Celtic wins over short-handed Seattle, 2-1

Celtic F.C. continued their American tour Sunday, winning their first match of the trip with a 2-1 victory over Seattle in front of nearly 46,000 fans at Qwest Field.

The Sounders played much of the match with a 10-man squad, but still appeared to be the more dominant side for much of the match as both Celtic goals came against the run of play.

A puzzling officiating decision a half hour into the match resulted in the sending off Seattle keeper Terry Boss, who was starting in place of the injured Kasey Keller. Celtic forward Georgios Samaras was freed up for a run down the middle of the field, and as Boss came out to defend in the box, he couldn’t reach the ball and brought down Samaras, who still managed to get his shot in net. The official did not allow the goal, instead deciding on a penalty kick and handing out a red card to Boss. Samaras slotted the ball away on the left side as new netminder Jordan Jennings to put Celtic F.C. up 1-0 in the 32nd minute.

Given that this is only the third match that Celtic has played since the conclusion of last season, they would have almost certainly preferred to play a full squad, and Seattle would’ve obviously liked to have seen a bit more of a keeper they seldom use.

Outside of that, however, the Sounders were still dangerous for the much of the first 45 minutes thanks to the outstanding play of new signing Blaise Nkufo. The Swiss international fed Miguel Montaño in the second minute of the match, for a shot that was just inches wide right. Eight minutes later, a great play by Celtic defender Jos Hooiveld prevented what would have been an easy header for Nkufo, and in the 25th minute, Nkufo knocked down a ball to set up a Freddy Montero shot in the penalty area that sailed high.

Celtic doubled their lead in the 64th minute by scoring another goal against the run of play. Milan Misun started a counterattack with a great run up the left flank, laying it off to Paddy McCourt in the penalty area, who calmly scored from 17 yards.

Two minutes later, second half sub David Estrada unleashed a great shot from above the right corner of the 18-yard box to cut the lead back to one, but despite a number late chances, the short-handed Sounders couldn’t even the match.

Celtic F.C. will now head to Boston for a historic match against Portugese side Sporting Lisbon at Fenway Park. The Sounders will return to MLS play next Sunday against Conor Casey and the Colorado Rapids.

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