Sounders Insider

Postgame discussion: Chelsea 2, Sounders 0

Here's my game story, a secondary piece on Federal Way's Lamar Neagle and the other two guys who made their Sounders' debuts against Chelsea, and a photo gallery from the TNT's Janet Jensen.

The postgame bottom line seemed to be that it was a learning experience for the Sounders, a good training test for Chelsea, and a lot of fun for everyone.

"I think it was just tremendous from the standpoint of our fan support," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. "… The hoopla, the atmosphere, the crowd support; that was brilliant. Obviously, the result is something that we would have liked to turned out a little better, but I was proud of the way we played and proud of the support we got."

"I think the game was pretty even really except for the two goals that we scored, which is maybe the slight difference in quality from the Premier League to here," said Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, who scored the second goal. "But … Seattle played good football, created a few chances, and was unlucky not to score, really."

"Chelsea finishes their goals," said Sounders midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, an 11-year veteran of the EPL. "They go 110 percent, and they really concentrate in finishing. … Apart from that, I think we showed we play well. Even some of the Chelsea boys told us after the game that we played good football, and they were impressed how we played."

"The game was not easy," Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "The game is difficult, but we put ourselves in good position."

What clearly impressed Chelsea most was the crowd – its size, knowledge and enthusiasm.

"It was probably the best preseason atmosphere I've played in for sure," Lampard said. "Every year we come (to the United States) the support we get and other teams get bigger and bigger. And today was the best atmosphere I've played in here, for sure. Not only a full crowd but the way they reacted, the atmosphere they created before the game and during the game made it very enjoyable to play in."

I thought the most telling reaction might have come from Steve Zakuani, who grew up in London and therefore should know plenty about the English Premier League.

"Their defenders: their recovery was ridiculous," Zakuani said. "Their speed and that kind of thing: their movement, their touch. There are no mistakes in the back. That's the biggest difference. They're all very good at what they do, and that's just the next level."

Attendance: Today's crowd is 65,289: the largest ever to see the Sounders and third-largest ever to see a soccer match in the Northwest.

Transfer rumors: The English press continued to hound Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti about the possible transfer of Blues defender John Terry to Manchester City.

However, they paused Saturday to also ask Schmid about rumors that Sounders forward Fredy Montero has caught the attention of Fulham of the EPL.

"You read things in the paper and you're not quite sure how (the reports) get there," Schmid said. "Fredy Montero is with us right now. There have been no official inquiries that we are aware at this stage. He's a very important player to our team. He's the second-leading scorer in our league, and he has a bright future. I'm sure one day that opportunity, whether it's a day soon or later, will present itself, but right now he has a very important game to prepare for."

That would come at 7: p.m. Saturday, when the Sounders meet Houston in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal at Starfire. That game is sold out.

 

Final: It ends 2-0 after a scoreless second half. Chelsea had two great open-goal chances when keeper Terry Boss got trapped out of position, but Zack Scott rode to the rescue on both. On the other end, Sanna Nyassi got past the defense in wide-open spaces twice ... but his shot on the first was just over the far corner and his cross on the second was cleared.

It was one of those games where if you could snip 30 seconds from the tape, you'd never know who won. But those two quick bolts by the Blues settled it.

How'd it look? And if you went, how'd it feel and sound? And if you took Sounder or light rail, how was that?

Sounders return to the serious business of U.S. Open Cup Tuesday against Houston and get back to league play next Saturday against Chicago.

Start of second half: Nine subs in for Chelsea, five for Seattle including goalkeeper Terry Boss in his Seattle debut.

Halftime: Chelsea 2, Sounders 0. I'd expect very different lineups to start the second half.

Idle question: Where's the greater disparity: Chelsea-Sounders starters or Chelsea-Sounders reserves?

35th minute: Sounders continue to possess, but when Chelsea clicks it puts all the pieces together. This time it was Sturridge to Anelka deep down the right side of the box, then a cross back in front of the goalmouth to Lampard, who finished.

12th minute: Sounders controlled possession from the start, but Chelsea just broke through on a long pass from Malouda into the box, Sturridge kind of let Tyrone Marshall run past and then fired wide past Keller. Chelsea, 1-0.

Kickoff: A sprinkling of empty seats in the upper deck as we begin, Chelsea in blue/blue, and Sounders wearing their road green/green at home for the first time.

(The game is on ESPN2.)

Golden scarf: The Golden Scarf recipient today is Tacoma glass artist Dale Chihuly. Chihuly recently designed a pair of pieces of glass art that will be given to each visiting international team this season: Chelsea and Barcelona.

Lineups: We've just received both starting lineups.

For the Sounders: GK Keller; D Riley, Hurtado, Marshall, Wahl; M Ljungberg, Alonso, Zakuani; F Montero, Vegenas, Jaqua. (Yes, not only the kits may be changing: a 4-3-3.)

For Chelsea: GK Cech; D Bosingwa, Terry, Alex, Cole; M Malouda, Lampard, Ballack, Deco; F Anelka, Sturridge.

However, that could change early and often. There are no limits on substitutes today, and the Sounders have a roster of 24, while Chelsea has broght along 27.

Kit switch? Hmm... Looks like the Sounders might be varying their home kit today. They're out on the field now in their warmups, but most of the starters seem to be wearing rave green shorts, rather than either the grey warmup shorts or the normal home whites.

Open Cup sold out: The Sounders have just announced that their U.S. Open Cup semifinal match Tuesday against Houston has sold out. The game will kickoff at 7 p.m. at Starfire Sports Stadium. It also will be videocast from SoundersFC.com.

The winner will go on to face the DC United-Rochester winner for the U.S. Open Cup championship. If DC advances, it will host. If USL-1 Rochester advances, the Houston-Seattle winner will host.

MLS reminder: Here's a reminder that the Sounders-Chelsea game will be on ESPN2 ... right behind another game of real local interest: Houston-Toronto. Houston is just three points ahead of the Sounders in the MLS standings. And, of course, the Dynamo will be in Tukwila on Tuesday night to meet the Sounders in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal.

Breakfast at Qwest: I beat the traffic to say the least. And it didn't take long at the stadium to understand that today will be a different kind of day: As I type this, the guy who will sing the national anthems is singing "God Save the Queen."

We plan the usual running gameday blogging: News as it happens before the game, in-game updates, and postgame notes and quotes. As always, your comments are encouraged.

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