TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Seattle Sounders started the 2016 preseason with a chippy contested affair with the Vancouver Whitecaps that (as it always does) came down to quality in front of goal. While both sides' starters were held scoreless in the first half, the Whitecaps scored two to Darwin Jones' one in the second half.
The villain of the day was Darren Mattocks, who converted once from the spot and another on a blown clearance to give the Whitecaps all the lead they'd need on an uncharacteristically cold Tucson evening.
The Sounders started the first half with their presumptive starting eleven, trotting out a 4-3-3 with an attacking trio of Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Nelson Valdez. The trio had a flurry of looks at goal throughout their 45 minutes of gametime, displaying linking play and touch passing that should be expected from three of the best scorers in MLS.
Joevin Jones played the kind of game Sigi Schmid and co. were likely looking for when they traded for him in January. Jones played solidly in defense and contributed to the attack much like fellow fullback Tyrone Mears. Jimmy Ockford, the lone surprise to the starting roster, got his head to a few clearances and appeared to play at the level of an MLS defender (at least for a half.)
The star power wilted with the temperature as the Sounders made a shift change for the second half. Stefan Frei made way for Tyler Miller, who asserted himself in the box with a number of strong punches and saves. He'll be disappointed that his defense wasn't as assertive, failing to stop a PK after Damion Lowe pushed Mattocks down at the endline. Lowe was involved in the second goal too, positioned perfectly for a clearance but slipping awkwardly on the turf to allow Mattocks a poacher's curler just at the end of regulation. The two strikes bookended a glimpse at one of Seattle's possible futures, featuring a long Aaron Kovar pass to Darwin Jones that tied the game for 15 minutes.
If you squint your eyes, you can make out the Darwin Jones goal https://t.co/1dWobkZnQi— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) February 4, 2016
At the completion of the match with Vancouver, the Sounders made a second set of changes to play another 45 minutes with FC Tucson. Aaron Kovar tallied once against the USL side with an assist from Michael Nelson. Panamanian International Roberto Chen featured in the game with an uneven performance, and Charlie Lyon kept a clean sheet with a series of reflex saves.