SEATTLE - Seattle Sounders opened the Major League Soccer season in style with a 3-0 thumping of the New York Red Bulls to a sell-out crowd on Thursday night - casting aside the off-season saga of David Beckham's future. The newest team in MLS, Seattle have sold over 20,000 season tickets and in a passionate stadium in front of 32,000 fans there was little thought of L.A Galaxy's Beckham, who will miss the first part of the season while he stays with AC Milan in Italy. There was a full-blooded atmosphere at Qwest Field as the 'Rave Greens' began their first campaign in the U.S's top league playing at a fast pace against a New York side that looked far from certain in defence. Colombian international Fredy Montero opened the scoring in the 11th minute, finishing off a fine passing move with a confident 15 yard strike. The impressive Montero then set up Brad Evans for Seattle's second in the 25th minute as the home side threatened to run amok. The only surprise was that it took until the 75th minute for the Sounders to add their third when Red Bulls defender Mike Petke was woefully caught in possession and Montero dribbled goalwards before blasting home. "There was so much expectation but we had to perform and we had to do that -- it's great that we could it," said Sounders keeper Kasey Keller back in the U.S after a career in England, Spain and Germany. Qwest Field is home to the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and the venue was re-arranged for it's MLS debut with the upper tier closed off and covered with flags and decorations. The result was a sell-out in the 32,000 lower tier and MLS commissioner Don Garber was delighted with the first appearance of the league's newest franchise. "It shows what soccer can be in this country, this is absolutely spectacular and defines what we want to see in Major League Soccer," he told ESPN television. The Sounders featured in the old North American Soccer League (NASL) and then the United Soccer Leagues (USL) before winning an expansion slot in the MLS. Portland is expected to be named as the newest expansion team on Friday.
20 March 2009
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