Bradenton, Fla. - The Sounders FC concluded the Florida leg of 2011 training camp with a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire.
The win was anything but ordinary though.
While possessing the ball for much of the game and creating opportunities, the Sounders defense ruled the day and held Chicago to just perimeter shots for most of the 120-minute match. Then Servando Carrasco scored in the 120th minute to send the Sounders home from Florida with a 2-1-1 record in the Sunshine State and a 4-2-2 record overall in training camp.
“It was good that we played to zero. Tehre were a couple of moments that are close, but that’s always going to be the case,” head coach Sigi Schmid said.
As the time wound down Zach Scott sent a long ball to Roger Levesque who corralled the high ball with a defender on his back. He dropped it back to Miguel Montano coming up the left side and Montano found Carrasco in the middle of the box for the shot and score in the final minute of the match, which was split into two 45-minute periods and one 30-minute period.
“I heard the coaches say there was a minute left in the game so there were only a few attacking opportunities left,” Carrasco said. “Today was just a great team effort. We executed on the things we’ve been working on and so we’re happy with our performance today.”
Most of the group that started the game - which Schmid labeled players who have the first crack at starting roles - were pushed to 70 minutes. This gave the staff the longest look at the core players of the preseason and they responded by holding the possession and putting the ball in goal-dangerous positions with regularity.
In the 7th minute, Alvaro Fernandez spotted Blaise Nkufo in the box, but with a defender on his back he missed the shot high.
Fernandez later found Fredy Montero on the run in the box, but his shot was stopped by Chicago goalkeepr Sean Johnson.
Add in a Steve Zakuani shot that just missed outside the post and another Johnson save on a Montero header and Seattle held the majority of the chances in the first period.
“What I was happy about was that we did a good job of spreading the field and possessing the ball,” Schmid said. “Our passing at times was very good.”
In the second period, Terry Boss came on for Kasey Keller and was put to the test, but held Chicago off the board. His diving stop of an Orr Barouch shot late in the second period provided a lift to the Sounders defense.
Then, with time winding down, Carrasco gave the Sounders the boost they needed to finish the Florida trip with a victory.
The Sounders will return to Seattle on Sunday and face the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps at the Cascadia Summit on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller (Terry Boss 63), James Riley (Richard Martinez 71, Michael Tetteh 114), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Taylor Graham 71, Patrick Ianni 104), Jeff Parke (Zach Scott 71), Leo Gonzalez (Tyson Wahl 71), Alvaro Fernandez (Trialist 46, David Estrada 91), Osvaldo Alonso (Servando Carrasco 71), Brad Evans (Jonathan Prieto 71), Steve Zakuani (Miguel Montano 71), Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 63, Roger Levesque 104), Blaise Nkufo (Pat Noonan 63, Lamar Neagle 100).
Fire - Sean Johnson (Jon Conway 46, Alec Dufty 91), Jalil Anibaba (Kwame Watson-Siriboe 77), Josip Mikulic (Mike Videira 77), Cory Gibbs (Pari Pantazopoulos 55), Bratislav Ristic (Yoximar 64), Baggio Husidic (Corben Bone 64), Logan Pause (Marko Maric 51), Marco Pappa (Daniel Paladini 77), Gonzalo Segares (Michael Muniz 46, Davis Paul 77), Diego Chaves (Patrick Nyarko 46, Martin Rivas 108), Gaston Puerari (Orr Barouch 46, Jason Herrick 106).
Sounders FC - Servando Carrasco (Miguel Montano, Roger Levesque) 120.
Fire - None.
Sounders FC - Trialist (caution) 55; Miguel Montano (caution) 72.
Fire - Cory Gibbs (caution) 28; Cory Gibbs (caution) 55; Cory Gibbs (ejection) 55.