Goals from Clint Dempsey (Pen), Jordan Morris and Harry Shipp won the game for the defending MLS champions.
A crowd of 45,000 witnessed the return of the Seattle Sounders side that won last year’s MLS Cup, after they beat New York Red Bulls 3-1 at CenturyLink Field.
Like in Houston and Montreal, the Sounders started the game slowly, but this time the hosts didn’t take until the second half to find their feet.
In the 27th minute, Morris won a penalty for the home side after being brought down by New York ‘keeper Luis Robles.
Former Fulham and Tottenham man Dempsey slotted home the penalty, which seemed to calm the nerves of the Sounders players. Before then they could clearly feel the expectations of the crowd flowing within CenturyLink Field.
Morris was excellent all night. Somewhat a ghostly figure in the opening two matches, last year’s MLS Rookie of the Year was getting into some great positions, but was unable to double the home side’s lead before the break.
The travelling Red Bulls, whose 18-match unbeaten run in the regular season was brought to a drastic halt, had equalised when Bradley Wright-Phillips headed home.
It was the last time the Red Bulls came forward with any real attacking intent. Seattle piled on the pressure after that, and deservedly went back in front when Morris powered home a header of his own inside the six yard box.
Shipp made it 3-1 with just over ten minutes to go when he purposely deflected Joevin Jones’ long range strike into the bottom left corner.
Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer praised the crowd, and hopes the noise of the supporters continues.
“This is going to be an exciting home season for us,” he said in his post-match conference.
“Today’s atmosphere was good. The fans were loud from start to end and we were able to reward them with a good performance.”
Schmetzer again spoke about the never-say die attitude of his team.
“Once again we have produced a good second half performance,” claimed the Sounders boss.
“I can’t tell you how or why, but the spirit of the team is always there.”
Striker Jordan Morris almost came off at half-time due to injury, but the young forward insists he was fine.
“We said try it for ten minutes, and it felt fine. I never wanted to come off. I always want to play,” he said after the game.
“It’s the same ankle I sprained a little back in the pre-season, but I don’t think it’a anything serious and I should be fine for next week.”
Both these sides will be in contention to make the end of season play-offs if they perform to the levels we have seen already this season, but they will need to make their form consistent.
The Red Bulls have to be more attacking and cleverer with possession away from home, especially at a hostile location like Seattle.
The Sounders also need to continue to be on the front foot from the get go and attack with pace. Morris, Jones and Oniel Fisher casued havoc for the New York defence all evening, and more of the same will see them quickly climb up the Western Conference.