Here’s today’s report from Sounders FC:
The 70-minute training game with Midtjylland broke open in the second half with the Danes scoring twice in a three-minute span to turn back Seattle, 3-1. Midtjylland’s diminutive, 20-yard-old forward Jude Nworuh scored all three goals after coming on at halftime, each time using his speed, quickness and deft finishing.
Sounders FC controlled much of the first 35 minutes. Tye Perdido was involved in two of the three near-misses. He was a split-second from meeting a Peter Vagenas driven cross at the near post when it was nicked away by a defender. Just before the whistle, Perdido blocked an attempted defensive clearance and chased down the ball on the left edge of the box. Keeper Martin Rasha recovered in time to slide and smother the shot. In between those opportunities, Stephen King steered his 10-yard try just wide of the left post.
Midtjylland’s three substitutes at the break injected raw speed into the match, and the revamped Seattle back line had difficulty dealing with it. After having a goal called back for offside, Nworuh opened the scoring in the 44th minute. A slip by Zach Scott seven minutes later enabled Nworuh to beat Patrick Lane one-on-one from close range.
Steve Zakuani pulled Sounders FC level in the 50th, cracking a ball inside the right post from 12 yards out wide on the left. Perdido initiated the movement and Peter Vagenas found Zakuani with the final pass. Rasha denied a Fredy Montero free kick with a save in the 53rd, and on the next foray Midtjylland scored again.
Nworuh beat an offside trap on the right to make it 2-1 in the 55th, and in nearly an identical move he scored his fourth in the 58th minute.
Sanna Nyassi, held out of full training this week due to left groin pain, returned to start the training game on the right wing. Michael Fucito, who returned to full training on Tuesday following a left hamstring strain, played the first half, paired with Perdido up front. Jeff Parke started and played 35 minutes alongside Scott in central defense.
First half Sounders FC lineup: Carillo; Neagle, Parke, Scott, Wahl; King, Vagenas, Wallace, Nyassi; Fucito, Perdido
Second half Sounders FC lineup: Lane; Neagle, Wallace, Scott, Wahl; Estrada, King, Vagenas, Zakuani, Nyassi; Montero, Perdido
A light afternoon session lasted only 55 minutes, with the morning training game participants doing regeneration.
The final La Manga Cup match for Sounders FC is Thursday at 6 a.m. (PT) against SK Brann of Norway. There will be a live blog on SoundersFC.com.
on reaction to training game outcome) Each game you take something from it. Obviously we’re disappointed in the result, but it gave us an opportunity to look at some of our younger players, put them into a competitive situation, see how they react under pressure and how they deal with that, and give some guys minutes who haven’t received as many minutes. So it’s a chance to get guys fitter, and also it’s a chance to see how guys play with a little fatigue.
on some players playing new positions in the training game) We wanted to give Lamar Neagle a look at outside back. We’ve looked at him in midfield. We trying to draw some conclusions, make some decisions about where is his best shot at making our team. Jamel had played in midfield in college, so based on the personnel available we felt that was the right way to go, letting him play the first half in midfield there and put Stephen King outside. He’s played outside for us before. There were certain guys we knew we were going to play a little bit tomorrow, they we didn’t want to play more than 35 minutes.
on Jeff Parke’s play) He did alright. Every game he’s getting a little bit better, a little more comfortable with the ball. You could tell in his first game out there, in his first practices, that he hadn’t played in awhile. Every time it looks better, he looks more comfortable and he’s getting up to the speed of play.
on Zakuani’s goal) Every time Steve gets into a game it’s better for us. I thought his performance today was better than the last game he got into. Obviously he banged away a good goal. It’s good for him to score from that angle because that’s an angle he gets in a lot. I think with each game he’ll get better.
Throw-ins: A television crew from FIFA Futbol Mundial taped interviews with Montero, Freddie Ljungberg, Kasey Keller and Schmid. In addition, a newspaper reporter from Bergen interview Nyassi, who had received a tryout from SK Brann in 2007…Among the current Brann players is Rodolph Austin, a teammate of Tyrone Marshall on the Jamaica National Team…Two players were limited in their training participation: Patrick Ianni (left osteitis pubis) and Roger Levesque (left ankle sprain).
Players presently training in La Manga:
Goalkeepers (4): Derby Carillo, Chris Eylander, Kasey Keller, Patrick Lane
Defenders (11): Leo Gonzalez, Taylor Graham, John Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Tyrone Marshall, Jeff Parke, James Riley, Zach Scott, Nathan Sturgis, Tyson Wahl, Jamel Wallace
Midfielders (8): Osvaldo Alonso, Michael Fucito, Stephen King, Freddie Ljungberg, Lamar Neagle, Sanna Nyassi, Rayner, Peter Vagenas
Forwards (5): David Estrada, Roger Levesque, Fredy Montero, Tye Perdido, Steve Zakuani