Coach Sigi Schmid wanted to see the Sounders score goals on Wednesday at Qwest Field, and he got three of them.
What he didn’t want to see was any injuries, but he got two of them anyway.
Two goals and an assist by Fredy Montero helped the Sounders defeat the defending MLS champion Colorado Rapids, 3-1, in the team’s final tuneup before the regular season. However, Jeff Evans and Steve Zakuani had to leave the game because of injuries, and Evans’ status for Tuesday’s opener against the Los Angeles Galaxy is in doubt.
Evans, who said he felt a pop in his right hamstring early in the second half, said he was told he could miss a week or as much as three weeks.
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“For me, it’s a letdown, obviously,” Evans said. “The most positive thing, for sure, is the season has not even started yet. From that standpoint, I just have to keep an even keel and not get upset. It’s a minor setback.”
Zakuani came out late in the second half with what the team described as a right-hip injury. Schmid, who was pleased with the offense after a weekend where the Sounders struggled to cash in chances in losses to Portland and Vancouver, said the team would know more about the players’ injuries in the next 24 hours.
“I thought we were more aggressive in our style,” he said. “We got forward and we tried to look behind the defense. Hopefully, the win was not costly because of a couple of injuries.”
After a scoreless first half, the Sounders challenged Rapids goalie Steward Ceus, who replaced Matt Pickens after the break, almost immediately.
Montero was fouled in the 59th minute and took the penalty kick. Montero’s kick into the box was drilled past Ceus on a header by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.
Hurtado, though, helped Colorado pull even less than three minutes later when he fouled Omar Cummings in the box, setting up Jeff Larentowicz’s penalty kick. Larentowicz drilled a low shot to the left of Kasey Keller to even it.
Hurtado acknowledged the mistake, and Schmid said he made sure he talked to the Sounders’ defender about a lapse in judgment on the play.
“The ball probably should have been in row 35,” Schmid said. “He should have not tried to bring that ball down. If he just clears that ball out, you live and fight for another day.”
Ultimately, it would not matter because of Montero.
Just minutes later, Montero beat Ceus wide to the right after a nice pass from Erik Friberg, Evans’ replacement. Then, in the 78th minute, O’Brian White fed Montero for his second goal to make it 3-1.
Schmid said the Sounders accomplished most of what they wanted to do in this game – score, score off a set piece and play better defense than what they had in their previous two games.
“Even though I thought we gave up a little bit of a soft goal, I was happy overall,” Schmid said.
Schmid said the team has decided to keep Josh Ford as the team’s third goalie over Bryan Meredith.
Meredith was with the team at Tuesday’s training but not at the game Wednesday.
“It was a tough (decision), and Brian is a very talented guy as well,” Schmid said.
Two former Sounders – defender Tyrone Marshall (lost in re-entry draft) and midfielder Sanna Nyassi (lost in expansion draft to Vancouver and then traded to Colorado) – did not start for the Rapids but played in the game in the second half. Before the game, Marshall came out to midfield to meet with his former teammates, exchanging handshakes and hugs. The Sounders finish the preseason with a 5-4-4 record. The Sounders’ next game is the regular season opener against the Los Angeles Galaxy at 6:30 p.m. at Qwest Field on Tuesday. The game will be televised by ESPN. The attendance was 7,355. Proceeds from the Community Shield match will benefit the team’s community outreach programs.
Darrin Beene: 253-597-8656 firstname.lastname@example.org