The Rapids arrived with a five-game losing streak, having given up 15 goals along that way. So, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid anticipated that they would play conservatively at Seattle, and that’s largely what happened. The Sounders and Rapids combined for 22 shots, just one more than the Timbers alone had taken six days earlier.
However, for all the cautiousness of the Rapids’ game plan, they made one dramatic move that even Schmid admits he hadn’t seen coming: starting Joe Nasco in goal for the first appearance of his MLS career.
Nasco is a 30-year-old rookie who walked away from the game in 2010 to become a full-time deputy sheriff in Calhoun, Georgia. He returned through pick-up games, then with second-division Atlanta, and finally with the Rapids.
“The keeper switch surprised us a little bit,” Schmid said. “The last time we saw him was when we played against him when he was in Atlanta in the Open Cup. So at least some guys knew who he was and were familiar with him.”
Nasco had started for the Silverbacks in the Sounders’ 5-1 win in that 2012 meeting. Current Sounders Osvaldo Alonso and Andy Rose were among those who scored on him that day.
In his MLS debut, Nasco faced 12 shots and saved five of the six that were put on goal.
Here's some of what the Rapids had to say (unfortunately with no Nasco quotes among them):
Pablo Mastroeni - Colorado Rapids Head Coach(On why he chose Nasco over Irwin...) "Really it was just to give Irwin a break. I think anytime you are conceding that many goals as a team, it plays on a player's psyche-much like a forward that just can't find the back of the net after so many games. It was a good opportunity to give Nasco some time." (On Nasco's performance...) "I think he was very good. The same qualities I put him in for is what we saw today. We saw leadership from the back and multiple crosses. He was a very vocal player and played well today."(On shifting Thomas Piermayr to center back...) "He played center back in a reserve game last week and played well. I thought his composure in the back and ability to read plays as well as organize back there looked good during the week. I thought he did a good job keeping Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins quiet for the most part." (On defensive improvements made...) "I think we are much more solid defensively as a team. The guys had some great counterattacks that came from a good defensive positioning. More than anything everyone was just in more in tune to little moments during the run of play. To get beat on a set piece is really disheartening. Set pieces are opportunities where you can get your defense set up and never should be beaten so easily on a set piece. Experience hurts, but you have got to get dragged through it. It has to hurt enough until you learn from it and value your teammates enough so you don't keep making the same mistakes. The attitude was right today for playing in such a difficult place against a team in good form. The silver lining is what I have been living on the last couple of matches. We are seeing steady improvements from such a young team, but at the moment we are making it difficult for ourselves to stay afloat in the playoff race." (On looking forward...) "This game is all about the next one. I think we've made some vast improvements defensively compared to any of the previous matches. It's a process. It is steady improvements of good attacking with good defensive posture that's going to enable us to get a result in every place. Every place and point moving forward is going to be difficult. I feel bad for the guys tonight to not get more out of this game because they fought really hard and played well. All we can do now is prepare for the next one."
Dillon Powers - Colorado Rapids Midfielder(On positives from the match...) "I think there are a lot of positives. We looked strong defensively throughout the entire game. Seattle is a high-powered offense, so they are always going to get chances, but I thought we did a great job limiting them. Their goal came off of a set piece, which just came down to situational defending." (On helping the team through adversity...) "It's hard not to get hung up on results as you keep losing. The challenging part for me and for the staff is to keep to the focus on the crosses and how we're playing and just trying to get better each game. I think we have done a good job at that. Internally we feel like we are still growing as a team-we are playing some good soccer-and the results haven't come up." (On playing in Seattle...) "Last year when we were here we pulled out a tie and I feel like we played some decent soccer today. We didn't create too many opportunities, but we are still a young squad out there and we are still learning. We are not going to get too down on ourselves from this result-Seattle is one of the best teams in the league with some very talented players, so we will just keep fighting." Marc Burch - Colorado Rapids Defender(On positives from the match...) "I think everyone as a team fought really well. I thought we were mostly organized, but I let the team down today. I thought the team's defending was a great and one set piece-Clint lost me, he dropped back and I should have been able to get ahold of him and I didn't. It's frustrating to let the team down, but as a team, only letting in one goal in the run we've been in from a set piece and not in the run of play, Joe (Nasco) played well and we had a lot of blocked shots. Again, I thought we played well, and I let the team down on one play today." (On helping the team through adversity...) "I think we did it today. That's what is frustrating to me-I feel like I should be someone who gets us through moments like that and I screwed up today. With a team performance like this-the forwards were fighting, the midfielders were fighting, the defenders were on the front foot-against a very talented team, I think we stepped up and played toe-to-toe with them most of the game. That's the good thing, and we have another game this week against one of the best teams in the league, so we got to go out there again, and I am not going to make the same mistake for the rest of the year, and hopefully we get at least a point when we go down there." (On returning to Seattle...) "It's nice to come back. The majority of the fans still like me and it's nice to come back to play. The environment is amazing and I think it's the best place to play on the road. You get the feel of a big-time game. It's nice to come back, but disappointing in the result."