SEATTLE (AP) — Davy Arnaud caught Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning off his line and scored in the 35th minute, and the Montreal Impact opened the 2013 MLS season with a surprising 1-0 win over the Sounders on Saturday night.
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 an equalizing 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 the goal.
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.
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.
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.
The lack of chances for Seattle also highlighted one of its major concerns entering the season in giving help to Johnson. 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.