The Seattle Sounders beat the Colorado Rapids in a prosaic 1-nil victory Wednesday night to top the table!
It was a beautiful early summer’s evening by Elliot Bay, with the sun set casting downtown in pink, violet and gold, but the soccer didn’t match. The Sounders won a gritty game against a stalwart Colorado defense. Good teams, teams that want to contend for championships, gets point in midweek games at home against lesser opponents. No excuses, damn the ascetics, just get results.
To be fair, the Rapids play tough soccer and field a top-flight defense. They made it hard on Seattle. The game featured fouls galore. Colorado had something like 6 in the first 20 minutes, and seemingly tackled any Sounder the moment they had the ball at their feet. The game got chippy and the Sounders, led by Ozzie, almost caught up on fouls midway through the second half. The official stats lists the fouls as 12-8 Colorado, but the ref let lots of rough play slide, on both sides.
Oh yeah, the ref. Making last night’s game even tougher was the unfortunate presence of Ricardo Salazar as head official. I think, though I am not certain, that this was the first game Salazar officiated involving Seattle since June 1st 2013. That game was an easy 2-0 win over Chivas, but Salazar did his thing showing Oba red (thankfully MLS later rescinded the card). Salazar was the fourth official in our 1-0 loss to the Timbers in Portland at the end of the 2013 season, the game where Ozzie saw straight red, but I believe that was it. Until tonight. Doing his part to thwart Seattle, Salazar repeatedly gave Colorado dangerous freekicks, dead center of the pitch just outside our box. Thank god the Rapids have an inept attack or we could’ve been Salazar’ed.
Salazar hasn’t been involved with a Sounders match for quite some time. I almost–only almost–forgot about him. Then I think of the 2012 USOC Final and my blood boils. For a quick reminder of how terrible a referee he is, check out this oldie but goldie link from Joshua Mayers days on the Times’ Sounders beat.
Top of the table. Check. Leading ppg. Check. Things are starting to come together for Seattle. ;et’s just hope MLS doesn’t get the crazy idea that Salazar should be officiating more Sounders games. Especially ones involving Portland.