With a two-match road trip looming in the distance, Seattle Sounders FC looks to pick up three points at home on Saturday afternoon when the Eastern Conference leading Kansas City Wizards visit the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. Kickoff is 12 noon PT.
Tied for second in the Western Conference, Sounders FC is coming off a 2-2 draw in its first road game at Real Salt Lake. Seattle (1-1-1, 4 points) has not won since opening night against Philadelphia on March 25.
Kansas City (2-0-0, 6 points) is one of two MLS teams with an unblemished record and has yet to allow a goal. Following a bye week, the Wizards defeated Colorado, 1-0, at home last Saturday.
KONG 6/16 and News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM will broadcast Saturday’s game with Arlo White calling the play. In Spanish the match can be heard on 1210 AM Ke Buena with Rene Aleman, Noe Menendez and Victor Hernandez.
Sounders FC last met Kansas City on October 17, 2009, coming from behind to win, 3-2, at CommunityAmerica Ballpark to clinch a playoff berth. The Wizards were the first MLS side to defeat Seattle, 1-0, and did so on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field on April 11, 2009. A third meeting, in the quarterfinal round of the U.S. Open Cup, was taken by Sounders FC, 1-0, at Starfire Sports Complex.
Next week Seattle visits FC Dallas for a nationally televised ESPN2 game on April 22 and then plays at Toronto FC on April 25. Sounders FC is back home on May 1 against the Columbus Crew at 7:30 p.m. PT.
Upcoming Competition Schedule (All times Pacific)
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
Saturday, May 8, 1 p.m. – L.A. Galaxy, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle
Among the attributes of Seattle’s first MLS season was an ability to avoid any lengthy slumps. Whether it was the defense bearing down or the attack sparking to life, Sounders FC never lost two in a row at home nor more than two consecutive games overall.
Fortress in the Making
A cornerstone in building a league and regional power is to become nearly unbeatable at home. Playing before the loudest and largest fans in the existence of MLS, Sounders FC players have endeavored to match that standard on the pitch. They are 8-3-6 in regular season home matches and only once have allowed more than one goal for a GAA of 0.65. Seattle has allowed only four goals in its last 10 at home, including playoffs.
Sounders FC shared the MLS lead for the fewest goals allowed in 2009 and it did so with consistency. Seattle never allowed multiple goals in consecutive games. Following the six occasions when it allowed two or more goals, it had two shutouts and a GAA of 0.67 in the next outing.
Zakuani: Home & Away
Steve Zakuani’s opening goal at RSL was the fifth of his young career and four of those strikes have come on the road. Zakuani’s four away goals have come in three wins and last week’s draw. His only home goal was scored in Week 6 of 2009, against San Jose. All of Zakuani’s five goals have been scored in the first half. He had an assist on Brad Evans’ goal in the opener versus Philadelphia.
Ljungberg the Instigator
Seattle’s second goal last week was a direct result of Freddie Ljungberg’s playmaking. Ljungberg initiated the attacks which resulted in both goals against Philadelphia. At Real Salt Lake he first won a free kick on the left flank, and then served an in-swinging ball into the crease for Tyrone Marshall. The play resulted in an own goal by an RSL defender.
Riley Reaches Double Digits
With his assist on Seattle’s first goal at Real Salt Lake, defender James Riley now has 10 for his career. Half of those have come since joining Sounders FC last season. Riley had a career-high four assists in 2009.
Montero in the Mix
Fredy Montero’s pass to Steve Zakuani prior to Seattle’s first goal gives him two assists to lead the team. Montero has now figured statistically in three of the team’s four goals with one goal and two assists.
Midfielder/forward Nate Jaqua underwent surgery on April 7 in Philadelphia for a lower abdominal fascial repair. Jaqua is expected to re-join training with the team in 4-6 weeks. He was placed on injured reserve on March 25 and is required to miss the first six games of the season. Jaqua is eligible to return to MLS play for the May 2 game versus Columbus Crew. He started 27 of 28 appearances and posted career highs with nine goals and seven assists last season.
Sometimes statistics have a strange twist. Sounders FC scored two goals at RSL despite being credited with only two corner kicks and two shots. The latter is a franchise low. A week earlier Seattle was shut-out while taking a team record 12 corners and launching 17 shots (one shy of the franchise mark).
Scoring Equals Points
In its 35 MLS regular season and playoff games to date, Sounders FC has a high probability of producing points when it scores. Seattle is 13-1-9 when getting at least one goal. It is 0-8-4 when held scoreless.
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 to 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 its 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
Fans can now purchase Sounders FC Kick Coffee
Sounders FC has formed a partnership with North Star Fine Coffees, the makers of Sounders FC Kick Coffee. Kick Coffee blends the finest Costa Rican and Guatemalan coffees and is filled with high notes of berry-like flavors combined with chocolaty, nutty overtones. Of note, Kick Coffee was made especially for soccer fans.
Beginning April 7, fans have a special opportunity to try Kick Coffee at a substantial discount by ordering from www.kickcoffee.com and entering the Coupon Code “SOUNDERS” (case sensitive). In the spirit of Sounders FC “Give Us Your Full 90,” 90 cents per pound sold will be donated to local charities and matched by an additional 90 cents from North Star Fine Coffees.
As a featured partner on the Sounders FC website, fans will be able to register to win free coffee, game tickets, and post-game field access with an opportunity to meet selected players. For more information visit, www.kickcoffee.com.
