Jennifer Buchanan/Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Sounders won and the Colorado Rapids got an away goal. So when the referee blew the final whistle for the end of the first leg of the Western Conference final, the two teams were in an odd situation — both teams were happy.
Both the Sounders and Rapids will feel like they had chances to do better, especially Seattle. But the 2-1 scoreline was a pretty fair representation of the 90 minutes so no one is feeling too hard done. And most important, both teams did what they wanted to do.
The Sounders' priority was cracking the Rapids' defense and getting a win. They didn't want to go to Colorado for the second leg needing a win to advance to MLS Cup and, with the Rapids featuring the best defense in the league, a scoreless draw was very much on the table. Getting on the scoreboard and winning was what mattered. It was a goal that looked even more difficult when the Rapids scored first, but the Sounders came back to break through twice and take an advantage into the second leg.
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Now Seattle just need a draw in Colorado. That makes it seem easy (it's not), but it's entirely reasonable and seeing as win at home and draw on the road is the formula for success most everywhere, the Sounders are right on track.
The Rapids obviously would have preferred a win in Seattle, but they knew how tall a task that was. The Sounders have been the best team in MLS for months and got to this conference final by taking down the Supporters' Shield winners, FC Dallas.
As good as their defense has been, nobody in MLS has been able to stop Nicolas Lodeiro and the Rapids proved to be no exception. But if they could lose by just one goal, they'd be in fine shape heading home. If they could do that and score, giving them an away goal, they'd be very comfortable.
Mission accomplished for Colorado. They head home knowing a 1-0 win puts them in MLS Cup.
Rarely does a result make both teams happy, and that's especially true when it comes with a spot in MLS Cup on the line. But both the Sounders and Rapids did what they wanted to do. Whether you were wearing rave green or burgundy, you walked out of CenturyLink Field on Tuesday feeling good.