Photo courtesy Charais Wilson / Sounders FC Communications
TUKWILA, Wash. – Arizona United SC struck twice in the first half as it handed Seattle Sounders FC 2 its second consecutive defeat to start the season with a 2-0 victory at Starfire Stadium on Wednesday night. Chris Cortez had a goal and assist to lead Arizona, which bounced back to earn its first win of the season.
Arizona (1-1-0, 3pts) had the first big chance to take the lead in the seventh minute when Chris Cortez’s header off a cross from the right came back off the left post, and S2’s defense was able to clear. Former S2 player Sam Garza then almost grabbed the opener for United as he seized upon some slack play at the back, but Seattle goalkeeper Charlie Lyon came quickly off his line to deny the one-on-one chance.
Moments later, Arizona would have its breakthrough. Cortez picked up possession on the left, and sent a deep cross that found Gibson Bardsley at the back post, and the veteran USL forward headed back across into the left corner of the net in the 15th minute.
Arizona doubled its lead in the 24th minute when a fine through-ball by Blair Gavin found Cortez as he slipped into the left channel, and Cortez rifled a precise shot into the right corner of the net.
Tony Alfaro almost pulled a goal back for S2 (0-2-0, 0pts) from a free kick five minutes later as a good delivery from the right by Darwin Jones floated into the center of the penalty area, but Alfaro’s finish went over the crossbar.
S2 threatened again early in the second half as Emir Alihodzic found a chance to shoot from 20 yards, but his effort flashed just over the crossbar. The hosts continued to have the better of possession as the half went on, but S2 was unable to threaten Arizona’s goal seriously as the visitors defended well, while United goalkeeper Carl Woszcynski dealt with any crosses that came his way to record his first shutout of the season.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Chris Cortez, Arizona United SC – Cortez not only had a goal and assist, but also provided strong hold-up play throughout the contest. His cross for Gibson Bardsley’s opener was an outstanding effort, as was his finish to put Arizona up 2-0, a lead United wouldn’t relinquish.