The 2021 MLS preseason is officially in the books for Seattle Sounders FC.
Playing in the second of two friendlies against USL Championship side San Diego Loyal SC, Sounders FC’s First Team picked up a comfortable 1-0 win in front of 200 fans at Lumen Field on Saturday night.
Sounders FC came flying out of the gates in their new two-forward system, with Will Bruin squaring a perfect ball for Fredy Montero, who was unable to steer his shot on target. The team capitalized on their early momentum, though, as Bruin smashed a shot into the bottom corner from inside the box in the 6th minute.
Montero and Bruin continued to tee each other up throughout the opening 45 minutes, combining and interchanging as they created several clear-cut chances.
It was much the same from the opening whistle of the second half, as Montero clipped a fantastic ball over the top for Cristian Roldan, who was denied by a smart save from on-loan goalkeeper Trey Muse. The final 30 minutes saw some intricate possession sequences leading to chances for Seattle’s attack, only to be denied by a combination of the woodwork, some fantastic saves, and bit of wayward finishing.
Return of Raúl
After missing a chunk of preseason, Sounders FC striker Raúl Ruidíaz made his first appearance with the club in 2021. Coming on as a halftime substitute, the Peruvian striker looked sharp has he weaved through traffic and generated numerous chances. If not for super point-blank save from Muse, Ruidíaz would have marked his return to the team with a goal in the 87th minute. As a whole, the timing of the team’s attacking movements and combinations foreshadow an offense capable of scoring plenty of goals this season.
Montero Master Class
He might not have gotten on the scoresheet, but Montero put on an attacking clinic against San Diego Loyal. Operating in a two-forward set, Montero had the freedom to find dangerous pocket of space, receive the ball on the half turn and carve about the opposing backline with highlight reel passes. On another day, the Colombian forward could have picked up four assists, such was the quality of his creativity and vision.
With less than a week remaining until Sounders FC’s 2021 MLS home opener against Minnesota United (6:30 p.m. PT; FS1), Saturday’s double-header allowed the coaching staff to tick a couple of important boxes.
An extra 90 minutes of fitness for the entire roster? Check. Excellent application of detailed tactics in a new system? Check. Lots of competition for spots throughout the entire group? Check.
Head Coach Brian Schmetzer and his staff will now turn their sights toward Friday’s rematch of the 2020 Western Conference Final.