SEATTLE (AP) -- Seattle forward David Estrada jogged off the
pitch to raucous applause when he left the match in the 87th
minute Saturday night.
He made the sign of the cross, hugged his coach, then heard his
name chanted by the 38,709 representing the largest turnout for
a Major League Soccer opener in Seattle.
Later, he would have his own emotional response to his superb
Estrada's three goals led the Seattle Sounders past Toronto FC
3-1 on Saturday night at CenturyLink Field in the opener for
Estrada's impressive performance was the third hat trick for the
Sounders (1-0-0), joining Lamar Neagle on August 27, 2011, and
Blaise Nkufo on Sept. 18, 2010, both against the Columbus Crew.
The Sounders had tried Estrada at multiple positions since
drafting him in 2010. Head coach Sigi Schmid decided to move the
third-year player back to forward this spring, where he played
at UCLA. Saturday, Estrada rewarded the move.
"It's been a long time coming," Estrada said after pausing to
Estrada is in the lineup after multiple moves were made by the
team. The Sounders made a preseason trade of young forwards
Neagle and Mike Fucito. Forward O'Brian White was injured last
year and will be released. It all added up to a shot for
Estrada, who has scored four goals in his last two home matches.
"Once we realized that O'Brian White wouldn't be out there for
us right now, that we were short up front, we said, `Look, we're
going to stick you back up front. We think that's your best
spot."' Schmid said. "His work rate is unbelievable. Like I've
said, nobody deserves it more in terms of the effort that they
put in day in and day out."
To open the scoring in the first half, Alvaro Fernandez zipped
down the left side and masterfully switched the ball around the
back of his left leg with his right instep. The move left
Toronto defender Ty Harden staggered and opened a lane for
Fernandez's cross. Estrada mined the ball away from Toronto's
goaltender Milos Kocic for the 17th-minute score.
Early in the second half, Estrada was sent ahead by a pass from
Sounders' fullback Marc Burch. Estrada ran ahead of two Toronto
defenders, paused, then finished past a closing Kocic with his
right foot in the 51st minute.
Toronto FC (0-1-0) forward Ryan Johnson was able to resurrect
its hope with a finish in the 62nd minute to cut Seattle's lead
But Estrada was free again following exquisite passing among the
Sounders' midfielders and a final short through ball from
Fernandez, which led to his third goal in the 63rd minute.
Toronto captain Torsten Frings injured his hamstring in the 24th
minute when he chased down Estrada then poked the ball away.
Frings will be re-evaluated in Toronto. He was replaced by Aaron
"I think if you watch in the first half we played quite well,"
Toronto FC coach Aron Winter said. "At the end you got to force
something to at least score one of two goals. It was very hard
that we lost and I think that we didn't give them everything."