COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Robin Fraser-era remains perfect.
“They just picked it up and ran with it,” Fraser said. “The front group did a really good job about bringing pressure higher up the field. The resiliency of the group is the first thing that jumps out to me.”
Sporting a fresh look of bleached blonde hair and matching mustache, Rapids striker Andre Shinyashiki tallied a brace in the win.
“My reaction as I was replaying it in my head was: That was brilliant,” said Fraser. “It was really a great moment because they had worked really hard for it.”
With at least 14 outfield players out due to a combination of international duty, injury and suspension, Seattle (13-9-7, 46 points) was forced to call up two players from its USL affiliate Tacoma Defiance. Six of the Sounders starting XI had seen less than 1,000 minutes this season, and Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer only brought 16 players for the road trip.
Colorado (9-6-14, 33 points) was also missing key contributors with top goal scorers Kei Kamara (Sierra Leone) and Diego Rubio (Chile) away on international duty. Starting goalkeeper Tim Howard (hamstring) was out due to injury.
But with a relatively inexperienced lineup, Seattle found itself under pressure early and often in the first half.
Colorado took a 1-0 lead on Shinyashiki’s first goal. On a cross from Sam Nicholson, Jonathan Lewis backheeled to Shinyashiki, who buried the effort near post in the 41st minute.
By the end of the first half, the Rapids dominated attacking play with 11 shots to the Sounders’ two, including four on-target efforts.
Lewis, who had a brace last week in a 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls, nearly doubled Colorado’s lead in the 50th minute, but his effort was blocked by Sounders defender Jonathan Campbell. Nine minutes later, Lewis had another prime scoring opportunity, but his chipped effort missed wide of the mark.
Sep 7, 2019; Commerce City, CO, USA; General view as fans enter Dick's Sporting Goods Park before the match between the Seattle Sounders against the Colorado Rapids. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
“Certainly, what Jon has done has been electrifying going forward in counterattack situations,” Fraser said of Lewis. “He and Sam both do a great job of making outside backs defend. Both have done a really great job in 1-v-1 situations and making us dangerous.”
Colorado eventually broke through for a second goal in the 69th minute on a counterattack. Nicholas Mezquida found Keegan Rosenberry, who dished it far post to Shinyashiki, as the rookie scored his second goal of the night.
“I think Andre gave us some great holdup play early,” Fraser said. “Him and Nico [Mezquida] made it predictable not just for each other but for the rest of the group.”
In a losing effort, Stefan Frei came up with five saves on 22 shots by Colorado.
On the other end of the pitch, Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin earned his first clean sheet of the season and his first since re-joining Colorado from Toronto in December.
Despite the loss, Seattle remains second in the West and will return to CenturyLink Field to host the Red Bulls next Sunday. Colorado will play the second of a two-match home stand, hosting LA Galaxy Wednesday.