Seattle Sounders FC made a successful Pacific Northwest public debut Friday night, defeating the University of Portland 4-1 at Merlo Field.
Here's how they did it:
Sounders FC Lineups
GK Kasey Keller, LB Zach Scott, CLB Tyson Wahl, CRB Patrick Ianni, RB Evan Brown, LM Ryan Caugherty, CDM Densill Theobald, CM Stephen King, RM Sanna Nyassi, F Jeff Clark, F Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque, 34)
GK Chris Eylander, LB Zach Scott (Nathan Sturgis, 60), CLB Tyson Wahl (Taylor Graham, 60), CRB Patrick Ianni (Tyrone Marshall, 60), RB Evan Brown (James Riley, 60), LM Kevin Forrest (Steve Zakuani, 60), CDM Densill Theobald (Osvaldo Alonso, 60), CM Ryan Caugherty (Brad Evans, 60), RM Sebastien Le Toux, F Jeff Clark (Fredy Montero, 60), F Roger Levesque
Did not play:
Jared Karkas (hamstring), Mandou Bojang, Ben Dragavon, Michael Fucito (hamstring), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (will join team in Argentina), Freddy Ljungberg (recovering from hip surgery), Jarrod Smith (hamstring), Peter Vagenas (recovering from arthroscopic surgery).
1 – Nate Jaqua, 4th minute (Sanna Nyassi)
2 – Jeff Clark, 32nd minute (Patrick Ianni)
3 – Fredy Montero, 71st minute (penalty)
4 – Brad Evans, 75th minute (Roger Levesque)
1 - Logan Emory, 63rd minute (unassisted)
Austin Guerrero, 70th minute (yellow)
Here's a game recap provided by the Sounders:
The Sounders FC got everything they needed Friday night in topping the University of Portland 4-1 at Merlo field on the UP campus.
Former Pilots Nate Jaqua and Kasey Keller received a nice ovation when they were recognized before the game and they responded with a strong showing on the field – Jaqua with a goal in the fourth minute and Keller with a shutout for his half of play.
Head coach Sigi Schmid also got a good look at some players who are fighting for roster spots and they responded as well, as non-roster invitees Jeff Clark scored a goal and Roger Levesque set up another.
They also controlled the run of play for most of the game, finished the game without injury, got good support from a group of fans commuting from Seattle and opposition from a group of Portland Timbers fans positioned behind their second-half goal. They also had a correctible error that they can discuss on the way home Saturday – something to build off of heading into Sunday's game against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Jaqua wasted little time rewarding the UP faithful who applauded his return to his college playground, heading a cross from Sanna Nyassi past Pilots goalkeeper Austin Guerrero for a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.
Seattle dominated the ball for most of the first half, pushing the ball into Portland's 5-4-1 formation, and used that persistence and patience to earn a 32nd minute corner kick. Recent signee Evan Brown, Seattle's second round SuperDraft pick, sent the corner kick into the box where Patrick Ianni got his head on it. Guerrero blocked that offering right to a waiting Clark, who headed the rebound into the open side of the net for a 2-0 lead.
They carried that lead into the second half and had a new lineup by the 61st minute. And UP took advantage of the new group within minutes of entering the lineup. After a turnover, the Pilots earned a free kick from 28 yards out. That shot clanged off the woodwork, falling to Logan Emory, who knocked it into the low-left corner to cut the lead in half in the 63rd minute.
That's when the closing group, made mostly of projected starters, found their groove. In the 70th minute, Osvaldo Alonso led Steve Zakuani with a great ball over the middle. Zakuani raced past three defenders and even got past Guerrero, but overran his angle and had to cut back, forcing Guerrero to pull him down to earn a penalty.
Fredy Montero hammered the spot kick to take a 3-1 lead in the 71st minute, marking his second successful penalty kick in as many chances.
In the 75th minute Levesque got his foot on a ball in a rush in the box. His shot bounced to Brad Evans who thumped it into the net for a 4-1 lead.
Montero was featured in the final minutes of the game, but couldn't generate any great scoring chances. In the end, Seattle outshot the Pilots 20-5. Keller was challenged by only one shot, a shot into his chest in the 11th minute.
The Sounders FC will face the Whitecaps in a closed-door friendly at Qwest Field on Sunday before departing for Argentina on Tuesday.
Sigi Schmid said:
On roster decision making: "Tonight's important from the standpoint of looking at guys and making final decisions on people, but every time you play you learn something else about yourself. That was my conversation just now with James (Riley) and (Sebastien) Le Toux, 'ok you know he likes to run. When he drops that ball, drop it in behind the defense sooner. So every time you play the game you learn something else about yourself. Certainly for the first group, it was a little bit of them learning about themselves. Evan's (Brown) decisions coming forward at the right time. It's also about people still fighting to either move themselves up within the roster, or to make sure they get a roster spot."
On substitution strategy: "We'll take the win. We wanted that group to go 60 minutes tonight, because the other group had gone 60 against San Jose, so we wanted to push that group a little bit. When we play Vancouver, we'll do it the other way around."
On the positive and negatives from the game: "You take the positives and the negatives. There are things that we certainly need to get better on. No matter what you do in practice, games clarify things. It was a bad giveaway that resulted in their goal. It ended up being a free kick. The positioning of the ball and the goalkeeper and that we had too many guys in the wall, those were the things that we talked about. Those are some of the negative things that you're trying to pick up on. But then some of the positive things like the combination that sent (Steve) Zakuani through, that was a great combination. He showed his speed. He gets in behind. The timing of the run was good. So you also take some of those things away. Sometimes they overplayed a little bit. That was my comment to Fredy (Montero). You can crush the ball from 18 yards, don't keep passing up your shot. Stay in good habits even though maybe the game was a little bit easier."