Year finalist didn't have a great deal to do in defense. On the other hand, his passing out of the back was weak, especially after the break.
Marc Burch (5.5) – Colorado's left back started the game well, vanished for a spell and then struggled in the second half.
Michael Azira (6) – One of the main reasons that Colorado's defenders were able to put their feet up for long stretches was Azira. He typically moved the ball along safely, and chalked up 10 defensive stops between the home area and the midfield stripe. However, he noticeably neglected to guard the back line on Seattle's strike and this cost them.
Dillon Powers (6) – Though Powers had fewer defensive plays to his credit than Azira, his work on the ball was a bit more positive. It was a solid but unspectacular display.
Sebastien Le Toux (5) – The veteran pitched in with a couple of incisive attack passes, but the home side needed more from him. As in the first leg, he squandered chances to make plays around the Seattle area.
Jermaine Jones (6.5) – The US star fired out of the blocks looking extremely motivated and acted as the driving force as Colorado carried play in the opening frame. In all, Jones forced 10 turnovers in the Seattle end, but his influence badly faded after Morris' goal.
Shkelzen Gashi (6) – Gashi's link play repeatedly helped the Rapids forward and his restarts were troubling, but he only managed to play two successful passes into the Sounders' area and could not place any of his five shot attempts on frame. Not a bad showing, but the hosts needed him to provide more offense for the needed rally.
Kevin Doyle (5.5) – Like Jones, Doyle was strongest in the early going. Like Gashi, he was decent when decent wasn't good enough. Unlike those two teammates, the Irishman had two golden chances to tee up teammates for first half sitters and his cross missed the mark both times.
Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni (5) – It almost feels as if the Rapids boss plotted to protect an aggregate lead, and not to overturn one. They were too narrow and predictable in attack; one or two of his subs probably should have started.
Marlon Hairston (6.5) – Hairston immediately had a positive effect on the Colorado attack and continued to participate in most of their promising rushes of the final half-hour.
Marco Pappa (5.5) – The attacker started brightly after entering with a quarter hour to go, but repeatedly ran into road blocks after that.
Dominique Badji (N/A) – The speedster was sent into the fray far too late to have the desired effect.
Stefan Frei (5.5) – With Colorado unable to put any of their 16 shot attempts on target, the Sounders backstop did not need a single save to post the shutout. Frei was hot-and-cold with his area command and struggled with distribution, putting his team under added pressure on occasion.
Tyrone Mears (6.5) – The Rapids kept Mears busy in his corner and he constantly stood his ground. He could have been cleaner in the passing game, but his surges down the wing did help relieve pressure several times.
Chad Marshall (7) – The veteran center back had a much smoother time of it than in the first leg. Marshall notched seven clearances in the Seattle area and four pass picks in front of it.
Román Torres (6) – The Panama defender suffered a couple of bad hiccups in the early going and his passing left much to be desired, but he recovered to finish with 20 total defensive stops.
Joevin Jones (7) – Jones was the most important Seattle defender in the opening half-hour and their most efficient pressure valve player for much of the day. For the final quarter-hour, he moved this act from wide defense into midfield, where he helped slam the door on Colorado's attack once and for all.
Osvaldo Alonso (6.5) – Though not quite as influential as in the first leg, Alonso still contributed 11 total defensive stops on the way to Seattle's box and several outlet passes away from it before leaving with a knock.
Cristian Roldan (5.5) – The young midfielder was invisible for most of the first half, and this is part of the reason Colorado owned the play. Roldan rallied after halftime to help the visitors close out the series.
Nicolás Lodeiro (5.5) – The Uruguay playmaker was unable to control play, per usual. Lodeiro was routinely muscled off the ball or into shipping stray passes. Even so, he found other ways to pitch in, most notably with 10 defensive plays in the Seattle end. He was also able to help the visitors escape pressure several times after the break.
Jordan Morris (7.5) – The rookie's running and link play repeatedly helped the Sounders move out of their end for breathers, and he eventually gave them the biggest one of all by chipping home the killer away goal. No bonus points were given to Morris for playing through illness and several boots to the knee - but it was certainly considered. All in all, this was a memorable prime-time outing from a player who will provide many over the years.
Andreas Ivanschitz (5) – It was a fairly empty showing from the former Austria star, who departed shortly after intermission.
Nélson Valdez (6.5) – The Seattle striker was predictably stranded up-field for the majority of the game, but he came up big when given the chance. His assist on the clinching goal was textbook in every way.
Head Coach Brian Schmetzer (7) – With a slim lead to hold against the lone home unbeaten in MLS, Schmetzer & Co. squeezed them out of prime attack zones until they opened up at the back. The Seattle boss also expertly dealt with a couple of injuries, both before and during the game, as the Sounders spoiled both Colorado's perfect home record and their MLS Cup dreams. The midseason replacement for Sigi Schmid has truly earned his shot at the big prize.
Álvaro Fernández (6) – Though he was unable to complete most of his counter passes, Fernández came on ready to sacrifice his body defensively.
Oniel Fisher (6) – The 25-year-old defender came on late to help Seattle finish off another upset.
Zach Scott (N/A) – A mere cameo.