By JOHN BOSCHINI
The new faces of Chelsea were on full display Wednesday night as forward Romelu Lukaku scored twice in a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Sounders to open Chelsea's American tour.
For the Sounders, the loss on the night was overshadowed by the retirement of Roger Levesque, who made his final appearance for Seattle after an impressive career with the Sounders.
Lukaku opened the Blues' account just two minutes into the game when Josh McEachran forced a turnover in midfield and found the forward with a long pass. The Belgian international muscled his way past Jeff Parke and finished from close range. Lukaku, who is rumored to be close to a loan move to Fulham, is trying to force his way up the Chelsea pecking order behind Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge. The 19-year-old finished off his brace just before halftime to cap a first half in which Seattle surrendered all four goals.
However, Seattle did have enough offense to keep the game competitive with two goals from Fredy Montero. With the Sounders down two by the 11th minute, Montero took advantage of a McEachran turnover and calmly slotted a shot from 18 yards past Hilario. Montero doubled his goal tally and briefly brought the game level in the 32nd minute when a brilliant cross from Mauro Rosales found Montero in the box and his left-footed shot beat Hilario once again.
Newcomer Marko Marin, who joined Chelsea from Werder Bremen this summer, regained the lead for the visitors when he found space along the left flank in the 40th minute. Marin cut inside and saw his shot deflected into the net. The most high-profile signing of Chelsea's summer, Eden Hazard, also opened his Chelsea account with a deflected shot in the 11th minute.
After Lukaku's second gave Chelsea a two-goal lead heading into the locker room, the game slowed down considerably in the second half. Chelsea starters Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Ramires, and Gary Cahill came on and controlled possession but were unable to add to the scoreboard.
The real highlight of the second half came when Levesque checked in for the final time. The retiring midfielder came on to a standing ovation in the 64th minute and made an immediate impact on the game. In the 74th minute, Levesque sent in a cross to Sammy Ochoa but he was tackled off the ball. At the final whistle Michael Seamon and Servando Carrasco hoisted Levesque onto their shoulders so the 31-year old could say good-bye to the crowd at Century Link Field