SEATTLE, Wash. – Leo Gonzalez scored the game-winning goal less than five minutes into the contest while Steve Zakuani and Fredy Montero added further first-half strikes to guide Seattle Sounders FC to a convincing 3-0 win over the New England Revolution on Saturday night at Qwest Field.
Seattle (4-5-3, 15 pts.) controlled the tempo from start to finish, outshooting New England (3-7-2, 11 pts.) by a margin of 19-2, including 8-1 in attempts on target. The offensive outburst was a bit surprising from the Sounders, who had scored just two goals in their previous six league matches. For the Revolution, the shutout was an all too familiar sight, as the east coast club has failed to score a goal in three cross-country trips this season.
It was New England’s first-ever loss at the hands of Seattle, as the Revolution was the only club to sweep the Sounders in their 2009 expansion season.
Revs head coach Steve Nicol opted for a 4-4-2 formation for the second consecutive match, but with three personnel changes from the group which took the field last weekend against New York. Central defender Cory Gibbs regained his place in the starting lineup after overcoming a right hamstring strain, while Kenny Mansally earned his first start of the season playing alongside Zack Schilawski up top. After starting last week, both Kheli Dube – who has been recovering from a hamstring strain of his own – and Seth Sinovic went to the bench.
Of course, the most notable change was in goal, where second-year netminder Bobby Shuttleworth made his first MLS start with Preston Burpo on the season-ending injury list and Matt Reis not yet ready to return from a pair of offseason surgeries.
The Sounders did nothing to help Shuttleworth ease into the professional game, as the hosts were relentless in the opening 45 minutes, outshooting the Revs by a margin of 11-1 and striking three times to take a 3-0 lead into the halftime break.
Gonzalez provided the rudest of welcomes for the Revolution’s young goalkeeper, scoring his first goal of the season in just the fifth minute to give Seattle an early lead. The Costa Rican defender played a short pass to Zakuani to the left of the box, but Zakuani failed to control. Gonzalez latched onto the loose ball, however, and blasted a drive into the far upper corner, giving Shuttleworth little chance to make a stop.
Shuttleworth recovered from the early barrage to make a key save on Zakuani in the 12th minute, but he could do nothing to stop the English midfielder’s blistering volley in the 24th minute. Montero’s long throw-in from the left wing found Brad Evans in the box, and a pair of deft flicks set up Zakuani at the top of the box. The former top draft pick made no mistake with his effort, sending his shot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.
After helping set up the second, Montero got on the board himself in the 42nd minute to stake the home side to a three-goal lead before the halftime whistle. A clever flick from former Revolution forward Pat Noonan set Montero up outside the box, but the Colombian still had to shake a defender before blasting a drive through Shuttleworth.
It could’ve been worse if not for the woodwork, but Noonan struck the left post in the 32nd minute after snaking his way through a crowd in the left side of the box.
New England’s only shot of the first half came from Mansally, whose header from the center of the box drifted wide of the right post in the 35th minute.
Having seen his team thoroughly outplayed in the opening 45 minutes, Nicol responded with a pair of changes at the half. Edgaras Jankauskas replaced Mansally, while Emmanuel Osei returned from injury to make his first appearance since April 10, taking over for Pat Phelan.
Despite the changes, Seattle’s dominance in possession continued early in the second half, and Shuttleworth was twice called into action in the first five minutes – first to take the ball off Montero’s foot following a through ball, then to deny a low drive from Freddie Ljungberg.
The Revs received more bad news in the 64th minute, when Joseph Niouky was issued his fifth yellow card of the season, triggering a one-match suspension which he’ll serve on June 27 against the Chicago Fire. Had Niouky not seen yellow against the Sounders, he would’ve had his yellow card total reduced by one for good behavior.
It took until the 74th minute before the Revolution registered a shot on goal, when Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller easily handled Shalrie Joseph’s looping header from Chris Tierney’s free kick.
Five minutes later, Shuttleworth continued his solid second-half effort by denying Evans as he broke into the right side of the box, cutting out the last chance for either side.
