2013 Desert Diamond Cup
Soccer: Sounders down RSL
Slow first half followed by abundance of chances for RSL
The match started off choppy for both Seattle Sounders FC and Real Salt Lake at Kino Stadium Saturday night. The Sounders had the better of the chances, and ended the game on top 2-1.
The first half hour of the game neither team was able to dominate, and the many stoppages in play didn't help. The back and forth between the sides reached a crescendo when RSL's Kenny Mansally earned a yellow for taking down Seattle's Adam Johansson.
Neither team had many chances, official stats showed that they combined for five shots on goal in the first half. The first strong chance came in the 40th minute when Seattle's David Estrada took an oblique shot that nearly beat Salt Lake's Nick Rimando.
RSL came on stronger in the second half, notching eleven shots on goal. Still, Seattle found the back of the net first, albeit after the hour mark. Second half substitute Mario Martinez found the back of the net first, with Danish player Philip Lund extending the lead to two.
RSL's late goal from John Stertzler kept the team from being shut out, but the game still ended with the boys from Salt Lake City down.
RSL takes on New England on Wednesday at Kino Stadium in the early match at 5 p.m., while Seattle faces New York in the match at 7 p.m.
Seattle sounds off
Sounders coach Siggi Schmid was happy to have his first team on the field for another go, particularly Honduran midfielder Mario Martínez, who just rejoined the team for preseason this week.
"We held him until the second half and he scored a great goal," Schmid said.
"For the first twenty five minutes, there was not much flow to the game. For whatever reason, the past two games have been physical. I don't know why, but you deal with it, said midfielder Brad Evans. "They played their typical game: pinch in the midfield, play a tight diamond. Not too many chances for them, we created more chances and caught them on the counter."
It wasn't just a chance for veterans like Evans to get some playing time, but also a chance for players like Philip Lund to shine. Lund joined the team last month after a stint at FC Fyn in his native Denmark. This is his first appearance in the Desert Diamond Cup after missing Wednesday's match with an illness.
"It was always nice to score a goal, especially after not playing a match in seven or eight months," said Lund after the game. "In the beginning it was tough for me, but hopefully I can build on it now."
Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis isn't prone to showing his frustration with game results, but it can still be easy to read between the lines.
"A little bit of a fatigue performance on our part. We've been working our guys extremely hard. We had a training session today, like a normal training session. And we don't ever do that leading to a real match," Kreis said after the game. "We were asking a lot of our players tonight, and I think we saw some fatigue decisions that led to some chances and goals against us. That's okay, because now we can talk about what we need to fix."
"It's difficult. The atmosphere for the game isn't quite right," Kreis when asked about the physicality of the first half. "It's extremely silent out there, quiet. The grass isn't watered so the ball is moving very slowly. It was very choppy. The referees are trying to do the right thing by the players by not being overly restrictive on cards...it really made for a sloppy and start-stop first half."
"It's not the best feeling when you lose, but it's preseason," said RSL and national team keeper Nick Rimando. "This is where you get on the same page, move forward and learn from your mistakes."