Amid another patch of busy schedule, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said he would rotate a variety of players onto the pitch and that he believed they had enough quality to help.
One of those players who took quick advantage of his opportunity was midfielder Andy Rose who figured in all of his team’s goals as Seattle opened CONCACAF Champions League play tonight with a 3-1 win over Caledonia AIA of Trinidad.
"We accomplished what we wanted to achieve, which was to win the game," Schmid said. "It was nice that we could take Ozzie out, so he only had to play 45 minutes. I think that was good. Didn’t get any injuries, so that was good."
The match was the first of three for the Sounders over seven days. They will return to MLS play on Sunday, when Los Angeles visits CenturyLink Field. And they will play for the U.S. Open Cup championship Wednesday at Kansas City.
With that schedule looming, Schmid sent out an unusual lineup including Andrew Weber in goal, Sammy Ochoa at forward, Brad Evans as an outside defender, and Cordell Cato and Rose at midfield.
“It’s a situation where different people will have to step up,” Schmid said this week. “But we’re healthy, and we always felt that when we were healthy that we could rotate some people on the field without it impacting our ability to play or our quality of play.”
That’s the way it worked out as Seattle broke to a 3-0 lead and the cruised to 1-0-0 in the four-game CCL group stage.
The first goal came in the 19th minute, an Ochoa score assisted by Rose and Caskey. Fredy Montero moved it to 2-0 in the 30th minute, assisted by Rose and Cato. Then Rose, who has started eight MLS matches, made it 3-0 in the 43rd minute, cleaning up the rebound of a Montero shot deflected but not controlled by goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel.
Caledonia’s lone goal came in the 50th minute, with Kareem Joseph converting a penalty kick after Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was called for a foul in the box.
The game was played before a crowd of 7,767, the smallest for an in-season Sounders FC match at CenturyLink.
The Sounders resume CCL play Aug. 30 at Caledonia.50th minute:
GOAL Caledonia, as Kareen Joseph beats Weber on PK. (Foul had been called on Hurtado.) Sounders, 3-1.
Second half: ... has just begun. One Sounders sub: Servando Carrasco in for Osvaldo Alonso. In Alonso's absence, Fredy Montero takes the captain's armband.
Tie breakers: If you're thinking about goal-differential in terms of how much the Sounders might want to put pedal to metal today, here's the group-stage procedure:
• Greater number of points earned in matches between the teams concerned • Greater goal difference in matches between the teams concerned • Greater number of goals scored away from home in matches between the teams concerned • Reapply first three criteria if two or more teams are still tied • Greater goal difference in all group matches • Greater number of goals scored in group matches • Greater number of goals scored away in all group Matches • Drawing of lots
43rd minute: GOAL Seattle. Montero shot saved, but not controlled. Andy Rose runs on and finishes it. Sounders, 3-0. Rose has figured in all three scores: one goal, two assists.
30th minute: GOAL Seattle. Rose crosses to Montero, who sweeps it into the corner netting. Seattle, 2-0. Cato also credited with assist.
19th minute: GOAL Seattle. Ochoa finishes from in front of the goal; assists to Rose and Caskey. Sounders, 1-0.
14th minute: Best chance so far on corner as Parke sends a header over the crossbar.
First 10 minutes: No rhythm from this unusual Sounders lineup yet. Both teams just feeling each other out so far.
First kick: We're under way. Sounders in cyan/cyan; Caledonia in white/white. Very small crowd in attendance, with only the east side and south ends open... sort of like it used to be with the old USL Sounders.
Lineup:. Here's are the starters for Seattle: GK Weber; D Evans, Parke, Hurtado, Burch; M Cato, Rose, Alonso, Caskey; F Montero, Ochoa. Reserves: Gspurning, Ianni, Johansson, Johnson, Rosales, Gonzalez, Carrasco. Captain is Alonso.
Schmid had hinted at that kind of mix-and-match lineup, given the MLS match against LA on Sunday and the Open Cup final at Kansas City next Wednesday.
"The travel, certainly when we play some of the away games, is immense," he said. "Our trip down to Trinidad, it’s like going to Europe or going to the Far East to play a game. It’s something that we have to lean on our depth. … We’ve got the Open Cup final coming up on Wednesday, and who knows how hot it’s going to be there on Wednesday. My brother is in St. Louis right now, and he got in his car at 5:30 and the temperature gauge said 106. That doesn’t sound great. But it’s a situation where different people will have to step up. But we’re healthy, and we always felt that when we were healthy that we could rotate some people on the field without it impacting our ability to play or our quality of play."
For Caledonia: G Samuel; D David, Muhammad, Joseph, Moore, Bakr; M David, Bobb, Edwards; F Smith, Gay. Reserves: Edwards, Nelson, Caesar, Stewart, Phillips, Purcell, Holder. Captain is David.
Basics: It's obviously a beautiful day for soccer, as Sounders FC and Caledonia AIA of Trinidad meet in the start of CONCACAF Champions League for each club.
First kick is 7 p.m. Plenty -- and apparently PLENTY -- of tickets still available at CenturyLink Field. The game will be shown on Fox Soccer, heard on the usual radio outlets, blogged here and tweeted here.I'll be back with updates as they happen. The first -- most likely -- will be lineups, which I'm thinking could be pretty reserve-heavy for the Sounders, who have a big league match Sunday against LA.