- Associated Press - Sunday, May 22, 2016

SEATTLE (AP) - Axel Sjoberg had already decided how he was going to celebrate his first career goal.

Now, though, he’ll have to wait until next time.

Sjoberg headed in a corner kick late in the first half in the Colorado Rapids’ 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night.

Marc Burch floated the kick from the left wing side toward the near post. Sjoberg, positioned just outside the 6-yard box, went up and hit the ball with the right side of his head. It bounced once and flew into the right side of the net in the 43rd minute.

“I was looking for it,” the 6-foot-7 Swedish defender said. “I was working with Bobby Burling trying to get (Sounders defender) Zach Scott out of the picture. We set a little pick, and I got free and got my head on it.”

As for the planned celebration, which Sjoberg said is similar to that of FC Barcelona star Luis Suarez, “I was very much too excited tonight, so I completely forgot about it.”

West-leading Colorado (8-2-3) extended its unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-2). The Rapids have not lost since a 1-0 decision at Real Salt Lake on April 9.

They also beat the Sounders for the second time this season and the third time in a row dating back to last season. Prior to that, the Rapids had lost 13 of the 17 games in the series since Seattle entered the league in 2009.

“We talk about concentration and finding ways to win games,” Colorado coach Pablo Mastroeni said, “and today was one of those. It wasn’t the way we chalked it up. We made some adjustments at halftime, and I thought in the second half, we defended really well and had some of the better opportunities to go another goal up.”

Added Sounders coach Sigi Schmid, “We knew they were going to be dangerous on set pieces because of their height advantage. We got caught on one.”

Goalkeeper Zac MacMeth picked up his fifth shutout and was credited with three saves. He got some help in the 72nd minute when Seattle’s Clint Dempsey got his head on a corner kick, only to see Burch kick it off the goal line at the left post.

“You just take your role on a defensive corner either on the front post or the back post,” Burch said. “I was just in the right spot at the right time.”

The Sounders (4-6-1, 13 points) lost their second in a row despite a 17-9 advantage in shots. Each of their last two losses has been a shutout.

Two of their most dangerous attempts came during the first 20 minutes of the game. Scott had a header two yards in front of the goal line that MacMeth saved just 48 seconds into the game. In the 19th minute, Osvaldo Alonso sent a quick through ball to Dempsey, who took it into the box 1-on-1 against MacMeth. Dempsey fired a left-footer from 15 yards straight in front, but the Colorado keeper got his hands up and slapped it away.

“We’re getting the ball forward, we’re keeping good possession, we’re creating good chances, we’re getting into crossing positions, and guys are getting decent looks on goal,” Schmid said. “So it’s tough to say, ‘OK, it’s this one thing.’

“I thought we created chances - goals change games, and we didn’t finish,” he added.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide