With strikers such as Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson still looking for their first goals of the season, Sounders FC has had to find creative ways to score.
The Sounders may have reached the peak of that creativity Saturday, when their goal in a 1-0 win over Colorado came from Zach Scott and Alex Caskey. They combined for what was, respectively, their first MLS goal and first MLS assist.
Afterward, coach Sigi Schmid could hardly think of a less likely player than Scott, other than goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, to contribute a game-winning goal.
“It’s great,” Schmid said. “His first MLS goal, and (he’s) one of the original Sounders guys. Sometimes people say this or that, but the thing is he gives everything he has every time he steps on the field, and his energy level is great.”
The goal came in the 63rd minute. Caskey, who was making his first MLS start because Alvaro Fernandez suffered a quad injury Friday, launched a corner kick. Scott ran to the near post, got his head to the ball and directed it wide of goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
“That was extremely exciting,” Caskey said. “I found out later that that was Zach’s first goal, so it made me feel even better. And then, of course, it was great to get the win at home.”
Scott was pleased with the outcome.
“It’s something I pride myself on, is getting a piece of headers,” Scott said. “My wife and mom have been on my case lately about putting one of those away. Hopefully I made them proud.”
It was Scott’s first goal in his four-year MLS career.
“I can’t even remember the last time I scored a goal,” he said. “It’s got to be five or six years with the lower-division (Sounders). … (Defenders are) thinking about shutouts and keeping people from scoring. That’s it.”
With that in mind, the Sounders’ defense made the goal stand up. When the final whistle blew, Seattle (3-1-1) had its second straight shutout and third in its past four games.
“It’s great work what the defense is doing, all the guys in front of me,” Gspurning said. “So, thank you very much to the guys. It’s the job of the whole team. Also Fredy and Eddie, or who’s playing up front, they create, run after balls, and win tackles in their half; so it’s much easier to start defending on our half when they defend in their half. It’s the success of the whole team.”
While Johnson got his first start with the Sounders, Montero played his fifth straight game without scoring a goal.
“Eddie is a great player,” Montero said. “He’s very smart. You see out there how he was running off the ball. He’s going to help the team. We just need to score the first goal, and then we are going to keep scoring goals for this team. … I’m (worried about not scoring). That’s what I love to play and score goals. But at the end of the season, who is the top leading scorer is Fredy. That’s me. … Right now I’m happy how the team is winning this game. It’s always very nice to feel that: winning at home with 38,000 people.”
Those fans got their share of the spotlight Saturday, taking every opportunity to booforward Brian Mullan of Colorado (3-3), who was making his first appearance in Seattle since his reckless tackle last April 22 broke the right leg of midfielder Steve Zakuani in two places.
“Other than the crowd – hearing them boo him every time he touched the ball – I don’t think anybody thought twice about it,” Scott said. “It’s not like we were out there looking for someway to retaliate or something. We wanted to basically honor Steve with a win, and that’s what we did.”
The Sounders are off until they return to league play July 28 at Chicago.