Seattle Sounders FC ventures to Utah and the home of defending MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake for the first road match of its 2010 MLS season on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. PT at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
Real Salt Lake is playing its first home match since winning MLS Cup 2009 in Seattle last November. Three of Seattle’s next four games are on the road.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast locally on KONG 6/16 and News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM with Arlo White calling the play. In Spanish the match can be seen on THIS-TV (Digital 4.2/Comcast 114) with Jaimie Mendez and Hugo Alcaraz-Cueller and heard on 1210 AM Ke Buena with Rene Aleman, Noe Menendez and Victor Hernandez.
The teams split two regular season meetings last season, each winning at home. Sounders FC prevailed, 2-0, on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field on March 28, 2009 and RSL won, 1-0, on August 8, 2009.
Both the Sounders FC (1-1-0, 3 points) and Real Salt Lake (1-1-0, 3 points) are coming off losses. Seattle fell to New York at home, 1-0, last Saturday. RSL was beaten at Houston, 2-1, on April 1.
Sounders FC returns home to face the Kansas City Wizards on April 17 at 12 p.m. PT.
Upcoming Competition Schedule (All times Pacific)
Saturday, April 10, 6 p.m. – at Real Salt Lake, Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah
Saturday, April 17, 12 p.m. – Kansas City Wizards, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle
Thursday, April 22, 5 p.m. – at FC Dallas, Pizza Hut Park, Frisco, Texas
Sunday, April 25, 11 a.m. – at Toronto FC, BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario
Saturday, May 1, 7:30 p.m. – Columbus Crew, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle
Up for the Cup Holders
During its brief existence the Sounders FC has exhibited an ability to raise its game when facing a champion. In its inaugural season, Seattle was unbeaten (3-0-2) in five meetings with cup holders, with all three wins coming on the road. It beat the Columbus Crew, holders of the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup, on the road (1-0) and drew at home (1-1). Against the 2008 U.S. Open Cup champion D.C. United, Sounders FC finished even, 3-3, at home and won twice at RFK Stadium, including the 2009 Open Cup Final.
Seattle finished strong on the road last season, winning four and losing only once in the final five trips. Its final mark of 5-5-5 was third-best in MLS. Sounders FC won its initial away match last season, 2-0 at Toronto FC. Over the final two months of the regular season it defeated the L.A. Galaxy (2-0), D.C. United (2-1), Columbus Crew (1-0) and Kansas City Wizards (3-2) on the road.
Scoring Equals Points
In its 34 MLS regular season and playoff games to date, Sounders FC has a high probability of producing points when it scores. Seattle is 13-1-8 when getting at least one goal. It is 0-8-4 when held scoreless.
Let the Mileage Begin
For the second year in a row, no MLS team will travel more miles (49,740) than Sounders FC. With a trip to Philadelphia this season (instead of a second trip to Chivas USA a year ago), Seattle will log 2,842 more miles in 2010. Now the only team from the Pacific Northwest, Sounders FC will travel far fewer miles in 2011 with the addition of Portland (173 miles south) and Vancouver (141 miles north). At 701 air miles, Salt Lake City is currently the closest travel destination for Sounders FC.
A First: Golden Scarf Goes to a Fan
Tim Murray became the first Sounders FC season ticket holder to be voted recipient of the Golden Scarf by polling of the Alliance. Murray has played since his childhood in Chicago and coaches a youth boys team. He is now an English teacher at Shorewood High School in Shoreline and advises the school’s Interact Club which focuses on community projects for the homeless. Last season Murray attended each Sounders FC home match and traveled to several away games as well.
United We Serve Project
The Seattle Sounders FC first community clean-up project will be held on Sunday, April 18 at Seattle’s Franklin High School. Fans are invited to participate alongside Sounders FC players and coaches.
The clean-up project is the first in a monthly commitment made in partnership with Seattle Bank’s “United We Serve” program. The clean-up project will include painting, storage organization, cleaning and landscaping.
Volunteers must be at least 14 years old and commit a minimum of four hours on the project.
The “United We Serve” community enhancement program is a monthly side-by-side player and fan volunteer service program in partnership with Seattle Bank. The program provides support for grassroots community based leadership service projects that impact the local community.
For more information and to volunteer visit www.soundersfc.com/outreach/UnitedWeServe.
