Ex-Pumas’ keeper Bryan Meredith makes first appearance for Sounders

Bryan Meredith’s goalkeeping was instrumental in helping the Kitsap Pumas win the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League championship this summer. Tuesday night, he made his debut with the Seattle Sounders. Meredith was in goal during the Sounders’ 2-1 Champions League loss to Monterrey. Defensive mistakes led to both goals. Here’s a story from Mike Allende of the Everett Herald.

By Mike Allende
Herald Writer
SEATTLE – Tuesday’s CONCACAF Champions League game wasn’t vitally important to the Seattle Sounders. But that doesn’t mean the 2-1 loss to Mexico’s Monterrey was any less disappointing.
A 61st-minute goal by Cesar Delgado past backup Sounders keeper Bryan Meredith put Monterrey up for good and the Rayados held on in front of 15,866 fans at CenturyLink Field.
Monterrey, the defending tournament champion, wins Group D with a 4-2 record and Seattle finishes second at 3-2-1. Both teams advance to the knockout stage to begin in March.
“It matters in terms of pairings because you look at most of the group winners, they’re going to be Mexican teams,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. “So the chances are we’re going to match up with a Mexican team, and that’s a little bit harder.”
Coming off of an emotional win Saturday in Kasey Keller’s final regular-season home match, the Sounders used a combination of reserves and starters against Monterrey, which needed at least a tie to advance out of the group stage. Among the reserves was Meredith, Seattle’s second-round pick of the 2011 SuperDraft before being cut in the preseason. Meredith went on to lead the Kitsap Pumas to the Premier Development League title (the same league the North Sound SeaWolves play in) and trained with the Sounders throughout the season. He was even in net when Seattle beat Kitsap in the U.S. Open Cup this year.
But Tuesday was the first game that Meredith actually played in for the Sounders, as Schmid gave Keller a rare night off. Meredith made one save and gave up two goals that Schmid described as “soft.”
“Meredith played well for a guy in his first game, a fairly big game,” Schmid said. “He was composed. He couldn’t have done much on either goal.”
Meredith found out Monday after practice that he would be starting. That didn’t leave much time to prepare, and when Monterrey went on the attack, he didn’t have much time, either.
In the third minute, the Seattle defense went for an offside trap but Dario Carreno beat it, collecting a well-placed pass from Humberto Suazo and easily beating Meredith 1-on-1 for an early 1-0 lead.
“You’re going to give up goals as a goal keeper,” Meredith said. “To get one out of the way that early, it’s tough obviously, but it kind of shook the nerves right out of me. After that, I felt fine.”
From that point, the teams played evenly, which could be expected from foes who have played four times in the last two years. Monterrey defeated Seattle twice in group stage play last season. But on Aug. 23 of this year, the Sounders shocked Monterrey 1-0 on the road, just the second time a MLS team won a match in Mexico.
“We know they’re a great team that plays well together,” Monterrey coach Victor Vucetich said. “The game was even and well disputed from beginning to end, just like the previous games.”
Seattle had its chances to score. Sammy Ochoa sent a header over the crossbar in the 10th minute and Fredy Montero shot high in the 33rd. Three minutes before halftime, Montero tied it. After being taken down just outside the goal box, Montero sent a free kick just inside the left post for a goal. It was the fourth-straight match he scored a goal in, his 11th goal in 11 games and his 18th goal of the season.
A tie would have been good enough for Seattle to claim the top spot in the group, but it wasn’t to be. Seattle failed to clear a Monterrey shot and instead sent the ball to a wide-open Delgado who had little trouble beating Meredith for the eventual game-winner.
“We put (Meredith) in bad spots,” defender Jeff Parke said. “None of it was his fault. We made two bad mistakes and it cost us the game.”
“You can’t give up soft goals because you’re not always going to be able to resurrect yourself and score goals at the end of the game and win.”
While the loss hurt, there were positives. No Seattle player was injured. Some key players got to rest. And now, with the U.S. Open Cup over and the Champions League on hold until March, the Sounders can concentrate on finishing the season strong Saturday at Chivas USA and then focus on winning their first MLS Cup.
“They know that now we can concentrate on one thing,” Schmid said. “But I’m not happy with the goals we gave up, and they heard that as well.”

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