Friday, August 3, 2012

Sounders open up Champions League Group play with a 3-1 win over Caledonia AIA

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders kicked off another big month on a good note. Last night, the Sounders kicked off CONCACAF Champions League group play on a winning note as they defeated Caledonia AIA of Trinidad and Tobago 3-1 at home. With a huge home match on Sunday against the Los Angeles Galaxy and an Open Cup final match next Wednesday at Sporting Kansas City, that win should boost the teams confidence as we near the late stages of the 2012 MLS season.

In the opening minute of the match, the Sounders nearly scored on a set piece opportunity. Alex Caskey took the corner kick from the far side and found Andy Rose at the near post, but his header just sailed high. A few minutes later, the Sounders had another corner and Caskey this time found Jeff Parke at the near post, but again the header was a little too high.

In the 19th minute, the Sounders opened up their 2012-13 Champions League account. Cordell Cato on the far side was looking to play the ball into the box, but he put too much under his cross and it went through the box. However, Alex Caskey was over on the near side to pick the ball up and he played the ball back into the mixer which rolls to Sammy Ochoa just outside the six yard box and Ochoa sides the ball inside the near post with his left foot to put the Sounders ahead 1-0.

A couple minutes later, Caledonia had a chance to pull level. Jamaal Gay slid the ball across to Kareem Joseph who had plenty of space on the left side of the box. With Marc Burch backtracking, Joseph hesitated before cutting to his right foot and shooting for the far corner, but Andrew Weber got a piece of it to keep it out.

In the 30th minute, the Sounders doubled their lead. Cordell Cato made a nice cut inside and sent Andy Rose away down the right hand side with a brilliant through ball and Rose slid the ball right across to the six yard area where Fredy Montero was there for an easy tap in for his eighth goal in all competitions this season and more importantly to put the Sounders ahead 2-0. Seconds later, Ozzie Alonso took the ball away and had a go from distance which forced a save from Glenroy Samuel.

With just over two minutes to go till halftime, Seattle would add a third goal. Ozzie Alonso slid the ball into the box, Alex Caskey let the ball roll to Fredy Montero who turned and tried to curl his shot into the far side which forced a save from Samuel, but right there were both Andy Rose and Sammy Ochoa going for the same ball. Originally I thought Ochoa got a touch to it, but the replay showed that it was Andy Rose who got the goal to put the Sounders ahead 3-0.

Five minutes into the second half, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado got whistled for a foul in the box and Caledonia were awarded a PK. A long throw in was intended for Jamaal Gay in the box and Hurtado had his arms around him as he tried the clear the ball away. Normally the officials don't see those in the box so I was a little surprised that the referee saw that, but he saw it and he pointed to the spot which I believe was the correct decision. Kareem Joseph stepped up to take the PK and he went top right as Andrew Weber guessed incorrectly and Caledonia got on the board in this match. However they couldn't create any real chances in the second half and the Sounders walk away 3-1 winners in the Champions League Group opener.


Despite his little creativity here and there during the match, I don't think Cordell Cato had the best of matches as a Seattle Sounder. I can think of at least 30 times Cato went up against former Charlotte Eagle Walter Moore down the right hand side. In the early minutes of the match Cato quickly opened the flood gates and outperformed Walter Moore, but as the game progressed Moore got his number and began to shut him down, not letting him get a shot on goal, not letting him play in an easy cross. In the Champions League, no matter how good or bad you are, how much potential you have or how good or bad the opposition is, you got play with a bit of consistency and I didn't see that from Cato.

I did see it from rookie Andy Rose however. The former UCLA Bruin on his Champions League debut looked to be the best player in this match. From the start of kickoff to the final whistle, this guy brought it 120% in this game, never looked back and he gets awarded with a goal and two assists. This guy has gone from a Supplemental Draft selection to possibly to candidate for MLS Rookie of the Year. He has a great future ahead of him.

With the change of the format for the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League, with eight groups of three and the winner of each group advancing, the pressure in the first match of group play is usually on the home team.Seattle took it to their opponents and got a much deserved win to kick off the month of August. The question is can they play with that same enthusiasm against an LA Galaxy side that has been on a roll lately? That's for everybody to find out on Sunday.

Scoring summary:

Seattle Sounders FC - Sammy Ochoa (Andy Rose, Alex Caskey) 19'

Seattle Sounders FC - Fredy Montero (Andy Rose, Cordell Cato) 30'

Seattle Sounders FC - Andy Rose (unassisted) 43'

Caledonia AIA - Kareem Joseph (penalty kick) 50'

Misconduct summary:

Caledonia AIA - Keyon Edwards (caution; foul) 39'

Seattle Sounders FC - Fredy Montero (caution; dive) 56'


Caledonia AIA - Glenroy Samuel; Aubrey David, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Nuru Abdullah Muhammad, Walter Moore; Kareem Joseph, Stephan David, Keyon Edwards, Trayon Bobb (Trevin Caesar 58'); Jamaal Gay (Sheldon Holder 83'), Conrad Smith (Cornelius Stewart 58')

Seattle Sounders FC - Andrew Weber; Brad Evans, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch; Cordell Cato, Osvaldo Alonso (Servando Carrasco 46'), Andy Rose, Alex Caskey (Leo Gonzalez 75'); Sammy Ochoa, Fredy Montero (Adam Johansson 92'+)

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