The game in 100 words (or less): Nicolas Lodeiro — and, by extension, his Seattle Sounders — has been the story of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs (and the final three months of the regular season). The Uruguayan playmaker has taken the league by storm since his late-July debut, and showed once again on Tuesday, in the Sounders’ Western Conference finals first-leg victory over the Colorado Rapids, that you can’t stop Nico; you can only hope to contain him and limit the damage. Even the Rapids, whose league-leading defense conceded a paltry 32 goals in 34 regular-season games, couldn’t stifle Lodeiro’s impact, as they coughed up an early 1-0 lead and fell to the Sounders, 2-1 on the night. Kevin Doyle put the visitors ahead after 13 minutes, grabbing a vital away goal in the process, but Jordan Morris equalized six minutes later, and Lodeiro completed the comeback just after the hour mark. In total, a 2-1 first-leg result will give the Rapids plenty of hope ahead of Sunday’s second leg, though they gave no indication they won’t again be undone by Lodeiro’s genius with the West’s spot in MLS Cup 2016 on the line.
Three moments that mattered
13′ — Doyle’s shot deflects wickedly, makes it 1-0 — That dummy. That dummy! Shkelzen Gashi, ladies and gentleman.
20′ — Morris slots home a rebound for 1-1 — Cristian Roldan’s shot smashed off the front of the post, but fell right to Morris, whose nose for the ball grows stronger and stronger with each passing day. Not an easy finish from that angle, either.
61′ — Burch trips Lodeiro; Lodeiro converts the PK — I’m not entirely sure what Marc Burch was playing at here — it’s not the ball, that’s for sure — but he managed to put his former team into the lead just after the hour mark.
Man of the match: Nicolas Lodeiro
Goalscorers: Doyle (13′), Morris (20′), Lodeiro (61′ – PK)