When Sounders FC Scores Three at Home
If Sounders FC scores three goals against their opponent at any home game, all fans in attendance are eligible to receive a free haircut at any participating Seattle area Great Clips Salon. Fans need to take their Sounders FC game ticket to participating Great Clips Salons within seven (7) days of the game to receive your free cut. For more information visit http://www.soundersfc.com/News/Promotions/Free-Haircuts.aspx .
Sounders FC 2, Real Salt Lake 0 – March 28, 2009 – Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field
In the first meeting between the teams, Seattle parlayed timely goals both early and late with a player of the week performance from keeper Kasey Keller. Nate Jaqua scored in the 17th minute, his sixth goal in his last six appearances against Real. Keller made five saves, the biggest test coming in the opening minutes of the second half on a breakaway attempt by Yura Movsisyan. The visitors out-shot Seattle 10-4 in the second half, and also earned 10 corners after halftime. Fredy Montero’s third goal of the season, a dipping drive from long distance, provided insurance in the 77th minute.
Real Salt Lake 1, Sounders FC 0 – August 8, 2009 – Rio Tinto Stadium
Robbie Findley scored the game’s only goal in the 62nd minute as the Sounders FC winless string reached three games (0-2-1). Findley forced a reaction save from Kasey Keller in the 47th minute. Following a Seattle offside call near the RSL goal, keeper Nick Rimando set the ball down and drove a long kick over the Sounders FC defense and into the path of Findley, who proceeded toward the box and beat Keller low from 18 yards.
Sounders FC 4, Real Salt Lake 1 – April 28, 2009 – Starfire Sports Stadium
Sebastien Le Toux scored two goals and assisted on two others as Seattle won its U.S. Open Cup play-in opener. Le Toux put Sounders FC ahead early, scoring from the penalty spot in the 24th minute. He then assisted on a goal by Sanna Nyassi to make it 2-0 in the 26th minute. Will Johnson pulled Real Salt Lake a goal back in the 32nd minute. Sounders FC pulled away with two quick strikes. Stephen King made a one-touch finish off a square ball from Le Toux in the 53rd minute. Two minutes later, Roger Levesque out-ran an RSL defender before crossing to Le Toux at the left post. Levesque assisted on Seattle’s final three goals.
Sounders FC 0, New York Red Bulls 1 – April 3, 2010 Recap
Macoumba Kandji scored the game’s lone goal to give the New York Red Bulls a 1-0 victory on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.
Seattle Sounders FC (1-1-0, 3 points) set club records with nine corner kicks in the first half and 12 for the game. Bouna Coundoul made five saves as Red Bulls (2-0-0, 6 points) posted their second straight shutout and snapped a 29-game road winless streak.
New York scored in the 21st minute. Seattle knocked down a corner kick that Kandji volleyed left-footed off of the underside of the crossbar and into the net.
Sounders FC finished with a 17-10 advantage in shots. Steve Zakuani nearly equalized shortly after the goal, but in the 23rd minute his drive from 18 yards was deflected over the crossbar by Coundoul.
Two chances in the 5th minute nearly gave Seattle an early lead. Zakuani beat his defender down the left side and found Fredy Montero in the box. Montero’s shot was deflected by the Red Bulls’ defense and Brad Evans’ shot just seconds later was saved by Coundoul.
A flurry of opportunities midway through the second half nearly tied the game for Seattle. In the 66th minute, Ljungberg’s pass across the box found Montero who lined up a shot that was deflected by Red Bulls’ defense.
Then in the 69th minute, Ljungberg found a streaking Zakuani who drove into the middle of the box. His shot was deflected out of bounds by the diving keeper. Minutes later, a free kick by Ljungberg was headed by Tyrone Marshall at the far post but missed wide left.
Freddie Ljungberg started the match after suffering a lower back injury ten days before against Philadelphia Union. Ljungberg was issued a yellow card in the 10th minute for a reckless foul in the midfield.
New York head coach Hans Backe was not on the sideline for the match. Backe experienced stomach pains in the morning and was taken to a local hospital for examination before returning to the team hotel. Red Bulls played under the direction of assistant coach Richie Williams.
Noonan Signs with Sounders FC
Sounders FC signed forward Pat Noonan on March 31. Noonan made his debut for Seattle three days later, entering last Saturday’s New York match in the 56th minute. He took two shots.
Noonan, 29, is a two-time MLS All-Star selection and ranks No. 3 in career goals and assists for New England. He has 14 U.S. National Team caps. The seven-year veteran was released by Colorado on March 23.
