By CALEB SONNELAND
Greg Sutton had a night to forget at CenturyLink Field — to put it lightly.
The New York goalkeeper not only allowed four goals on the night but gaffed in a bad way in the 78th to condemn his side to a 4-2 defeat in front of 46,065 fans in Seattle.
Sutton was caught napping in possession just outside his own area by Sounders super sub Roger Levesque, who subsequently robbed the ball from the error-prone stopper and slotted home for the hosts and the final scoreline.
"I thought we stepped up and did what we had to in order to win. We capitalized on a mistake by their goalkeeper and being able to get three points at home is a great feeling. It was very important," said head coach Sigi Schmid.
The error capped off what would have already been a dramatic night in the Pacific Northwest.
A fan favorite, Levesque had previously found the score sheet to put his side back on top of clash as nodded home a Gonzalez corner in the 68th minute to put the hosts in pole position for all three points. The corner came following a good save from Sutton on an Alonso effort.
But Levesque was quick to downplay his brace on the night.
"On the first one, Leo whipped in a great ball and I was lucky to get a head on it. We always talk about getting a guy to that near post on corners. The second was just running and putting pressure on the goalie. Fortunately, tonight was one of those nights where I got into good spots and the ball went in," said Levesque on the goals.
"I'm so proud of him. Nobody works harder. You love to see good people have success. Sometimes when it's your day, it's your day," said captain Kasey Keller.
The goals were the two first for Levesque this season, but he wasn't the only one to open his account against the Red Bulls.
The action got underway early at the newly-named CenturyLink Field with Erik Friberg opening up the scoring in just the 11 minutes for his first goal of the MLS season. The Swedish midfielder had been out with injury for several weeks and rewarded coach Sigi Schmid with a classy turn and finish to Sutton's far post following a weak clearance following a corner.
But the early fracas wasn't over as fan favorite Osvaldo Alonso struck a full volley just one minute later, again off a poor corner kick clearance. The goal is the second in three games for the Cuban, both of which were left footed.
New York, having started sluggishly, steadily grew into the game, eventually resulting in a quality goal from Dane Richards. Having just returned from international duty, there were questions about the Jamaican's fitness, but he answered them with aplomb when he found the top corner of Kasey Keller's side net to bring his side back into the game. Keller got a hand to the shot but couldn't do enough to keep it out of the net.
The Red Bulls continued to push Seattle, control large portions of possession and look likely to draw level on several occasions in the first half. They would eventually, but it would have to wait until after the break to do so.
A revamped back line from the Sounders paid dividends for the visitors when Jan Gunnar Solli skipped past Leo Gonzalez with a little too much ease and fired a cross into the box that took a deflection off Seattle's Zach Scott to equalize for New York in the 58th.
But it wasn't meant to be for New York, and the team fell apart late in the game. Though Richards caused the Seattle back line problems all night, the presence of Thierry Henry, Luke Rodgers, and Juan Agudelo was sorely missed by Hans Backe and the Red Bulls. Furthermore, the calming presence of Tim Ream and Rafa Marquez would have undoubtedly improved the visitor's odds of producing a result in Seattle. Nobody will be happier to welcome back the star players than Backe.
A former Red Bull, Seattle defender Jeff Parke came into the match with a chip on his shoulder after enjoying five successful seasons in New York before being suspended 10 games for using banned substances. Parke had stated previously that he felt like the club abandoned him following the incident. It was an emotional night for the defender and he had to be separated from Dwayne de Rosario following the final whistle after the latter came in late on Parke near the end of the game.
Seattle entered the game on a high following a dramatic late victory in Toronto through Fredy Montero free kick, but New York went on its own roller coaster ride after a hectic 90 minutes in Portland. Captain Thierry Henry was controversially sent off after scoring a beautiful goal to put his team back in contention.
The red card meant that New York was without Henry, Rodgers (injury), Agudelo (Gold Cup), Ream (Gold Cup) and Marquez (Gold Cup). It was, however, able to welcome back Jamaican ace Dane Richards and threw him straight into the Starting XI.
The result sees Seattle rise into the second spot in the West, just ahead of FC Dallas on goal difference, but the Texans play Saturday and have two games in hand. The Sounders will now prepare to host the New England Revolution on Sunday, a game which will not see the likes of Osvaldo Alonso and Leo Gonzalez, both due to yellow card suspensions.
Will the team miss the two players?
"We have a bench, different people have to step up. We think Evans should be ready to go for Sunday. Carrasco got a few minutes today and he's ready to go again. I think we'll find enough people," said Schmid.
