SEATTLE - If the 36,424 at CenturyLink Field came to see scoring, they got what they wanted and more on Saturday afternoon.
The Sounders FC and Colorado Rapids battled back and forth throughout the match, but in the end, the fireworks celebrating Sounders goals outnumbered the quiet celebrations near the Colorado bench and Seattle won 4-3.
“Who says soccer’s not exciting?” quipped Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “Obviously the character we showed again coming back after being down twice was superb. My hat'’s off to the team in that regard. If you came to today’s game and you didn’t enjoy it then you don’t enjoy sports.”
The Rapids scored in the 1st minute and the 89th minute, but the Sounders dominated everything in between and moved to 6-0-3 in their last nine matches.
Seattle got goals from four different players and three players registered multiple points en route to a victory in the highest scoring MLS match in club history.
“We’re scoring goals right now and that’s the most important thing, no matter if they come in the first minute, seventh minute, or whatever it was today,” said midfielder Brad Evans. “We get two late past the 80th minute mark, so we’re putting the ball into the back of the net, we’re finding good ways to score.”
Wells Thompson scored an unassisted goal in the 1st minute, collecting a loose ball at the top of the box and shooting it inside the right post for his first goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
The Sounders immediately began pressing for the equalizer, pushing Alvaro Fernandez up the left side and peppering the Colorado box with crosses from either side.
It didn’t take long for them to find the back of the net.
Osvaldo Alonso sent a ball up to Fernandez, who beat defender Kosuke Kimura to the ball, then slid around him to get the ball to his right foot and shoot past Matt Pickens for his fifth goal of the season in the 7th minute.
Before the half, though, Colorado was able to reclaim the lead when Jeff Larentowicz took a pass from Thompson at the top of the box, hitting the inside of the right post and bouncing it into the net for his fourth goal of the season and a 2-1 Rapids lead in the 42nd minute.
“The nice part of what we’re doing right now is that we’re able to pick our guys up. When somebody makes a mistake, there’s no heads down,” Keller said. “It’s just a case of, ‘Let’s get on with it.’ We know we can do better and we know we can score goals. It’s a great feeling when you know you can score goals.”
After the half, the Sounders came out blazing.
In the 48th minute, Mauro Rosales twisted a cross in from the right side after chasing down an ball from Alonso. Roger Levesque slid to the near post and redirected a shot past Pickens inside the far post to again equalize for the Sounders. It was the third goal of the season for Levesque and the team-leading sixth assist for Rosales.
That score held for much of the second half, but second-half substitute Evans had a couple of opportunities to give Seattle their first lead of the match. He wasn’t alone though. Alonso and Rosales both had strong attempts cleared by Pickens.
In the 82nd minute, he was defenseless when Evans got into the right corner of the box and crossed the ball to the far post. It took a slight deflection, but found Fredy Montero for a diving header to give Seattle the 3-2 lead.
Just 75 seconds later, Montero lead Rosales into the box with a lofted ball over the top of the Colorado defense. Rosales measured his shot and powered it past Pickens for a 4-2 lead.
“We never give up,” Rosales said. “They scored against us and we always work out to come back in the game. We score important goals in that game and I’m very happy about that.”
Caleb Folan knocked in a rebound off a corner kick in the 89th minute, but the Sounders left no doubt as to the result by playing out the final minutes with the ball mostly in Colorado’s end.
The win lifts the Sounders, unbeaten in their last nine in MLS play and 11 overall, to 10-4-8 (38 points). Colorado falls to 6-6-9 (27 points).
The Sounders will host Manchester United in an international friendly on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field. They were scheduled to also host the Philadelphia Union on July 23, but that match was rescheduled to accommodate a friendly match for the Union. Instead, their next MLS match will be July 30 in Houston against the Dynamo. They will also play in the preliminary round of the CONCACAF Champions League on July 26 with a match in Panama against San Francisco.
Sounders FC - Alvaro Fernandez (Osvaldo Alonso) 7; Roger Levesque (Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso) 48; Fredy Montero 82; Mauro Rosales (Fredy Montero) 84.
Rapids - Wells Thompson 1; Jeff Larentowicz (Wells Thompson, Omar Cummings) 42; Caleb Folan 90.
Sounders FC - Fredy Montero (caution) 27; Roger Levesque (caution) 69.
Rapids - Pablo Mastroeni (caution) 19; Conor Casey (caution) 25; Wells Thompson (caution) 79.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke, Tyson Wahl, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg (Brad Evans 73), Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 71), Fredy Montero (Nate Jaqua 90), Roger Levesque.
Rapids - Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Sanna Nyassi (Ross LaBauex 80), Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson, Omar Cummings (Andre Akpan 86), Conor Casey (Caleb Folan 38).