In Focus: Professional soccer comes to Bradenton

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all photos Casey Morell/Catalyst

During the month of February, Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Seattle Sounders spent part of their offseason away from the cold and damp conditions of the PAcific Northwest and instead trained at the IMGA Academies in Bradenton. The Catalyst had the opportunity to see the Sounders prepare for the upcoming MLS season in a friendly match against Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) soccer team on Feb. 19.

At times, it seemed like men against boys. Seattle controlled the ball so effectively against DGCU that virtually any inkling of a scoring attempt was quickly and swiftly stifled by the Sounders, who were taking shots on goal with bicycle kicks that had little chance of actually hitting the back of the net. The match, which was split into three, half-hour periods, started in a lively fashion, but once Seattle led 3-0 after just 28 minutes, it became less of a match for FGCU as much as it was an exercise in futility.

Florida native and U.S. national team forward Eddie Johnson, who recently signed for the Sounders from Fulham, a team in the English Premiere League, scored the opening goal after 11 minutes. The match ended with the Sounders winning 5-0.

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