After a massively tense match in the FIFA World Cup final on Sunday afternoon between Spain and Holland (with Spain winning), the Seattle Sounders hit the halfway point of the MLS season against FC Dallas at Qwest Field.
Incoming: The Youth Movement
The Sounders have been lacking energy and scoring punch for most of the season. General Manager Adrian Hanauer touched on the team’s shortcomings and possible upcoming moves in the second half of the season in an interview with the local media. Coach Sigi Schmid decided the time had come to shake up the roster by starting youngsters Michael Seamon and Miguel Montaño in place of veteran Pete Vagenas and Freddie Ljungberg, who tweaked an ankle in training last week.
The Sounders got the good and bad from the youth movement. Yesterday, Seamon sent up the pass that led to the Sounders goal by Fredy Montero in the 15th minute. Montano got red carded and left the Sounders with 10 men in the 56th minute.
Seattle was out-shot 17-7 by Dallas, but the shots actually on goal were only a 5-4 Dallas advantage. The vast majority of shots came later in the match as FC Dallas gained control of the possession with their one-man advantage.
The young legs of the Sounders held the early lead until finally succumbing to the immense pressure of constantly defending with one man down late in the match. Kasey Keller made a great save on a David Ferreira fireball in the 71st minute. But Ferreira got the better of Keller in the 87th minute, taking two of the possible three points from the Sounders.
The Sounders were in control of the match up until the red card incident. Montano got tangled up with Dallas winger Brek Shea. In the process of falling down, Montano’s elbow connected with the back of Shea’s head. While obviously not intentional, Shea’s dramatics were Oscar-worthy and sent referee Kevin Stott’s hand into his pocket. The red card was a surprise though. As Kasey Keller commented afterward. an MLS referee would have had Holland and Spain playing in the final with six players.
Man of the match: Dallas winger Brek Shea. Yes, I’m being a smart ass, but without his amateur dramatics in drawing Montano’s red card, the match looked to be going all Seattle’s way. For his efforts, Shea was resoundingly booed every time he touched the ball after the incident. He may feel better for his part in getting Dallas a road point. I’ve always hated the theatrics that some players feel they need to use to gain an advantage. Maybe a better ref would have given the card to Shea instead.
New Blood: Blaise Nkufo
Another new injection for the Sounders is coming for their next match when the team travels to the nation’s capital for a match against DC United. Joining them there will be Swiss international striker Blaise Nkufo.
Watching Nkufo in the World Cup, I was impressed by his pace and energy. If he brings those things with him across the Atlantic, the second half of the Sounders season will be a massive improvement over their 4 wins, 8 losses and 4 draws so far.