U.S. men’s national team striker Eddie Johnson was the catalyst behind both of his team’s first-half goals, taking the foul that led to the first and making his own space to knock in the second himself. Combined with a stout defensive effort, the Seattle Sounders defeated the New England Revolution 2-0 at the opening match of the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson.
The first goal came off a penalty kick tapped in by midfielder Brad Evans in the 27th minute, earned due to a hand ball by one of the Revolution players standing in the wall for a Mauro Rosales free kick. But Rosales only lined up for the kick because José Gonçalves pulled down Johnson as he darted in on goal.
The striker finally got his own tally just before the halftime whistle. Getting the ball on the right side of the pitch in stoppage time, Johnson worked his way into the center and uncorked a left-footed blast that New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth had no way of stopping.
One surprise for the Sounders was the arrival of Mikael Silvestre, who was a big reason for Seattle’s defeat against the Portland Timbers when he suited up for their Cascadia Cup rival on a trial contract through last week. But while the Timbers returned to Portland, Silvestre remained in Arizona and signed on with a different Pacific Northwest squad. Substitute Sounders goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann was a bit busy with a second-half scurry of attempts by the Revolution, but the defense anchored by the former French international held for the clean sheet.
Seattle faces Real Salt Lake on Saturday on the second match day of the round-robin tournament. The Revolution face the New York Red Bulls in the following match at Kino Sports Complex. Play in the Desert Diamond Cup continues through Feb. 23 in Tucson.