Sounders See Off Revolution In Season Opener
Sunday’s tie between the New England Revolution and the Seattle Sounders was hyped as the marquee matchup in MLS’ opening weekend; a possible MLS Cup Final preview between two teams projected to be at the top of their respective conferences.
With 40,000 in attendance at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, the Sounders’ attacking play proved too much for New England’s short-handed starting eleven as Seattle won, 3-0.
Seattle’s front two of Nigerian international Obafemi Martins and American international captain Clint Dempsey overpowered New England’s back four, registering three shots on goal and three scores. Their first goal came on a penalty kick from Dempsey in the 25th minute after he was tripped in the box by New England forward Juan Agudelo, hammering home the spot kick. Obafemi Martins rose above the defense to knock in a header for the Sounders’ second goal in the 41st minute.
This was not all too surprising--New England were weak in the air all game as converted right back Andrew Farrell looked to adjust to his new halfback position and improve his chemistry with captain Jose Goncalves.
Once Seattle had control of the match, they didn’t let go. In the 67th minute Dempsey struck again on a beautiful sequence down the middle of the field between himself, Martins, and midfielder Marco Pappa.
New England’s performance was discouraging. With the exception of Kelyn Rowe (the attacking midfielder had the team’s lone shot on goal and legitimate chance), New England’s forwards were uncreative and were often bullied by former MLS Defensive Player of the Year Chad Marshall and converted center-back and Sounders captain Brad Evans.
Juan Agudelo, who recently returned to the Revs following a year off from the team in an attempt to play in England, looked uninterested and lackadaisical, while Diego Fagundez struggled to get anything going and was pushed off the ball often. With their lack of production, it’s a wonder why Charlie Davies did not come off the bench in this match.
The absence of Lee Nguyen (New England’s playmaker and MVP finalist last year) and Jermaine Jones (The Revs’ catalyst for their MLS Cup push last season) was felt immensely, which is worrisome, especially as we saw midfielder Teal Bunbury escorted off the field with what is an apparent serious shoulder injury. Nguyen should be match fit for Sunday’s clash with NYCFC in their first home game at Yankee Stadium, while Jones should return for the club a bit later.
With a game under their belt and the man that glues the team together returning for next week’s match, the Revolution will look to bounce back against a new team in the hopes of fulfilling their vast potential.