Three points after the Sounders’ 2-0 win over New York in Desert Diamond Cup competition.
1.) Mario Martinez is a difference-making talent. His goal at RSL in the playoffs last season was startlingly good. But so have his two so far in Desert Diamond Cup. Just drink in the implications of this quote from coach Sigi Schmid: “Like I told DeAndre Yedlin: ‘When you’ve got a guy like Mario in front of you, every time you win the ball just play it to him. He won’t mess around with it, he won’t mess it up, and then you can make the runs you need to make.'” The Sounders are mighty deep at midfield … but they have to find a starting spot for Martinez.
2.) The Sounders are deep again. They went with an all-reserve lineup for the first 60 minutes or so tonight against a more mixed New York lineup. At the end of those 60 minutes, Seattle was up 1-0. Schmid again: “Obviously we still have to make some decisions on some players at the bottom end of our roster, so it was good to see how they adjusted. And it was good to see when the first team came in you could see a change.”
3.) Shalrie Joseph says he has a minor calf issue as well as those general fitness issues Schmid and Adrian Hanauer mentioned. Joseph seemed to indicate it could be a while before he appears in a game, while Schmid seemed to leave the door open to him playing Friday against Veracruz. I’ll produce the full transcript of the Joseph interview tomorrow.
Until then, here’s the game report and stats provided by the club:
TUCSON, Ariz. – Alex Caskey and Mario Martinez each scored goals as Sounders FC (3-0-0, 9 points), defeated the New York Red Bulls (0-2-1, 1 point), 2-0, in the Desert Diamond Cup. Seattle will play Real Salt Lake in the tournament’s final on Saturday night at 5 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Network.
In the 36th minute, Travis Bowen’s shot was saved by New York keeper Luis Robles, but Caskey picked up the rebound and converted from a tough angle to put Seattle up, 1-0.
Martinez doubled the lead in the 78th minute when he converted a 20-yard volley from the top of the box. Mauro Rosales’ cross was deflected into the air and fell right to Martinez, who netted his second goal in just two games this preseason.
Sounders FC started a reserve lineup, with the staring unit coming on in the 63th minute. The starters are expected to start in Friday’s preseason friendly against Veracruz.
The Rave Green were able to create chances with both lineups. In the 29th minute, Lamar Neagle took the ball into the box on the left side, but his shot was saved point blank by Robles. In the 41st minute, Bowen sent a cross to Sammy Ochoa at the top of the box, but the striker’s volley was saved. In the 75th minute, Steve Zakuani blew by his defender on the left side and sent a cross to the far post, but Rosales’ header went wide.
Marcus Hahnemann, who played the first 62 minutes of the game, was strong between the posts for Sounders FC. In the 28th minute, he intercepted a dangerous New York cross and made crucial saves in the 31st, 35th, and 45th minutes.
Seattle finishes the Desert Diamond Cup group stage as the only unbeaten team. Real Salt Lake clinched a spot in the final with a 3-2 win over New England earlier Wednesday.
Before Saturday’s final, Sounders FC will face Mexican side Veracruz on Friday night at 6 p.m. PT to prepare for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal matchup with Tigres UANL.
SEA – Alex Caskey 36′
SEA – Mario Martinez 78′
Seattle Sounders FC – Marcus Hahnemann (Josh Ford 63), Dylan Remick (DeAndre Yedlin 63), Eriq Zavaleta (Zach Scott 63), Ashani Fairclough (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado 63), Marc Burch (Leo Gonzalez 63), Alex Caskey (Mario Martinez 63), Servando Carrasco (Osvaldo Alonso 63), Andy Rose (Brad Evans 63), Lamar Neagle (Steve Zakuani 63), Travis Bowen (Jennings Rex 46, David Estrada 63), Sammy Ochoa (Mauro Rosales 63).
TOTAL SHOTS: 6; FOULS: 3; OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 1; SAVES: 4.
New York Red Bulls – Luis Robles, Kosuke Kimura (Brandon Barklage 63), Jamison Olave (Markus Holgersson 46), Heath Pearce (Tyler Ruthven 63), Roy Miller (Peguy Luyindula 67), Eric Alexander, Juninho (Michael Bustamante 46), Josue Martinez (Lloyd Sam 63), Ruben Izquierdo (Rafhael Domingues 77), Connor Lade, Fabian Espindola (Amando Moreno 46).
TOTAL SHOTS: 12; FOULS: 10; OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 3.
SEA – Eriq Zavaleta (caution) 4′