Everything positive as Sounders put down the Revolution

Posted on 06 June 2010 by nschiffler

Where was this kind of play all season?

Inspired by an early goal by Leo Gonzalez, his first in MLS, the Seattle Sounders broke out of their offensive slump and routed the New England Revolution 3-0 at Qwest Field.

Steve Zakuani and Fredy Montero added first-half goals as the Sounders controlled the run of play for 90 minutes, giving the home side a huge win that they desperately needed to get themselves back in the pack of playoff contending teams.

“We want to make this a tough place for teams to play,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I think we made it that way tonight, so it does a lot for our spirit, it does a lot for our confidence, it just does an awful lot for the morale. And it was good to win and score some fine goals.”

It didn’t take long for Seattle to get on the scoresheet with one of those fine goals. Montero held up with the ball well, allowing Gonzalez to arrive, and the Costa Rican played the ball to Zakuani. His touch back got away from him but fell right to Gonzalez, who hit a brilliant, swerving, unsaveable shot with the outside of his foot from the edge of the penalty area that found the back of the net.

Not to be outdone, Zakuani chipped in with a wonderful goal of his own about twenty minutes later. Again it was Montero, this time taking a quick throw-in, acting as the catalyst. The throw found Brad Evans in the box, and he controlled the ball before looping it back out to Zakuani. He took the ball out of mid-air, volleying it with his right foot off the crossbar and in, with the kind of accuracy no keeper in the world could have done anything about.

Pat Noonan tried to get in on the goal-scoring action in the 31st minute. He received the ball with two defenders on him, shook off one and juked past the second before smacking his shot off the post. The ball rebounded away to safety.

But Seattle wasn’t done putting the ball in the back of the net. In the 42nd minute Gonzalez passed to Noonan, who touched the ball over to Montero. He took his time with the ball at his feet, faking a shot to create a little more space, before smashing a low shot under beleaguered backup goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth and in for another score.

Schmid credited the change to a 4-4-2 formation, with Ljungberg playing on the wing and Noonan up top with Montero as a second striker, for some of the offensive production.

“Sometimes if we’re a little more clever, a little more composed, we’ll get even more goals,” he said. “It was definitely a huge step in the right direction and the change in formation helped us the most.”

Two of the Sounders’ highest profile offensive players, Ljungberg and Montero, shined in their new positions. Although Ljungberg didn’t get on the scoresheet, he was influential all game long, constantly breaking down the New England defense.

The Seattle domination continued in the second half even though they were unable to score again. But New England never threatened and they appeared beaten as soon as the second goal was scored against them.

Perhaps the best way to summarize the one-sidedness of the match is through the comments of New England coach Steve Nicol, who was understandably disappointed with the match.

“There is nothing we can take away from this game that is positive,” Nicol said.

If nothing about the match was positive for New England, then everything was positive for the Sounders.

Sounders Player Ratings
Kasey Keller 6.5 – Came out very well to punch clear a couple times when he was needed, but had very little to do.
James Riley 6 – Not much action on his side but he was reasonably solid when called upon.
Jeff Parke 6 – Played bigger than he is. He did misjudge one ball that led to a New England free header, and while not winning every ball always put pressure on the opposing player.
Tyrone Marshall 6.5 – Did well in the air early even when under pressure, and was winning most everything. New England weren’t offering much going forward, though.
Leo Gonzalez 8 – Incredible game. After scoring an absolute golazo, it seemed like he got an extreme boost of confidence and was a monster on offense and defense. Got forward fearlessly and was still able to recover defensively. He was subbed out in the 90th minute just so he could get a huge ovation. That says a lot.
Freddie Ljungberg 7.5 – Very good work on the ball on wing throughout the entire game, was able to use his pace and trickery to get free. To his credit he stayed out on the wing, keeping the formation in good shape, and he appeared to be much more effective there. Although he didn’t always link up perfectly with the other attackers, still had his best game in a long time.
Patrick Ianni 5.5 – Stepped into a few hard challenges early and always won the ball. Was effectively physical and helped take Joseph out of the match. His passing was really bad though, as he had quite a few weird giveaways and balls played to nobody.
Brad Evans 6.5 – Constantly was getting himself in good spaces, and his being in the right place led to goal number two. Probably in his best position as an all-purpose central midfielder.
Steve Zakuani 7 – Combined extremely well down the left wing, and was very dangerous early. Scored his goal on a ridiculously good volley. Shifted to right side in second half sometimes and drifted out of the match occasionally, but it was over already then.
Pat Noonan 7 – Quietly effective. One really good run to beat two defenders and hit the post. Played intelligently, especially to get it to Montero for the third goal. He did look like he had tired legs toward the end and was subbed out in the 81st minute.
Fredy Montero 7.5 – Good holding-up play on the ball throughout the game. He just looks so much more comfortable as a second striker, I cannot emphasize this enough. Fantastic composure on his goal, and was involved in the other two. Showed just how good he can be.
Roger Levesque 5.5 (sub 81) He’s a hustler, even though the game was completely out of reach. Missed a pretty good chance.
Sanna Nyassi (sub 85) Not on long and barely touched the ball.
Taylor Graham (sub 90) Not on long and I’m not sure if he ever touched the ball.

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