SEATTLE — Substitute Roger Levesque scored twice off the bench to give Seattle a 4-2 victory over the visiting New York Red Bulls on Thursday night.
In front of a crowd of 46,065 at the newly renamed CenturyLink Field, the Seattle fan favorite earned the victory for Seattle after New York climbed back from an early 2-0 deficit to briefly tie the score.
For Seattle, Erik Friberg and Osvaldo Alonso scored on the aftermath of corner kicks early on, staking Seattle to a 2-0 lead after just 12 minutes.
New York got their goals from Dane Richards and a Zach Scott own-goal, with the latter tying the score in the 58th minute. Enter Levesque, who scored the fourth and fifth goals of his MLS career.
For Hans Backe’s team, set piece defense continued to be an issue. With Tim Ream and Rafa Márquez away on Gold Cup duty, the Red Bulls manager once again went with the makeshift pairing of Carlos Mendes and Stephen Keel in central defense. With Greg Sutton in goal, two missed clearances led to calamity for the visitors.
On the first goal, Friberg collected a ball outside the penalty area, cut back to get rid of a defender, and neatly curled it in the far post for the unassisted goal.
Less than two minutes later, Alonso scored a similar goal from the opposite side, as the Cuban midfielder volleyed a short clearance that appeared to deflect off a foot and into the net for his second goal of the season.
Seattle enjoyed the early advantage, which seemed even more imposing with Thierry Henry ineligible for the visitors while serving a red card suspension.
However, Richards handed his team a lifeline in the 31st minute, driving a shot towards goal that Kasey Keller got a hand to but couldn’t keep out of the net, cutting the Red Bulls deficit to 2-1. The goal gave New York a boost of confidence heading into halftime.
It didn’t take long for the Red Bulls to level matters in the second half. Right back Jan Gunnar Solli marauded down the right side of the field and fired in a low cross that deflected off Scott and into the net.
With the large crowd providing an excellent atmosphere, both teams threatened to take the lead. In the end it was Seattle who seized the victory.
Once again, it was poor defending off a set piece that made the difference. Levesque, who came on in the 58th minute, flashed near post on a corner kick and knocked a glancing header back over his shoulder and inside Sutton’s far post.
Although that tally proved to be the winning goal, a big mistake from Sutton and some smart pressure from Levesque would ensure three points for Seattle. In the 78th minute, the New York goalkeeper misplayed a simple back pass, allowing Levesque to steal the ball and score on an empty net to seal the victory.
Seattle will attempt to close out an undefeated June with a home match against the New England Revolution at home on Sunday afternoon.
The Red Bulls will only have to wait three days to move past this forgettable game, as they play away at Chicago that same day on an ESPN televised match.
SEA -- Erik Friberg 1 (unassisted) 11
SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso 2 (unassisted) 12
NY -- Dane Richards 3 (Joel Lindpere 3) 31
NY -- own goal (Zach Scott) 58
SEA -- Roger Levesque 1 (Leo Gonzalez 1) 67
SEA -- Roger Levesque 2 (unassisted) 78
NY -- Teemu Tainio (caution; Reckless Foul) 28
NY -- Austin Da Luz (caution; Reckless Tackle) 50
SEA -- James Riley (caution; Reckless Foul) 52
SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso (caution; Reckless Tackle) 60
SEA -- Leo Gonzalez (caution; Delaying a Restart) 90
NY -- Dwayne De Rosario (caution; Reckless Tackle) 93+
New York Red Bulls -- Greg Sutton, Jan Gunnar Solli, Carlos Mendes, Stephen Keel, Roy Miller, Mehdi Ballouchy, Teemu Tainio (Corey Hertzog 89), Joel Lindpere, Austin Da Luz (John Rooney 79), Dane Richards, Dwayne De Rosario.
Substitutes Not Used: Sacir Hot, Mike Jones, Matt Kassel, Tyler Lassiter, Bouna Coundoul.
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Alvaro Fernandez (Servando Carrasco 72), Fredy Montero (Nate Jaqua 81), Mike Fucito (Roger Levesque 58).
Substitutes Not Used: Patrick Ianni, Lamar Neagle, Tyson Wahl, Terry Boss.
Referee: Michael Kennedy
Referee's Assistants: Bill Dittmar; Paul Scott
4th Official: Mark Declouet
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 63 degrees