Messi Leads FC Barcelona to Friendly Win over Sounders FC
SEATTLE - Lionel Messi scored two first-half goals to lead FC Barcelona to a 4-0 win over the Seattle Sounders FC in a friendly match played before a record crowd of 66,848 on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field on Wednesday night.
The attendance was also the largest for a professional soccer match played in Seattle. The previous mark was 66,830 for a 2006 friendly between Real Madrid and D.C. United.
Jeffren Suarez and Pedro Rodriguez scored in the second half for Barcelona, which completes its U.S. tour against Mexico's CD Guadalajara on Saturday in San Francisco.
Messi, a 22-year-old Argentine midfielder, opened the scoring in the 21st minute of the match with a composed, curling 25-yard shot past Kasey Keller following a pass by Xavi Hernandez.
Xavi also assisted on Messi's second goal. Messi brought down the ball inside the 6-yard box and quickly poked it left-footed under Keller.
It was the second match for FC Barcelona in the 2009 U.S. Tour. It defeated the L.A. Galaxy 2-1 at the Rose Bowl last Saturday.
Freddie Ljungberg produced Seattle's best scoring chance in the first half. Barcelona keeper Jose Manuel Pinto's weak clearance was taken by Ljungberg but his 18-yard drive went wide left.
Defender Leo Gonzalez played his first match for the Sounders FC after signing July 2nd but missing training and league play with the Costa Rican National Team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Both Seattle and Barcelona substituted freely at halftime with only Sounders FC defender James Riley remaining on the pitch from the starting 22. He was replaced in the 61st minute.
A Rodriguez cross set up Jeffren Suarez at the far post in the 75th minute and Rodriguez converted a rebound from a Suarez shot past Seattle goalkeeper Terry Boss in the 89th.
Seattle resumes MLS play on Saturday night in Sandy, Utah against Real Salt Lake at 6:00 p.m. PT.
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