COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Many may have expected the Sounders FC to breathe a sigh of relief after posting their first victory of the 2013 season. Instead, it was business as usual.
At least, it was after they sang in celebration of a road victory.
Obafemi Martins scored his first goal as a Sounder and goalkeeper Michael Gspurning made three saves to post his second straight shutout as the Sounders fought off a late surge from the Rapids to post a 1-0 win to improve to 1-3-2 on the season.
“It means a lot. To a certain extent we really don’t care how we played because we really needed a win,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. "We had a little bit of good fortune in the back, but it’s about time we got some good fortune.”
In the 27th minute at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Martins scored his first goal of the season to put the Sounders up 1-0.
Lamar Neagle played the ball across from the right side and Steve Zakuani layed it off for Shalrie Joseph to take a shot from the top of the box. Clint Irwin made the save, but the rebound fell right to Martins, who took a touch to his right and shot it inside the right post for the goal. He then turned a cartwheel-backflip combination in celebration.
“Our fans can see what he brings to the table,” Schmid said. “Everytime we see the backflip, I know we scored, so I’m not worried.”
The goal cracked a 225-minute shutout streak for the Rapids.
Neagle nearly added to that lead in the 29th minute, running up the right side and shooting for the far corner, only to have his shot carom off the crossbar and sail away for a Colorado throw.
Colorado would threaten on several occasions, but didn’t register a shot on goal in the first half.
In the 56th minute Dillon Powers got the ball at the top of the box, but his curling left-footed shot missed just wide of the post and Seattle maintained their 1-0 lead.
Gspurning then made a stellar save in the 60th minute. Atiba Harris got to a header in the box off a ball from the right side, knocking it just out of reach for Gspurning diving to his right, but hitting it off the crossbar. Danny Mwanga crashed to the ball and headed it back toward the open goal, but Gspurning dove back to his left to make the stop.
“We weren’t tight enough sometimes, but we knew that Colorado is a very physical team,” Gspurning said. “We did a great job to defend and get the three points.”
Neagle managed another blistering shot in the 72nd minute on a run on the left side, but Irwin made the parrying save to give Seattle the corner kick.
Colorado would continue to put up a fight though and in stoppage time, Drew Moor got his head to a Jamie Smith free kick, but Gspurning was there for the save and Seattle held on for the victory.
“It’s good to get it behind us and now we can move on,” Schmid said. “The West is pretty tight, so if we can win the games we have in hand, we’re going to be back in the mix for a playoff spot.”
The Sounders won’t play another regular season match until May 4 against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park.
Sounders FC – Obafemi Martins 27.
Rapids – None.
Sounders FC – Djimi Traore (caution) 67; Leo Gonzalez (caution) 84.
Rapids – Dillon Powers (caution) 41.
Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Shalrie Joseph, Steve Zakuani (Alex Caskey 70), Lamar Neagle (Marc Burch 89), Obafemi Martins (Mauro Rosales 61).
Rapids – Clint Irwin, Brian Mullan, Marvell Wynne (Shane O’Neill 55), Drew Moor, Chris Klute, Tony Cascio (Jamie Smith 77), Hendry Thomas, Dillon Powers, Nick LaBrocca (Kamani Hill 46), Danny Mwanga, Atiba Harris.