Zach Scott

Frei's MLS-leading 8th clean sheet a point of pride for entire Sounders rearguard

At CenturyLink Field, teams tend to bunker in and play a defensive style against Sounders FC.  That’s no problem for the league’s top team, as Seattle improved to 9-3-1 at home with a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.

Facing a Rapids team that had scored five goals in its last two matches, Seattle knew it would need a focused defensive effort to get a result. That discipline helped earn the club’s sixth home clean sheet.  Seattle’s back four of DeAndre Yedlin on the right, Leo Gonzalez on the left, and a central pair of Chad Marshall and Zach Scott limited the Rapids to just two shots on goal, both of which were scooped up easily by Frei to earn his league-leading eighth shutout of the season.

“Defensively, they were good.  I thought we kept the play in front of us pretty much,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid.  “They tried to clip a few balls over the top of our defense, but Marshall and Zach did a really good job with that.  So that forced them to play in front of us.  We didn’t allow them to use their speed to get behind our back four.”

Throughout the afternoon, Marshall and Scott were heading away balls lofted forward by Colorado, who sought to bypass the midfield tandem of Gonzalo Pineda and Osvaldo Alonso for most of the match.

Seattle’s central defenders ate up those aerial passes to keep the Rapids from gaining much offensive footing. Frei only needed to make a pair of saves off shots from Deshorn Brown in the 61st and 74th minutes.

“We’re just communicating and playing hard,” Marshall said.  “I think at this point in the year, anyone who comes in has a good understanding of the guys around him.  It’s been good and it was a solid performance today.”

Saturday was Seattle’s second shutout in its last three home matches, bringing Frei’s goals against average at CenturyLink Field down to 0.85.

As Seattle continues down the path to the postseason, those results are becoming more critical.
“We didn’t start the year well, leaking weird goals.  So it’s nice to get shutouts,” Marshall said.  “Stef’s been huge for us back there and whoever has stepped in in the backline has done well.  It’s definitely a promising thing.”