Winless in Seattle

Seattle Sounders 3-0 West Ham United
International Friendly, Tuesday 5 July 2016, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington, USA
West Ham United suffered defeat in their opening pre-season fixture, falling 3-0 to MLS side Seattle Sounders on Tuesday.

The Hammers were beaten courtesy of a 42nd-minute penalty won and converted by Sounders striker Herculez Gomez after Adrian had brought down the former United States international, and a quickfire second-half double from leading goalscorer Jordan Morris.

Less than a week into their preparations for an important 2016/17 campaign, Slaven Bilic used 21 players in the Pacific Northwest, handing debuts to the impressive Sofiane Feghouli, Havard Nordtveit and youngsters Antonio Martinez and Domingos Quina.

The hosts, who in contrast to their opponents are in the middle of their Western Conference season, proved predictably fit and determined – and those twin traits saw them through to a maiden victory over an English Premier League side.

For Slaven Bilic’s side, Stefan Frei was tested by low shots from Development Squad regulars, Lewis Page, Moses Makasi and Marcus Browne, while Adrian made a fine save to deny former Austria forward Andreas Ivanschitz midway through the opening period.
After making ten changes at the break, the Hammers produced a livelier second-half display and probably deserved to be level by the hour-mark, only to be hit by Morris’s double sucker-punch.

New boy Feghouli was particularly impressive, combining quickly and effectively with another summer signing in teenage Spanish striker Martinez.

The former Valencia pair linked up superbly on 53 minutes, only for Sounders’ substitutes Tyler Miller and Jimmy Ockford to block his accurate, well-struck shots.

Pedro Obiang was also a threat from set plays, seeing a header saved by Miller and another bounce agonisingly wide, while 16-year-old winger Domingos Quina had a low shot blocked in between as Bilic’s side upped the pressure.

However, all that improvement counted for nought as Morris took centre-stage when a left-wing free-kick from Zach Mathers was volleyed goalwards by Oalex Anderson. Raphael Spiegel blocked with his body, only for Morris to slide home the loose ball with 20 minutes remaining.

Ninety seconds later it was 3-0 as Morris latched onto Joevin Jones’ through ball and curled a neat finish high into the top right-hand corner, giving the Swiss goalkeeper no chance.

West Ham will continue their preparations for their opening UEFA Europa League fixture – a third-qualifying round tie on 28 July – in Seattle until the weekend, before flying across the country to take on NASL club Carolina RailHawks in Cary, North Carolina, next Tuesday evening.
Seattle Sounders: Frei (Miller 46), Fisher (Nelson 77), Scott © (Ockford 46), Alfaro, Remick (Jones 63), Roldan (Farfan 46), Sturgis (Friburg 76), Ivanschitz (Mansaray 63), Kovar (Mathers 63), Gomez (Morris 63), Anderson
Booked: Alfaro, Kovar
West Ham United: Adrian (Spiegel 46), Byram (Feghouli 46), Page, (Cresswell 46), Reid (Henry 46), Rice (Burke 46), Poyet (Nordtveit 46), Noble © (Obiang 46), Browne (Quina 46), Samuelsen (Lanzini 46), Makasi, Carroll (Martinez 46)
Booked: Browne, Henry
Referee: Chipalo Street

Attendance: 38,585