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Recap: Sounders beat IFK Norrköping 3-0 in preseason

Sounders get goals from Albert Rusnák, Léo Chú and Dylan Teves.

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Sounders FC Communications

The Seattle Sounders won their second preseason encounter, topping Swedish side IFK Norrköping 3-0 on Sunday in a “match” that was stretched out to about 135 minutes and featured a full lineup change around the 70th minute. The Sounders got goals from Albert Rusnák (6th), Léo Chú (35th) and Dylan Teves (98th).

“I’m very pleased with the way team plays,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “They understand the tactics. A lot of the work we’ve been doing here is coming through in the games.”

The match also featured the preseason debut of Danny Musovski, who played about 23 minutes. Although Pedro de la Vega has resumed training, he did not feature.

The first 70 minutes featured a lineup of Stefan Frei; Jon Bell, Xavier Arreaga, Nathan, Cody Baker; Josh Atencio, João Paulo; Chú, Rusnák (Snyder Brunell 45), Cristian Roldan; Jordan Morris.

Similar to their first match, the Sounders scored early when Roldan picked off a pass from the opposing goalkeeper and set up Rusnák for a chance near the penalty spot. Rusnák finished well to score his second goal of the preseason.

The Sounders added a second goal in the 35th minute, again off a turnover. This time it was Baker picking off a pass on the right wing and then pushing forward. After several passes around the penalty area, Morris touched it to Chú, who blasted it into the net.

At the 70-minute mark, the Sounders full rotated their lineup to Andrew Thomas; Paul Rothrock, Stu Hawkins, Antino Lopez (Gallatin Sandness 112), Kalani Kossa-Rienzi; Danny Leyva, Obed Vargas; Georgi Minoungou, Braudilio Rodrigues (Musovski 112), Teves; Raul Ruidíaz.

The Sounders scored the final goal of the match in the 98th minute after an extended bout of possession. The final movement came after the Sounders had recycled possession and Leyva spotted Teves making a run in behind. Teves controlled Leyva's pinpoint pass well and then converted inside the far post.

Other observations

  • For the second straight match, the Sounders’ press was particularly effective at not just making life difficult for the opposition, but actually creating chances. Both of the first group’s goals came off the press creating turnovers, and the Sounders managed to create several other very good chances on counters. Maybe the prettiest was Nathan playing in Morris on a beautiful through ball that eliminated six defenders. I saw without hyperbole that with slightly better finishing the Sounders should have had at least six goals. IFK hit the post in the 2nd minute and was effectively punchless for the final 130+ minutes.
  • With several presumed starters out, there’s been ample opportunity for players farther down the depth chart to get looks. I’d be hard-pressed to name any who have actually hurt their chances, but the two who have most stood out are probably Teves and Leyva. Both have been deployed with the second group in both games and have consistently caused problems for the opposition. In the case of Leyva, he may be playing himself into a more significant role.
  • Among non-first team players I’m not sure anyone has necessarily played themselves into a MLS contract, but several have looked pretty good. Snyder Brunell played about 20 minutes in place of Albert Rusnák and looked surprisingly comfortable higher up the field and had a couple nice plays to unlock the defense. Kalani Kossa-Rienzi had another solid performance as a right back and looks increasingly comfortable at a postion he’s only rarely played until now.
  • The final match in Spain will be played on Friday against Denmark’s OB.