COMMERCE CITY, COLO. – Sounders FC’s two All-Stars each provided a goal Saturday night, sending Seattle past the Colorado Rapids, 2-1.
Eddie Johnson got the first goal of the night and his ninth of the season in the second minute. Then, after Colorado had equalized, Osvaldo Alonso volleyed in the game-winner, assisted by Johnson.
“Obviously, they deserved to be on the All-Star team – based on the season that Eddie’s been having, and Ozzie I think deserved an All-Star appearance long before he got one,” coach Sigi Schmid said.
The result at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park moves Seattle to 9-5-7 and into third place in the MLS Western Conference.
Colorado fell to 7-14-1 with its club-record-tying sixth consecutive loss.
It also capped a wild four days for the All-Star pair.
On Wednesday, they were in Pennsylvania, where Johnson’s goal in stoppage time sent MLS All-Stars past Chelsea FC. On Thursday, they flew back to Seattle. On Friday, they endured the Sounders’ delayed flight to Colorado. And Saturday, they were back in rave green.
“The decision to come back to Seattle was we didn’t want them at altitude for 48 hours,” Schmid said. “We know that altitude, between 48 and 72 hours is when it has its biggest impact on you.”
While Schmid said he doesn’t like even talking about altitude, he admitted that the gusty winds made a difference Saturday, with both clubs feeling free to fire from long distance.
The game started as though it could be a wild one, with each team scoring before the game was four minutes old.
In the second minute, Mauro Rosales launched a corner kick and Johnson rose above the defenders and headed it home.
He said it was more satisfying than the game-winner against Chelsea.
“You’re only known for your last game, and I enjoyed this game more,” he said. “This game means something. The Chelsea game is more for the fans and the city of Philadelphia and all the MLS fans. This means more to me.
“Everything else is a bonus; but right now I’m employed by the Seattle Sounders, and I’m just trying to pay them back for all the sacrifices they did in acquiring me.”
However, the lead lasted only seconds as a cross from Brian Mullan made it all the way through the Seattle defense and to Drew Moor at the far post, who knocked it past goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
Yes, Gspurning, who was making his first appearance since going out with a hip injury May 2.
“My shutout after coming back was exactly two and a half minutes,” he said. “But we have to watch the video. I think the ball was a pretty good ball coming to the middle, but we can’t let it through like this.”
The game calmed after that, and the clubs remained even until the 65th minute when the Sounders scored on a sequence from Alex Caskey to Johnson and finally to Alonso who volleyed in the game-winner.
It stood up as the game-winner despite lots of Colorado possession and chances, including a solid chance by Conor Casey that Gspurning stopped with a sprawling fingertip save.
“Having (Gspurning) back in there for us, it gives everybody more confidence because they know the quality he had, and we’ve certainly missed him,” Schmid said. “Not to take anything away from the goalkeepers who have played while he’s gone, but he’s a guy who’s got that veteran presence.”email@example.com 253-597-8808 blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt