Sounders Insider

Postgame discussion: Barca, 4-0; record crowd

Here's my game story.

The bottom line Sounders reaction was that this was a learning experience. It was perhaps the best team in the world against an MLS expansion team, and it looked it.

"I think tonight was a good lesson," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. "We're realistic. We know where we're at, and we're also an expansion team that's starting to get to know each other, and I think there were certain guys who stepped up and played well."

Schmid made the point that this was a tougher game for Seattle than their 2-0 loss to Chelsea because this one comes at midweek between league games, whereas the Chelsea game came on the Saturday of an off week.

However, Barca also looked more impressive than Chelsea did that night.

"You have probably the best attacking player in the world of the past six, seven years in Henry, and the future best attacking player in the world on the other side in Messi," Sounders keeper Kasey Keller said. "And not to mention the rest of the cast isn't too bad either. The movement off the ball, the first touch, it was just an absolute lesson, and hopefully a pleasure for the fans who got to see how the best team in the world."

If the Sounders -- and the crowd -- left impressed with Barca, Barca went away impressed with the crowd of 66, 848, the largest ever to watch a soccer match in Seattle.

"Usually the crowd is cheering us on, happy to see us and they wear the Barcelona jersey," Thierry Henry said. "The fans were happy to see us, but also they wanted their team to win and they came to support their team. That's what you do when you support your team, so it was kind of nice to see that to be honest."

Messi is considered among the top handful of players on the planet. And lined up against him was Leonardo Gonzalez, making his Seattle debut after concluding duty with the Costa Rican national team.

"I thought (Gonzalez) did some good things for us offensively," Schmid said. "I thought he got forward at times. You could see his passing that he could provide for us. Obviously, he got done by Messi on that goal, but as I said to (assistant coach) Brian Schmetzer, I said, 'Messi's done a few other guys that make more money than Leo.'"

FCB outshot Seattle, 25-4 and put 11 shots on goal to Seattle's one.

"I knew (Seattle) was a very dynamic team with a strong attack, particularly players like (Jaqua, Ljungberg and Montero)," Barca coach Pep Guardiola said. "I knew about their 4-1-3-2 tactic structure, and my objective was always to move a lot and make the other team move a lot as well in the middle so we could take advantage of outside. Of course, I'm very happy with the result."

Sounders return to league play Saturday at Real Salt Lake.

Final: A Pedro Rodriguez goal in the 89th minute gave Seattle it's second 4-0 loss of the week ... although Barca seemed better than San Jose.

Attendance: 66,848, the largest eve to watch a soccer game in Washington. (Topping by 18 the previous record of 66,830, which watched Real Madrid and DC United.

75th minute: Jeffren Suarez makes it 3-0 on a goal almost identical to Messi's second one: a lob into the box, chested down to his feet and left-footed in ... this time past Terry Boss.

61st minute: Ianni in for Riley, so now all starters are off the pitch.

Second half: Same uniforms, different teams; as we have massive substitutions to start the second half. The only holdover for the Sounders is James Riley. Eleven new players in for Barcelona.

Halftime: Barca looks like a whole different species of soccer team.. In addition to the 2-0 lead, Barcelona also has outshot Seattle 16-3 and has put seven shots on goal to Seattle's one.

41st minute: Xavi cross to Henry who lobs into the box to Messi, who traps it down with his chest and left-foots at short range past Keller. Barca, 2-0.

23rd minute: Lionel Messi puts Barca ahead 1-0 on a bending goal from 23 yards.

The Sounders have had a couple of chances, but Barcelona just attacks in unending waves.

Leo Gonzalez made good early impression, but pushing forward that much against this team seems certainly to come back and bite Seattle at somne point.

Kickoff: We've begun.

Get out your sunglasses: The Sounders are in green/green; and Barcelona is in a sort of neon-mango jersey and socks with black shorts.

Starting lineups: For Sounders, GK, Keller; D Riley, Hurtado, Marshall, Gonzalez; M Evans, Alonso, Ljungberg, Zakuani; F Montero, Jaqua.

For Barcelona: GK Pinto; D Sanchez, Puyol, Abidal, Alves; M Busquets, Fontas, Xavi Hernandez; F Henry, Krkic, Messi.

"Welcome to Seattle, Leo. Now cover this Messi guy..."

Pregame: The gates are open at Qwest Filed on what has turned out to be a beautiful evening in Seattle.

Lots of early-arriving crowd is clustered low near the pitch. Rave green is still the primary color, but they seem to be selling lots of Barcelona merchandise down there.

Normal gamenight blogging planned here: Pregame news, lineups, in-game reports and then postgame notes and quotes. Also, eager to hear what you guys have to say.

Kickoff is 7:30. It's on ESPN2.

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