SEATTLE, WA – Clint Dempsey scored his career-high 11th goal of the season as Seattle Sounders FC (15-8-3, 48 points) downed the Colorado Rapids (8-12-6, 30 points), 1-0, on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field on Saturday afternoon.
Seattle is now unbeaten in its last three (2-0-1) outings and extended its lead for the Supporters’ Shield to five points. Sounders FC leads MLS with nine home wins this season, two victories shy of the club record.
The victory also extended Seattle’s eight-match unbeaten streak against Colorado at CenturyLink Field, going 7-0-1 and outscoring the Rapids 20-7.
In the 52nd minute, Seattle netted the match’s lone goal. Marco Pappa sent a corner kick to the middle of the box, where Dempsey approached the ball and hit a swinging, one-touch strike to the top right corner of the net.
Clint Dempsey goal sequence by Wilson Tsoi
Dempsey’s 11 goals marks his career high, and is tied-fifth in MLS. His four game-winning goals leads the team. Pappa has recorded three game-winning assists.
Obafemi Martins nearly added a second tally in the 68th minute but his shot from the top of the box bounced off the crossbar.
Stefan Frei made two saves en route to his eighth clean sheet of the season, which ranks first in MLS this season.
Sounders FC will face Chivas USA on Wednesday, Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
SEA- Clint Dempsey (Marco Pappa) 52′
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei, DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans (Chad Barrett 75′), Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Marco Pappa (Lamar Neagle 75′), Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins (Andy Rose 90’+2)
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Ford, Jalil Anibaba, Micheal Azira, Kenny Cooper
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Clint Dempsey, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Clint Dempsey, 3); FOULS: 12 (2 tied at 3); OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 3 (Marco Pappa, 3); SAVES: (2, Stefan Frei).
Colorado Rapids – Joe Nasco, Christopher Klute, Thomas Piermayr, Marvell Wynne, Marc Burch, Nick LaBrocca, Dillon Powers, Marlon Hairston (Gabriel Torres 60′), Dillon Serna (Charles Eloundou 79′), Edson Buddle, Deshorn Brown
Substitutes Not Used: Clint Irwin, Carlos Alvarez, Davy Armstrong, Kamani Hill, Grant van de Casteele
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Deshorn Brown, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Deshorn Brown, 2); FOULS: 12 (Edson Buddle, 4); OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 2 (Dillon Powers, 2); SAVES 5: (Joe Nasco, 5).
SEA- Brad Evans (caution) 40′
SEA- Zach Scott (caution) 62′
COL- Deshorn Brown (caution) 84′
COL- Thomas Piermayr (caution) 87′
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee’s Assistants: Frank Anderson, Mark Cahen
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Cloudy and 66 Degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
Sigi Schmid – Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach
(On the game…) “We thought they were going to be somewhat cautious and try to slow the game down for sure and make it difficult for us to get forward. I thought in the first half we didn’t quite spread the game enough. In the second half, we spread the game more and got in behind them more with better looks on goal. We scored off the set piece and sometimes games like that come down to set pieces. I’m proud of the fact that we got a shutout. I’m proud of the fact that it was a victory that we had to grind out coming off an emotional game last week, so I’m happy with the result.”
(On today’s lineup…) “We had a good game last week and there were no injuries so there was no need to change anything at this point. As we move forward, Marco Pappa leaves to join the Guatemalan side so we’ll have to make a change there. We have guys who are sitting on cards so the next yellow would make them sit out a game so there are always changes that end up forcing your hand so that’s why you have to have good reserve players. Again, it was just a reflection of rewarding the team that played well last week.”
(On Colorado’s lineup…) “The keeper switch surprised us a little bit. The last time we saw him was when we played against him when he was at Atlanta in the Open Cup so at least some guys knew who he was. We hoped he wasn’t carrying a gun since he was an ex-sheriff. It was a little bit of a surprise. The rest of the lineup we had pretty much, we weren’t too far off. We weren’t sure if (Thomas) Piermayr was going to be inside or outside and (Marc) Burch inside or outside. Those were the only ones that we missed on.”
(On playing wide…) “There’s always a frustration there. Like I said, I think we pinched in too much wide so as a result our forwards, to get the ball, went really deep because there was no space for them to check back into it. You noticed in the second half, when Marco (Pappa) played wider and (Brad) Evans was providing us width on the other side, then all of a sudden that space underneath opened up for Oba (Martins), opened up for (Clint) Dempsey and then you could see some combinations, some that they barely missed on. You could also see us getting in on the side. The corner came off a good run from Evans that resulted in a corner that resulted in a goal. So being able to go out wide opens up the middle.”
