Just as there are good witches and bad witches, there also are good draws and bad draws. This strikes me as a pretty good draw, as the Sounders get a point while coming from behind at high altitude with 75 percent of its starting midfield missing. And that point keeps them alone in second place in the West, ahead of the Dynamo and Rapids. And they lost no ground to Chivas.
And when I got down to the Sounders locker room, that seemed to be their attitude, too.
"Like a win, almost," James Riley said. "We had a chance to win it at the end, and we almost clould have lost that game. Kasey made two out-of-this-world saves to keep us in the game and we kept battling and grinding away and those are the results that you have to grind out and these points will come to fruition at the end of the season."
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Coach Sigi Schmid had much the same attitude, and also was eager to praise Keller's performance.
"Kasey Keller played very well in the first half and kept us in the game with some very big saves," Schmid said. "… That's a big change when you've got an entirely new midfield that's playing together for the first time. I thought we were a little disjointed in the first half – our wide midfielders were a little too wide, so we gave them a lot of space. We knew they were a very direct team, and they got in behind us quite a few times. The second half, I thought we played a little bit better even though we gave up that early goal."
Seattle's tying goal came in the 76th minute when Riley made a steal that the Rapids thought was a handball. However, there was no whistle. And while the Rapids complained, Riley pushed forward.
"It was more ball-to-arm, to be honest," he said. "It was pretty high, so it's one of those that gets played. You've still got to complete the play. I kept playing it."
Riley sent a cross into the penalty area, where Montero won it and headed it down to Nate Jaqua, who notched his second goal of the season.
"Right place at the right time," Jaqua said. "But it feels good to get the back of the net."
Seattle's fourth straight draw leaves them with a 4-2-4 record, which keeps them ahead of Houston (4-2-3) and Colorado (3-2-4) in the standings.
As for that mile-high altitude, none of the Sounders reported much of a problem with that either.
"It wasn't actually too bad, I didn't think," Riley said. "They're just a good team in general; so our spacing was a bit off, and I think we ran a bit more than we wanted to. But I've definitely played here where it's 10 times worse. I thought it was all right."
"I thought the last 10 or 15 minutes we were still running," Schmid said.
And as for all that nasty pre-game weather ... it went away. It was still raining a bit as I left the stadium, but the really bad stuff went through before the game and weather didn't seem to be much of a factor.
The teams will see each other again Tuesday – closer to sea level. The Rapids will travel to Starfire Sports Stadium for a U.S. Open Cup play-in match at Starfire Sports Complex. The winner advances to the round of 16. (Last I heard, some tickets remain.) But Sigi had no interest in discussing that tonight.
Seattle will return to league play -- and Qwest Field -- Saturday against Sigi's old team, the Columbus Crew.
76th minute: James Riley sent a long pass into the box, Montero went up and headed it down to Nate Jaqua, who finished in the goal area. 2-2.
Elsewhere around the league, Chivas and Kansas City tied, and Houston beat San Jose.
47th minute: Conor Casey made a sweet move into the penalty area and fired a shot that Keller got a hand on but couldn't redirect enough. Rapids, 2-1.
Halftime: 1-1. It's been a thriller, with both defenses seemingly walking the tightrope a lot of the time. Colorado's offense is clicking like Seattle's did those first three weeks.
It does not feel like yet another 1-1 draw is in store.
26th minute: Colorado pulls even as Omar Cummings got past Nathan Sturgis down the right side, carried almost all the way to the end line and then sent it across to Colin Clark, who finished from close range. 1-1.
17th minute: Fredy Montero put a shot on goal that was blocked by Colorado keeper Matt Pickens. However, the block went back to Montero, who got it across the line on the second try.
1st minute: The Sounders have substituted Stephen King for Osvaldo Alonso, who went down in the first minute with what is being called a a right quad strain, which had begun to tighten at the end of warmups.
Kickoff: We've begun.
6:25: Pregame ceremonies almost done. This looks like this could be an OK crowd, but oddly distributed. The south end zone -- to the right on your TV screen -- is almost full. The sidelines mostly empty.
There is a small but notable clump of rave-green-wearing Sounders supporters in the northwest corner of the stands.
Sounders in their usual road green/green. Colorado wearing maroon tops and white shorts.
6:10 The Sounders have just released their lineup. Peter Vagenas will make his Seattle debut as a starter. James Riley and Nathan Sturgis are both back.
I'm also told the Sounders midfield will line up pretty much across the field, giving up the more diamond shape they've usually had with Ljungberg starting.
Here's the lineup:
GK: Kasey Keller
RD: James Riley
CD: Tyrone Marshall
CD: Jhon Kennedy Hurtado
LD: Nathan Sturgis
RMF: Sebastien Le Toux
CMF: Osvaldo Alonso
CMF: Peter Vagenas
LMF: Steve Zakuani
FW: Fredy Montero
FW: Nate Jaqua
GK: Ben Dragavon
DF: Patrick Ianni
DF: Taylor Graham
MF: Sanna Nyassi
FW: Roger Levesque
MF: Stephen King
DF: Tyson Wahl
Here's how the Rapids are starting: GK Pickens; D Ihemelu, Gibbs, Palguta, Harvey; M LaBrocca, Ballouchy, Mastroeni, Clark; F Casey, Cummings.
Captains are Keller and Mastroeni.
5:50 p.m. We'll go with what passes for our normal game-day blogging here. I'll pop in with pregame news as it happens -- lineups should be coming any minute. Then I'll report in as goals or other events demand during the game. After, I'll head down for notes and quotes. And as always, comments before and after the game are welcome.
If I stop blogging for any long period of time, just assume I was electrocuted from a raindrop hitting my keyboard.
5:48: The Rapids are out on the pitch for warmups.
There is a very distinct sectionalized sky above. Pretty much everything to the north is dark and nasty looking. Everything to the south is clear or just with fluffy white clouds. This is probably good news, as I believe this system was coming in from the south.
5:45 p.m. I just took a walk around DSG Park. In a lot of ways, it's like Pizza Hut Park in Dallas/Frisco/South Oklahoma. Which is to say, it's a very nice soccer-specific stadium well away from the downtown area and surrounded by youth soccer fields.
Dick's prime architectural feature is a cool roof made in uneven sections that kind of evoke -- I guess -- the Rockies. Another nice touch is that while most of the seats are gray, there are white seats on each side, one side spelling out "Colorado" and the other "Rapids." That sort of evokes a an English ground somehow.
There is a concourse that circles the field, sort of like the main level of Safeco, where you can keep an eye on the game as you run for concessions.
Both parks have free parking, which is a nice touch.
At stadium: There is some rough weather passing through Commerce City now, a little under two hours until gametime. I got to the stadium though some driving rain that turned some local roads into lakes. The local weather reports were talking about hail mixed into some of the storm and also a couple of funnel clouds being sighted in the area.
The main system seems to be moving from through the area from the south, and could me passed by game time. However, there apparently are a lot of little storms dotting the area, so I'd expect some rain and wind through at least part of the game.
Naturally, Dick's Sporting Goods Park has an outdoor press box.