The Seattle Sounders celebrate a goal on Saturday.
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Lacking Zakuani, Seattle's lineup tweak successful

SEATTLE — Sounders left back Tyson Wahl hadn’t played too many MLS matches in which he was able to get as far forward as he did in Saturday's 3-0 defeat of Toronto FC at Qwest Field.

In Seattle’s narrow “diamond” midfield used against Toronto FC, Wahl had the opportunity to advance up the flanks from his left back position. In the first match after Steve Zakuani’s injury, Wahl combined with Alvaro Fernandez to provide a much-needed offensive threat on the left side.

“Without Steve, you have to get more offense from the outside backs,” Wahl said. “Flaco [Fernández] likes to tuck in a little bit more, come inside. That leaves that flank a little more open. I was instructed to go forward and I did.”

WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Seattle 3, Toronto FC 0

On the opposite side, the story was similar. Though right back James Riley didn’t take as advanced a position as Wahl, Brad Evans took the lion’s share of offensive opportunities. Evans, who also scored a penalty kick goal, notched a goal and an assist from the right channel during the run of play.

“It was a good plan for [head coach Sigi Schmid] to play him outside,” Fredy Montero said of Evans. “That opened more space and with that he scored the goals and managed to get an assist as well.”

With Zakuani and O'Brian White out of the lineup, Schmid opted to play a rejigged midfield formation with outside midfielders Evans and Fernández tucking into the middle. That formation, coupled with the excellent possession Seattle enjoyed, allowed Wahl several chances to break forward.

Schmid said the game plan was to cause turnovers by catching TFC’s center backs in possession.

“I think our energy right from the get-go put them on their heels,” said Roger Levesque. “Putting pressure on and baiting them in, and then when we went, everybody went. It wasn’t just one player, it was the whole team, starting in the back and going through the midfield and the forwards were working hard."

With the help of the formation tweak, Seattle were able to win the midfield against Toronto. Levesque said the team chemistry was as good as it’s ever been, with players moving as a unit throughout the entire match. Osvaldo Alonso and Erik Friberg provided great energy in the middle of the field as Seattle forced Toronto into a great number of turnovers.

Until the late stages of the match, Toronto was unable to generate sustained offensive pressure. Wahl credits the performance—Seattle’s second consecutive shutout—to a solid team effort.

“I think we just had great chemistry tonight,” Wahl said.


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