SEATTLE, WA— The Sounders fell behind early on Tuesday night at the Clink thanks to a bit of Colorado luck and misdirection, but when the final whistle blew they had gone ahead 2-1 at the end of the first leg of the MLS Cup Western Conference Finals.
MATCH GALLERY: by Wilson Tsoi for goalWA.net
(Cover photo: Scott Patrick twitter)
The Sounders and the Rapids will face each other again on Sunday November 27 in Colorado. Seattle would advance to their first-ever MLS Cup with a draw or win. The Rapids hold an away goal that factors into the kind of results that would see the Sounders through.
Sounders midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro drew and converted a decisive penalty kick just after the hour mark, when he was caught from behind by Colorado’s Mark Burch in the penalty area and sent Zac MacMath the wrong way on his effort from 12 yards.
Lodeiro’s goal broke a 40-plus minute deadlock after the teams had traded goals early in the first half. Colorado opened the scoring in the 13th minute, as Jermaine Jones found Kevin Doyle with the help of a dummy from Shkelzen Gashi. The Irishman then took the space and fired a shot that took a looping deflection past Stefan Frei and into the net.
However, it would only take six minutes for the home side to equalize. Cristian Roldancarried the ball through the middle of the field on a quick break for Seattle and fired his low shot off the post, only for an onside Jordan Morris – in the lineup after recovering from a hamstring injury – to fire home the rebound from close range.
Colorado would have to rely on MacMath to keep them in the game twice in 31st minute, first when he laid out to stop a bullet header from Lodeiro and again on the resulting corner kick when he got in the way of Nelson Valdez’s close-range volley.
Although the Rapids will go into the second leg of the series on Colorado down on aggregate, their away goal will give them a fighting chance to turn things around at home, where they could advance with a 1-0 win in five days’ time.