The Soccer Desk

Defoe’s Brace Makes History in Thriller Against Seattle

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If possession won football matches, then the Seattle Sounders would have dominated this match. But possession doesn’t count for much these days and instead, Toronto FC made history, winning their first season opener since the team’s inception.  It also comes as no surprise that it was England international Jermain Defoe, who in his first match as a Red, scored a brace on the day, leading the new look TFC to their first win of the season.

First Half:

As mentioned above, Seattle did everything right coming out of the gate, controlling the possession game early on. In fact, it was rather lopsided, with Seattle having 63% of possession for the first half. There was smart passing as well as some fancy, tricky stuff from the likes of Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Marco Papa.  Unfortunately, a couple of rather large mistakes ended up hurting the Sounders, including the loss of Brad Evans early on due to a knock he picked up to his leg.

TFC’s first goal would come off a brilliant counter-attack, with Jonathan Osorio sending newcomer Defoe a perfectly placed through ball.  The veteran striker proceeded to one time the ball with a great low shot past former Red Stefan Frei, for both his first ever MLS goal, and the first for this promising TFC season.

His second goal would be just as pretty. After a horrible back pass from Clint Dempsey, who failed to look up and see just where he was passing the ball, Defoe would pick it up, sprinting towards the box.  From right outside, the former Spurs man would wind up and rocket his shot past Frei for the second time in the match, just seven minutes removed from his first.   Despite a rush at Julio Cesar’s goal during the dying moments of the first half, Toronto would take Defoe’s brace into the half.

Second Half:

Seattle opened up the final 45 much the same way they did for the first, though this time with a lot more urgency.  Cesar, another massive pickup for TFC during their offseason, was forced to work.  Rush after rush from Seattle still did not produce a goal though, and Siegi Schmid was forced to make some changes.  In the 64th minute, Seattle brought on Kenny Cooper for Marco Pappa, and whether that was what flipped the switch for Seattle, we’ll never know, but a goal came shortly after.

With Martins making a superb run down the right flank, Clint Dempsey was wide open in the center.  With the pass into the box, Deuce took a touch on the ball, then blasted it past Cesar for a late, 68th minute goal.  Unfortunately for the Sounders, who seemed to actually control most of this match, Toronto would hold on for not only their first even season opening win, but just their second victory over the Sounders in team history.

Match Notes:

When you play as both friends and teammates for so long, sometimes you just want to let loose and take the gloves off.  That’s exactly what Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey did today when they played against each other.  In fact, they quite literally beat the crap out of each other, with Deuce and Bradley each getting a fair amount of fouls in against each other.  Obviously it’s a friendly rivalry, but watching it, it didn’t always seem that way.

On the subject of the prodigal son, Bradley was quite effective in the midfield for the Reds.  While it took the US international some time to settle down, once he finally did, he was key in both defense and offense.  While he wasn’t involved with either of Defoe’s goals, he was still a force.

Seattle having to pull Brad Evans in the first half isn’t so much a blow to the Sounders as it is for the USMNT.  The probable starter at right back for the US, depending on how severe his injury is, his loss could theoretically be someone else’s gain…like Sheanon Williams.  TSD will keep you updated in Evan’s injury status.

Next Match:

Seattle goes on the road for the first time this season as they travel cross country to take on the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo.  This one will be televised nationally via Univision Deportes at 4:00 p.m. ET.  Meanwhile, Toronto FC opens up BMO Field when they host struggling DC United.  This one can be seen on TSN at 4:30 pm. ET