The sentiment is different in 2010. Two early goals, mixed with long stretches of sloppy play, certainly were under scrutiny Thursday night as the Sounders opened their second season with a 2-0 victory over Philadelphia Union, an expansion organization.
Seattle coach Sigi Schmid appeared relieved that the team scored both goals, especially considering what happened at the end of last season (scoreless in five of final six home matches) and in this preseason (six goals in six matches).
The Sounders fired off 12 shots Thursday, seven by forward Fredy Montero, who tallied one of the most bizarre and courageous goals you’re ever going to see by sticking his head out dangerously close to the left post of the Philadelphia goal right before halftime.
Here was his reaction:
“It was one of the toughest goals to score in my entire professional career,” Montero added. “The only option I had was to stick the ball in that little, small space. It was a fast ball. It bounced right in front of me. Luckily it went in.”
Asked how much room was between his head and the post, he grinned: “Two meters,” he said.
Montero had an assist with Steve Zakuani in a perfect display of crisp, quick-touch passing near the Union goal in the 12th minute. Zakuani finished it off with a cross to Brad Evans in the penalty box, and the midfielder got the game-winner on a 6-yard blast.
“Anytime he’s got the ball, there’s always a chance that it’s coming across,” Evans said. “I had my late run in the box, and it kind of skipped by two defenders. I caught it well with the inside of my right foot and put it to the far post.”
Yet, the action wasn’t always so fruitful. In fact, Schmid thought the performance was OK, not great.
“Overall, the good news for us, we can play a lot soccer than we played tonight,” Schmid said. “At times it was not our best soccer, for sure, but sometimes you have to win some games where you don’t play your best soccer. Today was a good win for us because we were able to get our nerves out, as well as their nerves. They’re coming in here with nothing to lose. They can play free and with abandon.”
For a second consecutive season, Seattle’s Kasey Keller notched an opening-day shutout. He helped blank New York, 3-0, last season. … Seattle’s Freddie Ljungberg (back) had to leave early in the second half with soreness on a foul by Toni Stahl in the first half that drew the first yellow card. Stahl was eventually ejected with a second yellow card in the 40th minute. … The 36,241 was a Sounders’ record for regular-season play in an MLS match.