With the 2010 FIFA World Cup set to kick off next weekend in South Africa, all 16 Major League Soccer clubs will take a two-week break from their league schedules during the group stage of the tournament. The Revs will stay sharp with an international friendly against Brazilian power Cruzeiro on Sunday, June 13 at Gillette Stadium, before returning to their regular-season schedule on Sunday, June 27, against the rival Chicago Fire.
New England Revolution (3-7-2, 11 pts.) at Seattle Sounders FC (4-5-3, 15 pts.)
June 5, 2010 – Qwest Field (Seattle, Wash.)
SEA – Leo Gonzalez (Steve Zakuani) 5
SEA – Steve Zakuani (Brad Evans, Fredy Montero) 24
SEA – Fredy Montero (Pat Noonan, Leo Gonzalez) 42
New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth (GK), Chris Tierney, Cory Gibbs ©, Pat Phelan (Emmanuel Osei 46), Kevin Alston, Marko Perovi?, Shalrie Joseph, Joseph Niouky, Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs 59), Kenny Mansally (Edgaras Jankauskas 46), Zack Schilawski
Substitutes Not Used: Tim Murray, Kheli Dube, Khano Smith, Seth Sinovic
STATS: Shots: 2; Shots on Goal: 1; Saves: 5; Corner Kicks: 4; Offside: 2; Fouls Committed: 11
Seattle Sounders FC: Kasey Keller (GK), James Riley, Jeff Parke, Tyrone Marshall, Leo Ganzalez (Taylor Graham 91+), Steve Zakuani, Patrick Iannia, Brad Evans, Freddie Ljungberg (Sanna Nyassi 88), Fredy Montero, Pat Noonan (Roger Levesque 81)
Substitutes Not Used: Terry Boss, Nathan Sturgis, Zach Scott, Mike Seamon
STATS: Shots: 19; Shots on Goal: 8; Saves: 1; Corner Kicks: 10; Offside: 5; Fouls Committed: 13
NE – Cory Gibbs (caution) 3
SEA – Leo Gonzalez (caution) 36
NE – Joseph Niouky (caution) 64
Referee: Jorge Ganzalez
Referee’s Assistants: Philippe Briere (SAR), Jeff Hosking (JAR)
Fourth Official: Ramon Hernandez
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 67 degrees
- The Revolution suffered its first ever loss to Seattle Sounders FC and the club’s record against Seattle falls to 2-1-0 … the Revs record at Qwest Field falls to 1-1-0, as the Sounders expansion season was in 2009.
- The Revs were shut out for the sixth time this season and third time in their last four matches … additionally, New England is 0-4-0 in its last four matches on the West Coast dating back to last season and have been outscored 8-0.
- Tonight’s game marked the first-ever MLS meeting between to 100-win coaches … Revolution head coach Steve Nicol now has 101 wins while Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid exits with 129.
- Bobby Shuttleworth made his first career start in goal for the injured Preston Burpo, who is on injured reserve after breaking his tibia and fibula May 29 against New York.
- Tonight’s match marked Kenny Mansally’s first start of the 2010 season … previously this year, he had only come on as a substitute in seven matches.
- Emmanuel Osei’s appearance at the start of the second half was the Ghanaian defender’s first since April 10 at home against Toronto FC … he missed the April 17 match at San Jose with a left foot contusion, and then the following seven matches with an infection in his right leg.
- Tonight’s match marked the second time this season the Revolution used this backline combination … the four-man group of Chris Tierney, Cory Gibbs, Pat Phelan and Kevin Alston also started at Toronto on May 22
- Leo Gonzalez’s fifth-minute goal for Seattle was the fastest goal New England has given up this season, besting Edson Buddle’s sixth-minute goal in the season opener at LA on March 27.
- The three goals surrendered by New England in the first half are the most given up by the Revolution in one half this season.
- Joseph Niouky received his fifth yellow card of the season in the second half and will be suspended for the Revs next MLS match against Chicago (June 27).