(On winning one-goal games…) “If you want to go far in the playoffs, you have to be able to win games like this. You have to be able to play to zero in the back. You have to be able to minimize the opponents’ chances. And sometimes you just have to make good use of your set pieces. Those are deciding factors and (we) were unlucky to not maybe get a couple more in the second half. (Joe) Nasco made a couple of big saves, then the one Oba (Martins) hit off the crossbar was another good effort. I was happy. You have to win different types of games.”
(On Seattle’s defense…) “Defensively they were good. I thought we kept play in front of us pretty much except for one time in the second half when they let Deshorn Brown get in behind us and run at us. They tried to clip a few balls over the top of our defense, but (Chad) Marshall and Zach (Scott) did a really good job with that so that forced them to play in front of us a little bit more. I thought we did a really good job of keeping the game in front of us and not allowing them to use their speed to get behind our back four. I thought we did well.”
(On gearing up for a game like this…) “One of the big things we talked about was we made a big statement last week, but a statement doesn’t mean anything unless you back it up. So this was back up time. Also when you come off an emotional game, it’s natural that your team is a little flatter as well. I thought we did a good job of backing up our statement, winning at home, getting the three points, getting the shutout – I think all of those were positives for us.”
(On Marco Pappa …) “(Marco Pappa’s) done a good job on our set pieces, although (Gonzalo) Pineda has done well with those as well. Luckily we have two guys that do well with that. Marco is a guy who helps us keep possession with passes for our team and when he gets wide on the left flank, is also a guy who can get Oba crosses and get behind the defenses in that way. I thought he had one really good chance and thought he was going to pull the trigger instead of trying to lay it through. He’s had a good season for us.”
Clint Dempsey – Sounders FC Forward
(On winning in a different way than last Sunday…) “Yeah I mean anytime you win it’s always a great feeling. It’s good for us to get on a little bit of a streak in terms of two wins in a row and it’s about keeping that going.”
(On the goal…) “Great ball in from Pappa, just tried to make sure I had good connection on it and tried to keep it low and it was able to go in.”
(On backing up the statement win against Portland…) “It’s about being more consistent, keeping our energy level high, and battle and work for each other and keep playing the style we know we’re capable of. I thought at times we played really well today.”
(On possibly losing confidence against a team that sits back…) “I feel like we have the same conversation every week we play at home. Most teams sit back and it opens up in the second half. In an ideal world if we can open the game up in the first half and get some goals I think it makes the game easier for you. It’s something that we’ll continue to work on but the most important thing is the three points and getting two wins in a row and trying to keep going from there.”
(On what they did in second half to open things up…) “I think our outside midfielders played a little bit more wide, kind of tried to open them up a little bit more. I think that creates a little bit more space in the middle, I think just giving different looks. I thought Leo got more involved in the game getting forward. [DeAndre Yedlin] got a little bit more involved in the game getting forward and we were able to get some good touches on the ball and tried to create some chances.”
(On getting momentum at end of season…) “Like we talked after the game it’s important to get points and stay at the table. You make playoffs, making sure that you go into playoffs on a run of form; you don’t want to limp in. You want to be playing well, playing confident and making sure you’re ready to hit the ground running once the playoffs starting.”
(On if they feel better about Supporter’s Shield again…) “We still have a lot of games left; we just have to keep working hard, keep taking one game at a time and if we can play our best then I can think that we can stay at the top of the table.”
Osvaldo Alonso – Sounders FC Midfielder
(On being patient against a team that sits back…) “Yeah they come here, pack the middle. You’ve got to patient, play wide and try to be more composed with the ball and I thought we did in the second half. We scored a goal and got the three points.”
(On being a disciplined team…) “Before the game Sigi told us we had to be patient. They come here to play in the middle. We got to keep the ball, play quick, and that’s what we did in the second half.”
(On Clint creating today…) “Clint’s a great player; he always brings energy. He always plays like that so we’re very happy he scored today and I hope he keeps scoring the rest of the season.”
(On adjusting from open game to a tighter game…) “Sometimes you have to prepare to play a different game; that’s what happened today. Like I said before we got the three points. The most important thing is we walk away with the result and keep forward.”
Chad Marshall – Sounders FC Defender
(On the result…) “It was communicating, playing hard. We know they’re a difficult matchup up top. They’ve got Edson who’s strong and a good hold-up player and when he sucks you out they like it to play it over the top to Deshorn and use his speed, try to get him 1-on-1. So, it was a tough matchup, just a lot of talk, knowing their strengths and trying to limit them.”
(On comfort with this group of defenders and communicating…) “At this point in the year anyone who comes in I think has a good understanding of the guys around them so yeah it’s been good and it was a solid performance.”
