Sounders FC concluded an unbeaten preseason Wednesday with a 2-0 win over Jaguares de Chiapas in the annual Community Shield match at CenturyLink Field.
Coach Sigi Schmid called the 5-0-2 record meaningless, but praised the way his team is playing with the first meaningful match now less than a week away.
“Preseason is preseason,” he said. “What I put more value on is the quality of play, and I think our quality of play is pretty good. ... The way we’re trying to play, our connecting of the ball, I think you saw ... how (our defenders) knocked the ball around the back much better than we did last year. So the way we’re playing is good. So from that standpoint, preseason has been good because we’re playing the way I want us to be playing.”
Making the difference in the final friendly were Fredy Montero’s fourth and fifth goals of the preseason.
“He’s a goal scorer,” Schmid said. “... His work rate, his instincts are I think better than they have been. His timing of when to get into the box I think was good, especially on the first goal. ... I think he’s had a much stronger preseason than last year, and I think he’s ready to go.”
The opening goal combined old and new, as Montero, an original Sounder, headed in a cross from Adam Johansson, an offseason acquisition.
The dazzling capper came from veterans, as Osvaldo Alonso sent a pass to Montero, who lofted the ball over the keeper from just outside the top of the penalty area.
“I chipped the goalie,” Montero said. “It was one second I made that decision. It was a good goal. I don’t want to say (it was one of my favorite goals), but I hope to score more like that in the season.”
Those goals stood up behind a reworked Seattle defense that included Johansson and goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, each making their home debuts.
“I think everybody has seen today that we are ready with defense and offense,” said Gspurning, who easily handled the lone shot Chiapas put on goal. “There are small parts that you always can improve. (But) a shutout is always good. It’s a good feeling to have this result now to start the season. ... It was a good last test, and now next week we go to win.”
Combined, it was more than enough to get Seattle its second win over a Mexican Primera League club in as many weeks, following a 5-2 win at Atlante. However, the next one counts, as the Sounders face Santos Laguna in a CONCACAF Championships league quarterfinal opener at home.
Schmid had said he would use the Jaguares match to prepare his top 11 for Santos. Those starters were goalkeeper Gspurning; defenders Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Leo Gonzalez; midfielders Mauro Rosales, Alonso, Brad Evans and Alvaro Fernandez; and forwards David Estrada and Montero.
Rosales took the captain’s armband, which was worn for the past three seasons by Kasey Keller, who retired.
“Mauro is wearing the armband, but there are different guys that can step up and lead,” Schmid said. “... But Mauro, certainly he’ll be a captain next week as well.”
A group called Chelsea in America used a Twitter post Wednesday to announce that the English Premier League club will play in Seattle, New York and Washington, D.C. this summer. Opponents were not mentioned, and a Sounders FC spokesman said no international friendly has been confirmed. Seattle played Chelsea in 2009 with the EPL side winning, 2-0. ... The Sounders training today will feature an intrasquad game for the players who didn’t get significant minutes against Jaguares.