MLS Regular Season

Andreas Ivanschitz makes immediate impact in first match with Sounders FC

Andreas Ivanschitz 150914
Andreas Ivanschitz makes immediate impact in first match with Sounders FC -

In Saturday’s 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes, Andreas Ivanschitz took the pitch with Sounders FC for the very first time. The Austrian midfielder, who joined Seattle during the Summer Transfer Window, showed just why the club has sought to bring him here for many years.


Ivanschitz came on at halftime and made an immediate impact, especially on set pieces. Playing on both the right and left wing, the 31-year-old curled a number of dangerous balls into San Jose’s box, and one of them resulted in Obafemi Martins’ tying goal in the 82nd minute. Just five minutes earlier, Ivanschitz had driven a free kick from about 40 yards out directly to an open Lamar Neagle, whose header went just wide of the goal.


When the left-footed midfielder signed with Sounders FC last month, Head Coach Sigi Schmid and his staff raved about Ivanschitz’s ability to create goals from set pieces, saying it was maybe the strongest facet of his game. They were pleased that strength was on display in his MLS debut.


“I thought it was good. I think you can see he’s got good service on set pieces, and that helped us equalize the game,” Schmid said. “I think he’s one of those guys, like [Marco] Pappa, who’s comfortable on either side of the pitch. I think Andreas is a little more comfortable on the left side just because he’s played more there, but I thought he came in and did well. ...We’re definitely more dangerous when he’s on the ball for set pieces.”


On Seattle’s goal against the Earthquakes, Ivanschitz played in a free kick from the left flank that freed Zach Scott for an open header seven yards from goal. San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham made a miraculous save, but Martins was there to pounce on the rebound and tie the match.

Andreas Ivanschitz makes immediate impact in first match with Sounders FC -

It was just the fourth set-piece goal scored by Sounders FC this year, the lowest total among MLS teams. Last year, Seattle was among the league’s best with 15 goals from set pieces.


Not only can Ivanschitz help the Sounders by finding open teammates on dead-ball situations, but the veteran midfielder’s also proven to be a threat to score from distance. He netted 62 goals during his 15 seasons in Europe and has scored 12 times in his illustrious career with the Austrian National Team. His creativity on set pieces earned Ivanschitz the nickname “Austrian David Beckham” early on in his career.


“The coach told me when I came in that I should take all the set pieces,” he said after Saturday’s game. “That’s one of my qualities, and of course I wanted to help the team, to push the team. I’m very happy that we scored and that we now have a very good point for us.”


Sounders FC was optimistic that Ivanschitz could come in and contribute right away, but a quad injury suffered in training delayed his MLS debut by a month. Thus, he was forced to wait until September to even make the 18-man lineup after joining the team in early August.


“I think it’s the worst timing you can have as a new player,” Ivanschitz said. “But I found that in this period you have to be very patient. And I think the team, each player from the first moment on, supported me very well, and it was easy for me to get settled. ...I will work very hard in the next weeks to get in good shape. What I still miss after the injury of course is the rhythm of playing, so this will come in the next weeks for sure.”

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