It wasn’t the game they wanted, but for the Seattle Sounders, it was another 90-minute scrimmage that helps them get closer to the start of the season opener in just under two-weeks time.
The Sounders were hoping to get that 90 minutes against Phoenix Rising, but the USL Championship side cancelled the trip to Lumen Field at the last minute, citing “Covid-19 concerns.”
Schmetzer said the cancellation was unfortunate, if for no other reason than to test his team against an unfamiliar opponent. “It’s always better to play an opponent,” Schmetzer said. “Guys are sick of training against each other, kicking each other in practice. They’d rather kick other people.”
So the Sounders turned the match into an intra-squad 11-v-11 scrimmage on Sunday at Lumen Field, with the match finishing with a final score of 4-2. Fredy Montero grabbed a hat trick with the other goals coming from Sota Kitahara, Taka Sasaki and Josh Atencio.
Sounders FC vs. Sounders FC: Match Highlights pic.twitter.com/59Oc0HZsQe— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) April 5, 2021
Montero, who last played for the Sounders in 2012, has six goals in three scrimmages/preseason matches far as he prepares for his official return to the Sounders a week from Friday. With Designated Player Raul Ruidiaz just returning from his protracted green-card ordeal, Montero has been able to get fully acclimated to his new team, and said he’ll be ready for the season opener. “Scoring goals [or] assists, that’s my job and what I enjoy doing,” Montero said. “I’m living the dream.”
The teams were divided mostly between presumed starters, with the back-ups, Tacoma Defiance signees and Academy players on the other side. Midfielder João Paulo said he was impressed with the intensity from the younger side, given the disparity in experience.
“It was pretty competitive, I think the young guys came today to play hard and make it difficult for us,” Paulo said.
Though the side comprised of the backups and young prospects were on the losing end, Schmetzer said he was impressed with what a number of them showed in the scrimmage. “Ethan had a good day, I think Juan Alvarez showed some stuff, Danny Leyva did good. We have a talented crop of young players. We need to build them up a little bit and see where they can get some minutes.
“We’ll look at the physical data, we’ll look at the film, but overall it was good. Being in Lumen field made it a little different, so it wasn’t just an inter-squad game at Starfire.
Team 1: Frei; Arreaga, Yeimar, O’Neill; Medranda, Atencio, João Paulo, Cristian Roldan, A. Roldan; Montero, Bruin.
Team 2: Richey; Nouhou, Cissoko, Delem, Rowe; Kitahara, Leyva; Juan Alvarez, Baker-Whiting, Sasaki; Dobbelaere