Final: Sounders 2, Union 0.
For the most part, an uneventful second half. Seattle played with a one-up advantage on the pitch, but had to deal with a strong headwind and sheets of rain as an extra defender.
An MLS regular-season franchise record 36,241 show up for the Sounders' home opener tonight.
More to come.
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Halftime: 2-zip, home team.
Seattle will get to play the rest of the way with a sizable lead, and an 11-on-10 advantage against the expansion Philadelphia Union at Qwest Field.
Toni Stahl, a Union midfielder, came down on the back of Freddie Ljungberg's legs during a move in the 21st minute, and received his first yellow card. Nineteen minutes later, it was Stahl – an enforcing menace – who not only pushed Fredy Montero in the back, it appears he brought his knee up in the back, too – enough to barrel him over for his second yellow card, and automatic ejection.
The one-player advantage should be welcomed, but not cheered, by the Sounders, who saw a 55-45 split of the action played near the Seattle goal, and keeper Kasey Keller.
Halftime statistics:• Shots – Seattle 7 (Montero 5), Philadelphia 5 (Jacobson, Le Toux 2)• Fouls – Seattle 5, Philadelphia 3• Corner kicks – Seattle 4, Philadelphia 4• Saves – Seattle 2 (Keller), Philadelphia 1 (Seitz)• Yellow cards – Seattle 1 (Alonso), Philadelphia 3 (Stahl 2, Califf 1)
Notes: At the outset of halftime, MLS commissioner Don Garber held court in the Qwest press box. He noted, "Great start to our 15th season," MLS commissioner Don Garber said. … Ex-Seattle Pacific coach Cliff McCrath was awarded the "Golden Scarf" before the match started.
1st half, 2-0 Sounders: Man, one of the strangest goals you'll see, but Seattle will take it right before halftime.
Osvaldo Alonso rifled a pass way off target that had so much topspin, it looked like a rubber ball coming off a stone wall. After one high bounce, Fredy Montero stuck his head out there – some 3 feet from the left post – and steered it into the goal in the 43rd minute.
Philadelphia is playing a man down after Toni Stahl received his second yellow card of the half, in the 40th minute.
1st half, 1-0 Sounders: That didn't take long!
And the quick-touch stuff worked beautifully among Steve Zakuani and Fredy Montero, who got the ball to a cutting Brad Evans for an 8-yard shot, and goal in the 12th minute for a 1-0 lead.
It was the first goal given up by Union goalkeeper Chris Seitz in his eighth MLS appearance. He was with Salt Lake in 2009 as a reserve.
Kickoff: It's 6:55 p.m. We're underway.
• Sounders startersGK Kasey Keller, 18DF Zach Scott, 20DF Tyrone Marshall, 14DF Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, 34DF Leo Gonzalez, 19MF Roger Levesque, 24MF Brad Evans, 03MF Osvaldo Alonso, 06MF Steve Zakuani, 11F Freddie Ljungberg, 10F Fredy Montero, 17
• Union startersGK Chris Seitz, 01DF Jordan Harvey, 02DF Danny Califf, 04DF Toni Stahl, 12DF David Myrie, 21MF Andrew Jacobson, 08MF Danny Mwanga, 10MF Roger Torres, 20MF Michael Orozco, 16F Sebastien Le Toux, 09 (beloved ex-Sounders player)F Alejandro Moreno, 15
Pre-game (6 p.m.): Rain is heavier, but so is the fans' screaming on the south end of the stadium.
Don't see any breaks in the clouds. Going to be a wet one here!
Some notes to consider (from Mark Moschetti):
-- Sounders coming off a 12-7-11 season. Won U.S. Open Cup.
-- Sounders won last year’s season opener against New York, 3-0. Fredy Montero 2G, 1A.
-- Lacey's Kasey Keller had three consecutive shutouts in goal to start the season for the Sounders.
-- Seattle 7-2-6 at home last year.
-- Sounders went scoreless in five of the final six home games in 2009.
-- Only Seattle (2009) and Chicago (1998) won their openers as expansion teams.
-- Sounders starters Keller, Marshall, Hurtado, Nyassi, Alonso, Evans and Montero all started the 2009 opener.
-- Sounders went 3-2-1 in preseason, scoring 6 goals and allowing 6. Senna Nyassi had two, Montero 1, Roger Levesque 1. Lamar Neagle had 2, but is no longer with the club.
-- Sigi Schmid starts the season as the all-time winningest MLS coach. He got is 125-93-68, one more win than current U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley.
-- Union likely to start Sebastien Le Toux, whom they took from Sounders in expansion draft. Le Toux was first player signed by Sounders.
Pre-game (5:45 p.m.): Pinch-hitting for the Babe Ruth of MLS beat writers – Don Ruiz, who is on assignment with the Washington Huskies men's basketball team in New York – I must admit, I'm a little bit out of my element tonight as the Sounders open here at Qwest Field for season No. 2.
I've been telling friends and family all week that I know it's KILLING Ruiz that he can't be here for this. If there was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to jump in a time capsule and be at two places in a matter of seconds, believe me, he'd be here (battling a stern cough and all).
Well, folks … you're stuck with me for the 2010 opener.
Right now, we're a short time before the start. Overcast with an occasional spat of raindrops. Fans are starting to settle in. Traffic in and around the stadium has been difficult; took me 90 minutes to get in my seat from Tacoma.
I think the last time I saw the Sounders in person was in 1995. I did staff the beat when they were members of the A-League, and won the first of back-to-back championship. Peter Hattrup was the league MVP. Marcus Hahnemann was a stud goalkeeper (and we all know what he's done since then).
I will give updates – scoring, halftime and end-of-game stuff. It maybe won't be as fluid as Ruiz does, but I'll give it my best All-American effort.