Impact 1, Sounders 0

It took a perfect goal from Davy Arnaud to give Montreal a

surprising season-opening win and provide Seattle a shock that its

nearly perfect preseason meant nothing.

Arnaud caught Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning off his line

and scored in the 35th minute, and the Impact opened the 2013 MLS

season with an unexpected 1-0 win over the Sounders on Saturday

night.

”Scoring goals on the road is tough, and especially against

them,” Arnaud said. ”They score a lot of goals here at home. This

year during preseason, we were pretty solid defensively. If we can

continue to score one goal and get points out of games on the road,

we’re going to be OK.”

Arnaud and midfielder Felipe connected on a quick counter attack

late in the first half after Seattle controlled much of the play.

Montreal then withstood the Sounders push for a tying goal in the

second half to hand Seattle its second loss in a home opener in the

five seasons of the franchise.

Arnaud, who scored the first goal in Montreal’s history a season

ago, got behind Seattle’s defense and collected the perfectly

measured pass from Felipe. Arnaud then chipped the shot with the

outside of his right foot over Gspurning, who had wondered too far

away from his net.

”He made a perfect goal I have to admit,” Gspurning said. ”He

touches one-time over my 6-foot-6 (frame), that’s brilliant.”

The result was surprising considering each team’s perceived

standing heading into the season. Seattle is expected to be among

the league’s elite while Montreal is viewed as a still developing

franchise. Seattle doesn’t have much time to worry about the loss

as they face Mexican power Tigres in the first leg of the CONCACAF

Champions League quarterfinals next Wednesday with the return leg

on March 12 in Seattle. The Sounders do not play another league

match until March 16 against rival Portland.

”Anytime you get slapped in the face like this in a game

hopefully you rise from that,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said.

”Hopefully you become a little more determined, motivated, a

little more focused and that is something we certainly have to be

in the Champions League and something we have to be in our next

league game.”

Montreal will play at Portland next Saturday night.

Seattle will lament its missed chances to at least gain a point,

no one more than Eddie Johnson. In the 81st minute, Johnson had a

point-blank attempt in front of Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins,

but his left-footed shot went high, rattled off the crossbar and

ricocheted away from trouble. Johnson had taken a deft pass from

Alex Caskey to get the opportunity, but couldn’t convert Seattle’s

best scoring chance of the game.

About 15 minutes earlier, Seattle had another chance turned away

by the frame of the goal when Brad Evans’ shot from 20 yards out

beat Perkins but rattled off the post. Moments before Evans was

denied, Arnaud missed a chance to give the Impact a 2-0 lead when

his header off a cross from Sanna Nyassi was tipped just enough by

Gspurning to deflect off the crossbar.

”The first one off the post, I did get a touch to it, and got

pretty lucky with it not coming straight back off my leg off the

post,” Perkins said. ”The other one where Eddie hits it off the

crossbar, I think it’s just a reaction from him to put his foot in,

and he gets a little bit unlucky.”

Seattle played without defensive midfield star Osvaldo Alonso

and defender Marc Burch, both serving suspensions that carried over

from the end of last season. Andy Rose took the place of Alonso

while 19-year-old rookie DeAndre Yedlin got the start along the

defensive backline with starter Adam Johansson out with a knee

sprain. Schmid also said that forward David Estrada had an ankle

injury and midfielder Lamar Neagle was unavailable as part of the

agreement reached when he was traded from Montreal to Seattle

during the preseason.

The lack of chances for Seattle also highlighted one of its

major concerns in giving Johnson help up front. The Sounders

reached a buyout with designated player Christian Tiffert on

Saturday, opening up a spot should Seattle be able to complete its

pursuit of Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins, who is currently

playing for Levante in Spain.