TUCSON, Ariz. – Marcus Hahnemann turned in a man-of-the-match performance in goal and midfielder Alex Caskey supplied the winner as the Seattle Sounders’ reserve unit beat Real Salt Lake 1-0 in the final of the Desert Diamond Cup on Saturday night.
Hahnemann was tested early and often by RSL’s first-choice lineup and made a handful of spectacular saves. In the 17th minute, the two-time World Cup veteran was forced to dive to his right to palm away Álvaro Saborío’s point-blank header.
In the 42nd minute, Hahnemann made back-to-back diving stop on shots by Sebastián Velásquez and Saborío. A minute later, the 40-year-old sprawled out again on a long drive by Kyle Beckerman. Then three minutes out of the break, he was tested again, pushing second-half sub Joao Plata’s chip just wide of the far post.
Caskey finally opened the scoring in the 51st minute, taking the ball into the box and cutting around RSL defender Chris Schuler before uncorking a left-footed shot steps from the goal line that gave Nick Rimando no chance.
With Seattle’s first-choice starting XI going 90 minutes in Friday’s scoreless draw with Mexican second-divison side Veracruz, Sigi Schmid went with a reserve lineup on Saturday that was nearly identical to the one he started on Wednesday against New York.
Jason Kreis went with his presumptive opening-day lineup, with Velásquez manning the point of the midfield diamond while Luis Gil is off at U-20 World Cup qualifying.
Seattle open the MLS regular season on March 2 at home against Montreal (8:30 pm ET, watch live online), then head to Mexico four days later to take on Tigres UANL in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals (10 pm ET, Fox Soccer). Real Salt Lake open at San Jose on March 3 (10 pm ET, watch live online).
Goals: 51' Caskey (SEA)
Cautions: 65' Fairclough (SEA)
Seattle: Hahnemann; Remick, Zavaleta, Fairclough, Burch; Caskey (86' Rex), Rose, Carrasco, Neagle (90' Durr); Ochoa (66' Bowen), Estrada (66' Lund)
Real Salt Lake: Rimando; Mansally, Schuler, Watson-Siriboe, Beltran; Grabavoy, Beckerman, Velásquez (45' Stertzer), Stephenson (68' Viana); Findley (45' Plata), Saborío
New England Revolution 2, New York Red Bulls 0
Defensive mistakes continued to plague the New York Red Bulls, and the New England Revolution were more than happy to take advantage, riding two first-half goals to a 2-0 victory in the third-place match earlier Saturday.
Just three minutes in, Red Bulls center back Jámison Olave dragged down New England’s Lee Nguyen in the box, and the referee whistled to the spot. Nguyen took the ensuing spot kick himself, drilling it to the right corner and giving New York goalkeeper Luis Robles no chance.
The Revolution capitalized on lax defending again in the 36th minute off a bizarre sequence. Juan Toja’s free kick rebounded into the New York penalty area, and Robles was forced to come off his line to keep the ball away from an on-rushing Nguyen.
But the ball squirted out to Revs forward Jerry Bengtson on the right side of the area, who put one shot on goal that Robles saved and then got a second opportunity off the rebound that he put off the far post and in.
New York had the better of offensive opportunities for the entire match, but couldn’t find their finishing touch. The Red Bulls were thwarted by the post twice, once in the 11th minute when Thierry Henry found himself alone on goal, then again in the 77th minute when Rubén Izquierdo put Tim Cahill’s header off the woodwork.
New England now head home to look forward to a bye during opening weekend. New York, winless in four matches here in Tucson, open at Portland on March 3 (7:30 pm, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes).
Goals: 4' Nguyen - PK (NE), 36' Bengtson (NE)
Cautions: 17' Espíndola (NY), 45' Miller (NY), 45' Toja (NE), 64' Cahill (NY), 81' Caldwell (NE)
New England: Reis; Soares, Gonçalves, McCarthy (45' Duckett), Polak; K. Cissé (69' Simms), Rowe (74' Dorman), Nguyen (80' Caldwell), Toja (57' D. Smith); Fagundez (83' Barrett), Bengtson (83' Guy)
New York: Robles; Kimura, Olave, Digão, Miller; Izquierdo (83' Christianson), Juninho, Alexander (74' McCarty), Cahill; Espíndola, Henry