The Seattle Sounders FC not only scored a rousing victory over Boca Juniors 3-0 to end their scoring slump.
They also showed team spirit in a meaningful way, with a positive gesture to honor a teammate, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, went on the injured reserve list last week. Fellow Colombian Fredy Montero delivered the gesture.
Montero generally wears No. 17. On this occasion, in deference to a fellow countryman and teammate with whom he is close friends, Montero switched to No. 34. Hurtado is highly popular with his teammates, and the move showed that he is foremost in their minds and hearts.
Coach Sigi Schmid following the gratifying win had one major thought in mind, that of regaining scoring capability:
"Obviously, it was nice to get goals. It's been a long time, and we didn't know what it felt like anymore. It was a great feeling, because our fans have been so supportive and so behind us. For us to reward them, I guess they all get free haircuts as a result of that, so that's a good thing. I thought at times we obviously played some good soccer. The effort of the guys was very good.”
How rewarding it is to see a player obtain his first goal on his initial shot. “It was great to see Michael Seamon get his first goal on his first shot,” Schmid enthused.
This was an evening when some newer Sounders faces got a chance to excel, one of the beauties of the kind of substitution freedom invoked in a friendly competition.
“It was good to see Roger Levesque get a goal, a good free kick from Fredy Montero. For the second goal, Pat Noonan did some good individual work to put that one away.”
Schmid also enthused that the “shots on goal” ratio was much better against Boca Juniors and that it was something his team had “been concentrating on.” He classified the spacing and passing as “good.”
So, now a fresh challenge beckons to exorcise another tormenting demon.
The team demonstrated an aptitude toward scoring goals against the South American visitors. As the Sounders travel to Colorado Rapids for a Saturday evening match, the challenge will be to secure the first win of the campaign against a Western Conference rival.
When first kick occurs at 6 p.m. Pacific time on Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, the Sounders will be presented with an opportunity to vault ahead of their hosts with a win.
The Colorado team enters play with 13 points and a record of 4-3-1. Seattle holds a mark of 3-4-3 with 12 points.
The Sounders know that as satisfying as the impressive friendly triumph over Boca Juniors was, it constitutes one win. To speak of momentum is to embody continuity, scoring back-to-back triumphs.
All Seattle needs to do is look back and recall the heady feeling of the 1-0 victory on the road against the New York Red Bulls, and contrast it with what happened one Saturday later on the Xbox pitch with the deflating 1-0 loss to San Jose.
Such is the challenge awaiting the Sounders Saturday in Colorado.