Free Jack in the Box Tacos for a Home Shutout
If Sounders FC shutout its opponent at home, simply show your game ticket at any participating Jack in the Box location and receive two free tacos. No purchase necessary. Show game ticket when ordering. One offer per guest. Not valid in combination with any other offer. Offer only valid until start time of the next Sounders FC home game.
Sounders FC 0, Kansas City Wizards 1 – April 11, 2009 – Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field
Davy Arnaud scored in the 80th minute to lift the Wizards over the shorthanded Sounders FC, dealing Seattle its first loss. Seattle played a man down for 60 minutes after Kasey Keller was sent off in the 30th minute of the match for a handball outside the penalty area on a shot by the Wizards’ Herculez Gomez. Fredy Montero nearly put Seattle on board twice, first with a chip to test Kevin Hartman late in the first half, then in the 60th minute when his indirect free kick skimmed off the crossbar. Arnaud’s goal was the first in 350 minutes against the Sounders FC defense. He beat substitute goalkeeper Ben Dragavon from 20 yards following a square pass from Jack Jewsbury. In the 88th minute, Nate Jaqua’s header for the equalizer, from a near-post cross by Steve Zakuani, flashed just wide left. Montero finished with six of the team’s nine shots.
Sounders FC 3, Kansas City Wizards 2 – October 17, 2009 – CommunityAmerica Ballpark
Seattle clinched a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs, coming from behind with two goals within a seven-minute span of late in the second half. Tyrone Marshall opened up the scoring with a goal in the 28th minute. Freddie Ljungberg’s corner kick was deflected by Wizards keeper Kevin Hartman and Marshall knocked in the rebound for his second goal of the season. Kansas City struck back early in the second half with two quick goals. Zoltan scored the equalizer in the 51st minute and Josh Wolff gave his team a 2-1 lead in the 54th by chasing down a Davy Arnaud ball at the far post. A few minutes after coming on as a substitute, Roger Levesque tied the game in the 69th minute following another Ljungberg corner kick, this time flicked on by Marshall to the far post. Ljungberg was again the catalyst on the match’s deciding goal in the 76th minute. He won the ball on the right flank, cut in along the endline and then found Nate Jaqua running down the middle.
Sounders FC 1, Kansas City Wizards 0 – July 7, 2009 – Starfire Sports Stadium
A penalty kick by Sebastien Le Toux in the 89th minute sent the Sounders FC into the final four of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup before a standing room crowd. The penalty was called by referee Abiodun Okulaja after forward Fredy Montero was knocked down in the box by Wizards keeper Kevin Hartman. Le Toux, who had come on as a substitute in the 72nd minute, went to the spot and calmly sent his shot low into the left corner past Hartman’s reach. The Wizards finished with 10 men after Santiago Hirsig received his second yellow card during added time of the second half. Seattle finished with a 12-6 advantage in shots and keeper Kasey Keller made only one save in posting the shutout.
With three matches left in the Dutch Eredivisie, Blaise Nkufo and FC Twente can clinch the club its first championship in 84 years with two more victories. Nkufo assisted on the first goal and set-up the second in Twente’s 2-0 home win over Heerenveen last Saturday. Twente, which has a four-point lead over Ajax Amsterdam, plays at AZ Alkmaar on Tuesday and hosts Feyenoord on Sunday. Signed by Sounders FC on March 4, Nkufo will join the team in July following the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Kansas City is seeking to start a season 3-0-0 for the first time since 2006. Kei Kamara, who was acquired in a 2009 midseason trade from Houston, has scored in each game and new Danish keeper Jimmy Nielsen and his defense have yet to allow a goal. Peter Vermes, who as technical director replaced Curt Onalfo on an interim basis for the final 12 matches last season, is now the permanent head coach. Josh Wolff is No. 7 in goals (73) among active MLS players.
Teal Bunbury, the No. 4 selection by the Wizards in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, was a college teammate of Seattle’s Steve Zakuani at Akron. Kansas City’s Chance Myers and Sounders FC rookie David Estrada were teammates at UCLA. Sigi Schmid coached Jimmy Conrad at UCLA from 1996 to 1997, when Conrad was also a teammate of Peter Vagenas. Schmid coached Kei Kamara at Columbus from 2006 to 2007.
Seattle defender Tyson Wahl spent two seasons with the Wizards and made 32 appearances before being taken by Seattle in the expansion draft. Defender Taylor Graham played for Kansas City from 2003-04.
Sounders FC technical director Chris Henderson played for Kansas City from 1999-2000, winning the MLS Cup in 2000. He was a teammate of Wizards coach Peter Vermes in 2000 and also while with Colorado from 1997-98. Henderson spent the 2007 season as an assistant coach with the Wizards. Sounders FC head fitness coach David Tenney spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons in the same capacity with Kansas City.
The following players are currently training with Sounders FC: Goalkeepers (4): Terry Boss, Derby Carillo*, Chris Eylander*, Kasey Keller; 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
Seattle is 11-1-4 all-time when scoring first…Pat Noonan made his first start for Seattle last week and Tyson Wahl made his first appearance of the season, playing the final 42 minutes at left back…Tyrone Marshall’s next start will be the 250th of his MLS career. He has appeared in 277 matches to date…Seattle native Michelle Akers, a member of two FIFA World Cup champion U.S. National Teams, will be featured on the E:60 program Tuesday at 4 p.m. PT on ESPN. Akers now devotes herself to rescuing horses…This week’s match date in Seattle soccer history: April 17, 1982 – Brian Schmetzer made his NASL debut in the Sounders’ 2-1 loss at Vancouver.