The star-studded Sounders Women got their strongest test yet on Thursday – and passed.
After winning friendlies against three college teams and a W-League opener against an 0-3 Vancouver side, Sounders Women faced the Colorado Rush, which came in unbeaten in three games, and which had not allowed a goal.
That changed at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila, as the home club emerged with a 2-1 victory.
“I am letting out a huge sigh of relief,” coach Michelle French said. “That was a little bit scary. That is one of the best teams I’ve seen play in the W-League.”
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The Sounders – featuring U.S. national team veterans Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Stephanie Cox, Sydney Leroux, and Megan Rapinoe in the starting lineup – broke through during the 19th minute, when Megan Manthey scored off an assist from Leroux.
The Rush tried to respond after falling behind for the first time this season. About two minutes later Lindsey Horan beat Solo from about 20 yards, but the shot hit the crossbar. Just before half, forward Danica Evans forced Solo into making an acrobatic save as she tipped the ball into the crossbar.
The Sounders padded their lead in the 49th minute on Veronica Perez’s free kick from about 23 yards. The score extended her streak of one goal in each of the club’s five matches.
“It feels kind of good,” she said. “As long as we keep winning and playing well, then I’m happy.”
Colorado (3-1) struck back in the 61st minute, when Brittany Bock sent a strong shot off the crossbar, and Horan headed in the rebound past Solo, who had darted to the far post on the initial shot.
But that was as close as the Rush would come.
Sounders Women (2-0) return to action at 7 p.m. today at Victoria – but the national team players won’t travel for that one.