New York will see the return of Henry for its next match as it travels to Chicago to take on the Fire at Toyota Park on Sunday. The game will be the last of a three-game road streak, one which, so far, has only yielded a lone point. But with the Gold Cup Final falling on this Saturday, a return to action for Ream, Agudelo or Marquez won't be possible.
What did you think of the Sutton error? How badly is New York missing its key players?
Share your thoughts below
Artificial turf = indoor soccer. The game is more like hockey
He never reported to camp. SSFC retains his rights, but he’s off in Europe somewhere.
Seriously, does no one read the newspapers in Seattle? They were NOT supposed to replace the turf before this season. They just replaced it before LAST season. The Sounders and Seahawks were hoping to get two years out of it, and they didn’t. This is a work in progress for First & Goal. There will supposedly be a replacement field in place for next season. I don’t think people realize how difficult it is logistically for them to try and get this done. Hell, when the Huskies come in it will be almost impossible.
One last thing: Paul Allen did not renege on anything. Mike Holmgren wanted turf. He won.
Yeah, even a hungover Ream with an early kickoff Sun would probably be an upgrade at this point.
Greed is Good
He and Tainio have to be much quicker
Unlike Lalas, at least he says something with some meaning instead of opinionated rubbish
No, Bouna is a class keeper if given the chance. What is Backe smoking?
Tainio isn’t moving like he did earlier in the year and De Ro seems to be a lil out of shape
No, but Lalas has to be the worst. You must be joking…
What happened to the Frenchman Baudet? He is the big, physical presence that SSFC lacks in central defense.
Bouna should always be the starter. Sutton can be a servicable backup, but how does Bouna always get demoted? He makes up for his miscues.
Also, you have to believe that NY will go for some Centre Back depth in the transfer window and maybe even push Rafa back to D-Mid. Tainio hasn’t been doing well since his injury. His movement of the ball and defending have to be quicker.
Eerily reminiscent of Jonny Walker in 2004.
Kinda like your post.
You have an typo, Caleb: “Sutton error highlights wild night in Seattle.” should read “Sutton ERRORS highlight wild night in Seattle.”
They were supposed to put in a new pitch before this season, but it just didn’t happen. I think the Sounders leadership is on record saying it will happen for next season, especially since FIFA downgraded the fields rating.
Either that or my doesn’t have the most talent in mls …
That was the FO
That’s what I meant players that can play for the USMNT
Sutton was shaky at minute #1.
Billionaire Paul Allen reneged on the contract to install grass to make more profit. If the city won’t sue him the fans should.
Harkes is a nightmare, just a small step above Marcelo “Knock the Ball Around” Balboa. His “analysis” consists of the repetitive use of the terms “patience,” “spread the field,” “teasing (or searching) ball,” “switch the point of attack,” and whatever else is on the little list he must keep in front of him. He is 80% trite description, 20% obvious commentary, and 0% added value.
By the way, you know who has regressed this year? Lindpere! He hasn’t been awful but man he takes forever to pass the ball, whenever he gets the ball he is so slow to turn around and keep the pace forward…very dissapointed in him.
bottom line is this…the RedBull lack a good keeper, sure Sutton and Bouna have their moments in this league but they are not stable and that is the worst! When a GK is not stable as a defense you are walking on eggshells the whole game….
Now to the defense….Keel is just plain horrid! Mendes is not too far off from that as well…they both suck terribly bad and thankfully will be out of the league in a couple of years as the league grows and improves…same thing for the likes of Ballouchy and Roy Miller…another thing, how dissapointing has DeRo been so far? Seriously man, I know you had some decent shots (one FK, one outside the box that went wide) but he has been really dissapointing.
One thing is for sure, I would have never thought Marquez and Ream missing from the team would make downgrade us from a really good team to slightly average at best. I cant wait for them to get back and can not wait to never see Keel and Mendes ever again.
I don’t know which team you support, but none of the fans in this league deserve to lose their team. It may very well happen for NE or DC, but it’s unfortunate that there’s a segment of MLS fandom that thinks attendance means everything. DCU has solid attendance, but it still will move to Baltimore if they don’t get a deal done with either DC or a surrounding county in VA or MD.
I agree with both Harkes comments. He makes me cringe and is distractingly bad. Martino and Taylor Twellman are noticiably better.
ggg – your right about Kyle Martino. I think he was doing color for the US game Wed night? I noticed he was quite for 1 minute at a time – Less is more. Apparently Harkes thinks color commentator is the play by play guy. And is over use of the same comments is grating.
