Sounders FC had plenty of chances, but the Montreal Impact scored the only goal Saturday in the 2013 Major League Soccer opener for both clubs.
Montreal’s 1-0 victory played out before a crowd of 38,998 on a rainy night at CenturyLink Field.
“(We’re) disappointed because we always want to win when we’re at home,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “ At the end of the day, I think we can play better. But hats off to Montreal. I thought they did a good job defensively. They made it tough.”
The Sounders outshot the Impact, 15-9. Six of Seattle’s shots came from forward Eddie Johnson, including a potential equalizer from close range that banged off the crossbar. Brad Evans sent another second-half shot off the post.
However, the lone goal came in the 35th minute when midfielder Davy Arnaud got behind the Seattle defense at the penalty arc. Michael Gspurning charged off his line, but Arnaud chipped the ball over the keeper and under the crossbar.
“It was a great goal,” Gspurning said. “I have to congratulate him on this because to chip the ball over a 6-foot-6 (goalkeeper), it’s not easy. So in this situation I would (come off my line again) because he’s alone in the middle and I just want to close the distance to him to make him earn this goal. Unfortunately, on this day he earned it.”
The Sounders played without several starters. Osvaldo Alonso and Marc Burch were unavailable because of disciplinary suspension.
Adam Johansson, Patrick Ianni and David Estrada were out because of injuries. Newly acquired Shalrie Joseph wasn’t fit enough for the 18-man roster. Lamar Neagle was held out as part of the terms of the offseason trade that brought him from Montreal.
Schmid filled in some of the blanks by moving Mauro Rosales to forward and giving 19-year-old rookie DeAndre Yedlin his professional debut at right back.
“I thought DeAndre played well in preseason, and based on where we were injury-wise and everything, he was the logical choice to play there,” Schmid said. “Again, Rosales up front, we didn’t have a lot of options with the guys being out injured. I don’t think it was so much those choices, as maybe we thought because we had won the (preseason) Desert Cup it would just keep going. So we’ve all got to look at it and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to come out a little hungrier and a little sharper.’ ”
The Sounders move on to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series, which starts Wednesday at Tigres of Mexico in Monterrey.
Their next MLS game is March 16, when the Portland Timbers, a Cascadia Cup rival, visit.
The Sounders announced Saturday that they had parted ways with midfielder Christian Tiffert, buying out his contract just hours before the new season kicked off.
Tiffert was signed as a designated player on July 27, 2012, after more than 280 appearances in German Bundesliga. He played in 12 MLS games with 11 starts, recording three assists. He contributed another assist in the four playoff games, all of which he started.
Schmid and general manager Adrian Hanauer said the move indicated a need for roster and salary cap space more than dissatisfaction with Tiffert.
“I think anytime you buy out a player, you probably have to admit some sort of flaw in the plan,” Hanauer said. “That said, we also made a strategic change in the way we think about our designated players (in December) when we said we’re going to try to maybe invest a little bit more in one or two.”
The move leaves Seattle with two designated players: Mauro Rosales and Shalrie Joseph. It also creates a chance to bring in another, with La Liga striker Obafemi Martins apparently at the top of their list.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org/soccer