The match was supposed to be a tune up for the CONCACAF Champions League match against Santos Laguna, and if the Tuesday night Community Shield is any indication Seattle Sounders FC are as ready as they could be. Fredy Montero's brace highlighted an evening that saw a visiting Mexican team play a fairly strong side. Sounders fans were quickly reminded how great Montero, Mauro Rosales and Osvaldo Alonso can be.
Offensively Seattle was as good as expected. The ability of Rosales to control the ball while drifting wide or slashing in allowed interchanges between the other attacking players. Montero dropped back at times and at others cut into threatening spaces. If that second goal by Montero is any indication this year can be something special indeed. From the 18 with a little bit of space it was a lofted semi-chip of a keeper barely off his line. Alonso was more often in a goal dangerous positions than in previous seasons. Adam Johansson's sprints up the right flank in a couple different channels opened up new options for the Sounders attack.
Defending was generally strong, with the biggest issue again relating to preventing and reacting to the counter. They were particularly vulnerable on their right. This is due to Johansson getting even further forward than Riley and the lack of a shift to a three man line (per Sigi Schmid in a 2nd half interview on the broadcast). Hurtado looks to be the Best XI short lister from 2009 and Jeff Parke was willing to carry home as much in-fill as needed to stop shots.
Preseason results (5-0-2) don't matter - process does. Sigi and the brain trust set the team up to be on as close to a regular season rhythm as possible. Tonight's final win of 2012 preparations won't result in Challenge/Diamond/WhatNot Cup. What it does do is make as certain as can be made that the Seattle Sounders are ready to face Santos Laguna in the first match of 2012 that matters.