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Daily coverage of Seattle Sounders FC, MLS and world soccer.

April 19, 2010 at 9:27 PM

Team releases a mass of great notes and news bits

Coming off a dramatic home victory, Seattle Sounders FC embarks on its first back-to-back, two-match road trip this week. Sounders FC begins with a nationally-televised midweek game at FC Dallas on Thursday night. First kick is 5 p.m. PT at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. On Sunday, Seattle visits BMO Field and Toronto FC at 11 a.m. PT.
Sounders FC will be aiming for consecutive wins for the first time in 2010 after edging the Kansas City Wizards, 1-0, last Saturday. Seattle (2-1-1, 7 points) remains tied for second in the Western Conference.
FC Dallas (0-1-2, 2 points) is in the basement of the West and one of two clubs still searching for its initial win. After drawing its first two at home, Dallas lost at New York, 2-1, last Saturday.
Toronto FC (1-3-0, 3 points) returns to BMO Field, where the Reds have claimed their only points. They lost at Colorado, 3-1, on Sunday.

Thursday’s game will be televised by ESPN2, and in Spanish on both TV and radio, on ESPN Deportes. Locally, the match will be streamed live with Arlo White on
KING 5 and News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM will broadcast Sunday’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 was unbeaten (1-0-1) against both FC Dallas and Toronto FC in 2009, and the victories in each series were momentous. Seattle came from behind to seal Sigi Schmid’s record-breaking 125th victory in the regular season finale at home against FCD on October 24. Toronto marked the first Sounders FC road fixture on April 4, with the visitors prevailing, 2-0.
Seattle plays two in a row at home on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field beginning May 1 at 7:30 p.m. against the Columbus Crew.
Upcoming Competition Schedule (All times Pacific)
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
Saturday, May 15, 4:30 p.m. – New York Red Bulls, Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ
Return of the Road Warriors
Since mid-August of last year, Sounders FC has become a formidable traveling team. Seattle has earned points in six of its last seven regular season games dating back to August 15, winning four and drawing twice, including a 2-2 result in its first 2010 road game at Real Salt Lake on April 10. Last season, it finished 5-5-5 on the road, with wins over the L.A. Galaxy (2-0), D.C. United (2-1), Columbus Crew (1-0) and Kansas City Wizards (3-2) in the final two months.
Longest Trip of the Year
Due to its current isolation in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle travels more than any MLS club, and no regular season trip will account for more mileage than this week. Sounders FC is due to log 49,740 miles this season. One-tenth of that total will come this week (4,997 air miles) on the Seattle-Dallas-Toronto-Seattle loop. Sounders FC will travel far fewer miles in 2011 with the addition of Portland (173 miles to the south) and Vancouver (141 miles north).
This week presents the first and only two-game, back-to-back road trip of Seattle’s regular season. Come mid-summer and autumn, this could become a regular occurrence with the addition of U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League fixtures. A year ago, Sounders FC was 5-1-3 in regular season and Open Cup games with fewer than five days rest.
The Late Show
For the second match in a row the outcome of a Sounders FC game has been determined in stoppage time. Michael Fucito came off the bench to score the decisive goal in the 92nd minute-the first stoppage time goal for Seattle. A week earlier, Real Salt Lake had rallied to earn a draw by scoring in the 93rd minute. The previous record for latest MLS goal scored by Sounders FC was Brad Evans in the 84th minute against FC Dallas on October 24, 2009.
A First to Remember
Prior to last week, Michael Fucito had dressed for two MLS games and appeared in one, for 14 minutes. So it’s safe to state that his game-winning goal in stoppage time against Kansas City rates as Fucito’s career highlight to date. The rookie from Harvard, a fourth-round draft pick in 2009, spent last season on the injured reserve list. His only action had been 26 minutes in friendlies versus Chelsea and Barcelona. Fucito scored a total of four goals in reserve team and intrasquad games this year.
An Exclusive Club
According the Elias Sports Bureau, Michael Fucito became the sixth player (and first since 2005) in MLS history whose first goal was a game-winner in stoppage time.
And a Stoppage Time Stop
Seconds after Fucito’s goal, Kansas City kicked off and quickly went down the attacking right flank. Chance Myers fired on goal from 10 yards and Seattle keeper Kasey Keller dived to his right to make the save, deflecting the ball past the left post. The shutout was the 12th of Keller’s MLS career and second this season.
