2009 Mar 19

Fredy was ready, Red Bulls were not

Seattle Sounders FC  3 - 0  New York Red Bulls

Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

12' SEA: Fredy Montero (Sebastien Le Toux, Osvaldo Alonso)
25' SEA: Brad Evans (Montero)
75' SEA: Montero

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Zach Scott, Tyrone Marshall, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, James Riley; Sebastien Le Toux, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Sanna Nyassi (Steve Zakuani 68'); Nate Jaqua, Fredy Montero (Roger Levesque 90'). Substitutes not used: Ben Dragavon, Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl, Stephen King, Nathan Sturgis.

New York: Danny Cepero; Kevin Goldthwaite, Mike Petke, Andrew Boyens (Jeremy Hall 34'), Carlos Mendes; Macoumba Kandji, Juan Pietravallo, Jorge Rojas, Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Danleigh Borman 46'), Dane Richards; Juan Pablo Angel. Substitutes not used: Alec Dufty, Matthew Mtuba, Dominic Oduro, Luke Sassano, John Wolyniec.

Match report by Ron Stickney

The new MLS incarnation of the Seattle Sounders treated their fans to an exciting first match at Qwest Field, scoring three times while shutting out the New York Red Bulls. The match was the MLS 2009 season opener, so for two days the Sounders FC will be alone in first place. The result exceeded any of the 32,523 fans' expectations. Two goals and an assist for Fredy Montero, one for Brad Evans, and a shutout for Kasey Keller.

For the record, three Sounders from 2008 started the match: Sebastien Le Toux, Sanna Nyassi, and Zach Scott.

The Sounders looked a bit nervous for the first 5 minutes and could not keep possession, but they managed to avoid giving the Red Bulls any chances near the target. About 7 minutes in Seattle started looking more comfortable, with Sanna Nyassi breaking the ice with the first cross served near goal. Nyassi would often cause trouble for the New York defense this night.

12' SEA: Montero (Le Toux, Alonso). The historic first Sounders MLS goal happened early, on the first shot of the match. Nate Jaqua worked into the left side of the penalty area with the ball, and when he was stopped Osvaldo Alonso took possession. Near the left end of the arc Alonso dropped a short pass to Sebastien Le Toux, who spotted Montero alone to the right. Le Toux rolled a perfect pass in front of Montero, who took one touch and shot perfectly to the lower far corner just out of the reach of the diving Danny Cepero's fingertips. 1-0 Seattle.

New York's first chance came a minute later when Alonso was whistled and cautioned for tripping from behind at the left end of the arc when it looked like it may have been a fair play on the ball. Juan Pablo Angel sent the free kick a yard over the bar.

Seattle soon pressured again when Nyassi was free to cross in front of goal after his marker Kevin Goldthwaite fell at the touch line. Under pressure, Jaqua's shot brushed the outside of the far post.

Midway through the half the Sounders took four good shots in a two-minute stretch, the fourth one going in. First it was Nyassi with a well struck 15-yard shot at the lower far corner, well held by Cepero on the ground. Then Le Toux was free on the left for a chip, but Cepero got to the corner of the penalty area to block it. Montero's quick turn and shoot missed by a couple.

25' SEA: Evans (Montero). Receiving the ball from a throw-in, Montero fed Evans, who caught the New York defense napping with his run towards the near post. Evans slid to the ground as he shot, and the ball went right between Cepero's legs and in. 2-0 Seattle.

The rest of the half saw just one good chance, another New York free kick from the arc, this time after Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was shown the yellow card for reaching his arm out to play the ball when he couldn't reach it with his torso. The Seattle wall stopped this free kick. Then New York's top draft pick Jeremy Hall came on for Andrew Boyens in just the 34th minute.

For the last 5 minutes of the half, the Red Bulls looked like they just wanted to get to the locker room to regroup.

Halftime: Seattle 2 - 0 New York

Neither defense allowed anything substantial for the next quarter of the match. Then Kasey Keller was called on to save the day twice in three minutes. In the 69th minute Macoumba Kandji fought his way around James Riley to win a through ball sent deep into the penalty area, and Keller made a fine reaction save to block the high shot away. With Seattle repeatedly unable to clear the ball from the danger zone Jorge Rojas finally got a chance to bend a hard shot from 25 yards at the center of the crossbar, but Keller was well positioned and was there to push it over the bar. Then Keller pulled the corner kick out of the air and the Red Bulls would not threaten again.

Seattle's top draft pick Steve Zakuani nearly scored a few minutes after entering for Nyassi. Zakuani had to retreat a few steps to reach Montero's cross, then turned a fine shot at the near post forcing a find save by Cepero.

75' SEA: Montero. After receiving a square pass 35 yards from goal, New York center back Mike Petke made a big mistake, letting Montero pick his pocket cleanly. Montero had time to waltz straight at goal, feint 15 yards from goal, and drive a shot over Cepero, who had gone down on the feint. 3-0 Seattle.

Both sides were showing signs of fatigue at this point, then for the last five minutes New York had nothing left in the tank.

When the clock struck 90, Roger Levesque came on for Montero, the fourth prior Sounder to get the honor in the MLS opener. Levesque soon had some touches near goal that almost led to shots.

Final: Seattle 3 - 0 New York

When it was over, there was plenty of joy in Seattle. Over 32,000 joyful fans, four joyful owners, and most deserving of joy were the Sounders FC team.

          SEA   NY
Shots:     14    8
Saves:      2    4
Corners:    3    4
Fouls:     10    9
Offsides:   3    3

13' SEA: Osvaldo cautioned for a trip from behind
20' NY: Goldthwaite cautioned for holding in the circle
32' SEA: Hurtado cautioned for deliberately handling
67' SEA: Nyassi cautioned for a late challenge

Referees: Jair Marrufo; Corey Rockwell, Fabio Tovar; Terry Vaughn

Attendance: 32,523!

Additional match reports: Sounders FC, MLSnet, MLSnet, Olympian, News Tribune, Seattle Times, Seattle Times (Notes), Seattle Times (Steve Kelley), Seattle P-I (Art Thiel), Seattle P-I (Greg Johns), Soccer By Ives, New York Daily News, Goal.com, Goal.com, Goal.com, 90:00, Potomac Soccer Wire, Offside (Red Bulls), Sounders FC (postmatch quotes), Goal.com (McCarthy’s musings), Prost Amerika, Seattle Soccer Examiner (with great photos), New York Soccer Examiner, MLS Examiner, Sounder At Heart, Next Season Sports, Seattle Soccer Magazine (player ratings), Prost Amerika (player ratings), MLSnet, MLSnet (Mike Lewis), FOX Soccer, Offside.