Sounders FC defeat Galaxy in first-ever match

The Seattle Sounders FC earned a 3-1 win in a training game at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

The Sounders FC opened their first preseason game of the year Monday against the LA Galaxy at an auxiliary field at the Home Depot Center. Though the game started with a whimper, it ended with a scream as the Sounders FC came away with a 3-1 win in wet field conditions.

Seattle’s team speed was neutralized by a rough, soggy field, but they were still able to take advantage with goals by Fredy Montero off a first-half penalty kick and Roger Levesque and Sanna Nyassi off of runs up the middle in the second half.

Head coach Sigi Schmid split the team into three groups, giving the starters the first half of the game and bringing on a wholesale change for the second half. The third group will likely start the game Tuesday against Shandong Lenang at Ventura College.

With their starters on the field, the game didn’t begin as Seattle planned, as Eddie Lewis scored just two minutes into the game after a breakdown in the middle of the defense.

The deficit nearly extended to 2-0 when a ball caught the left post and spilled out to the goal mouth, but Taylor Graham slid toward the right post to clear the loose ball away for a corner kick.

Steve Zakuani and Sebastien Le Toux were playing very high on the wings in their 4-4-2 formation, putting the attacking style that the club has touted on display. Zakuani was called three times for being offside, as Seattle was pushing the limits of the defense for most of the game.

At 28 minutes, Le Toux crossed a ball into the left corner where Zakuani chased it down, despite practically running in place in mud. Once he retrieved it, he turned his defender and outran him into the box where he was knocked down, earning a penalty kick.

Montero stepped to the mark and, as the keeper dove to his left, chipped a shot down the middle to even the score at 1-1, netting the first goal in a training game for the club.

The dynamic Seattle offense generated several more scoring opportunities, but were not able to capitalize until the halftime whistle.

Although it was a new group on the field to start the second half, the attacking style didn’t let up one bit. Just eight minutes after the start of play, Levesque, a non-roster invitee who played with the Sounders in the USL, chased down a ball and passed to Nyassi, who beat LA’s goalkeeper over his right shoulder, but Levesque was ruled offside.

With the footing on the field becoming less and less sure, the game started to get physical.
With non-roster invitee and another former USL Sounder Leighton O’Brien pressing high in the central midfield, Schmid changed the club from a 4-4-2 to a 4-4-1-1 25 minutes into the second half with O’Brien and Levesque playing up top.

The move paid dividends as defender Evan Brown sent one of his many crisp passes found the feet of Nyassi up the right side. The speedy Gambian midfielder crossed toward the goal and it looked like LA’s keeper had snared it, but it fell to the feet of Levesque in front of an open goal and he connected for the 2-1 lead at the 39th minute of the second half.

Nyassi added a goal of his own in stoppage time, as non-roster invitee and former Kansas City Wizard Ryan Pore drove a cross from the left wing and Nyassi slid into it near the right post for an insurance goal and the final 3-1 tally.

First Half lineup
Kasey Keller, Nathan Sturgis, Tyson Wahl, Taylor Graham, James Riley, Steve Zakuani, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Sebastien Le Toux, Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua.

Second Half lineup
Chris Eylander, Zach Scott, Danny Jackson, Mamadou Danso, Evan Brown, Fernando Screpis, Leighton O’Brien, Ryan Caugherty, Sanna Nyassi, Ryan Pore, Roger Levesque.

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