Sounders had their moments but couldn’t finish when it counted.
Agudelo, in his first start, showed why he is getting call-ups to the U.S. National Team. He broke free of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado in the second half and dribbled into the Sounders 18-yard box to smash the ball past Kasey Keller with the outside of his right foot — all while racing at top speed and trying to shake off defender Leo Gonzalez. It was a sublime finish from the teenager.
The loss has to sting for the Sounders. The Rave Green played well in stretches, creating chances and busting up potential threats. They executed the counter well but also chased the ball for long periods of time.
I thought New York had more of the game in the first half, the possession for sure,” said Coach Sigi Schmid. “We knew that was going to happen. I thought we created some good chances of the counterattack during the first half, but at the end of the day, we gave up a bad goal. We got to be better than that.
In one encouraging sequence, Montero played a give-and-go with Fernandez in the 39th minute but Montero’s hard shot from the right side was blocked by Red Bulls keeper Greg Sutton.
Tough match,” Montero said. “We can see once again that whoever doesnt score gets scored on and thats the truth.
The Red Bulls put the Sounders under barrage in the first half. The New Yorkers kept possession and pushed forward, as they took advantage of their new dynamic duo up front –veteran French superstar Thierry Henry and the youngter Agudelo. Within the first 30 minutes, it seemed they won six corner kicks in the first 20 minutes. New York had a total 11 corners to zero for Seattle.
Henry, Red Bulls captain, fed a through ball to Agudelo behind the Seattle back line. The forward beat Seattle central defender Hurtado to the ball. The strikers nifty footwork to cut the ball back drew contact from Hurtado, who clipped Agudelo for a PK
But Keller stopped Henry’s penalty kick in the 8th minute to keep the Sounders in the game.
The Sounders stepped it up in the second half. Erik Friberg, playing the left side of midfield, created several penetrating passes and found space to push the ball up the field. His efforts put the Red Bulls on their back heels. He even scored late in the second half but the linesman ruled it offsides.
But the momentum changed in the 70th minute. That’s when Agudelo took off on his penetrating run and scored. Red Bulls midfielder Teemu Tainio said he noticed a big space behind Agudelo and he made the first cut. “So all I had to do was play the ball behind the defense in front of Agudelo and he did the rest,” Tainio said.
Rookie Servando Carrasco looked solid in his first start. He began shaky but grew in confidence as the game went on. Expect him to only get better with time. Argentine Mauro Rosales made his debut in the second half, coming on for Fernandez but was not a factor in the game.
The Sounders had a chance to equalize in the dying seconds of stoppage time. Montero ripped a free kick at the Red Bulls keeper, who couldn’t hold onto it. Substitute Lamar Neagle, though, couldn’t connect on the rebound.
The loss leaves the Sounders now 0-2-0. But while New York clearly dominated the match — out shooting Seattle 17-10 — the Sounders did put five of their shots on frame compared to six for New York.
Seattle could have secured a draw and played well enough in stretches to even win. But for that to happen on the road, they will need to bury their chances, fix the defensive mistakes (which will come with more games for Hurtado) and create some lucky breaks.
The Major League Soccer season is just beginning with 32 matches to go. The Sounders have time to fine tune but they still need a cold, calculating and clinical finisher. Montero, who is an excellent goal scorer, is trying too hard. Sounders need to shell out big DP money for a big-time, proven goal scorer.