The Seattle Sounders fell 2-0 against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night. Despite holding possession for large swaths of the match, goals either side of halftime from Rapids striker Andre Shinyashiki doomed the Rave Green on the road.
With Emanuel Cecchini and Nicolás Lodeiro lining up in central midfield, the Sounders looked to dictate tempo on the road. It almost paid off early, as Harry Shipp put Justin Dhillon through on goal, but Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin raced off his line and made a smart save.
The Rapids nearly broke the deadlock around the half-hour mark, but Stefan Frei produced three incredible saves to keep it scoreless. Shinyashiki eventually put the Rapids ahead in the 41st minute, catching everyone off guard with a first-time shot from a tight angle that rocketed into the roof of the net.
Protecting a lead, the Rapids sat back a bit in the second half, looking to hit on the counter. That strategy paid off in the 70th minute, as Shinyashiki finished off a clinical transition play with a tap-in at the back post.
The Rapids should have added a third towards the end of the match, but Frei pulled off what has to be considered an MLS Save of the Season contender.
With ten First Team players missing through international duty, Saturday’s road fixture was always going to be difficult. The lack of in-game chemistry was apparent, as the Sounders controlled possession for long spells in both halves but struggled to converted that into chances. That played into the Rapids’ hands at times, especially after they went ahead, as they looked to soak up pressure before throwing numbers forward on the break.
SWEET STEFAN FREI
The box score could have been a lot uglier if not for the individual heroics of Frei. Seattle’s ‘keeper pulled off six saves on the evening. Even though several were well-placed shots from close range, he made them look routine with his footwork and solid hands. His save in the 86th minute, however, has to immediately be considered one of the best stops in 2019.
Called up to the First Team through the Extreme Hardship mechanism, Tacoma Defiance winger and Sounders Academy alum Shandon Hopeau was bright in his MLS debut. A dynamic, dangerous winger, the 20-year-old Hawaiian showed flashes of real promise with his technical ability and willingness to run at defenders.