THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SEATTLE -- Nate Jaqua scored consecutive goals two minutes apart late in the first half and and Fredy Montero got a pair of goals 43 seconds apart midway through the second half as the Seattle Sounders FC, in its first-ever home game, beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0 Sunday in exhibition play.
The Sounders, who will make their Major League Soccer debut on March 19, got their initial action at Qwest Field, albeit in front of empty stands, as the game was closed to the public. They already had played four exhibitions in California and one last Friday night in Portland, Ore., going 4-1-0.
Vancouver is the reigning champion of the United Soccer Leagues First Division, one notch below MLS.
Jaqua, a native of nearby Eugene, Ore., put the Sounders on the scoreboard midway through the 37th minute. Montero lofted a pass into the penalty area, and Jaqua raced onto the ball, then beat Whitecaps goalkeeper Jay Nolly one-on-one to the back left corner.
Just two minutes later, Sounders midfielder Sanna Nyassi, playing on the right wing side, sent a cross toward the near post. A header by Sebastien LeToux was blocked by Nolly, but the rebound came right out to Jaqua. who was stationed directly in front of the right post, and he easily tucked it into the near corner. Jaqua now has five goals in exhibition play.
Montero made it 3-0 in the 67th minute, taking a short pass in the box from Roger Levesque and drilling a 14-yarder into the back left corner. Less than a minute later, Montero sent a shallow shot across the goalmouth that went just inside the far post for a 4-0 advantage. It was his team-leading seventh exhibition goal.
Goalkeeper Kasey Keller, in his second full game in exhibition play, picked up his first shutout.
"Any time you can score four goals, you have to be happy with that," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. "It was a good performance by us. Vancouver is a good USL side and you're not going to dominate someone all the time, and they had some moments early in the first half. But after that, we had the better part of the game and came up with some good goals."
The Sounders depart on Tuesday for a 10-day trip to Argentina. They will play four games against Argentinian first- or second-division teams, although opponents have yet to be determined.
"Defensively, it's a good test because Argentine teams are good possession-oriented teams, but they can also spring people, so our defense has to be alert," Schmid said. "It's just stepping up another level."