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February 25, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Neagle scores game-winner as Sounders FC beat SK Brann 1-0 (team report)

Seattle Sounders FC 1, SK Brann 0 – February 25, 2010
Getting a late goal from Lamar Neagle off a Peter Vagenas corner kick, the Sounders FC finished its trip to Spain with a 1-0 win over Norway’s SK Brann to take fifth place in the La Manga Cup on Thursday afternoon. Seattle won its final two tournament matches without allowing a goal and is now 3-1-0 in preseason.
The Sounders FC will resume play on March 6 at the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The match begins at 4 p.m. PT in Burnaby, B.C. The MLS regular season begins on March 25, when the Sounders FC hosts Philadelphia on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. First kick is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. PT on ESPN2.
Once again, Seattle’s match was made challenging by steady winds across and in its attacking face for the first half. Both teams struggled to create much in the first period. Brann earned six corners and three free kicks in the attacking third, but was unable to launch a shot on frame. Sounders FC produced its best opportunities in the final five minutes.
Steve Zakuani rose to head down a James Riley cross in the 40th minute, and shortly afterward Fredy Montero took a pass from Freddie Ljungberg and drove a hard 12-yard shot to the left post from a difficult angle on the right. Both were saved by Brann keeper Hakon Opdal.
To begin the second half, Chris Eylander replaced Kasey Keller in goal, with Michael Fucito supplanting Zakuani on the left wing. By the 72nd minute, when Neagle was substituted for Ljungberg, Seattle would remove its entire starting XI.
In the 52nd minute, Osvaldo Alonso struck a 22-yard shot requiring Opdal to stop at the left post and Brann’s David Nielsen swung a rebound volley just over Eylander’s bar with eight minutes remaining.
The sole goal came in the 84th minute. Vagenas drove a low ball through a tangle of legs in the goalmouth. Zach Scott, running from the near post, let the ball run through his feet. It next evaded Tyson Wahl’s outstretched leg and Neagle, waiting at the far stick, put it home from 4 yards. Neagle had also scored in the February 11 win over Vancouver in Casa Grande, Ariz.
Both teams had chances in the dying minutes. Gylfi Einarsson headed a Brann corner over the bar in the 86th minute and Opdal’s lunge tapped Michael Fucito’s breakaway attempt wide left in the 89th.
Scoring Summary
SEA-Neagle (Vagenas) 84′
Seattle Sounders FC Lineup (4-4-2): Kasey Keller (Chris Eylander 46); James Riley (Zach Scott 67), Tyrone Marshall (Jeff Parke 62), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Taylor Graham 67, Jamel Wallace 75), Leo Gonzalez (Tyson Wahl 46); Sanna Nyassi (David Estrada 56), Osvaldo Alonso (Stephen King 67), Nathan Sturgis (Peter Vagenas 62), Steve Zakuani (Michael Fucito 46); Freddie Ljungberg (Lamar Neagle 72) , Fredy Montero (Tye Perdido 67).
SK Brann Lineup (4-4-2): Hakon Opdal; Birkir Sevarsson, Rodolph Austin, Yaw Amankwah, Bjarte Haugsdal; Erik Mjelde, Eirik Bakke (Gylfi Einarsson 53), Tijan Jaiteh, Jan Gunnar Solli; Erik Huseklepp, Diego Guastavino (David Nielsen 59)

Throw-ins: The team will do weight training in the morning, then depart for Madrid via bus at midday. The team is due to depart Madrid Saturday morning fly home to Seattle later that night…Brann’s Tijan Jaiteh and Seattle winger Sanna Nyassi are former teammates on the Gambian Youth National Team…Sounders FC central defender Taylor Graham saw his first game action since sustaining a strained left hamstring in Arizona. However, Graham apparently re-injured the hamstring shortly after coming on, and was forced to leave the match.
Postgame Quotes
Sigi Schmid, Sounders FC Head Coach
(on finishing the trip on a high note)
It’s good to get a win again today. We were not happy with our (training game) performance yesterday, so we’ve sort of been up and down with our performances. Rosenborg, the first game, was more fatigue, being here early and running into a very good team. Then we played a good game our second game out. Third (training) game out, we played an alright first half, should’ve scored some goals, and didn’t play a good second half. This game, we were not so good first half and had a much, much better second half. So they come away with a win against Brann. Obviously it makes the team feel better and we end the trip on a win.
(on the play of the defenders)
Defense was solid. Parke was good, I thought Zach Scott was good today as well. Tyson Wahl came in and played well today. Both the first and second group came in and did a good job. I thought we did a better job in the middle of the field, winning our duels. So that was important from a defensive standpoint, to keep our shape and make sure we win those duels.
(on Neagle scoring the deciding goal)
He’s like Houdini. Every time we get to the end of a camp–and maybe the camp hasn’t gone his way–but he finds a way to score, like he did against Vancouver, and he found a way to score today. I think we’re going to name him Houdini. He pulls out his bag of tricks right at the end there.
(on Taylor Graham)
He felt he could go. He went through a couple trainings, felt he was ready to go. We said let’s see how the game goes, let’s see how you warm up. He said, ‘Yeah, I can go.’ The first time he tried to turn, he could feel it a little bit again, so based on that we got him out early. It’s probably a setback for him, but not as far of a setback as the last time he did it.
(on the objectives reached during the trip)
We wanted to make some decisions on players. We wanted to get a good look at Jeff Parke and see where we thought he could fit in with us, and give him a chance to see how he fits in with the team. I think we accomplished that. We were able to see a couple trialists here as well. We got that accomplished. We were able to look at a couple other goalkeepers, which we wanted to do with Derby Carillo and Patrick Lane. So we got that accomplished. I think we identified that our movement off the ball has got to be a lot better. It’s good when you play this competition because they play with a lot of movement off the ball. It’s good for our guys to see that. They play with a lot of endeavor defensively, close spaces quicker than they do if, say, you were in Argentina. So from that standpoint it made us address the physical aspects of our game.
(on the next phase for players’ game fitness)
The next plateau, as we come back, we are going to start pushing guys to 75 minutes. Guys should be, in the early part of March, being pushed to 75-90 minutes to get ready for the first game.
(on the reserves’ redemption follow Wednesday’s training game loss)
It was a chance for them to put in another performance. If you’re a player and you’ve got pride, you want to make up for it. A lot of those guys wanted to do that today.
Lamar Neagle, Sounders FC midfielder
(on the goal)
We have our places to go on corner kicks, and I ended up with back post that time. It came right through a bunch of people and finally dribbled to me. It’s good we got the win. It’s good for our confidence. Hopefully we can keep it rolling from here.
Peter Vagenas, Sounders FC midfielder
(on completing the trip)
It’s always great to win, but at the same time these trips are so much more than that. It’s important, first and foremost, that guys stay healthy. We did a lot of work. Our bodies are absorbing a lot from running and fitness and what not. The most important thing is to build up our fitness and I think we’ve done that for the most part. We got a few knocks here and there. Some guys have dealt with some injuries, a few knocks here and there, but for the most part we’ve stayed away from major injuries. It’s important to get back to Seattle healthy, thin out our practice schedule a bit and then we can work on the beauty part of the game.


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