Just as the Mariners have themselves a patsy in the Kansas City Royals, so do the Sounders in the Colorado Rapids.
The first goal of the season from MLS All-Star midfielder Osvaldo Alonso gave the Sounders a 2-1 win Saturday night in Commerce City, CO, and a three-game seasonal sweep of the Colorado Rapids.
Alonso punched in a left-footed score from 12 yards out in the 65th minute after receiving a lefty cross from Eddie Johnson, the club’s other MLS All-Star. The final hectic 25 minutes were mostly under Colorado’s control as the Rapids sought to end a five-game losing streak. Instead, the 2010 MLS champions lost for a club-record sixth consecutive time and fell to 7-14-1 — the most losses and fewest draws in MLS.
On a warm, windy night at mile-high altitude, the Sounders (9-5-7) improved their record against Colorado to 7-1-1 and welcomed back veteran Michael Gspurning in goal, out since the season’s seventh game with a hip injury. But the reception was a tad unpleasant.
After the Sounders struck in the second minute off a perfect corner kick from Fredy Montero that Johnson easily headed into the net — surprisingly uncontested by either defender or goalkeeper — the Rapids struck back in the third minute.
Brian Mullan, the Rapids’ resident villain for his brutal tackle of Steve Zakuani the last time the Sounders were here (April 22, 2011), sent a cross skidding low past the goal mouth and several Sounders defenders to Drew Moor, who welcomed back Gspurning with a sudden score.
The early fireworks quickly faded. The Sounders were out-shot in both halves, but the jolt from Alonso, before an announced crowd of 13,816 in the 18,000-seat stadium, knocked back the Rapids for awhile. But they mounted a strong comeback that required a sprawling Gspurning save on a shot that ended up slightly behind him.
The Sounders were operating short a veteran midfielder after the trade of Alvaro Fernandez Friday to Chicago. He was cleared off the roster to make room for Christian Tiffert, the new designated player from Germany who won’t join the team until next week.
The Sounders return to action at 7 p.m. Thursday when they open their 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League group play agianst Caledonia of Trinidad.