Before facing another busy run of games, Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid said he would reach deep into his roster and find players that would rise to the occasion.
Midfielder Andy Rose did so notably Thursday, figuring in all of Seattle’s goals as the Sounders opened CONCACAF Champions League play with a 3-1 win over Caledonia AIA of Trinidad at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
“It feels great,” Rose said of his first CCL match. “We came out a little slow, but when Sammy (Ochoa) scored that first one I thought we were really good. We kept the ball well in the opponent’s half, which is what we really want to be doing.”
The match was the first of three over a seven-day stretch. The Sounders will return to MLS play Sunday, when Los Angeles visits Seattle. Then they will play for the U.S. Open Cup championship Wednesday at Kansas City.
With that schedule looming, Seattle went with a mix-and-match lineup, including Andrew Weber in goal, Ochoa at forward, Brad Evans as an outside defender, and Cordell Cato and Rose at midfield.
Schmid said he was pleased with what they provided.
“It was obviously good to see Sammy Ochoa score,” he said. “ ... I think (Cato’s) speed gave them some problems, and he was heavily involved with our second goal with the ball that he laid through to Andy Rose. So, obviously different people got to step up.”
Seattle broke to a 3-0 lead and then cruised to an opening win in the four-game CCL group stage.
Ochoa provided the first goal in the 19th minute, assisted by Rose and Caskey.
Fredy Montero increased it to 2-0 in the 30th minute, assisted by Rose and Cato.
Then Rose, who has started eight MLS matches, made it 3-0 in the 43rd minute, beating Ochoa to the rebound of a Montero shot blocked but not controlled by goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel.
“I thought the combination play was really good between Fredy and Sammy coming in,” Rose said. “I thought it felt good to get the ball moving and maintaining possession in that half.”
Caledonia’s goal came in the 50th minute, with Kareem Joseph converting a penalty kick after Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was called for a foul in the box.
“In the first half, we didn’t play well as a team and we paid the price for that,” Caledonia coach Jerry Moe said. “... We are a little bit sluggish. Hopefully, by the next game we’ll be a little more prepared.”
The crowd of 7,767 was the smallest for an in-season Sounders FC match at CenturyLink Field.
“We accomplished what we wanted to achieve, which was to win the game,” Schmid said. “… Didn’t get any injuries, so that was good. ... A little bit of it was ‘Let’s get the win, let’s manage the game, let’s not kill ourselves.’”
The Sounders resume CCL play Aug. 30 at Caledonia of Trinidad.firstname.lastname@example.org 253-597-8808 blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt