SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Christian Tiffert’s first start for the Seattle Sounders didn’t go quite as well as his debut, but he did offer plenty of reasons to feel bullish about the future.
The Designated Player easily could have had two or three assists and was a major reason the Sounders were able to hang with the Supporters’ Shield-leading San Jose Earthquakes in what was eventually a 2-1 loss on Saturday.
WATCH: Tiffert sets up Ochoa bicycle kick
“It was a good feeling,” Tiffert told reporters after the game. “I’m fit and I think I had some good action and good crosses. I also think we could play better because we have many good players, good technical players. San Jose played better than Seattle, but maybe next game we can create more chances.”
The chances the Sounders did create were largely the product of Tiffert’s passing.
Twice, the German’s passes helped set up shots that Sammy Ochoa hit off the crossbar. The first came in the 32nd minute when Tiffert hit a header across the goalmouth that Ochoa bicycle-kicked off the woodwork. Ochoa hit the bar again in the 59th minute, after Jeff Parke sent a Tiffert corner kick back across the goalmouth.
That corner kick was forced by another Tiffert pass, this one setting up Andy Rose for an open header from about eight yards out that forced Jon Busch to make a diving save. Tiffert also nearly connected with Brad Evans with a 90th-minute pass. But Evans' shot from a tight angle went over the crossbar.
“He’s doing what we need him to do, which is help connect passes for us, help us keep possession and being able to attack as a unit,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said.
All of that should only get better as Tiffert trains more with the team. Due to the Sounders’ busy schedule, he has only logged about four practices with his new club.
“I can play better,” he said. “But I need to acclimate. I’m two weeks here. I have to learn the movements of my teammates and they have to learn from me. The result was not OK, but it was a good feeling for a first start.”