[MLS PLAYOFFS: Seattle-Colorado] Nothing comes easy these days for the Seattle Sounders.
They looked to be in control of their Western Conference
play-in game against Colorado when goalie Michael Gspurning was sent off with four minutes left in regulation and the Sounders leading 1-0 for catching the ball
two yards outside his area. But the Sounders went on to beat the Rapids, 2-0, and move in the Western Conference semifinals against Portland.
The win ended the Sounders' seven-game losing
U.S. national team players Brad Evans in the first half and Eddie
Johnson in stoppage time came through with the goals for Seattle, which has reached the conference semifinals all five years of its existence.
Gspurning had already fumbled several balls when he came of his area to catch the ball like a punt returned making a fair catch. Referee Silviu Petrescu
had no choice but to send off the Austrian, who had only recently regained his starting job after being benched in the middle of the winless streak.
Marcus Hahnemann, 41, was brought on for the game's 10 minutes. Honduran Hendry Thomas had an open header that sailed over the bar, but otherwise
Hahnemann didn't have much to go.
Gspurning will have to sit out the first leg of the semifinals against Portland, so Hahnemann will remain in goal.
"I told Marcus after the
game he's definitely starting the next game," said Seattle coach Sigi Schmid. "I wanted to make sure there's no confusion, going into practice Thursday and
Friday not sure if he's going to play or not. Marcus is a quality goalkeeper, it's not going to be an issue."
Schmid said a high bounce of the ball threw Gspurning off.
felt that if he would have been sideways on that he might have noticed that there was no one from their team that was going to break in behind him and he could have let the ball go over his head and
he could have picked it up in the 18-yard box," the Seattle coach said. "But he wasn't sure and he wanted to come out and head the ball, and realized the ball had bounced too high for him to head it.
He thought he had jumped back into the box and then caught the ball, and then he was outside the box. The referee decided it was a red card. I don't know how their goalkeeper doesn't get a red card on
the play earlier, but that's the referee's decisions."
Drew Moor, the only holdover from Colorado's 2010 championship team to start on Wednesday,
was disappointed with the team's start.
"I think for one thing," he said, "I wish we would have start off a little brighter. [It was] a playoff game -- it's different. If we start the
game the way we finished the second half, I think we give ourselves a little better chance."
Oct. 30 in Seattle
Seattle 2 Colorado 0. Goals: Evans 28, Johnson 93+.
Seattle -- Gspurning, Yedlin (Burch, 46), Traore, Hurtado, Gonzalez, Evans, Alonso, Moffat (Scott 90), Dempsey, Johnson, Neagle (Hahnemann 87).
Colorado -- Irwin, Mera, O'Neill, Moor, Klute, Rivero (Sanchez 61), Thomas, Sturgis (Wynne 85), Harris, Brown (Buddle
Yellow Cards: Seattle -- Neagle 78, Johnson 88; Colorado -- Thomas 28, Harris 45+1, Irwin 53, Mera 79.
Red Card: Seattle -- Gspurning 86.
Referee: Silviu Petrescu.