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Sunday, March 3, 2013 - Page updated at 11:30 p.m.
Sounders drop opener 1-0 to Montreal
By Joshua Mayers
Seattle Times staff reporter
The fans, as always, came out in droves.
So did the rain.
But Sounders FC didn't do its part in a perfectly Seattle-esque season opener, falling to Montreal 1-0 Saturday in front of 38,998 spectators in Major Soccer League action at CenturyLink Field.
The Impact, which beat the Sounders 4-1 at home last year, earned just its third road victory since joining the league as an expansion franchise in 2012, and it came on a first-half goal by midfielder Davy Arnaud.
Sounders FC, which announced the expected buyout of designated player Christian Tiffert before the game, fell to 3-2 in season openers, all at home. Things won't get any easier with a tough CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal coming next against arguably the top team in Mexico, Tigres UANL of Monterrey.
"This team will bounce back," said Seattle coach Sigi Schmid. "There's enough quality in that locker room. There's enough pride in that locker room. It's a difficult opponent, difficult place to play in Monterrey, but we're a proud team and there are a lot of proud guys over here that are disappointed."
Seattle (0-1) pressed hard for an equalizer in the second half and came within inches of one in the 81st minute, but forward Eddie Johnson slammed a shot off the cross bar from just in front of goal.
The goal frame wasn't kind to the Sounders in the 66th minute either, as a long-range shot by midfielder Brad Evans slammed hard off the post and was cleared.
Frustrations grew late in the game when numerous fans threw items onto the field, apparently in reaction to Impact defender Hassoun Camara needing medical attention for the third time in the game.
Many Sounders after the final whistle had their hands on their hips, knees and the backs of their heads in disbelief.
"We really wanted to go out and put on a good performance for our fans," said midfielder Steve Zakuani. "We didn't do that and that is really what hurts right now."
The Sounders controlled most of the action in the first half, outshooting the visitors 8-4 by the break, but surprisingly fell behind in the 35th minute. Montreal took advantage of a turnover at midfield to seize possession and turned it into a goal on two delicate chips — first a pass from midfielder Felipe Martins over the defense to Arnaud, then a shot that just floated over the outstretched fingers of goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
"It was a great goal," said Gspurning, who didn't regret his decision to come out on the play and leave the net exposed. "I have to congratulate him on this because to chip the ball over (someone) 6 foot 6 is not easy."
Seattle had most of its first-half chances through Johnson, who was off target on a trio of quality looks.
Johnson missed high and wide with a left-footed attempt in the fifth minute, then couldn't quite redirect a Mario Martinez cross on goal in the 25th minute, and finally curled a shot right into the hands of goalkeeper Troy Perkins four minutes later.
Martinez also forced a save out of Perkins in the 42nd minute with a powerfully driven free kick.
Montreal (1-0) was 2-12-3 on the road last year.
"Anytime you get slapped in the face like this in a game, hopefully then you rise from that and you become a little more determined, a little more motivated, a little focused," Schmid said. "That's something we certainly have to be in the Champions League and that's something we certainly have to be in our next league game."
• Two unexpected absences for the Sounders were forward David Estrada (ankle injury) and midfielder Lamar Neagle, who wasn't allowed to play as a condition of his trade from Montreal in February.
• Seattle midfielder Andy Rose left in the second half with a left elbow contusion, but is expected to be OK.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @joshuamayers.
First half — 1, Montreal, Arnaud 1 (Martins), 35th minute. Second half — None. Goalies — Montreal, Troy Perkins; Seattle, Michael Gspurning. Shots — Montreal 9, Seattle 15. Shots on goal — Montreal 5, Seattle 3. Saves — Montreal 3, Seattle 4. Fouls — Montreal 11, Seattle 10. Corner kicks — Montreal 3, Seattle 9. Offsides — Montreal 4, Seattle 4. Yellow cards — Evans, Seattle, 17th; Pisanu, Montreal, 65th. Referee — Silviu Petrescu. Assistant referees — Darren Clark. Kevin Duliba. 4th official Alejandro Mariscal. A — 38,998 (32,400).
Montreal 1 0 — 1 Seattle 0 0 — 0
Montreal — Troy Perkins, Matteo Ferrari, Jeb Brovsky, Hassoun Camara (Dennis Iapichino, 83rd), Alessandro Nesta, Felipe Martins, Andrea Pisanu (Calum Mallace, 69th), Patrice Bernier, Justin Mapp (Sanna Nyassi, 46th), Davy Arnaud, Marco Di Vaio.
Seattle — Michael Gspurning, Leo Gonzalez (Servando Carrasco, 84th), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Zach Scott, DeAndre Yedlin, Andy Rose (Alex Caskey, 62nd), Mario Martinez, Steve Zakuani (Sammy Ochoa, 69th), Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans, Eddie Johnson.
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