TUCSON, Ariz. – Marcus Hahnemann turned in a man-of-the-match performance in goal and midfielder Alex Caskey supplied the winner as the Seattle Sounders' reserve unit beat Real Salt Lake 1-0 in the final of the Desert Diamond Cup on Saturday night.
Hahnemann was tested early and often by RSL's first-choice lineup and made a handful of spectacular saves. In the 17th minute, the two-time World Cup veteran was forced to dive to his right to palm away Álvaro Saborío's point-blank header.
In the 42nd minute, Hahnemann made back-to-back diving stop on shots by Sebastián Velásquez and Saborío. A minute later, the 40-year-old sprawled out again on a long drive by Kyle Beckerman. Then three minutes out of the break, he was tested again, pushing second-half sub Joao Plata's chip just wide of the far post.
Caskey finally opened the scoring in the 51st minute, taking the ball into the box and cutting around RSL defender Chris Schuler before uncorking a left-footed shot steps from the goal line that gave Nick Rimando no chance.
With Seattle's first-choice starting XI going 90 minutes in Friday's scoreless draw with Mexican second-divison side Veracruz, Sigi Schmid went with a reserve lineup on Saturday that was nearly identical to the one he started on Wednesday against New York.
Jason Kreis went with his presumptive opening-day lineup, with Velásquez manning the point of the midfield diamond while Luis Gil is off at U-20 World Cup qualifying.
Seattle open the MLS regular season on March 2 at home against Montreal, then head to Mexico four days later to take on Tigres UANL in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. Real Salt Lake open at San Jose on March 3.
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