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Sounders win preseason opener against TSC Bačka Topola

Sounders get goals from Minoungou, Teves and Rusnák.

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4 min read
Sounders FC Communications

The Seattle Sounders opened their preseason with a 3-2 win over Serbian club TSC Bačka Topola on Wednesday in Marbella, Spain. Georgi Minoungou, Dylan Teves and Albert Rusnák scored for the Sounders.

"Bačka Topola were a tough team, it was a good test," Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said after the match. "I'm glad we came through at the end."

The match was technically split into two 60-minute halves with a full lineup change between each. The first 60 minutes ended 1-1 after TSC scored in the 1st minute. The Sounders won the second 60 minutes, 2-1, with the winner coming at the very end when Rusnák put away a Léo Chú cross after a Jordan Morris dummy in the 120th minute.

"This was an assessment game," Schmetzer said. "We mixed the teams, wanted to make them balanced."

The first 60 was played with a lineup that looked like this: GK: Andrew Thomas; LB: Cody Baker; CBs: Xavier Arreaga and Nathan; RB: Alex Roldan; DMs: João Paulo and Josh Atencio; LM: Minoungou; CM: Paul Rothrock; RM: Cristian Roldan; FW: Raúl Ruidíaz. That group scored when Minoungou headed in a goal off the goalline following a scramble that started with a João Paulo corner kick.

The second half featured a lineup of GK: Jacob Castro; LB: Jon Bell; CBs: Stu Hawkins and Tino Lopez; RB: Kalani Kossa-Rienzi; DMs: Obed Vargas and Danny Leyva; LM: Chú; CM: Rusnák; RM: Teves; FW: Morris.

That group got its first goal off a well-worked play off a free kick with Chú setting up Teves for a tap-in at the back post.

TSC managed to equalize on a breakaway in which Vargas appeared to get caught a bit out of position. But the Sounders then found the winner on virtually the last play of the match. Bell picked off a pass; quickly moved it ahead to Chú, who made a nice move to get past his mark; burst into the open field and put in a cross to Morris in front of goal. Morris, who had a tough angle and was marked, dummied it to Rusnák who converted at the far post.

Other takeaways

  • Let it be said that in his 60 minutes, Chú was absolutely cooking. Aside from his two very well taken assists, he was giving the opposing right back absolute fits and was constantly getting himself into dangerous positions. He set up at least two other very good chances. That said, getting into dangerous positions has never been Chú’s challenge, it’s what he does once he gets there. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself after just one preseason game, but Chú looked like a player who is highly motivated to maintain his spot.
  • Of all the non-first-team players who made appearances in this game, I think the most impressive was Minoungou. The goal he scored was a bit flukey, but it allowed him to walk away with just rewards from a solid 60-minute shift. He was a constant danger off the dribble and repeatedly put himself in good spots. He had one particularly dangerous look on a shot from about 16 yards out that forced a very good save.
  • While the Sounders are still more than three weeks out from their season-opener and were playing their first “real” preseason game, it’s probably notable that TSC is much closer to the start of their season. Although they’ve not played a competitive match since Dec. 22, this was their fourth preseason game and they’ll be back in Serbian SuperLiga action on Feb. 10. I’m not going to get overly excited about a preseason match, but the Sounders managed all of this while using heavily rotated lineups against an opponent much closer to in-season form.