Shandong Luneng Image

Sounders FC defeats Chinese Champs

Behind two goals from Sanna Nyassi in the second half, the Sounders FC won their second training match in Ventura, California.

The Sounders FC got rolling on Monday after a brief hiccup at the start of their game agains the LA Galaxy.  On Tuesday, they carried the momentum from that 3-1 win over the Galaxy into their second training game against Chinese club Shandong Luneng and Sanna Nyassi raced out for two goals in Seattle’s 2-0 win at Ventura College.

Nyassi didn’t come on until the second half, but that didn’t prevent some aggressive offensive play from the Sounders FC in the first half.  Playing with a lineup that featured six players who were not with the team when they were in Renton nine days ago, the team’s timing was a bit off.  Coupled with an offside trap from Shandong Luneng, who won the Chinese Super League title last season, and Seattle was called offside time and time again in the first half, halting any offensive momentum on the way to a 0-0 halftime score.  On the bright side, Seattle did limit the opportunities of their counterparts for most of the game.

The second half saw Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid go to a much more cohesive group – one that had experience playing togehter for much of training camp

The results spoke for themselves as Nyassi, Sebastien Le Toux and non-roster invitee Roger Levesque combined to create several opportunities in the attacking third.  Stephen King continued in the second half, going 60 minutes before being replaced by Nathan Sturgis and the club never missed a beat.

“It was important for us to see how different guys reacted. We had a chance to be able to use some guys in different positions.  It was good,” said Schmid.

In the 56th minute, Nyassi fielded a pass from King on the right side and knocked it in for the 1-0 lead.

The 75th minute saw more of the same, as Le Toux sent a ball to Nyassi, who drew the keeper out of the box, beat him one-on-one and dribbled into the goal mouth before pounding it into the open net for his third goal in two nights, giving Seattle a 2-0 lead.
“He obviously has good speed. If a team is going to play an offside trap, then a player like him or if we had played a player like Steve Zakuani, are going to tear a team like that apart. So that’s what Sanna did,” Schmid said.  “He finishes goals well. The first one he finished very well by chipping it over him. The timing of his run was very good. Roger made a very unselfish run to open up that space for him. He’s a dangerous player. He’s the kind of player that can impact the game by coming off the bench, or being in the starting lineup.”

The Sounders FC will face the Ventura County Fusion Wednesday night at 7 at Buena High School in Ventura.  Their final game of the California leg of training camp is Friday at 7 against the San Jose Earthquakes in San Luis Obispo.