TUSCON, Ariz. – As they entered their first match in the Desert Diamond Cup, the Sounders FC focused on keeping possession and defending as a team.
While preseason results don’t mean everything, Seattle was able to accomplish some of their goals in earning a 2-0 victory over the New England Revolution at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Brad Evans converted a 27th minute penalty and Eddie Johnson added the second goal just before halftime while the defense powered by goalkeepers Michael Gspurning and Marcus Hahnemann held the Revs scoreless.
“Overall I was pleased. I thought the goals were good and the penalty was well-taken,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I thought at times our combinations were good. We sprung people. David Estrada worked very hard for us. It was good to have Ozzie out there and Brad did a good job. Overall, I was pleased.”
In a first half that was marred by a series of hard tackles and five yellow cards, the two teams were also able to string together some offense. And while New England would get the first shot – a Diego Fagundez shot in the fifth minute that was parried for a save by Gspurning – the Sounders would get the better of the first half.
Early in the match, they used the speed of Estrada, Mauro Rosales and Steve Zakuani to get into dangerous spots.
They finally got out to the lead in the 27th minute.
Johnson went out on a run up the middle of the field and was pulled down by Jose Goncalves just outside the box. Rosales took the free kick and blasted it at the wall, where it caught the arm of a New England player, drawing a penalty call.
Evans calmly stepped to the spot and knocked it inside the right post for the goal.
They added to their lead in the 45th minute off a majestic left-footed shot by Johnson. Adam Johansson played him up the right side and he chased it down in the corner, then pulled the ball back to the middle before ripping a left-footed curler inside the far post from the corner of the box for a goal and a 2-0 lead.
“I thought it was a great performance from us in general,” Johnson. “It was good to have all of our players back, have a healthy team and get the three points which was the most important thing.”
The Sounders made a few substitutions at halftime and by the 68th minute had a whole new group on the field. That led to a bit more disjointed play in the second half, but Hahnemann showed his mettle in front of the net and at one point got a huge stop from the defense as well.
In the 83rd minute, New England played in a corner kick and Hahnemann made the initial stop, but got caught amidst a grouping of players in the box. The Revs got another shot away, but a few players retreated to the line to cover for Hahnemann and made the stop and eventually the Sounders gained control and held on for the shutout victory, giving them momentum out of the first game.
“Playing the game now, we can really draw some conclusions,” Schmid said. “We see some things that we want to work on. With all the different personnel, it was hard to work on that and now that’s something that we can continue to work on.”
The Sounders will meet Real Salt Lake in their next match in the Desert Diamond Cup on Saturday at 3 pm PT. The match will be streamed live on SoundersFC.com and MLSsoccer.com.
Sounders FC – Brad Evans (PK) 27; Eddie Johnson (Adam Johansson) 45.
Revolution – None.
Sounders FC – Leo Gonzalez (caution) 18; Eddie Johnson (caution) 25; Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 32; Djimi Traore (caution) 43; Marc Burch (ejection) 79; Travis Bowen (caution) 83.
Revolution – Jose Goncalves (caution) 25; Sainey Nyassi (ejection) 79.
Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning (Marcus Hahnemann 46), Adam Johansson (DeAndre Yedlin 64), Djimi Traore (Mikael Silvestre 46), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Zach Scott 67), Leo Gonzalez (Marc Burch 64), Mauro Rosales (Alex Caskey 64), Osvaldo Alonso (Andy Rose 38), Brad Evans (Servando Carrasco 67), Steve Zakuani (Lamar Neagle 64), David Estrada (Travis Bowen 67), Eddie Johnson (Sammy Ochoa 46).
Revolution – Bobby Shuttleworth, Andrew Farrell (Kevin Alston 46, Bilal Duckett 58), Chris Tierney (Tyler Polak 39), AJ Soares (Darrius Barnes 46), Jose Goncalves (Stephen McCarthy 46), Gabe Latigue (Juan Toja 26, Sanna Nyassi 46), Clyde Simms (Scott Caldwell 42), Kalifa Cisse (Andy Dorman 46), Lee Nguyen (Donnie Smith 46), Diego Fagundez (Matt Horth 46, Dimitry Imbongo 69), Jerry Bengtson (Marko Jesic 46).