Unlikely Hero Lifts Sounders
By MATT GASCHK
Sounders FC Insider
SEATTLE – There is only one Sounder that head coach Sigi Schmid would consider less likely to score a game-winning goal than Zach Scott.
“Michael Gspurning,” Schmid smiled. “I think he’d probably be a little more unlikely.”
Scott had played 2,048 minutes in MLS play without a goal and hadn’t scored since putting the USL Sounders up 1-0 in a 1-1 draw with the Rochester Rhinos on May 14, 2008. But on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field, he scored his first in MLS, netting a 63rd minute header off of an Alex Caskey corner kick to give the Sounders FC a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids.
“My wife and mom have been on my case lately about putting one of those away,” Scott said. “So hopefully I made them proud.”
The Sounders outshot the Rapids 18-4, Gspurning needing just one save to earn his third shutout of the season as Seattle improved to 3-1-1 (10 points).
Six of Seattle’s shots came after Scott’s goal, as Colorado’s bunkered-in defense opened up after Seattle took the lead. Although the bulk of their chances came later in the match, Seattle also put Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens under pressure early.
Fredy Montero forced Pickens into his first save in the fifth minute, taking the ball up the left side and hitting a left-footed shot toward the far post only to have the Colorado ‘keeper paw it away for the save.
Gspurning had his only save in the 33rd minute when he stopped an Omar Cummings shot. Brian Mullan put back the rebound, but was flagged offside and the match stayed scoreless.
Montero continued to mount the pressure in the second half, with a 53rd minute free kick missing just wide of the post and a shot from distance in the 62nd minute resulting in a corner kick.
Moments later, Caskey earned his first MLS assist, finding Scott on a near-post run where the veteran defender headed it inside the far post for the 1-0 lead.
“That was extremely exciting. I found out later that that was Zach’s first goal so it made me feel even better,” Caskey said. “And then, of course, it was great to get the win at home.”
Montero had three shots in the final half-hour and David Estrada had two more, but the Sounders couldn’t add to their lead, holding off the Colorado attack for the 1-0 victory as they head into a two-week break before their next MLS match.
“We are pleased with the 1-0 win. Another shutout for our defense, which is a good thing,” Schmid said. “It was great because obviously when you’re going into the break you’d rather go into the break with a win underneath you as your last game because you don’t want to stew on your last result. So from that aspect it was important.”
The Sounders FC’s next MLS match will come April 28 at Toyota Park against the Chicago Fire, who are 1-1-1 (4 points) through three matches. The Fire will face the Houston Dynamo Sunday at 4 pm Pacific on Galavision, then next Saturday meet Toronto FC at 12:30 pm Pacific on NBC Sports. Seattle’s next home match will be Wednesday, May 2, against the LA Galaxy.
Sounders FC – Zach Scott (Alex Caskey) 63.
Rapids – None.
Sounders FC – Eddie Johnson (caution) 47; Zach Scott (caution) 49; Fredy Montero (caution) 87.
Rapids – Brian Mullan (caution) 87.
Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez, David Estrada, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alex Caskey (Marc Burch 74), Fredy Montero (Roger Levesque 91+), Eddie Johnson (Sammy Ochoa 66).
Rapids – Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Luis Zapata, Jeff Larentowicz, Martin Rivero, Jaime Castrillon (Kamani Hill 69), Brian Mullan, Omar Cummings, Tony Cascio (Andre Akpan 83).