SEATTLE - MARCH 15: Landon Donovan #10 of the Los Angeles Galaxy battles Jeff Parke #31 of the Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field on March 15, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Galaxy defeated the Sounders 1-0. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

New York Red Bulls Defeat Seattle Sounders, 1-0

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New York Red Bulls Vs. Seattle Sounders: 1-0 The Final, Juan Agudelo Gives Red Bulls The Win

Despite a promising first half display from the Seattle Sounders, it is the New York Red Bulls that take all three points from the match, the goal from Juan Agudelo proving to be sufficient to earn the home side their first MLS victory of 2011. The visitors had plenty of chances in the first half, but failed to capitalize on any of them, thoughts that likely haunted the Sounders during the second half as they searched for not so much a goal but a chance at goal.

The match started off poorly for the Sounders as New York had two shots on goal within the first five minutes. The pressure mounted when Jhon Kennedy Hurtando pulled down Agudelo in the area, Thierry Henry stepping up to take the resulting penalty kick. The French international sent his shot low and to the left, but Kasey Keller guessed correctly and performed an easy save.

Fredy Montero and Alvaro Fernandez worked well together in the first half, playing off one another's passes, with Montero in particular troubling New York keeper Greg Sutton. Unfortunately for Seattle, O'Brian White was just as incapable of finishing tonight as he was against the Galaxy,but even more worryingly, the forward appeared to have no clue what to do with the ball once he took possession. The Sounders need another forward to be healthy, like, yesterday.

For the first seventy minutes of the match, Seattle had done fairly well with their bunk and counter system, defending against any threatening New York attacks and putting forth a few of their own. But then Agudelo sprung the trap, pushing past Hurtado to grab a long, lofted ball. He pushed aside Leo Gonzalez to go one on one with Keller, easily putting the shot into the back of the net.

Erik Friberg nearly equalized for Seattle, sending a chipped shot over the keeper, but the midfielder was judged to have fouled Rafa Marquez in the lead up, and the goal was not given. The Sounders' best chance of the second half came in injury time. A free kick from Fredy Montero was pushed away by Sutton. It fell to Lamar Neagle but he sent his shot wide.

That's 0-2-0 for the Seattle Sounders. What a way to start the season.


New York Red Bulls Vs. Seattle Sounders: Juan Agudelo Puts New York Ahead 1-0

New York Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo has scored his first goal in the regular MLS season, and what a goal it was. A long ball sailed over the head of the scrum of players and Agudelo sprung forward, easily beating Jhon Kennedy Hurtado before shoving away Leo Gonzalez. Gonzalez came rushing back in an attempt to stop Agudelo going one on one with Kasey Keller, but to no avail. The veteran Seattle Sounders keeper dove but could do nothing about the shot sailing past.

Just a few minutes before the goal in the 69th minute, Sounders fans had their hearts in their throats as Fredy Montero tumbled over Greg Sutton, catching his leg on the keeper. The forward went down clutching his left leg, and it looked for a moment like he might need assistance off the pitch. Fortunately for Seattle hearts, Montero was able to quickly rejoin the play.

Meanwhile, Mauro Rosales has been handed his debut for the Sounders, coming on to replace Alvaro Fernandez, while Roger Levesque has come on for O'Brian White


New York Red Bulls Vs. Seattle Sounders: Scoreless At The Half

Seattle Sounders fans may not be have been able to celebrate a goal before the halftime whistle, but they have much more to smile about in the match against New York Red Bulls than they did when the L.A. Galaxy came to town on Tuesday. Aside from the first ten minutes or so of play, in which the home side dominated, Seattle has looked bright, linking up their play well and making New York goalkeeper Greg Sutton work for his supper.

Inside five minutes, the Red Bulls had had two shots on goal, the first one that squirmed away from Kasey Keller for a corner kick. From the resulting corner, Thierry Henry hit the ball on the volley, but the shot went wide. The worst was still to come for the Sounders, however, as Jhon Kennedy Hurtado took out Juan Agudelo inside the area. Henry stepped up to take the resulting penalty kick, placing his shot low and to the left, but Keller guessed correctly and collected the shot.

