The Sounders took over the top spot in MLS on Wednesday night with a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids. While resting some starters and having some return the Sounders looked much more comfortable than they did on Saturday against Kansas City. Here are three things that stood out.
Sounders Putting Teams to Sleep
The Sounders have been about the possession all season long and it was apparent on Wednesday as they made the Rapids play chase for a majority of the game. The Sounders held the ball for 69 percent of the possession for the game and completed 667 passes. The Sounders dominated the Rapids in the first half with 76 percent of the possession and a goal. On a night when Oba and Clint didn’t look as sharp as they usually are those are impressive numbers. The only time the Rapids started to look dangerous was in the last couple minutes of the where the Sounders started to lose the ball on bad giveaways.
Rose and Roldan
Andy Rose and Cristian Roldan had solid games on Wednesday that propelled the Sounders to a win. Roldan kept the ball alive to cross it in the box that deflected and reached Pappa on the goal. Roldan is a tenacious player who is always in the game and looking to strike. He made great runs all night and had two good chances to grab a goal for the Sounders. Roldan has spark. Something the Sounders have been trying to find on the wing opposite from Pappa all year long.
If Roldan keeps playing this way he just might find himself starting on a more regular basis. Andy Rose had another solid game for the Sounders. This shows the depth of the Sounders bench as Rose came in and did what was needed. He looked sharpe in the middle and pushed up to help in the attack. He was steady in possession and added danger in the air with his size. Rose has the tendency to play higher up the field than Pineda and it creates a bit more of a dynamic in the midfield with Alonso and allows Pappa to stay out wide where he belongs. Both of these young players have showed a lot of promise in the minutes they have been on the field this season and are going to be key for the Sounders as the Open Cup approaches.
Three Shutouts in a Row
The Sounders defense is doing its job and while there are still some shaky moments, the numbers are starting to talk. Wednesday marked the third shutout in a row for the Sounders and now the Sounders have the least goals against in the MLS. The Sounders also have the highest goal differential in the league. Besides the two games we would like to forget against San Jose and Columbus, thanks Brad Evans, the defense has been solid and contributing. Mears has had a great season at right back and has been key in possessing the ball out of the back.
Even on Wednesday without Remick or Marshall the defense didn’t seem to miss a beat. Zach Scott came in and was his brutish self and Leo Gonzalez gave a solid performance. This team is playing defense much better than last year and it will be interesting to see how the chemistry grows as we get further into the season. An MLS cup winning team needs to have interchangeable parts and its looks like the Sounders might finally be getting there.