Monday, March 4, 2013

Montreal Impact steal one in Seattle

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders came into the season opener without a few key players. Adam Johansson, David Estrada and Patrick Ianni were out injured. Lamar Neagle was left out of the lineup. Djimi Traore was left on the bench. And Ozzie Alonso and Marc Burch were suspended. So I expected play to be a little sloppy on the part of the Sounders, but I did not expect a result like this. On Saturday, the Montreal Impact came to CenturyLink Field and stunned the crowd of 38,998 in attendance as they defeated the Seattle Sounders 1-0. The Sounders had some chances in this game, but they couldn't deliver and with the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal on the road at Tigres coming up a couple days from now, Seattle needs to correct their mistakes and correct them fast. Since both legs of the Champions League are this Wednesday and next Tuesday, the Sounders next match in league play won't be until March 16 at home and their opponent happens to be the Portland Timbers.

In the 18th minute, Montreal had a chance to go up 1-0 and probably should've gone up 1-0. Andrea Pisanu spotted the run of Marco Di Vaio and fed him with a perfectly timed through ball in the box. Di Vaio got in behind Zach Scott and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado but he put a little too much under the ball and shot it over the bar.

In the 24th minute, the Sounders had an opportunity of their own to break the deadlock. Again, the passing was sloppy on both ends of the pitch and teams struggling to clear the ball out of their own area. Felipe Martins looked to clear the ball from danger but Jhon Kennedy Hurtado stepped in to head the ball to Andy Rose whose touch was a little heavy. Felipe slid in to win the ball back, but Rose fed the ball to the near side for Mario Martinez who looked and curled the ball to the near post for Eddie Johnson who got past Matteo Ferrari, but he flicked the ball wide of Troy Perkins's right hand side.

Five minutes later, EJ had another opportunity. Justin Mapp's misplaced pass gave Mauro Rosales a chance to catch Montreal on the counter. Rosales rolled the ball to Johnson on the right side of the box. Johnson waited for support before cutting inside and trying to curl his shot into the corner, but it was too far central and easily gathered by Troy Perkins.

In the 35th minute, the Sounders get caught on the counter and the Impact take full advantage of it and open the scoring. Marco Di Vaio found Felipe who had time and space to look up and he lifted the ball up for Davy Arnaud who settled the ball in front of him and chipped it over the head of Michael Gspurning and in the back of the net to put the Impact ahead 1-0. Just poor play on that one from Andy Rose, Zach Scott and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. Hurtado was late trying to get back, Scott overcommits by pushing up and closing down Felipe and nobody picks up Arnaud. Just shocking defending on that play.

Just over four minutes into the second half, Montreal had a big chance to go up by two. Patrice Bernier sent Sanna Nyassi in behind the defense with the great through ball. Just as Nyassi was getting ready to strike, he starts to lose control. However, the Sounders still couldn't get it away as Zach Scott and Michael Gspurning collide in the box. Marco Di Vaio stepped in with the net empty trying to make it 2-0, but DeAndre Yedlin got back to get in the way of that shot to keep it a one score game.

In the 64th minute, the Sounders dodged another bullet. Sanna Nyassi worked a give and go with Marco Di Vaio on the near side. Nyassi made a good run forward and whipped in a very good cross for a diving header from Davy Arnaud, but the ball bounced back into play from the crossbar and the score remained 1-0.

A minute later, Seattle were denied by the frame. Mario Martinez slid the ball to Eddie Johnson at the top of the area, who poked the ball back to Brad Evans for a first timed shot that beat Troy Perkins, but the left post comes to Montreal's rescue this time.

With just under 10 minutes to go in normal time, Seattle had a golden opportunity to level the match. Eddie Johnson fed Leo Gonzalez who made an overlapping run from his left back position. Gonzalez chipped the ball to the near post for Alex Caskey who flicked the ball for Eddie Johnson who strikes the ball off the crossbar from point blank range. I'm still having difficulty figuring out how he couldn't score from that position, but that's what the outcome of that chance was and Seattle come away empty handed in the opening match of the 2013 season.


DeAndre Yedlin impressive in his debut with the Sounders.
I was a little surprised to see this kid in the lineup for this match, but DeAndre Yedlin got the start and I gotta say I was really impressed with his performance. Yedlin remember played a year in the Sounders FC Youth academy and was signed back in January as the first homegrown player in club history after two seasons at Akron. Normally at 19-years old when you make your debut for your hometown club, you end up feeling a lot of pressure and struggle to handle it. But he didn't feel any pressure, he took his debut like it's another game. His passing was good. One on One defending, excellent. Despite all that, I'm still not quite satisfied that he should be an everyday starter at right back because on the attacking end, his crosses weren't great and on the defensive side of the ball, there were times when Sanna Nyassi beat him especially the first couple of minutes where Nyassi got in behind him and both were pulling eachothers jerseys. If Nyassi went down under that, I think the referee would've called a foul and Yedlin probably would've been sent off. But based on what I've seen out of him, he'll only get better as he gains more minutes and he will be a future starter on this team for sure.

Asside from DeAndre's performance, the Sounders attacking game was, ya know...... not good. First of all, someone on Seattle Times called Zakuani a One Trick Pony. I don't know who said that, and I don't care, but that's got to be the most bullshit comment I've ever heard or read or whatever. The wide play however, was very poor, the crosses were weak, and the guys are just getting caught out of position. Rosales needs to move back to the right side of midfield where he's most effective and they need to push Zakuani up front with EJ and move Martinez to the left side of midfield. They need to change something attacking wise until they finally get another striker.

Ya know.... first game, they lost. Big deal. Look, I'm not happy with the defeat myself, but there's absolutely no reason to panic. These guys off and on have hit a brick wall, but they find ways to bounce back and win games. So this team will bounce back from this loss, no doubt. We've got a long long way to go this season. 34 games. This was the first game, so now we have 33 games to go.

Scoring summary:

Montreal Impact - Davy Arnaud 1 (Felipe Martins 1) 35'

Misconduct summary:

Seattle Sounders FC - Brad Evans (caution; foul) 17'

Montreal Impact - Andrea Pisanu (caution; foul) 64'


Montreal Impact - Troy Perkins; Hassoun Camara (Dennis Iapichino 84'), Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Jeb Brovsky; Andrea Pisanu (Calum Mallace 69'), Patrice Bernier, Felipe Martins, Justin Mapp (Sanna Nyassi 45'); Davy Arnaud, Marco Di Vaio

Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning; DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leonardo Gonzalez (Servando Carrasco 84'); Mario Martinez, Andy Rose (Alex Caskey 62'), Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani (Sammy Ochoa 69'); Mauro Rosales, Eddie Johnson

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