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SOCCER ROUNDUP

FC Barcelona routs Seattle Sounders FC, 4-0

Lionel Messi scores twice in first half as Barcelona continues its preseason tour of the U.S.

August 06, 2009|Associated Press

In one motion, Lionel Messi settled the arcing pass off his chest and used his left foot to split the legs of once the top goalkeeper in America.

Perhaps the world's best player, on arguably the world's best team, put on a display of dominance Wednesday night.

Blinding in his nuclear peach uniform, Messi scored twice in the first half and FC Barcelona continued its preseason tour of the U.S. with a 4-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders FC.

Messi beat Seattle keeper Kasey Keller in the 21st minute with a left-footed punch from outside the penalty box that Keller only got a fingertip on.

Twenty minutes later, Messi gathered Xavi's perfectly judged crossing pass about eight yards out and in one move split Keller's legs with his left foot.

Messi is picking up right where he left off a year ago when he scored 38 goals in league and tournament play.

Many in the crowd of 66,848, the largest to see a soccer match in Seattle, craved more Messi and fellow Barca stars Thierry Henry and Xavi, but only got one half as the reigning holder of the Treble -- La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles -- continued its exhibition tour.

The only downside for Barcelona came before the match when central defender Rafael Marquez tore a muscle in his left calf during training Wednesday morning and will miss 10 to 15 days.

That means the Mexican captain likely won't play against the United States in a key World Cup qualifier next Wednesday in Mexico City.

Barcelona outshot Seattle, 16-3, in the first half, peppering Keller with precision, creative passing that led to a constant flow of scoring attempts.

SuperLiga final

Tigres of Mexico defeated the Chicago Fire, 4-3, on penalty kicks to win the SuperLiga title in Bridgeview, Ill. Tigres forward Itamar Batista converted the deciding penalty after the Fire's Justin Mapp and Mike Banner missed the net. The teams played to a 1-1 draw in regulation.

All three SuperLiga tournaments, which feature eight club teams from the U.S. and Mexico, have been decided by penalty kicks. Tigres is the second Mexican team to win the tournament, joining 2007 inaugural winner Pachuca.

New England won last year's event against Houston in an all-MLS final.

The Fire scored first in the 10th minute, as defender Gonzalo Segares sent a cross into the center of the box, where Patrick Nyarko got away from a defender and flicked a header into the back of the net.

Tigres tied it two minutes before halftime, when Batista got around two defenders on the left before curling a shot into the lower-right corner.

The game went directly to the shootout after regulation, as the tournament doesn't call for the customary two 15-minute overtime sessions.

"When you lose on penalties, it's real hard," Fire Coach Denis Hamlett said. "Those are the rules. What are you gonna do? You don't like losing, especially on PKs, but what are you gonna do?"

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