Feb 14, 2013, 8:14 AM EDT
TUCSON, Ariz. – Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans scored in their first preseason appearances with Seattle as the Sounders ran the show against New England in the desert.
Both teams field something that looked like their first-choice lineups in the opener of the Desert Diamond Cup.
Here is some of what we learned:
- Johnson scored a peach of a goal, working his way free on the left side, cruising into the penalty area and curling a ball into the upper corner. In all honesty, the collecting defending wasn’t very sharp, and an MLS starting forward – not to mention a U.S. international – needs to hit that shot when provided so much room. Still, it was pretty.
- New England midfielder Juan Toja was on the field for about 20 minutes, his first appearance on the preseason, having been slowed by injury. That’s the thing with Toja: it’s not a matter of talent, it’s a matter of keeping healthy enough to bit familiarity and fitness. Plus the issue of keeping a high salary when the New England midfield is fairly well stocked. So, we’ll see.
- These preseason games get overly combative more often than you would think. It is, after all, only preseason. Osvaldo Alonso’s bad tackle on New England left back Chris Tierney summoned up the first little push-and-shove fest. Later, Sainey Nyassi slid dangerously into March Burch, eliciting a little retaliatory slap from the Sounders defender. Both players were ejected.
- Hopefully the ankle injury to Tierney isn’t significant. He was playing quite well, making Mauro Rosales really work and providing a good push from his left back spot. New England officials say Tierney has had an excellent preseason so far.
- Best player in Revolution camp? Scott Caldwell is making a heck of a case. The 21-year-old Revolution academy product was slightly more defensive in the midfield set-up Wednesday, but is naturally a two-way central midfielder.
- Unlike Evans and Johnson, who came back sharp from their periods of international training and matches, Jerry Bengtson wasn’t much of a factor. The Revs striker (and Honduran international) needs to score for Jay Heaps’ team to make progress this year.
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The World Cup praise has been flowing for Klinsmann in international circles, though American analysts like Alexi Lalas, Eric Wynalda and others have condemned the manager’s approach as too cautious.
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Neymar’s health could be the key to whether Barcelona can weather the Luis Suarez suspension in pursuit of La Liga’s title.
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The Red Devils’ owners are making more of the club public following the death of patriarch Malcolm, and the club could lose adidas money if on-field success doesn’t return.
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Thierry Henry’s second half equalizer takes earns a point at Rio Tinto.
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