Bradenton, Fla. - Through six preseason matches, the Sounders FC scored seven goals. They matched that total on Thursday in a preseason training game against the University of Central Florida at the IMG Soccer Academy, getting two goals each from Pat Noonan and O’Brian White en route to a 7-0 win.
Aside from the scoreline, Seattle played a solid match, keeping much of the possession and forcing their will on their college opponents, who had previously played close matches with the Philadelphia Union and New England Revolution.
“Today was a good game for us. We did a better job of possessing the ball and we created some chances. It was good to see Noonan score. It was good to see O’Brian White get a couple. Good to see (Mike) Fucito get there,” head coach Sigi Schmid said. “All of that involvement and spreading it around was good, but it all came because we were more patient.”
Seattle showed from the opening kick that the game was theirs to have, taking control of the ball on offense and forcing the Knights into difficult predicaments with their defense.
Noonan had several opportunities early in the match, including a header that rang off the post and had a few others stopped by UCF goalkeeper Shawn Doyle. Those fortunes changed in the 39th minute when Miguel Montaño found the veteran forward in the box for a left-footed shot that found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
He added another in the 43rd minute, taking a pass in the box and calmly shooting it past the keeper for the goal.
That 2-0 lead carried the Sounders into halftime and the second half started much the same, with Seattle controlling possession. However, the group that started the second found much more success in front of goal and scored five goals, including four in just six minutes.
The onslaught started when Lamar Neagle crossed a ball into the box in the 57th minute. Trying to keep O’Brian White off the ball, a Central Florida defender redirected it into the net for an own-goal. Two minutes later, Fucito got out on a run up the left side, then left it back for White to finish with a one-touch goal in the 59th minute.
Fucito again had a hand in the next goal in the 61st minute. After playing a 1-2 with Neagle, Fucito blasted a shot from the left side. The goalkeeper made the initial stop, but deflected the ball right to David Estrada at the far post for a rocket of a shot that hit the crossbar and far post before finding the net for a 5-0 lead.
In the 63rd minute, Fucito found White again for a goal, this time slipping White into the box. White wound up in heavy traffic and with the keeper charging on him, but slid it past him for his second goal and a 6-0 lead.
“Even though we were more patient we still made some good runs in behind and hit some good 1-2s which is really a reflection of the work in the first ten days of the season,” Schmid said. “So it all comes together.”
After that, Seattle cooled off until the 75th minute when Estrada found Fucito at the far post with a cross that Fucito knocked into the net for a 7-0 tally.
Both teams finished the final ten minutes with ten men on the field when Roger Levesque and UCF’s Nik Robson after a brief altercation at midfield.
The win was a confidence booster for the Sounders, who improved to 3-2-2 in preseason.
“It helps us say that we are on the right track because we were able to score goals against an opponent that we should score goals against. So we just need to keep on doing what we’re doing,” Schmid said.
Seattle will train on Friday, then face the Chicago Fire on Saturday for the final training game of the Florida leg of training camp. Kickoff is set for 11 am Pacific Time and will be featured in a live blog at http://sndrs.com/fl04.
Sounders FC - Pat Noonan (Miguel Montaño) 39; Pat Noonan (Trialist) 43; Own Goal 57; O’Brian White (Mike Fucito) 59; David Estrada 61; O’Brian White (Mike Fucito) 63; Mike Fucito (David Estrada) 75.
UCF - None.
Sounders FC - Roger Levesque (ejection) 80.
UCF – Nik Robson (ejection) 80; Ben Hunt (caution) 84.
Sounders FC - Bryan Meredith (Josh Ford 46), Richard Martinez (Zach Scott 66), Tyson Wahl (Taylor Graham 46), Zach Scott (Leone Cruz 46), Michael Tetteh (Tyson Wahl 66), Roger Levesque (Lamar Neagle 46), Servando Carrasco (Roger Levesque 71), Trialist (Jonathan Prieto 46), Miguel Montaño (David Estrada 59), David Estrada (Mike Fucito 46), Pat Noonan (O’Brian White 46, Servando Carrasco 87).
UCF* - Shawn Doyle, Ben Hunt, Camillo Rendon, Chris Feigenbaum, Cam Cooskey, Nik Robson, Kevan George, Warren Creavelle, Andrew Quintana, A. Jay Nelson, Luiz Yamashita.
*The UCF lineup does not reflect substitutions.