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Sounders cruise past West Ham in friendly

Photo by Jennifer Buchanan/USA Today Sports
Photo by Jennifer Buchanan/USA Today Sports

SEATTLE– The match arrived at an inopportune time and was mostly played like a glorified training kickabout, but the Seattle Sounders will take any result these days. And a result is what they got on Tuesday night, besting West Ham United of the English Premier League 3-0 in an international friendly at CenturyLink Field.

Jordan Morris, who scored his sixth goal of the MLS campaign at Toronto FC on Saturday night, came on as a second-half substitute and delivered a brace to put the match away. Herculez Gomez opened the scoring with a first-half penalty kick.

Morris put the Sounders up 2-0 in the 70th minute, beating goalkeeper Raphael Spiegel — a second-half substitute himself — off the rebound. Barely two minutes later Morris tracked down a nicely placed through ball from Joevin Jones and confidently buried a shot into the upper right corner.

A largely second-string Seattle lineup saw the better of the match in the first half, peppering West Ham’s goal from both quick buildups and long balls releasing attackers behind the back line. Time and again, though, Seattle was called offside or failed to challenge Spanish goalkeeper Adrian.

Gomez finally opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 42nd minute. Referee Chipalo Street¬†awarded the penalty after Adrian collided with Gomez just outside the 6-yard box. Aaron Kovar initially delivered a smart pass that found Gomez hustling diagonally¬†through the penalty area. It was Gomez’s first goal in a Seattle uniform since joining the club this spring.

West Ham was also without many key players, including Dimitri Payet — currently anchoring France at Euro 2016.

After losing five of six in MLS, the Sounders have mustered something vaguely resembling a rebound in the last week, defeating Real Salt Lake midweek in the U.S. Open Cup, earning a valuable road point against Toronto in league play over the weekend, and topping the Hammers on Tuesday.

Time will tell if that three-game stretch translates into consistently strong performances in MLS.

Seattle’s lineup paled in comparison to those deployed for many past international friendlies. The 18-man group featured two players called up from the club’s USL side as well as defender Jimmy Ockford, recalled from the NASL’s New York Cosmos for the night.

Expected to contend for MLS Cup, the Sounders are currently tied for last place in the Western Conference, and play the LA Galaxy (6-3-8, 26 points), FC Dallas (10-5-4, 34 points), and archrival Portland Timbers (6-6-4, 24 points) over the next 12 days.

Comments

  1. Going to dredge up a tired argument here… When MLS teams win friendlies like this the caveat is generally: ‘this was only a friendly, and the European opponent was in pre-season form’. Yet when we lose to Liga MX teams in the CCL the complaint is that we are nowhere near Liga MX level and the fact that MLS teams are in pre-season shape is readily dismissed. While I don’t claim that we are at the level of Liga MX, I would love to see the final CCL rounds held later in the season for a better comparison.

    Reply
    • The difference is that West Ham didn’t care if they won or lost this game and Seattle didn’t really either to be honest. One should assume MLS teams are trying to win at least in the knockout stage of the CCL.

      MLS teams that are playing in the knockout round need to up their preseason training to be ready. Also, not really fair to compare West Ham in their first preseason game to say LA who had had almost two months of training and multiple games before playing Santos.

      Reply
      • Agree it’s not apples to apples. However, to expect an MLS team to be tournament ready based only on pre-season training makes no sense. Teams need time to gel and find their form and much of that can only happen by getting a number of regular season matches under their belt.

  2. It was apparent Morris was the real deal from day one. Him scoring 6 goals with the midfield that he has behind him is so good. Then consider he played wing much of that.

    12 goals ( probably more as he gains experience ) will be a great, great rookie season.

    Reply
  3. That was apparently the thinking. Keep in mind Morris was just getting settled in with Seattle and he was struggling a bit to find the back of the net his first few games when the Copa roster was announced. The guy had been a pro for like, five minutes, and I don’t think anybody really knew how it was going to go.

    It’s good to see him get established and get mo and confidence, and I think that was kinda the point of leaving him off. He wasn’t there yet when the initial Copa roster came out. I think Klinsmann was wise to take a bit of time with him.

    One can almost rest assured Morris will be on the roster going forward.

    I honestly keep waiting for some English team to notice he really resembles a young Wayne Rooney, but I guess the “USA” by his name precludes it.

    Reply
  4. Just watched the highlights…now I’m even madder we brought Wondo instead of him.

    Oh well. Good for Morris to use the time to get even better with the Sounders. He probably played more with them than he would’ve played with the US.

    Reply

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