By JASON MITCHELL
SEATTLE, WA. – It took more than 2,000 minutes of career action, but Seattle defender Zach Scott made sure his first MLS goal was one to remember.
Some 50 minutes after scooting a header just above the crossbar, Scott confidently headed the match-winner into the far side of the net in the 63rd minute, giving the Seattle Sounders a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday afternoon.
First-year midfielder Alex Caskey delivered a near-perfect corner kick on the play.
“I didn’t have to do much out there besides get in the right area and get the slightest bit of deflection on it,” said Scott.
Told that he had scored more goals than Fredy Montero on the season, Scott—one of the original Sounders—jokingly suggested someone take a picture of the season stat sheet for proof.
The loss drops the Rapids to 3-3 on the year and leaves them with losses in three of their last four matches after a promising 2-0 start. Still, new coach Oscar Pareja found things he liked in the loss.
“I did like the first half,” Pareja said, “I thought we had a good half. We looked very solid. I was trying to demand the team show me a better performance in the first half. And I saw it. So it was very positive. The second half we were not as consistent as were in the first half, trying to go forward and be dangerous.”
But Pareja was not thrilled with the goal. “It was one of those opportunities where you have to look sharper, and look sharp we did not.”
For the Sounders, the win moved them to 3-1-1 on the season and extended their dominance over the Rapids. Seattle is now 5-1-1 in the series all-time and has beaten Colorado all four times the Rapids have visited the Emerald City.
Moreover, the Sounders had to be happy to walk away with the win after going scoreless the last two weeks and missing their two most creative and technically skilled playmakers in Mauro Rosales (sprained knee) and Alvaro Fernandez (injured quad).
“These are the games where we miss Mauro Rosales, and obviously not having Fernandez today as well. Because those are the two guys that, you know, are sort of our playmaking type of players, and breaking down a defense that bunkers in is something Mauro is very good at.”
The Rapids controlled the ball more early, racking up nearly 100 more passes than the Sounders in the first half while also controlling more than 60% of possession. Yet the Sounders managed to look the more dangerous side, managing six shots to Colorado’s three in the half.
“Overall, I thought we were more dangerous,” Said Schmid, “Overall, I thought a lot of their possession was in their deep end of the field. It was possession that didn’t concern us too much.”
Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens made several key saves throughout the afternoon, including a deflection on a beautiful Fredy Montero chip shot from 19 yards out.
Brian Mullan, making his first return to Seattle since breaking Steve Zakuani’s leg last season, was heartily booed both when announced before the game and whenever he touched the ball. He had a put-back goal called back for offside in the 33rd minute. He also received a yellow card in the 87th minute for knocking down midfielder Osvaldo Alonso from behind.
Notes: Yellow cards: Eddie Johnson (47), Zach Scott (49), Brian Mullan (87), Fredy Montero, (87). The shutout is Seattle’s third in its last four games and drops new goalkeeper Michael Gspurning’s goals-against-average to .40. Attendance was announced at 38,360.