Sounders Beat Charleston in Carolina Cup Opener

In their opening game of the 2014 Carolina Challenge Cup, the Sounders faced the hometown Charleston Battery in a match that can only be described as … blurry. Not exactly an HD live stream on preseason MLS matches. Oh, and then the stream went out entirely with 15 minutes to go.
Still the Sounders came away with a perfectly acceptable 2-1 victory against a Battery team in their first week of training. The winning score came on a Brad Evans penalty kick, awarded when homegrown forward Sean Okoli was brought down in the box in the 88th minute.
It was a homecoming of sorts for both Lamar Neagle, who spent parts of 2010 with the USL second division club, and still-fan-favorite Osvaldo Alonso, who was team MVP in his 2008 season there.
The Seattle starting lineup was nearly full strength, with a few subtractions: Brad Evans started the match at RB in place of a hobbled DeAndre Yedlin; Dylan Remick continued his strong preseason at LB, in place of Leo Gonzalez, who’s still recovering from a groin injury; and of course Clint Dempsey is still trapped in the hellish quagmire that is his interminable loan to Fulham.
Sounders starting 11:
GK: Marcus Hahnemann
DEF: Brad Evans, Jalil Anibaba, Chad Marshall, Dylan Remick;
MID: Marco Pappa, Andy Rose, Osvaldo Alonso,
FW: Lamar Neagle, Obafemi Martins, Kenny Cooper.
A few highlights and lowlights:
• Alonso hit a screaming long-distance goal to open the scoring in the first half.
• Set piece defense continues to be a bit of an issue, with the Battery quickly drawing even moments after Alonso’s goal.
• Marco Pappa looked great on the right side of the midfield. He was heavily involved, and crossed and passed well all game. Solid creative performance.
• Sounders trialist Michael Azira was on a loan of sorts, as the Ugandan midfielder got the start for the Battery. It’s looking increasingly likely that he’s a legit contender for a roster spot at the end of camp.
• Marcus Hahnemann sure likes to charge balls at the top of the box. It’s stressful. Gotta wonder if Stefan Frei will inch ahead in the competition to start.
Dustyn Richardson

About Dustyn Richardson

Managing editor and Houston Dynamo writer for Total-MLS. Fan of all Houston sports teams and Manchester United supporter. Still angry at Bud Selig for moving the Astros to the American League.