Sigi Pulls the Strings
Sigi Schmid’s substitutions paid dividends against the Wizards as both Fucito and Brad Evans figured in the game’s lone goal. Evans replaced Pat Noonan in the 70th minute, and it was Evans’ throw-in which found Fucito open in front of the KC goal. Fucito came in for Steve Zakuani in the 85th minute. Schmid used a different starting XI for the fourth time in as many games. Peter Vagenas got his first start in central midfield.
Among the Leaders
Kasey Keller is tied for third in MLS goalkeeping with a GAA of 0.75. Keller is also third in saves (12) and second in shutouts (2). Fredy Montero is the leader in fouls suffered (13) and Freddie Ljungberg is fourth (10).
Defense According to Form
Sounders FC maintained is record defending tenaciously last week. After allowing two goals at Real Salt Lake, Seattle became the first team to hold Kansas City scoreless in the Wizards’ last five regular season games, dating back to last season. The Rave Green ‘D’ has never allowed multiple goals in consecutive games. Following the seven occasions when it allowed two or more goals, it has three shutouts and a GAA of 0.61 in the next outing. Seattle has allowed only four goals in its last 11 at home, including playoffs.
Montano Called In
The Colombia Under-20 National Team has called in forward Miguel Montano for two friendlies next week.Colombia plays Ecuador in Ibarra on April 22 and in La Libertad on April 25. Montano, 18, has been training with Sounders FC while his signing is completed. He will return to Seattle on April 26.
FC Dallas Series Recap
Sounders FC 1, FC Dallas 1 – May 16, 2009 – Pizza Hut Park (Match 9)
Kasey Keller made four second-half saves as the Sounders FC earned its third straight tie and extended its unbeaten run to four games (1-0-3). Seattle scored first. Central defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado celebrated his 25th birthday by scoring his first MLS goal in the 18th minute. Hurtado, who had come forward for a corner kick, flicked the ball over FCD keeper Ray Burse from 12 yards after Nate Jaqua had headed on a ball from Patrick Ianni. Brad Evans nearly made it 2-0 in the 36th minute. He poked Osvaldo Alonso┬╣s lofted pass past Burse from 15 yards but the ball rebounded off the left post. Stoppage time in the first half proved pivotal. Sounders FC midfielder Sebastien Le Toux narrowly missed with a low, left-footed drive past the far post. Moments later, Dallas defender Marcelo Saragosa drove the ball deep into the Seattle box, and Rocha redirected the ball past Keller from 6 yards. Steve Zakuani had the best second-half scoring chance for Seattle. In the 48th minute he forced Burse into a diving save on a quick counterattack up the left wing. Keller twice denied Dallas forward Brek Shea in the second half. He dived to his left to save a 15-yard drive by Shea in the 60th minute and Keller stopped a Shea point-blank header in the 69th. Sounders FC lost Evans and defender Zach Scott to injuries during the match. Seattle was playing without three starters: Freddie Ljungberg (migraine), Nathan Sturgis (hamstring) and James Riley (suspension).
Sounders FC 2, FC Dallas 1 – October 24, 2009 – Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field (Match 30)
Brad Evans scored the game winning goal in the 84th minute as Seattle capped the regular season by winning their third in a row. Sounders FC defender Leo Gonzalez missed high on a chance in the 5th minute before FC Dallas converted in 15th. Midfielder Atiba Harris found space at the top of the box to rip a shot into the left side netting past goalkeeper Kasey Keller. Seattle entered the final half-hour plainly intent on ending its length home scoreless streak. Freddie Ljungberg ignited the comeback by finding Fredy Montero at the far post in the 61st minute. Montero re-directed the ball into the crease for Nate Jaqua to finish for the equalizer. Ljungberg was the instigator on the winner as well. After Jaqua won the ball on the left, Ljungberg sent a ball into the path of Evans on the right side of the box, and Evans clipped his shot past Dallas keeper Dario Sala. The victory, the first at home since July 11, assured Seattle of third place in the MLS Western Conference. The loss snapped a four-game win streak and eliminated Dallas from playoff contention. Sigi Schmid earned his 125th career win, lifting him to the MLS career lead over Bob Bradley.
Toronto FC Series Recap
Sounders FC 2, Toronto FC 0 – April 4, 2009 – BMO Field (Match 3)