(On playing a grinding game after an open one…) “Yeah it’s not always going to pretty. You’re going to get teams-Colorado kind of sat in today. So we knew it was going to be tough for us to score but we got that one and we were able to keep them at zero so three points is good at home.”
(On teams trying to bring defenders up with balls in the air…) “Yeah I think Zach and I prefer those games. We like banging and going up for headers so anytime we get stuff like that we relish the opportunity.”
(On getting eighth shutout of the season…) “Yeah it’s huge. We didn’t start the year well, leaking weird goals so it’s nice to get shutouts and Stef’s been huge for us back there. Like we talked about earlier whoever’s in the back line has stepped up and done a great job and communicated well. It’s definitely a promising thing.”
Pablo Mastroeni – Colorado Rapids Head Coach
(On why he chose Nasco over Irwin…) “Really it was just to give Irwin a break. I think anytime you are conceding that many goals as a team, it plays on a player’s psyche-much like a forward that just can’t find the back of the net after so many games. It was a good opportunity to give Nasco some time.”
(On Nasco’s performance…) “I think he was very good. The same qualities I put him in for is what we saw today. We saw leadership from the back and multiple crosses. He was a very vocal player and played well today.”
(On shifting Thomas Piermayr to center back…) “He played center back in a reserve game last week and played well. I thought his composure in the back and ability to read plays as well as organize back there looked good during the week. I thought he did a good job keeping Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins quiet for the most part.”
(On defensive improvements made…) “I think we are much more solid defensively as a team. The guys had some great counterattacks that came from a good defensive positioning. More than anything everyone was just in more in tune to little moments during the run of play. To get beat on a set piece is really disheartening. Set pieces are opportunities where you can get your defense set up and never should be beaten so easily on a set piece. Experience hurts, but you have got to get dragged through it. It has to hurt enough until you learn from it and value your teammates enough so you don’t keep making the same mistakes. The attitude was right today for playing in such a difficult place against a team in good form. The silver lining is what I have been living on the last couple of matches. We are seeing steady improvements from such a young team, but at the moment we are making it difficult for ourselves to stay afloat in the playoff race.”
(On looking forward…) “This game is all about the next one. I think we’ve made some vast improvements defensively compared to any of the previous matches. It’s a process. It is steady improvements of good attacking with good defensive posture that’s going to enable us to get a result in every place. Every place and point moving forward is going to be difficult. I feel bad for the guys tonight to not get more out of this game because they fought really hard and played well. All we can do now is prepare for the next one.”
Dillon Powers – Colorado Rapids Midfielder
(On positives from the match…) “I think there are a lot of positives. We looked strong defensively throughout the entire game. Seattle is a high-powered offense, so they are always going to get chances, but I thought we did a great job limiting them. Their goal came off of a set piece, which just came down to situational defending.”
(On helping the team through adversity…) “It’s hard not to get hung up on results as you keep losing. The challenging part for me and for the staff is to keep to the focus on the crosses and how we’re playing and just trying to get better each game. I think we have done a good job at that. Internally we feel like we are still growing as a team-we are playing some good soccer-and the results haven’t come up.”
(On playing in Seattle…) “Last year when we were here we pulled out a tie and I feel like we played some decent soccer today. We didn’t create too many opportunities, but we are still a young squad out there and we are still learning. We are not going to get too down on ourselves from this result-Seattle is one of the best teams in the league with some very talented players, so we will just keep fighting.”
Marc Burch – Colorado Rapids Defender
(On positives from the match…) “I think everyone as a team fought really well. I thought we were mostly organized, but I let the team down today. I thought the team’s defending was a great and one set piece-Clint lost me, he dropped back and I should have been able to get ahold of him and I didn’t. It’s frustrating to let the team down, but as a team, only letting in one goal in the run we’ve been in from a set piece and not in the run of play, Joe (Nasco) played well and we had a lot of blocked shots. Again, I thought we played well, and I let the team down on one play today.”
(On helping the team through adversity…) “I think we did it today. That’s what is frustrating to me-I feel like I should be someone who gets us through moments like that and I screwed up today. With a team performance like this-the forwards were fighting, the midfielders were fighting, the defenders were on the front foot-against a very talented team, I think we stepped up and played toe-to-toe with them most of the game. That’s the good thing, and we have another game this week against one of the best teams in the league, so we got to go out there again, and I am not going to make the same mistake for the rest of the year, and hopefully we get at least a point when we go down there.”
(On returning to Seattle…) “It’s nice to come back. The majority of the fans still like me and it’s nice to come back to play. The environment is amazing and I think it’s the best place to play on the road. You get the feel of a big-time game. It’s nice to come back, but disappointing in the result.”
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