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Seattle Sounders off to a winning start

mls_logo4Tonight the Seattle Sounders are on top of the Western Conference in Major League Soccer after a convincing 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls.

Playing before a raucous home crowd, Seattle got two goals and an assist from Colombian Fredy Montero as they kicked off their inaugural game in MLS in style.

“There’s probably not a better atmosphere for soccer in America and I’m so proud to be a part of that,” Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller said.

Barely 10 minutes into their existence, Montero scored, then assisted on Brad Evans’ spinning left-footed goal in the 25th minute that went through the legs of New York goalkeeper Danny Cepero. Montero scored late in the second half on a breakaway and the 32,523 fans that turned Qwest Field into a sea neon green excitement went away impressed and satisfied with Seattle’s first result.

“The atmosphere was tremendous. I think we need to open up some more seats for next week to get more people in here,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. “It was everything you dream of. We talked about it before the game, ‘What an incredible feeling it’s going to be to walk in here at the end of the game with the first win in Sounders history.’ And they all had that feeling.”

While Montero ran free all night, the Red Bulls (0-1-0) looked nothing like the team that made an incredible run through last year’s playoffs and reached the MLS Cup before losing to Columbus.

“It feels almost like a hangover from the final,” Cepero said. “Unfortunately we didn’t play the soccer we know we’re capable of.”

Only twice – both in the second half – did New York find itself with reasonable scoring opportunities, only to be turned away each time by Keller. Red Bulls midfielder Macoumba Kandji got behind Seattle’s defense and into the penalty box, but Keller blocked away a point-blank opportunity. Moments later, Jorge Rojas’ left-footed volley from 25 yards was punched over the crossbar. Red Bulls’ scoring star Juan Pablo Angel got only three shots and none on net.

“Today was not a good performance by anyone,” Angel said. “Of course, there’s a lot of new players in here, but we believe and we hope the changes we made are going to be for the good of the team.”