An early strike by Freddie Ljungberg and another by Steve Zakuani just before the break earned Sounders FC a win in its first road game and became the first MLS expansion team to win its first three games. Making his first start, Ljungberg scored in the 15th minute by finishing a give-and-go from Nate Jaqua. Ljungberg and Jaqua also figured in the second goal. Ljungberg fed Sebastien Le Toux who, in turn, found Jaqua for a shot from 15 yards. The ball caromed off a TFC defender and Zakuani converted the rebound in the 45th minute. The victory came despite some harsh playing conditions: a record crowd for TFC and strong winds. In addition, Sounders FC was without forward Fredy Montero, the top MLS scorer, due to illness. Seattle’s defense also weathered pressure by the Reds midway through the second half with Kasey Keller preserving the shutout with a near-post save of Pablo Vitti. Ljungberg made his first career MLS start. Zakuani tallied his first professional goal just before the half concluded. Scoring in his third game, Zakuani matched Freddy Adu (2004) and Maurice Edu (2007) for the earliest goal scored by a top choice from a SuperDraft.
Sounders FC 0, Toronto FC 0 – August 29, 2009 – Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field (Match 24)
Held scoreless for the third consecutive home match, Seattle settled for its 10th draw in its final MLS match before the U.S. Open Cup Final in Washington. Toronto FC put Sounders FC on its heels at the outset. Dwayne De Rosario caused the defense a scare in the opening three minutes. The Reds’ best opportunity came from midfielder Nana Attakora who hit the crossbar in the 23rd minute of the match from a shot just outside the box. Seattle defender Tyrone Marshall exited the game after a collision in the 40th minute with De Rosario and was replaced by Patrick Ianni. In the second half, Sounders FC began to assert itself. A pass by Nate Jaqua released Freddie Ljungberg in the 63rd minute but his shot was tipped over the crossbar by TFC keeper Stefan Frei. Seattle nearly took all three points in added time. First, Sebastien Le Toux took a feed from Brad Evans and forced a save from Frei. In the 93rd minute, Osvaldo Alonso forced another save from Frei from close range at the left post.
Sounders FC 1, Kansas City Wizards 0 – April 17, 2010 – Recap
Michael Fucito scored the game-winning goal in second half stoppage time to give Seattle Sounders FC a 1-0 victory over the previously undefeated Wizards on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.
Sounders FC bounced back from a draw at Real Salt Lake while Kansas City, bidding to start 3-0-0 for the first time since 2005, allowed the first goal of the season.
Fucito struck in the 92nd minute. Brad Evans took a quick throw-in which skipped twice before Fucito got his right foot around it and blasted it past Jimmy Nielsen and inside the near post from 10 yards.
Fucito had entered the game as an 85th minute substitute for Steve Zakuani. It was his first MLS goal and it came in the rookie’s second appearance.
Evans was also a substitute, entering the game for Pat Noonan in the 70th minute. Evans now has one goal and one assist in the first four games.
Just seconds after taking the lead, Seattle’s Kasey Keller made a diving save on an 18-yard shot from Chance Myers. In the 50th minute Keller rushed off his line to deny Jack Jewsbury from 16 yards. The shutout was Keller’s second of the season.
Seattle had a goal by Evans called back in the 72nd minute due to offside.
Seattle also had a scoring opportunity in the 10th minute when James Riley took a pass from Fredy Montero on the right side. Riley’s cross found Noonan wide open in front of goal but his first-time shot missed wide left. Four minutes later, Montero turned on a square ball from Noonan and forced Nielsen to bat his 12 yard-drive around the left post.
Tyrone Marshall, who started the 250th match of his MLS career, dealt with a bloody forehead throughout the game after receiving a cut in the 15th minute on a challenge with Kei Kamara.
Kansas City defender Jimmy Conrad was replaced by Matt Besler in the 32nd minute when he left the game with a strained calf.
Zakuani, Riley and Evans were all issued yellow cards. It was the second yellow card of the season for Riley.
Nkufo Update
Blaise Nkufo’s remarkable run with Holland’s FC Twente continued last week as the Swiss striker put his club one win away from its first championship in 84 years. In his final home appearance at Enschede, Nkufo scored the first goal of the 2-0 win over Feyenoord on Sunday. It avenged a loss to Feyenoord in the Dutch cup semifinals last month. He now has 12 league goals for the season and a club-record 114 for his career. Twente visits NAC Breda on May 2 in the final game of the season. Ajax trails Twente by a single point and plays at NEC Nijmegen the same day.Nkufo signed with the Sounders FC on March 4, and will join the team in July following the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Sounders FC Top Attendances
The top 10 attendances are as follows:

