Louisville City FC's Ray Serrano moves forward in possession against Seattle Sounders FC's Nouhou Tolo in the club's preseason contest on Saturday. | Photo courtesy Jane Gershovich / Seattle Sounders FC
TUKWILA, Wash. – Dylan Mares scored his first goal for Louisville City FC as the defending USL Championship Eastern Conference title holder fell 2-1 against Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday afternoon at the Starfire Sports Complex while gaining valuable experience against the current Concacaf Champions League title holder.
Sounders FC, who made this their final preseason tuneup before opening their Major League Soccer season, entered one game removed from the FIFA Club World Cup won by Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid. Seattle became the first MLS club to compete in the prestigious tournament after winning the 2022 CCL last spring.
"We were playing a motivated opponent that starts its regular season next weekend, so we knew it would be a difficult test," said LouCity Head Coach Danny Cruz. "I was really happy once we got to halftime and made some adjustments tactically. We created some good opportunities in the second half and had a chance late to tie it up that obviously would have changed the result.
"I thought we had the right intensity and mentality for 90 minutes. I spoke to the players about how we need to be a little sharper implementing the game plan. But I came away with a lot of positives."
Brazil international Héber netted a sixth-minute opener from a corner kick at the far post before Cristian Roldan – who represented the U.S. at the 2022 FIFA World Cup – doubled the Sounders’ lead in the 21st minute on a second-chance look.
LouCity settled in from there and found the net moments after bringing on five substitutes in the 70th minute. A trio of the new arrivals combined to get the visitors on the board as Brian Ownby played a ball in that Enoch Mushagalusa set up for Mares, who scored on a powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area.
“For him to score right after coming on is going to be really good for his confidence,” Cruz said of Mares.
LouCity, as a result, scored against three of four MLS clubs it faced in preseason play: Sporting KC, Austin FC and now Seattle. The only exception was a scoreless draw at Nashville SC.
“We feel these opponents and these moments are going to put us in a really good position come opening day,” said Cruz.