Something about the saved penalty gave the Sounders an extra burst of energy, or a moral boost, or something intangible that we can impose on the players. Fredy Montero is sizzling (and this time, I'm not just talking about his kit), subtly showing off his trickery while also reminding the world that he can hit the target from long range. The best chance, however, came after Montero enjoyed a little back - and - forth with Alvaro Fernandez, before sending a shot in to Sutton. The ball spilled out of his hands and despite O'Brian White being right in front of him, the forward barely moved toward the ball, allowing Sutton to gather again.

The attack, particularly the links between Montero and Fernandez, looks to be falling into place, but Sounders fans should also be pleased as punch with the debut of midfielder Servando Carrasco. The newbie managed an excellent save in the 33rd minute, preventing a certain Red Bulls goal, and has looked more likely than James Riley to sop up any mess at the back.


New York Red Bulls Vs. Seattle Sounders, Lineups: Sounders Flying Country Flags Proudly

Seattle Sounders play their second game of the season in less than an hour, kicking off at 4:30 Pacific time at New York Red Bull. We knew that Steve Zakuani would be out of the match, his having giving us a pretty big clue by tweeting that he'd be watching the game at home on TV. Still, many wondered about who would replace the left winger, with some putting their money on new signing Mauro Rosales. Instead the Argentine is on the bench, with Servando Carrasco filling in in midfield.

Interestingly -- to a person who likes geography, anyway -- the Sounders will have representatives from eight different nations on the field, if one counts Carrasco's Mexico dual citizenship. And I do. Along with Mexico Seattle will be waving the flags of the U.S.A., Colombia, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Cuba (if Ossie's cool with that), Jamaica and Sweden. The more you know!

Sounders Starting XI: Keller, Riley, Parke, Hurtado, Gonzalez, Fernandez, Alonso, Carrasco, Friberg, Montero, White

Substitutes: Boss, Wahl, Scott, Ianni, Levesque, Neagle, Rosales

New York Starting XI: Sutton, Solli, Marquez, Ream, Miller, Richards, Tainio, Ballouchy, Lindpere, Agudelo, Henry

Substitutes: Coundoul, Borman, Tchani, Hertzog, Rodgers, Robinson, Mendes


New York Red Bull Vs. Seattle Sounders, Preview: Steve Zakuani Watching From Home

It's likely that most Seattle Sounders supporters could not wait for Saturday, and the match against New York Red Bulls, to arrive. March 15th brought the first match of the MLS season, with Seattle hosting Los Angeles Galaxy. The visitors secured a 1-0 win over a Sounders side that appeared to have forgotten how to complete passes, and, even more worryingly, forgotten how to finish. Of course, the Sounders also had to cope with the announcement, just an hour before kickoff, that Swiss international Blaise Nkufo would be parting ways with the club, requiring O'Brian White to step into the starting lineup.

The Sounders will likely field the same lineup against New York as they did against the Galaxy, with one major change: Steve Zakuani had looked unlikely to start in the first match, but appeared healthy throughout, and it seemed almost certain the winger would be in the starting XI. Instead, Zakuani tweeted that he'd be watching the match from home tonight, meaning that the newest Sounder, Mauro Rosales, might get the start. White will likely return to partner Fredy Montero up front, considering there are really very few alternatives. Lamar Neagle came on as a substitute against L.A. but it's unlikely he will get the start. Brad Evans and Pat Noonan did not make the trip to New York.

As for Red Bulls, well, this is their first game of the season, and they'll be looking to make the Sounders even more miserable. The forward pairing of Juan Agudelo and Thierry Henry will likely be dangerous, and while the Seattle defense is likely up to the task of containing them, the New York defense will also be set to contain whatever threat the visitors provide. Rafa Marquez will drop back from midfield to central defense this season, where he'll partner Tim Ream. The Sounders are anxious to put First Kick behind them, but will they be able to correct the weaknesses demonstrated on Tuesday in time to find any points against a team that should be in the running for the MLS Cup?

For all of your Seattle Sounders needs, stop by Sounder at Heart, where they have questions with Red Bulls supporters, match day cards, and lineup predictions.

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