The Seattle Sounders came out with a new look Saturday, but it didn’t last long as they fell behind by two goals at halftime on their way to a 3-2 loss to Sporting Kansas City in the Desert Diamond Cup.
“The first half is on my shoulders because I brought our team out tonight in a 3-5-2,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “We trained on it a little bit (Friday). We haven’t really worked on it all that much. I wanted to see how we would do playing in that system. I actually thought we played OK. The goals we took were really mistakes more than anything else.”
Schmid’s lineup showed a five-man back line of Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott and Leo Gonzalez. However in action, Mears and Gonzalez both pushed far up the field, more parallel to the midfield line.
The formation kept Kansas City off the scoreboard for the first half hour. However, SKC broke through in the 34th minute, when Graham Zusi took a pass behind Scott and beat goalkeeper Stefan Frei to the far post.
Kansas City broke through again four minutes later. This time Frei got to an initial shot by Dom Dwyer, but Seattle couldn’t clear it and Krisztian Nemeth knocked it in.
Seattle returned to its more familiar 4-4-2 formation in the second half, when both teams substituted heavily.
Kansas City got what proved to be the game-winner from rookie James Rogers, before the Sounders made a late charge with goals from homegrown player Victor Mansaray and veteran Kenny Cooper.
It was Mansaray’s first goal with the first team.
“It feels good,” he said. “I was just trying to make an impact, just like the coach told me.”
Mansaray turns 18 on Sunday, when he will return to the Northwest to continue with high school.
The Sounders — now 1-1 in Cup play — will be without him when they return to action at 5 p.m. Wednesday against the New England Revolution.