Thursday, March 25, 2010

SOUNDERS FC: Seattle shows MLS rookies how it's done in 2-0 win

The sound of chants 36,000 strong filled the air once again at the rainy Sounders FC season opener tonight as Seattle shut out the expansion Philadelphia Union 2-0.

The match got off to a slow, rough start for the Sounders as Philly came quick, maintaining possession for the first 10 minutes.

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The Sounders had an opening after a dirty, off ball foul against Montero from Union captain and defender Danny Califf just 33 seconds into the match. Califf, looking to send a message early, earned himself a yellow card, the first of many for the Union.

After finding their footing on the slick field turf, Seattle answered Philly’s rough style of play with goal in the 12th minute by Brad Evans with a shot just beneath the arms of Union goalie Chris Seitz. The set up came after Freddie Ljungberg carried the ball across the field to find Fredy Montero who distributed a quick pass to Steve Zakuani making an overlapping run and firing off a quick, low pass in front of the net for the assist.

The first half saw a lot of action as the young Union team continued to play aggressive soccer. A foul against Ljungberg in the 23rd minute from Union midfielder Toni Stahl led to their second yellow card, but Stahl wasn’t done there. In the 40th minute of play Stahl went after Montero with a hard hit to the lower back, earning him a second yellow, equaling a red card, and benching him for the remainder of the game, leaving Philly with three yellows and only 10 players on the pitch.

Montero wasn’t phased by the tackle as he went on to score an amazing second goal for the Sounders with a diving header from the far post in the 43rd minute of the match. A corner kick from Tyrone Marshall was deflected to the feet of Osvaldo Alonso who fed the ball into the six yard box where Montero was waiting, unmarked.

The second half of play was less action packed but just as physical. Union defender Dave Myrie received a yellow card after a blatant foul against Zakuani, forcing Zakuani to leave the game, and bringing the yellow card number to four in the 63rd minute.

Michael Fucito was able to see some playing time in the second half and helped the Seattle defense hold their own and maintain the shutout for Casey Keller. Both Seattle and Philadelphia made attempt after attempt at a goal without results as the play remained mostly midfield in the second half.

Overall the Sounders kept cool under pressure in their sophomore season opener. Their next match is at home on Saturday, April 3, against the New York Red Bulls at 7:30 p.m.

Reach Andi Williamson at