SEATTLE – The Sounders went into their first CONCACAF Champions League of the 2012-2013 tournament without a lot of information about their opponents from Trinidad, Caledonia AIA.
Once Sammy Ochoa put the ball in the back of the net in the 19th minute, though, they were able to relax knowing that their scouting had been enough to prepare the Sounders to get the job done against the Caribbean champions.
“You need that first goal to really settle down and once we got that it felt like we started to dominate possession,” said midfielder Andy Rose who finished with a goal and two assists on the night. “Overall, I thought it was a pretty impressive first half.”
In addition to goals by Ochoa and Rose, Fredy Montero added one before halftime, then the Sounders finished off Caledonia with a 3-1 victory to take the early lead in Group 4.
“The accomplishment we wanted to achieve was to win the game,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We didn’t get any injuries, so it was good.”
The Sounders got off the mark in the 19th minute when Alex Caskey chased down a cross from Cordell Cato, picking it up in the left corner. He crossed it to Rose at the edge of the box and Rose put it through to Ochoa in the middle of the box. He collected it, then put it past goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel with a left-footed shot for the 1-0 lead.
Seattle’s control of the game continued in the 30th minute when Cato took it up the middle and rolled it out to Rose on the right side of the box. Rose sent a cross to Montero, who shot inside the far post for the goal and a 2-0 Sounders lead.
The Sounders continued to put pressure on the Caledonia defense and Montero shot from the top of the box in the 43rd minute. Samuel made the initial stop, but the rebound spilled to the right side, where Rose and Ochoa converged on it, with Rose putting it away for the3-0 halftime lead.
That edge allowed Schmid to pull Osvaldo Alonso at halftime, conserving his energy for a busy upcoming schedule.
“For us right now we’re in a tough stretch of games. So a little bit of it was, ‘Let’s get the win, let’s manage the game, let’s not kill ourselves’,” Schmid said. “It was great that we got the early goals and we had a three-nothing halftime lead, so as a result the work we put in the second half was not as great as the work we would have had to put in if we were tied or if we were trying to make up the deficit. So from that standpoint it was good.”
In the second half, Caledonia got on the board in the 50th minute when Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was called for a foul in the box and Kareem Joseph converted the penalty, but otherwise, Seattle was able to kill the clock while still generating scoring chances.
“It’s good to start the competition off winning and getting the three points,” Ochoa said. “As long as we’re winning at home, we feel good.”
Seattle’s next match in the Champions League will be in Trinidad on August 30. Matches against the third team in the group, Marathon from Honduras, will fall September 19 in Honduras and October 24 in Seattle. The Sounders will host the LA Galaxy on Sunday in MLS play, then meet Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park in the US Open Cup final.
Sounders FC – Sammy Ochoa (Andy Rose, Alex Caskey) 19; Fredy Montero (Andy Rose, Cordell Cato) 30; Andy Rose 43.
Caledonia AIA – Kareem Joseph (penalty) 50.
Sounders FC – Fredy Montero (caution) 56.
Caledonia AIA – Keyon Edwards (caution) 39.
Sounders FC – Andrew Weber, Brad Evans, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Cordell Cato, Andy Rose, Osvaldo Alonso (Servando Carrasco 46), Alex Caskey (Leo Gonzalez 75), Fredy Montero (Adam Johansson 93+), Sammy Ochoa.
Caledonia AIA – Glenroy Samuel, Aubrey David, Nuru Abdullah Muhammad, Kareem Joseph, Walter Moore, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Stephan David, Trayon Bobb (Trevin Caesar 58), Keyon Edwards, Conrod Smith (Cornelius Stewart 58), Jamal Gay (Sheldon Holder 83).