The Seattle Sounders edged the Colorado Rapids 1-0 in a match made to close for comfort* by the home side's inability to convert clear-cut scoring chances. The Sounders dominated for much of the game but found themselves having to wait for the second half to score against a resolute Rapids defence whose task was made far simpler by their opponents' complete lack of a cutting edge.
*From Seattle's perspective.
The big storyline before the match, of course, was Brian Mullan's presence at CenturyLink field. The midfielder, who was guilty of a brutal challenge that broke the leg of crowd favourite Steve Zakuani in 2011, had not been forgiven nor forgotten, and Mullen was the subject of some rather lusty booing from the Seattle faithful. Meanwhile, the Sounders were having to do without ace midfielder Alvaro Fernando, who was sidelined with a quad injury, leaving the hosts without two of their top attacking players with Mauro Rosales also out.
It showed. Alex Caskey and David Estrada might be interesting prospects, and Eddie Johnson was once a top striker, but all three disappointed in supporting roles to Fredy Montero, who found himself forced to do things more or less on his own. That nearly didn't stop him - the Colombian forced Matt Pickens into a flying save five minutes in - but the attacking play in general was nowhere near as coherent as you'd expect from Seattle.
Meanwhile, the defence was looking solid save for the occasional complete lapse in judgement by Zach Scott, who nearly managed to concede the opener single-handedly when he let Omar Cummings ghost straight past him half an hour in. Michael Gspurning was on hand to save the initial shot, and although the rebound was converted by the much-hated Mullan, the offside flag bailed the Sounders out.
Fortunately for the hosts, that was the last major threat that the Rapids would offer and Seattle spent the rest of the match probing Pickens' area. Eventually, the breakthrough came through Caskey and Scott, whose contribution to the opener rather made up for their otherwise mediocre play. Caskey flashed a corner to the near post, where the right back got away from his marker (it was probably Jeff Larentowicz, but the assignment was blown so badly it's hard to tell) and finished brilliantly with a glancing header.
It was all Seattle needed, although they'd continue to generate and waste chances, with substitute Sammy Ochoa hilariously profligate. Pickens was forced into a fine save at the death by Montero as the striker attempted to notch his first goal of the season with an incredibly cheeky half-volley, but that was the last major action of the game. With three points, the Sounders won't rue their wastefulness too much, but it's certainly something to improve.
Meanwhile, Colorado should probably think about the way they offered virtually nothing in the second half - a continuous holding action is pretty much always doomed to failure, and basically the only thing the visitors accomplished was a dust-up involving (who else?) Mullan and Montero after the former had fouled Osvaldo Alonso.