Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs: Seattle Sounders defeat Colorado Rapids 2-1 in Western Conference Final first leg

The Seattle Sounders and Colorado Rapids battled in the first leg of the Western Conference Finals at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA. After conceding an early goal, the Sounders were able to come back and win the first leg 2-1.

Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs: Seattle Sounders defeat Colorado Rapids 2-1 in Western Conference Final first leg
Nicolás Lodeiro celebrates with the team after converting his penalty in the 61st minute | Source: Brandon Farris - VAVEL USA
Seattle Sounders
2 1
Colorado Rapids
Seattle Sounders: Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Román Torres, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso (C), Cristian Roldan; Nicolás Lodeiro, Erik Friberg (Brad Evans, 69'), Jordan Morris (Andreas Ivanschitz, 77'); Nelson Valdez
Colorado Rapids: Zac MacMath; Erik Miller, Jared Watts, Axel Sjöberg, Marc Burch; Sam Cronin (C), Jermaine Jones, Shkëlzen Gashi (Micheal Azira, 77'), Sébastien Le Toux, Dominque Badji (Marlon Hairston, 70'); Kevin Doyle
SCORE: 0-1, min. 13, Doyle. 1-1, min 19, Morris. 2-1, min 61. Lodeiro.
REFEREE: Chris Penso (USA). Burch (min. 34, yellow card). Doyle (min. 58, yellow card). Cronin (min 67, yellow card)
INCIDENTS: Western Conference Final leg one between the Seattle Sounders and Colorado Rapids. The match was played at CenturyLink Field in front of 42,774 spectators.

For the third time in their eight-year history, the Seattle Sounders were hosting a game in the Western Conference Finals. This time around they were hosting the best defense in MLS, the Colorado Rapids.

Heading into the game, there were many doubts who would and who would not be playing. The Sounders were coy on the health of Jordan Morris leading up to the game. Morris was pulled at halftime in the Sounders game against FC Dallas due to a hamstring strain. The Rapids were also being coy on the health of Shkëlzen Gashi. He was also injured in their game against the LA Galaxy. In the end, both star players found themselves in the Starting XI for their respective teams.

Rapids strike first

The Sounders and Rapids felt each other out for the first ten minutes of the match. The first real chance of the game came in just the fourth minute of the match. Dominque Badji sent in a cross to the near post but luckily for Seattle they cleared it out for a corner.

Colorado Rapids players celebrate Kevin Doyle's goal in the 13th minute | Source: Brandon Farris - VAVEL USA
Colorado Rapids players celebrate Kevin Doyle's goal in the 13th minute | Source: Brandon Farris - VAVEL USA

In the 13th minute, the Rapids got on the board. Jermaine Jones sent in a ball that was dummied by Gashi and fell to the feet of Kevin Doyle. As Doyle put his shot on frame, Chad Marshall flashed in front of goal. The ball took a deflection off Marshall and found itself in the back of the net. If not for the deflection, it appeared Stefan Frei would have had the goal covered.

Sounders respond quickly

The Sounders did exactly what they needed to do after conceding the first goal, they attacked. Their persistence would finally pay off in the 19th minute. After Cristian Roldan took control of the ball at midfield, he headed straight toward the goal. Once he reached the outside of the penalty box, he took a perspective shot. Zac MacMath was able to stop the initial shot but was not able to do anything with Morris’ follow-up.

Jordan Morris celebrates after leveling the score at 1-1 in the 19th minute | Source: Brandon Farris - VAVEL USA
Jordan Morris celebrates after leveling the score at 1-1 in the 19th minute | Source: Brandon Farris - VAVEL USA

The latter part of the first half started to get chippy. In the 34th minute, we saw our first card of the night issued by referee Chris Penso. After the ball went out of play, the Rapids kept playing the ball as Nicolás Lodeiro was trying to gather it for the throw in. Marc Burch picked up the ball and swung his right arm and contacted Lodeiro’s face. Penso decided to only issue a yellow card and the Rapids, and Burch was lucky he was not sent off.

The Sounders start second half off aggressively

The Sounders came out aggressively in the first few minutes of the second half looking for the go-ahead goal. The Sounders had a handful of chances with the first coming inside a minute of the second half. Morris made a run into the box but was not able to control the ball with his feet and the Sounders lost their chance.

The Sounders had a few other chances with crosses being pumped into the box but Colorado was able to clear them.

Lodeiro breaks deadlock

The moment Marc Burch fouled Nicolás Lodeiro in the box | Source: Brandon Farris - VAVEL USA
The moment Marc Burch fouled Lodeiro in the box | Source: Brandon Farris - VAVEL USA

In the 60th minute, the Sounders caught a break when Lodeiro was fouled in the box by Burch. It was the correct call by Penso to reward Seattle with a penalty. Lodeiro stepped up to take and converted it to give Seattle a 2-1 lead.

Over the next ten minutes, the Rapids really controlled the game. Sam Cronin picked up a yellow in the 67th minute and will now miss the second leg due to yellow card accumulation.

Seattle sees it out

The Sounders were able to see the game through and have a one goal lead heading into leg two. However, Colorado has a huge advantage with the one away goal. If the Rapids win 1-0 on Sunday, they will be through to the MLS Cup Final. 

What’s next

The Sounders will now travel to Commerce City, CO to take on the Rapids in the second leg of the Western Conference Finals this coming Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 pm PT.