[MLS] In its La Manga Cup opener Thursday, Seattle started with most of its regulars but nevertheless ended up losing, 3-0, to Norwegian champion Rosenborg BK.
Two goals in the opening 18 minutes provided a comfortable lead and Seattle’s efforts to rally were hampered by liberal substitutions in the second half and a fierce storm that lashed the field with wind and rain.
After barely more than a minute, Rosenborg broke through with some quick passes and Morten Moldskred fired low inside the post from 15 yards. Rosenborg doubled its lead in the 18th minute after a scuffled clearance by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado; Per Ciljan Skjelbred got to the ball and hit a 25-yarder that took a deflection on its way the top corner.
In between those goals, Fredy Montero threatened the Rosenborg goal twice. Goalie Daniel Orlund saved his shot from distance, and Montero’s block of an Orlund clearance nearly wound up in the net.
Kasey Keller kept Seattle in the match by twice thwarting Rade Prica, whose touch and speed gave the Sounders trouble on several occasions. Keller stoned Prica from 12 yards out and stopped him again on a volley in the final seconds of the first half as rain began to fall.
Coach Sigi Schmid substituted liberally at halftime and had changed all of his starters by the 60th minute as conditions worsened in heavy rain and strong winds. Gerrard Aaren, whose delivery of dead balls and during the run of play carried much of Rosenborg’s attack, crossed from the left side and a weakly punched ball by Chris Eylander, who had replaced Keller, fell for Prica to bang into the net.
Roger Levesque, Freddie Ljunberg's replacement for the second half, threatened several times in the final minutes but Rosenborg preserved the shutout.
In addition to taking several trialists who were cut from the team at the end of last season to Spain, Schmid is auditioning Rayner Michael, a 21-year-old Brazilian midfielder. He played the second half.
In its next La Manga match on Sunday Seattle faces another Norwegian club, Stabak, which lost its opening-round game to FC Norsjaelland of Denmark, 1-0. The Sounders will then play one more match to determine their final placing in the eight-team competition before they return to the United States.
Feb. 18 in Murcia, Spain
Rosenborg BK 3, Seattle 0. Goals: Moldskred (Aaren) 2, Skjelbred 18, Prica 67.
Rosenborg BK -- Daniel Orlund, Mikael Lustig, Vadim Demidov, Kris Stadsgaard, Mikael Dorsin, Morten Moldskred, Gerrard Aaren, Per Ciljan Skjelbred, Anthony Annan, Steffen Iversen (Abdeu Traore 65), Rade Prica (Mushafa Bahinga 78).
Seattle -- Kasey Keller (Chris Eylander 46); James Riley (Zach Scott 60, Tyrone Marshall (Patrick Ianni 46), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Jamel Wallace 60), Tyson Wahl (Leo Gonzalez 60); Sanna Nyassi (David Estrada 46), Osvaldo Alonso (Stephen King 60), Peter Vagenas (Nathan Sturgis 46), Lamar Neagle (Rayner 46); Freddie Ljungberg (Roger Levesque 46), Fredy Montero (Tye Pardido 46).