66,848     August 5, 2009          Seattle v Barcelona (friendly)
65,289     July 18, 2009            Seattle v Chelsea (friendly)
36,241     March 25, 2010           Seattle v Philadelphia
36,066     April 3, 2010           Seattle v New York
35,924     April 17, 2010           Seattle v Kansas City
35,807     October 29, 2009        Seattle v Houston (MLS playoffs)
33,108     October 24, 2009        Seattle v FC Dallas
32,776     August 20, 2009          Seattle v New England
32,740     September 19, 2009       Seattle v Chivas USA
32,680     August 29, 2009          Seattle v Toronto FC
*46,011     November 22, 2009        MLS Cup (Real Salt Lake v L.A.)

FC Dallas Notables
The last time Sounders FC faced FC Dallas, the Texans were riding a four-game win streak. FCD has not won since, drawing with Houston and Columbus at home before falling at New York. In 2009, it started out 1-6-3 in the first 10 matches. Dallas has scored first in the last two games. Forward Jeff Cunningham led MLS in scoring last year with 17 goals and has scored once this season. His total of 122 goals is No. 2 all-time to Jamie Moreno (132) of D.C. United.
FC Dallas Connections
Jeff Cunningham, like Tyrone Marshall, is a native of Jamaica and they were Toronto FC teammates in 2007 and 2008. Cunningham now represents the USA internationally. Sigi Schmid coached goalkeeper Kevin Hartman for two seasons at UCLA. They were together again with the L.A. Galaxy, winning the 2001 U.S. Open Cup and the 2002 MLS Cup. While with the Galaxy, Hartman was a teammate of Marshall and Peter Vagenas (also a UCLA teammate for one season). James Riley and midfielder Daniel Hernandez played together at New England during the 2005-07 seasons. Dallas midfielder George John hails from Shoreline, Washington, and played for the University of Washington from 2005-08. Colombian defender Jair Benitez is currently on loan to FCD from Deportivo Cali, the same club of origin for Seattle’s Fredy Montero and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.
Toronto FC Notables
The Reds are in their first season under Preki, who spent the past three years with Chivas USA. All three losses have been on the road, where Toronto has yielded nine goals. Seven of the 10 goals allowed this season have come in the second half. Dwayne De Rosario has scored each of the club’s four goals and enters the week second in MLS scoring behind Edson Buddle (7) of the Galaxy.
Toronto FC Connections
Tyrone Marshall spent two seasons playing for Toronto FC (2007-08) before Seattle obtained him in a 2009 pre-season trade. Preki has roots in Puget Sound soccer, arriving in Tacoma from Yugoslavia in 1985 to play indoors for the Tacoma Stars of the Major Indoor Soccer League. He was a teammate of current Sounders FC assistant Brian Schmetzer for the Stars. Preki set franchise records with 219 goals and 227 assists in 247 regular season games. Patrick Ianni and Chad Barrett played one season together at UCLA in 2003-04. Ianni and Nate Jaqua were teammates of Dwayne De Rosario while playing in Houston. De Rosario also played with Seattle forward Roger Levesque in San Jose in 2003 and 2005. Three players in the match-up hail from Gambia: Seattle’s Sanna Nyassi and Toronto’s Emmanuel Gomez and Amadou Sanyang.
Training List
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
Patrick Ianni and Peter Vagenas each saw their first action of the season last week. Ianni came on in stoppage time for Freddie Ljungberg. Vagenas played the full 90 minutes…Tyrone Marshall made the 250th start of his MLS career versus Kansas City…The reserves and invitees defeated Gonzaga, 2-1, last Sunday…Sounders FC will be seeking its first win versus a Western Conference foe in Dallas…Brad Evans turns 25 on Tuesday…Seattle is now 9-3-6 in regular season home matches, allowing only 11 goals. It has allowed more than one goal only once with a GAA of 0.61…Seattle has scored three goals in the last two games while being credited with only eight shots and four corner kicks. This comes on the heels of 17 shots and 12 corners in being shut-out at home by New York…Seattle is 12-1-4 all-time when scoring first and13-1-9 when scoring at least one goal…Seattle is 0-1-2 in Texas, earning road draws last year at Dallas and Houston but falling, 1-0, in extra time to the Dynamo in last year’s playoffs…This week’s match dates in Seattle soccer history: April 22, 1989 – FC Seattle opens the Western Soccer League season with a 3-1 win at Arizona. Eddie Henderson, Peter Hattrup and Brent Goulet scored. April 25, 1976 – The Sounders played their first NASL game in the Kingdome, defeating Portland in overtime, 1-0, on a penalty kick by Geoff Hurst.


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