That was fun. Three words you didn’t hear or associate with many games in 2013, however fun is exactly what the opening salvo of the 2014 season was for the Seattle Sounders.
A glaring hole in the team of 2013, Seattle came out of the gate in a fluid dynamic flow which until Saturday, had been few and far between. Where this really showed was in the final 30 minutes of the match, and more specifically once Sean Okoli entered the game for the final 10 minutes. He had an immediate impact on the match and was a key factor in three offensive attacks in the final five minutes, and had the cross which started the scoring sequence leading to Chad Barret‘s goal in the final minute of the game. Along with Okoli, Clint Dempsey showed why he will be a factor to deal with all season long for opposing defenders, with key touches in the final third of the field in limited action. Barret was one of those off-season acquisitions Seattle made to shore up what seemed to be a porous and lack luster mid-field in 2013. He played several crosses into the box, and why some of them had more to be desired, he proved he is a threat on the wing. More importantly the team refused to quit, something which appeared to happen several times in 2013. Until the ball hit the back of the net on Barret’s goal, rave green jerseys could be seen flying into the box to take a stab at what turned out to be a dramatic opening goal to start the 2014 season
Defense Wins. Period.
The back four of Chad Marshall, Djimi Traore, Deandre Yedlin, Dylan Remick provided a bend but don’t break defense which saw its share of challenges and first game errors, but managed to hold on to Seattle’s first clean sheet of 2014. Marshall and Traore being the experienced veterans with Yedlin and Remick bringing their tenacious, no fear mentality with their mutually youthful legs. There were fewer errant passes in front of the box, and by all appearances there was better cohesion between the four. Yedlin showed his full range of abilities spending a large portion of the game in attacking half of the field according to his heat map.
Eddie Johnson Who?
Two words which were not on the lips of many Sounders fans were those of Eddie Johnson. The rumored locker room pariah made leave at the end of 2013 and headed for Washington D.C.Kenny Cooper stepped into fill big shoes. Eddie Johnson lead the team in goals in 2013, and Cooper looked to open the can for Seattle several times, however, he was never able to hit the back of the net. However, he did show those watching, he may be alot of things, but he is no Eddie Johnson. He was able to open up his team mates on several occasions, he played through fouls, and there were no trademark hands in the air, which became a regular egocentiric sight many had grown accustomed to seeing from the aforementioned Johnson. Cooper also showed his range dropping into the midfield several times and letting Obafemi Martins taking point on the attack. The two forwards, Martins and Cooper, look to be a formidable pair for the rest of the league, and will have many coaches and players unsure of how to defend their dynamic range.
Looking for Seattle Sounders Tickets? Be sure to visit TiqIQ.com