The Seattle Sounders faced Major League Soccer’s stingiest defense Saturday, and they did it without two of their three starting forwards.
The result was predictable: a 3-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Colorado (5-2-1) hasn’t allowed more than a single goal in any game this season. Then they moved two goals ahead in the 51st minute before the Sounders got one back in the 63rd minute, the second goal in as many weeks from rookie Jordan Morris. However, the home team put it away in the 86th minute.
Seattle (2-4-1) played without forwards Clint Dempsey and Nelson Valdez, who stayed home with groin and hamstring injuries respectively. A club spokesman said the injuries are not seen as major, and both players are expected available next weekend when the Columbus Crew visits CenturyLink Field.
There also was mixed injury news in the 50th minute, when Seattle midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz went off with a leg injury – however he was replaced by Erik Friberg, back after missing four games with a knee injury.
But while the Sounders were playing without some of their most dangerous attackers, the Rapids made good use of one of their new weapons, as midfielder Jermaine Jones put the home team up in the 20th minute, heading home a curling free kick from midfielder Shkelzen Gashi. Colorado made it 2-0 as Luis Solignac swept in a cross from the left.
Morris was dangerous much of the night, and he finally broke through in the 63rd minute, firing from the top of the area, assisted by Cristian Roldan.
Seattle had to push forward aggressively after that, and the Rapids got the dagger in the 86th minute from Kevin Doyle.
In the closing minutes Seattle midfielder and captain Brad Evans was issued a red card for dissent. The Sounders ended the match with 10 men, and Evans will be suspended for the Crew match.
Pregame: Starting forwards Clint Demppsey and Nelson Valdez did not travel to Colorado with the Sounders, due to groin and hamstring injuries respecitvely. Neither injury is expected to be serious enough to keep them out next week when Columbus visits CenturyLink Field.
In their absence, Herculez Gomez will get his first start as an MLS Sounder.
Here’s the lineup: Frei; Mears, Evans, Marshall, Jones; Alonso, Roldan, Ivanschitz; Anderson, Gomez, Morris. First start for Gomez.
In better injury news, midfielder Erik Friberg did travel, but is not in the starting 11.