Noonan was an integral part of the New England teams which advanced to three consecutive MLS Cup Finals from 2005-07 and won the 2007 U.S. Open Cup. As a rookie he finished with 10 goals and scored a career-high 11 in 2004. Noonan scored two goals and four assists during Open Cup play in 2007 and was named the MVP of the Final.
Over five seasons with the Revolution, Noonan scored 37 goals and 29 assists. He finished tied for the MLS lead in total points in 2004, and was chosen to play in the MLS All-Star game in 2004 and 2005.
In 2008, Noonan signed with Norway’s Aalesunds FK, making 11 appearances over a short period before re-signing with MLS and joining Sigi Schmid’s Columbus Crew in August of 2008. Noonan made 11 appearances with the Crew and played all four playoff matches, helping win the MLS Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.
Noonan was traded by Columbus to Colorado on June 15, 2009. He made 17 appearances for the Rapids with two starts, scoring two goals.
Noonan ranks 20th among active MLS players in goals. His career totals are 152 regular season appearances, 40 goals and 32 assists.
In 2004, Noonan made his debut with the United States national team in a match against Haiti. He has one goal and two assists in international play. Noonan was a key member of the 2005 Gold Cup champions and an alternate on the 2006 World Cup team.
Noonan was selected ninth overall in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft out of Indiana University, where he left as the Hoosiers’ No. 6 career scorer. Indiana won the 1999 NCAA Championship and Noonan played in three College Cup finals.
Goals from the Corner
Seattle established a new team record for corner kicks with 12 against the Red Bulls. However, it was one of the four corners yielded which led to the New York goal. That marked the first goal from a corner allowed by the Sounders FC defense. Seattle led MLS with seven goals scored from corner kicks in 2009, and its second goal against Philadelphia in the 2010 opener also came from a play initiated by a corner kick.
Blaise Nkufo scored his 11th goal of the season as Twente Eschede won 2-0 at VVV Venlo last Saturday in the Dutch Eredivisie. With four matches remaining, Twente leads Ajax Amsterdam by four points. Nkufo, who signed with Sounders FC on March 4, will join the team in July following the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Nkufo was the Swiss National Team’s joint scoring leader during World Cup qualifying with five goals.
If there’s any trend in the transition of MLS expansion teams to their second season, it’s that the slow starters generally begin to gather momentum in year two while the fast starters hold their own.
Javier Morales of Real Salt Lake enters the week with a share of the MLS scoring lead with three goals. Morales staked RSL to an early lead at Houston on April 1 after scoring twice in the 3-0 opening win at San Jose. The Argentine midfielder also assisted on his team’s other goal against the Earthquakes. The only goals allowed by Real were second-half penalty kicks by the Dynamo’s Brad Davis. Real Salt Lake will be playing its first home game since winning MLS Cup 2009 in Seattle on a penalty kick tiebreaker after regulation and extra time finished tied, 1-1, with the Galaxy. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando was named the game’s MVP after saving two penalties in the shootout.
The following players are currently training with Sounders FC: Goalkeepers (6): Terry Boss, Derby Carillo*, Brian Edwards*, Chris Eylander*, Kasey Keller, Kenny Kronholm*; Defenders (9): Taylor Graham, Leo Gonzalez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Tyrone Marshall, James Riley, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl, Jamel Wallace#; Midfielders (8): Osvaldo Alonso, David Estrada#, Brad Evans, Stephen King, Freddie Ljungberg, Sanna Nyassi, Nathan Sturgis, Peter Vagenas; Forwards (7): Michael Fucito*, Nate Jaqua, Roger Levesque, Miguel Montano*, Fredy Montero, Pat Noonan*, Steve Zakuani.
#SuperDraft selection, *invitee
Sigi Schmid’s teams are 4-3-1 against Real Salt Lake, including 1-2-1 on the road… The only change in Sigi Schmid’s starting XI last week was James Riley starting at right back. Riley had missed the opening match while serving a one-game suspension for a red card issued in the 2009 MLS Cup Playoffs…David Estrada made his MLS debut versus New York, coming on as a substitute in the 83rd minute…Seattle is 1-4-2 all-time when trailing at half… Marcus Hahnemann, a Seattle area product who played his first two pro seasons for the A-League Sounders and now with Wolverhampton Wanderers of the English Premier League, was named man of the match in Wolves’ 1-0 loss at Arsenal last Saturday. Hahnemann was credited with eight saves.