Desert Diamond Cup: Sounders into final after win vs. RSL
New year, same end result. The Sounders ousted RSL in last year's playoffs and they didn't let up in Matchday 2 of the Desert Diamond Cup on Saturday:
SEATTLE SOUNDERS 2, REAL SALT LAKE 1 (WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY HERE)
The Seattle Sounders moved into the final of the 2013 Desert Diamond Cup with one group match to play after downing Real Salt Lake 2-1 at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz.
Highlights: Sounders vs. RSL
As he did during the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs, Honduran midfilder Mario Martinez broke the deadlock for Seattle in the second half with a left-footed side volley that found the inside of the right post.
The Sounders doubled their lead in the 71st minute through Seattle trialist Philip Lund. The Dane streaked into the box to pounce on a rebound given up by RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando following a shot by Seattle's Osvaldo Alonso.
Seattle nearly made it 3-0 just two minutes later when Babayele Sodade just missed connecting on a cross by Alex Caskey from the left side.
With three minutes remaining, RSL got the consolation goal from first-round draft pick John Stertzer, when the ball took a favorable deflection following a shot by teammate Khari Stephenson. Stertzer collected it just inside the box and coolly finished.
Stertzer then nearly equalized one minute from time with a shot that missed the mark and Seattle would hold on for its second straight win in the tournament and a spot in the title match on Feb. 23.
The Sounders face New York on Feb. 20 in the group stage finale, while Real Salt Lake take on the New England Revolution.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION 3, NEW YORK RED BULLS 1 (WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY HERE)
The New England Revolution scored three unanswered goals in the second half to overturn a 1-0 halftime deficit and down the New York Red Bulls 3-1 on Saturday night.
Highlights: Revs vs. Red Bulls
After generating three early chances, including two that saw NY goalkeeper Luis Robles thwart Revs forward Jerry Bengtson, it was instead the Red Bulls who went up 1-0 in the 10th minute. Thierry Henry allowed the ball to run through his legs and into the path of Juninho Pernambucano, who blasted the ball in stride from the top of the box, giving no chance to the Revs goalkeeper.
Juninho nearly had another well-placed shot finish on goal in the 26th minute, but that would not discourage the Revs, who battled back after the break.
A hand ball by NYRB defender Jamison Olave on a Donnie Smith shot led to a Revs penalty kick, converted by Lee Nguyen for the momentary equalizer in the 52nd minute.
Six minutes later, Smith was again the catalyst with a looping ball into the box that Bengtson headed to the far post and over the NY goalkeeper for a 2-1 lead.
The Revs capped a strong performance on the counterattack with Juan Toja releasing Australian trialist Marko Jesic, who fired home with two minutes remaining.
1. Seattle Sounders, 6pts (2GP)
2. New England Revolution, 3pts (2GP)
3. Real Salt Lake, 1pt (2GP)
4. NY Red Bulls, 1pt (2GP)