SEATTLE—Daniel Sturridge jumped at the chance to join Chelsea as soon as he heard the club was interested in him.
His debut on Saturday made Blues' management look very smart for acquiring the talented 19-year-old player.
Making his debut following an offseason move from Manchester City to Stamford Bridge, Sturridge scored in the 12th minute and assisted on Frank Lampard's goal later in the first half as the Blues opened their preseason tour of America with a 2-0 win over the Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday.
"Nobody ever thinks twice about going to such a big club when it comes calling," Sturridge said. "You have to take the opportunity and I'm very happy to be here."
Sturridge's goal early in the match quieted some of the 65,289 fans - most in Seattle green - who turned out to see the first of two international exhibitions the Sounders will host this season. It also made a winner of new manager Carlo Ancelotti in his first match leading the Blues after his move from AC Milan.
It was Chelesa's second appearance in Seattle in recent years. They faced Celtic in 2004 in an exhibition match that drew 30,504 and was part of an increased run of international exhibitions in the Pacific Northwest.
But Saturday was the first time those Northwest fans were cheering for their own team. Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said he went to pick up his dry cleaning at 8 a.m. Saturday and was met by a Sounders fan already in full regalia.
The hometown team responded with a spirited effort despite getting shut out.
"From a European point of view I think it definitely sends a message that we can play so well against Chelsea," Seattle midfielder Freddie Ljungberg said, a former Chelsea nemesis during his time at Arsenal. "When I speak to my friends back home there are a lot of questions about what is the level and how would you play against a great team. I think that message was sent today."
The match was Chelsea's first on-field test since beating Everton 2-1 in the FA Cup final on May 30. They are using the tour of the United States - which includes matches against Inter Milan, AC Milan and Club America - as their training leading up to the English Premier League opener against Hull on Aug. 15.
To that end, a number of stars either sat or played only one half. Didier Drogba and Michael Essien never took off their warmups, while Ashley Cole, John Terry and Petr Cech were among the Chelsea starters to only play a half. Terry did not speak to reporters afterward regarding the ongoing pursuit of his services by Manchester City.
The only Chelsea regular to play the full 90 minutes was Lampard.
"Today was the best atmosphere I've played in out here for sure," Lampard said. "I think the game was pretty even really except for the two goals that we scored which is maybe a slight difference in quality from the Premier League to here, but the Seattle team played good football."
Seattle is in the middle of its MLS season and had to balance upcoming matches with trying to make a good showing against the Blues. Goalkeeper Kasey Keller and forward Nate Jaqua only played a half, while Ljungberg played into the second half before leaving.
The Sounders host Houston in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals on Tuesday. They will play Chicago next Saturday.
With the blazing rave green of the Sounders easily dwarfing the royal blue of Chelsea's in the stands, the Sounders were clearly the more fit side. But some sloppy passing and poor first-touches kept the numerous runs by Ljungberg and striker Fredy Montero from becoming great scoring opportunities. Seattle also missed on a pair of open second-half headers, and Sanna Nyassi missed an open net when his chipped attempt went over the crossbar.
While Seattle failed to convert, the Blues made the most of their runs through Seattle's shaky defense. Sturridge took advantage in the 12th minute, accepting a pass from Florent Malouda near the top of the box, stopping while Seattle defender Tyrone Marshall slid past and beating Keller with a right-footed strike.
Just over 20 minutes later, Sturridge got Chelsea's next goal started. His pass from near midfield found the foot of Nicolas Anelka running free in the box. Anelka chipped a centering pass that Lampard easily deposited past the helpless Keller.
The second half featured reserves for both sides. Seattle defender Zach Scott twice saved goals by clearing balls off the line after keeper Terry Boss was beaten.
"Their speed, their movement, their touch, there's no mistakes in the back," Seattle's Steve Zakuani said. "They're all very, very good at what they do. That's the next level, that's why they are where they are. It was good to measure ourselves today."