HARRISON, NJ - Two years ago to the day, the Sounders FC started their inaugural campaign with a 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls at Qwest Field.
Saturday night at Red Bull Arena, they weren’t able to duplicate the magic from that night and found themselves on the wrong side of a 1-0 game. Though both teams managed seven shots on goal, it was Juan Agudelo’s goal in the 70th minute that proved the difference maker as the Sounders dropped to 0-2-0.
“I thought New York had more of the game in the first half, the possession for sure,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We knew that was going to happen. I thought we created some good chances of the counterattack during the first half but at the end of the day we gave up a bad goal. We’ve got to be better than that.”
Like the season opener against the LA Galaxy, Seattle forced the opposing keeper into some difficult saves. Just like the opener, it was a goal against the run of play that proved their undoing.
However, it looked like the Red Bulls would get on the board much sooner than Agudelo’s charge. In the 8th minute, Agudelo was brought down in the box for a penalty and former Arsenal and Barcelona superstar Thierry Henry was chosen to take the attempt.
Henry slowly approached the spot and drove the ball low to the left post. Kasey Keller guessed correctly, diving to his right and meeting the ball at the post, tipping it away for a corner kick and keeping the Sounders in the game at 0-0.
New York dodged a few bullets of their own.
In the 27th minute, Fredy Montero blasted a long-range shot in an effort to catch Greg Sutton off guard. Sutton made the stop, but O’Brian White nearly pounced on the rebound.
Sutton made five first-half saves and the two teams went into the break scoreless.
The Sounders came out strong to start the second half, but it was a speedy counter from New York that changed the game.
Montero lost possession in the attack and Teemu Tainio sent a long ball for Agudelo, who battled off Leo Gonzalez before poking the shot past Keller for the goal and a 1-0 lead in the 70th minute.
Seattle had opportunities to get back in the game, none stronger than a stoppage time effort from Montero. Newcomer Mauro Rosales touched a free kick to him 30 yards out and Montero blasted it on frame. Sutton again made the initial stop, but spilled it right to Lamar Neagle in front of the net. Struggling with the bounce, Neagle knocked it over the top of the crossbar.
“We have to move on,” Schmid said. “When we play two of the better teams in the league and show that we can play them pretty even … now we just have to make sure that we come out with the results.”
The Sounders will have a chance to get their first points of the season on Friday when they host the Houston Dynamo at Qwest Field. For tickets, visit SoundersFC.com or call 877-MLS-GOAL.
Sounders FC - None.
Red Bulls - Juan Agudelo (Teemu Tainio) 70.
Sounders FC - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution) 61.
Red Bulls - None.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Alvaro Fernandez (Mauro Rosales 68), Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco (Lamar Neagle 79), Erik Friberg, Fredy Montero, O’Brian White (Roger Levesque 73).
Red Bulls - Greg Sutton, Jan Gunnar Solli, Tim Ream, Rafael Marquez, Roy Miller, Dane Richards (Danleigh Borman 93+), Teemu Tainio, Mehdi Ballouchy (Tony Tchani 68), Joel Lindpere, Thierry Henry, Juan Agudelo.