Over the years, we've made a fair amount of hay over the ridiculousness of awarding trophies for preseason tournaments. They are meaningless, ultimately, and it seems silly to celebrate them. That aside, you can understand the sense in what Marcus Hahnemann following the Seattle Sounders' Desert Diamond Cup victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
"When you lose it, people say a preseason tournament doesn't matter, but it's a great feeling," he said after being credited with seven saves.
More than the cup itself, the play of the Sounders reserves should be highly encouraging. Although the Sounders were significantly outplayed in the final 20 minutes or so of the first half, Hahnemann was able to keep it tied and the Sounders looked very strong in the second half. Alex Caskey capped put an exclamation on an otherwise standout performance with his Johan Cruyff-esque goal. Sammy Ochoa and David Estrada both made nice passes to set it up.
Among the other standouts were Servando Carrasco doing a pretty decent Osvaldo Alonso impersonation, Ashani Fairclough making a strong bid for one of the final roster spots and Dylan Remick showing some versatility by playing at right back.
I wouldn't necessarily get too excited about anything that happens in the preseason, but it looks like the Sounders roster looks as deep as ever.
SEA - Alex Caskey (Sammy Ochoa, David Estrada) 51'
Seattle Sounders FC - Marcus Hahnemann, Dylan Remick, Eriq Zavaleta, Ashani Fairclough, Marc Burch, Lamar Neagle (Kevin Durr 90+3), Servando Carrasco, Andy Rose, Alex Caskey (Jennings Rex 86), David Estrada (Philip Lund 66), Sammy Ochoa (Travis Bowen 66).
SHOTS: 10; FOULS: 9; CORNER KICKS: 4; OFFSIDES: 4; SAVES: 7.
Real Salt Lake - Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Chris Schuler, Chris Mansally, Kyle Beckerman, Sebastian Velasquez (John Sterzer 46), Khari Stephenson (David Viana 68), Ned Grabavoy, Alvaro Saborio, Robbie Findley (Joao Plata 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Joe Saunders, Jeff Atinella, Eduardo Fernandez, Lovel Palmer, Carlos Salcedo, Aaron Maund, Yordany Alvarez, Enzo Martinez, Cole Grossman, Devon Sandoval, Olmes Garcia, Jordan Allen, Rich Balchan.
SHOTS: 15; FOULS: 4; CORNER KICKS: 7; OFFSIDES: 1; SAVES: 4.
SEA - Ashani Fairclough (caution) 66'
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Weather: Clear and 59 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
Post Game Quotes - Sounders FC
Coach Sigi Schmid
(On the game...) "We got 90 minutes for our starters yesterday and we got 90 minutes out of most of the guys tonight, as well. I thought the guys played great. It shows the depth of our team-we're playing with three rookies back in the back four. I thought the center backs played very well, a big improvement over the last game, but I thought they were solid and they were playing against [Alvaro] Saborio and [Robbie] Findley. There were 15 minutes or so there at the end of the first half where we were scrambling. We were on our heels a bit, but after that we caught ourselves and I thought we did well."
(On the play of Marcus Hahnemann...) "Yeah, it's nice to have a backup goalkeeper like that, isn't it? He keeps Michael [Gspurning] sharp, as well-he came up with some great saves last night. Marcus is certainly quality and showed his experience, as well, by slowing the game down at the right times-bringing some calm to our team. He makes the job of the young center backs a little easier by his direction."
(On the play of Alex Caskey and Lamar Neagle...) "I thought they played very well. Lamar is a gamer-that's why we traded for him back. Sometimes at training you're not quite sure, but when the game comes he's there and he makes good decisions. He was unlucky tonight not to get a goal. And Caskey, that's Caskey. He might give away a few balls, but then he'll do something that'll impact the game. He did it the other night on the first goal against New York, then he did tonight. He just cut [Chris] Schuler in the box and hits a great shot."
(On continuing to press after scoring the goal...) "After we scored, I think the young guys certainly got confidence. At the end of the first half, the feeling was like, 'Hopefully we can hang in here.' After we got the goal, I think the feeling all of a sudden became, 'We can win this thing.' They were confident and they played with a lot more composure. Salt Lake started to press the issue, so that gave us a little better chance to counter. If we would have gotten a second one it would have been nice."
(On the confidence of the team a week before the season starts...) "The team feels good about themselves, but preseason doesn't mean anything-they know that. What was really good was we were able to finish this week. We're a week out and we were able to get almost all of our players 90 minutes and that's what we feel really good about."
Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann
(On winning the Desert Diamond Cup...) "When you lose it, people say a preseason tournament doesn't matter, but it's a great feeling. My roommate Caskey popping up with another goal today, which is awesome. We've had a great day. The young guys-on trial a few of those guys-and with that we're coming out holding a trophy. That's our goal this year is to win trophies and silverware. It's just the start."
(On their play in the tournament...) "We had a great tournament. We let in one goal, I think, the whole time. I had a couple of clean sheets in there and that's what it's all about, personally. Then you look at the team and today we went into the final with a pretty young team...That was Salt Lake's best team and we end up coming away with a one-nil victory. The guys worked their butts off. It was a lot of young guys and we showed really good organization. Guys are trying to make the team and they're playing their hearts out."
(On the confidence of the team...) "It's got to be good. Look at the way we've been playing. We've always been a pretty solid defensive team. Last year we had a goals against average that was pretty darn good. You look this year and we're right on form again...We just keep getting better."
Midfielder Alex Caskey
(On his goal...) "I knew the guy was going to slide if I cut it back in, so that's what I ended up doing and just hit it near post."
(On winning the Desert Diamond Cup...) "Every competition we're in we're trying to win. We just want to have a winning mentality throughout the season. I think we showed in this game we have a lot of depth going on, and that could be important considering the length of the season."
Midfielder Lamar Neagle
(On the adjustments made a halftime...) "We started to slow down and they started to play a little bit better towards the end of the first half. Coach brought us in, told us to calm down, and play our game. We were a little too direct towards the end. Then we came out in the second half great obviously. Caskey had a great goal. Just a good job by our younger guys. They had a great opportunity against a really good first team."
(On the opportunity for the younger players...) "It's another chance for our young guys to prove themselves, to prove that they can play in this league. We're playing their first team. It'll be a good confidence booster not to be intimidated or anything like that and to focus on playing our game, not who we're playing."