I want to write ESPN about how bad he is but can’t find a feedback link.
been saying the same thing for a while
It’s not impossible that Ream plays Sunday. He will warm up in LA, but otherwise probably won’t do anything.
And why would Richards’s fitness be in question? He terrorized Honduras.
Harkes never particularly bothered me too much in the past, but he is becoming worse and worse as time goes on. I’ve especially noticed his faults after hearing Kyle Martino’s analysis on FSC. You can learn a lot about tactics, positioning, plays, etc with him. Harkes just says b.s. comments like “are you not entertained?”. Just listen to him after Sutton’s gaffe: Hans Backe is not going to be happy. Oh really? Thanks for the brilliant insight. I think he should go.
NYRB is the new Arsenal. They both underachieve and have terrible keepers.
I think Bouna is American, he graduated from a NY high school so he’s at least been here a long time. But I get your point MLS needs to play more US pledged keepers the USMNT doesn’t have anyone of quality pass Guzan.
Sutton didn’t upset me on the gaff he had because everybody has made stupid mistakes like that on all levels of play (i.e. WC US v England), but my problem is he consistently is flat footed and watches the ball before making any sort of movement towards it. Its Bouna Time. The Central defense and midfielders need to be sorted out, and I agree that we need more substitutions usage especially when we lack our main talent. When we aren’t strong enough to handle the pressure, we should play our possession heavy game we played in the beginning of the year because as seen in the Columbus game for example, it worked. And for the people who think Backe is bad, let’s see you turn a team from worst to first and a cup competitor in one season, I dare you.
I picture Luke Rodgers pounding a heavy bag as he watched this game.
Im curious: Is anyone actually a fan of John Harkes’s commentating??
I always cringe everytime he tries to be funny or when he says unnecessary stupid things (which is often). I feel bad for his play by play commentating partners (Davis, Healey, and Darke) who has to put up with him. He really destroy to experience on watching games on ESPN. I even prefer Lalas over that spray tanned man
Hans Backe is a Terrible coach lol, this guy has not brain at all but people worship him . NY has the most talent in MLS both starters and back ups but this team scrapes results? Coach is an idiot thats y.
Free haircut! Finally!
goals goals goals
wow, 46k for one game. Thats like the whole year’s attendance for both Quakes & NE…combined.
. . . or Hurtado.
Richards did have a good game. Riley played like crap. Parke ended up covering in the right back position way too many times.
Scott owned Dero. He looked like acompletely new player
+1. He writes with aplomb. =)
Nevermind Evans, Zakuani or White . . . .
Believe me, all of us in Seattle have been hollering louder than anyone else about the pitch since first season, it’s disgusting.
dam 46k fans. It was an entertaining match.
That plastic turf has to go, the game could have been a lot better.
I was thinking that in the offseason. Red Bulls management was talking about finding a new playmaker and never mentioned a goalkeeper. Neither bouna nor sutton is really fit to be a starter on a squad like new york’s. It’s a weak link that is getting exposed far too frequently.
Bouna and sutton are really bad ny needs a new keeper bad, lets get an american though. Backes overrated
Quite frankly, despite 6 goals, this match was a sloppily played comedy of errors on both sides. Great atmosphere and crowd. Seattle, that pathetic thing you call a pitch has GOT to be replaced! That was the biggest slop of all!
Caleb – you are a great writer. Keep it up.
It’s bad enough that RBNY is punished for having the best lineup by missing most of their starting lineup for the past month. It’s worse that Sutton decides to throw this game away after all the hard work the rest of the team put in to get a point despite his mistakes. Sutton wasn’t good enough to start for Toronto, so what the heck is he doing starting for RBNY over Bouna Coundoul who set a team record for shutouts last season.
Bouna deserves a start in the next game. This was Sutton’s worst game this season. He doesn’t seem to care or put in any effort whatsoever. He was so unbelievably lackluster. But, also I put some of the blame for the 4 goals on the central defense. The Mendez/Keel combo has been disastrous, particularly Keel. He is frightening. I also have to say that Backe is so timid when it comes to subs. I just don’t get it. He never wants to try and get a spark off the bench. To sub in Hertzog in the 92nd minute was mindboggling. He tried nothing to change the pace or rhthym of the game. Sigi did – and it worked. To lose in such a way is an embarassment and there are no excuses – missing starters, tired legs from int’ duty, etc. NYRB just sucks right now, especially defensively. It’s a pity.
red bulls were gifted an opportunity to escape a terrible beginning on the road with a point and instead shot themselves in the foot. Can’t wait to get ream and marquez back from the gold cup.