FC Barcelona puts on a show in 4-0 win over Sounders FC
Team shows why it's one of the best in the world as it dominates friendly before a full house at Qwest Field
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Yes, Seattle, there is a soccer team in this world with brighter-colored jerseys than Sounders FC's rave green. And that team put on a skills clinic for a full house at Qwest Field, a national TV audience and the home side, which had no answer for perhaps the best soccer player in the world.
FC Barcelona, clad in its pinkish-orange road jerseys that made Seattle's shirts look dull in comparison, got a pair of scintillating goals from striker Lionel Messi in its 4-0 win over Sounders FC Wednesday night in a friendly.
Messi's play had Sounders FC players and coach Sigi Schmid calling him the world's best player following the game.
"He can do everything," Seattle defender Leonardo Gonzalez said.
So can the club, as witnessed Wednesday.
Barcelona, the defending European club and Spanish league champion, entertained the crowd of 66,848, the largest to ever see a soccer match in Seattle.
FCB's passing was nearly flawless. It had chance after chance from deep inside the goal area in front of Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller, whose diving saves in the first half kept Sounders FC from being blown out early, and in the second half with Terry Boss in goal. It made only one glaring error, a mistake that turned out to be Sounders FC's best chance at a goal.
In the 19th minute, Barcelona goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto's weak clearance was badly hit, rolling directly to Seattle midfielder Freddie Ljungberg. The former English Premier League star had a wide-open shot on goal but it bounced wide left.
Then Barcelona struck only a couple of minutes later. Messi, a diminutive but quick and skillful player from Argentina, gathered in a pass and fired a shot from 24 yards away from the goal at the top of the arc. The blast beat Keller to give the visitors the lead.
"You see him on TV. I see him every day. He is the best in the world not only for his youth, but also for his ability to dominate all aspects of the game," Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola said.
Barcelona was far from done. In the 41st minute, it put together a pair of passes from Thierry Henry and Xavi, the last of which was a long ball to Messi to the left of Keller. Messi got a shot past his defender and through Keller's legs for Barcelona's second goal.
"You're hoping he hits you with the ball," Keller said.
"He has the ability to make something out of nothing," Schmid said.
Barcelona, playing the second game in its exhibition U.S. tour, outshot Seattle 25-4 and had 11 shots on goal to Sounders FC's one. Keller made five saves.
Seattle's starting lineup could be Schmid's preferred 11 over the course of the rest of the Major League Soccer season. It featured Fredy Montero and Nate Jaqua at forward; Ljungberg, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans and Steve Zakuani at midfielder; Gonzalez — making his Sounders FC debut after being signed last month — Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyrone Marshall and James Riley at defender and Keller in goal.
Both teams made wholesale substitutions to start the second half, Barcelona putting in a whole new 11 players. Sounders FC made 10 changes and one more in the 61st minute, including defender Taylor Graham, who also made his Sounders FC debut after dealing with injuries all season long.
In the second half, Jeffren Suarez put in a goal in the 75th minute off a pass from Pedro Rodriguez, and Rodriguez got an unassisted goal to end the scoring in the 89th minute.
Sounders FC has gone scoreless in three straight games — a pair of MLS games at San Jose and against Chicago at home — and has allowed eight goals in that stretch.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or email@example.com
FC Barcelona 4, Sounders FC 0
|FC Barcelona||2 2 — 4|
|Seattle FC||0 0 — 0|
Starting lineup — Jose Manuel Pinto (GK) 46'; Daniel Alves 46'; Carlos Puyol 46'; Xavi Hernandez 46'; Lionel Messi 46' ; Bojan Krkic 46'; Andreu Fontas 46'; Thierry Henry 46'; Sergio Busquets 46'; Eric Abidal 46'; Victor Sanchez 46'
Substitutes — Albert Jorquera (GK) 46'; Gerard Pique 46'; Eidur Gudjohnsen 46'; Seydou Keita 46'; Jeffren Suarez 46'; Maxwell Andrade 46'; Jonathan Dos Santos 46'; Marc Muniesa 46'; Adriano Henrique 46'; Yaya Toure 46'; Pedro Rodriguez 46'
Seattle Sounders FC
Starting lineup — Kasey Keller (GK) 46'; Brad Evans 46'; Osvaldo Alonso 46'; James Riley 61'; Freddie Ljungberg 46'; Steve Zakuani 46'; Tyrone Marshall 46'; Fredy Montero 46'; Leonardo Gonzalez 46'; Nate Jaqua 46'; Jhon Kennedy Hurtado 46'
Substitutes — Terry Boss (GK) 46'; Michael Fucita 80'; Patrick Ianni 46'; Tyson Wahl 61'; Peter Vagenas 46'; Nathan Sturgis 46'; Evan Brown 46' 80'; Zach Scott 46'; Sanna Nyassi 46'; Roger Levesque 46'; Taylor Graham 46'; Lamar Neagle 46'.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.