The Seattle Sounders FC snapped their nine-game winless streak on July 7, defeating the Colorado Rapids 2-1 at CenturyLink Field. With the victory, the Sounders hold on to the third spot in the MLS Western Conference table, trailing the first place San Jose Earthquakes by only seven points.
"It's nice to get three points," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after the match. "I guess the rumors of our demise were maybe a little bit premature, but I thought for at times today we played some good soccer. The soccer caught up a little bit, which is what I had been saying. As long as we keep fighting and battling and become a tough team to beat our soccer will get back to where it was and tonight for good stretches of time I thought our soccer was good."
Both teams started off slow on Saturday, with neither team scoring any goals in the first half. The Sounders finally opened up the scoreboard in the second half, thanks to Alvaro Fernandez, who nodded in a Mauro Rosales corner-kick in the 52nd minute. The Sounders doubled their advantage eight minutes later when Eddie Johnson headed in a cross from Rosales.
The Rapids didn't go down without a fight, and they cut the Sounders' lead down to a goal in the 79th minute. Omar Cummings capitalized on a nice cross by Luis Zapata, tapping the ball past Seattle goalkeeper Bryan Meredith. The Rapids gave the Sounders a serious scare in the 85th minute when Jeff Larentowicz fired a shot past Meredith, but he ended up being ruled offside.
After being sidelined for over a year, Seattle midfielder Steve Zakuani made his long awaited return in the 86th minute. The 24 year-old received a standing ovation from the Seattle faithful, and he even shared an embrace with Colorado midfielder Brian Mullan - who broke Zakuani's leg with an unnecessary rough tackle during the 2011 MLS season - after the match.
"I tried to kind of take it in and just compose myself, thinking, 'Just enjoy the moment,'" Zakuani said. "There honestly was a time when I thought I would never play football again. Honestly. ... To be back there was, for me, the biggest achievement. I just took it in. I just said, 'No matter how it goes ... just enjoy yourself.' Tonight was just about crossing that white line and being happy that you did it, and taking it in."
The Sounders will now return to US Open Cup play, where they'll face Chivas USA in the semifinals of the tournament on July 11.
SeatteTimes.com, "Sounders' Steve Zakuani thankful to be back in game action"
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