The Sounders are heading home to Puget Sound with a victory in their pocket.
Here’s a club report from the last day in Florida:
The Seattle Sounders FC played the Chicago Fire on Saturday afternoon in its final training game in Florida. Rookie Servando Carrasco scored in the final minute of the match as Sounders FC (4-2-2) won, 1-nil, over 120 minutes.
After two scoreless 45-minute periods, Carrasco found the net in the last minute of the final 30-minute period. Zach Scott sent a long pass to Roger Levesque on the flank who dropped the ball to Miguel Montaño. Montaño sent a cross into the middle of the box and Carrasco beat the keeper for the late game-winner.
Carrasco, who was selected by Seattle with the 27th overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, scored his first goal for Sounders FC. Montaño recorded his third assist to lead all Sounders in preseason play and Levesque recorded his second assist.
In the first 45 minutes, Seattle held much of the possession and displayed strong team defense when regaining possession.
In the 7th minute, Alvaro Fernandez sent a cross into the box from the right side that found Blaise Nkufo in the box. Fighting off a Chicago defender, Nkufo was able to get a shot off but it missed high.
Fernandez sent another well-placed cross into the box in the 32nd minute that found Fredy Montero. Montero held off a defender and chested the ball to his feet but his shot from close-range was stopped by goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
Steve Zakuani blasted a low shot from 20-yards in the 17th minute but it missed wide left for a goal kick.
Montero had a strong header at the back post in the 39th minute off a Brad Evans cross but Johnson was able to make the save.
Backup goalkeeper Terry Boss played 57 shutout minutes in the win. Boss had the highlight save of the game when he dived to his right to stop a close-range shot from Orr Barouch in the 81st minute.
In its eight training games, Seattle has posted four shutouts and leaves Florida with two shutout wins. Sounders FC has outscored its opponents 15-10.
After dropping its first training game in Florida against MLS Cup runner-ups FC Dallas, Sounders FC came-from-behind to draw with Houston and finished the trip with wins over the University of Central Florida and Chicago Fire.
Sounders FC returns to Seattle on Sunday and will prepare to face the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the Cascadia Summit March 4-6 at the Starfire Sports Complex.
SEA – Servando Carrasco (Miguel Montaño, Roger Levesque) 120
CHI – Cory Gibbs (caution) 28
CHI – Cory Gibbs (caution) 55
CHI – Cory Gibbs (ejection) 55
SEA – Trialist (caution) 55
SEA – Miguel Montaño (caution) 72
Sounders FC Lineup
Kasey Keller (Terry Boss 63’), James Riley (Richard Martinez 71’, Michael Tetteh 114’), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Taylor Graham 71’, Patrick Ianni 104’), Jeff Parke (Zach Scott 71’), Leo Gonzalez (Tyson Wahl 71’), Alvaro Fernandez (Trialist 46’, David Estrada 91’), Osvaldo Alonso (Servando Carrasco 71’), Brad Evans (Jonathan Prieto 71’), Steve Zakuani (Miguel Montaño 71’), Fredy Montero (Pat Noonan 63’, Lamar Neagle 100’), Blaise Nkufo (Mike Fucito 63’, Roger Levesque 104’).
Chicago Fire Lineup
Sean Johnson (Jon Conway 46’, Alec Dufty 91’); Jalil Anibaba (Kwame Watson-Siriboe 77’), Josip Mikulic (Mike Videira 77’), Cory Gibbs (Pari Pantazopoulos 55’); Bratislav Ristic (Yoximar 64’), Baggio Husidic (Corben Bone 64’), Logan Pause (Marko Maric 51’), Marco Pappa (Daniel Paladini 77’), Gonzalo Segares (Michael Muniz 46’, Davis Paul 77’); Diego Chaves (Patrick Nyarko 46’, Martin Rivas 108’), Gaston Puerari (Orr Barouch 46’, Jason Herrick 106’).
Quotes from Head Coach Sigi Schmid
On the training game) “It was good that we played to zero. There were a couple of moments that were close, but that’s always going to be the case. It was nice to get the late goal even though we played 120 minutes. What I was happy about was I thought some of the soccer that we played, again I know I sound like a broken record when we play good soccer and didn’t score, but sometimes it’s situations like Fredy Montero’s chance where he did what we were asking him to do, he laid the ball off, sprinted to get into the box, let him roll the ball back and his fitness now maybe lets him down a little bit and he jelly legs it and doesn’t score. So that will be something that by the time the season starts he should be able to finish that. Blaise had a good chance that he mis-trapped. We had some other chances around the box, a header at the back post, so there were good things. What I was happy about was we did a good job of spreading the field, we did a good job of possessing the ball and our passing at times was very good.”
On the starting unit) “I wouldn’t call them the starting 11 yet. That’s a thing that we are looking at. This group based upon their performance in the second half of last season deserved the first opportunity and I had to give it a go. But obviously there’s some guys like Erik Friberg, who was injured today, Patrick Ianni and guys like that who are on the verge of cracking into that group as well. Is Fucito a guy who cracks into that group? Is it some other people? O’Brian White, who was injured today, does he crack into that group? Jaqua when he is healthy does he crack into that group? So I think there are a number of options that still await us and what we are trying to do is find the right mix and make it go. This group did alright today but now the next time they step on the field they have got to do better because they’ve got to bang goals.”
On the team’s defense) “Defensively we did well. The first 10 or 15 minutes Chicago gave us a little bit of trouble until we sorted out the midfield and once we sorted out the midfield I think we were OK and we were defensively good. I thought both Kennedy and Parke came up with some good individual plays but probably the play of the game defensively was Terry Boss’ save in the second half. People say, ‘How are you guys if Keller gets hurt?’ I feel we are in very capable hands if Boss is healthy. I think he’s a very good goalkeeper.”
On the training camp in Florida…) “It was good. We were able to make progress in terms of our fitness continued to grow. We pushed those guys 70 minutes today, the majority of the guys. So the fitness has continued to grow and soccer-wise we were able to work on some of the things we wanted to work on and now we have got to continue on that process.”
Sounders FC will return to Seattle on Sunday and take a couple days off. The team will return to the training field on Wednesday at the Starfire Sports Complex.
Forwards O’Brian White and Nate Jaqua, midfielders Erik Friberg and Michael Seamon and defender Danny Earls were held out of the training game.
The training game consisted of two 45-minute periods and one 30-minute period…The weather at kickoff was 81-degrees with clear skies…Former President/CEO of the Seattle Seahawks & Sounders FC Tod Leiweke attended the training game. Owner/General Manager Adrian Hanauer and Technical Director Chris Henderson were also on hand…A couple hundred supporters for both clubs were at the training game. Chicago has an academy program in nearby Naples, Fla.