Sounders FC News and Notes – April 26, 2010
Seattle Sounders FC returns home for the first in a series of challenging matches, facing the Supporters’ Shield holder Columbus Crew on Saturday night. First kick is set for 7:30 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.
Sounders FC plays its next two matches at home and three of the four fixtures during the month of May. Third in the Western Conference, Seattle (2-2-2, 8 points) is eager to bounce back from a pair of disappointing results during its first two-match road trip last week.
Columbus (2-0-1, 7 points) is one of two remaining unbeaten clubs in MLS and is tied for second place in the East. The Crew posted a 1-0 home win over Real Salt Lake last week. The undefeated L.A. Galaxy, leader of the West, visits Seattle on May 8.
KING 5 and News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM will broadcast Saturday’s game with Arlo White calling the play. In Spanish the match can be seen on THIS-TV (Comcast channel 114) with Jaime Mendez and Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar and heard on 1210 AM Ke Buena with Rene Aleman, Noe Menendez and Victor Hernandez.
Seattle won last year’s series with Columbus by virtue of a 1-0 win at Crew Stadium on October 3, snapping an MLS record 22-game home unbeaten run. The two sides battled to a 1-1 draw in the initial meeting on May 30.
Columbus won MLS Cup 2008 in Sigi Schmid’s final match as head coach. The Crew finished with the league’s highest point total each of the last two seasons. In 2009 Columbus did so despite starting the season winless (0-2-5) in the first seven.
Following the Galaxy game at 1 p.m. on May 8, Seattle travels to Red Bull Arena to play New York on May 15.
Upcoming Competition Schedule (All times Pacific)
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
Saturday, May 22, 12 p.m. – San Jose Earthquakes, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle
Saturday, May 29, 6 p.m. – at Colorado Rapids, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colo.
After dealing with some difficult circumstances away, it will be especially nice for the Sounders FC to come home this week. Playing on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field has often proven a cure for whatever ails the club. Passionate capacity crowds have helped lift the spirits and performances of both players and coaches. Sounders FC is 9-3-6 in regular season home matches and only once have allowed more than one goal. Seattle has allowed only four goals in its last 11 at home, including playoffs.
A Month to be Tied?
May was one weird month in the inaugural season. In five MLS regular season matches played in May of 2009, Sounders FC drew them all. Seattle finished level with Chicago (1-1), L.A. (1-1), FC Dallas (1-1), Colorado (2-2) and Columbus (1-1).
Better Days Ahead
Sounders FC has shown a knack for bouncing back. In its last 16 games dating back to last season, the attack has not been shutout in consecutive regular season games nor has the club lost two straight. Seattle has been playing without Nate Jaqua, its No. 2 scorer from last season, and he will be eligible for activation from the disabled list in May. Although it allowed four goals in drawing at FC Dallas (2-2) and losing at Toronto FC (0-2) last week, it was the first time the defense has allowed multiple goals in consecutive games.
Since the season opening win against Philadelphia there have been some strange correlations between offensive statistics and goal production. In its two losses this year, Sounders FC has averaged 14 shots and 9.5 corner kicks yet no goals. Seattle scored a total of five goals against Real Salt Lake (2-2), Kansas City (1-0) and FC Dallas (2-2) while being credited with an average of 4.7 shots and 1.7 corners.
Fredy from 40
Fredy Montero has scored some memorable goals in his young career, and none was more spectacular than his deed against FC Dallas. From a distance of 40 yards, Montero scored his free kick rising above the opponent’s wall, then swerving and dipping into the upper left corner. It was the first time a Seattle player has scored directly from a free kick. Montero now has 14 career goals.
Zakuani a Road Terror
Steve Zakuani scored the first goal at FC Dallas, breaking down the left wing to take a piercing through ball from Osvaldo Alonso and finishing to the far post from 12 yards. Five of Zakuani’s six careers goals have come on the road. Seattle is 4-0-2 when Zakuani scores. His only goal scored at home came against San Jose on April 25, 2009.
FC Dallas and Jeff Cunningham became the first opponent to be awarded and score two penalty kicks in one game. Beforehand, Seattle had faced only three penalties with two missing the mark. Sounders FC has earned two penalty kicks but has yet to convert.
Late, Late Scores
The draw in Dallas marked the third straight in which the outcome was determined in stoppage time. Jeff Cunningham’s second penalty occurred in the 94th minute. Five days earlier Michael Fucito scored Seattle’s game-winner against Kansas City in the 92nd minute. The stoppage time streak began on April 10 when Real Salt Lake clinched a draw with a score in the 93rd minute. Previously, neither Sounders FC nor the opposition had scored in stoppage time of a regular season match.
Sounders FC to Don Electricity
The Seattle Sounders FC revealed their third kit on April 20 at the team’s Pro Shop at Pacific Place. The third kit is Electricity, highlighted by Rave Green trim. The uniform also features a one-color Sounders FC badge on the left chest.
“A third kit is traditional among many international soccer clubs,” said Sounders FC owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer. “We will wear the third kit for international friendlies, possibly for some cup matches, and whenever Sigi feels like the “electricity” might bring us a result.”
The performance design cues carry over with adidas FORMOTION and CLIMACOOL. FORMOTION technology allows the uniforms to move naturally with the athlete’s body resulting in ideal comfort while in motion. CLIMACOOL technology combines moisture wicking fabric with strategically placed mesh material in the player’s heat zones to keep the athlete at optimum temperature.
“These are really great kits,” said Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero. “We are going to help the stadium save money on the electricity bill.”
Fans can purchase the third kit at the Pacific Place and Qwest Field Pro Shop’s or through the team’s website.
For more information on Sounders FC merchandise visit http://proshop.soundersfc.com.
Changes in the XI
The Sounders FC lineup remained in flux during the road trip last week. Seattle, which has yet to field the same starting XI in consecutive games this season, featured rookie David Estrada making his first start and Roger Levesque returning to forward at FC Dallas. At Toronto, Freddie Ljungberg was back in the XI at forward. Sanna Nyassi, Patrick Ianni, Nathan Sturgis and Tyson Wahl got their first starts of the year. Only Osvaldo Alonso and Tyrone Marshall have played every minute this season
Nyassi: MLS April Humanitarian of the Month
Sanna Nyassi has been named the MLS Humanitarian of the Month for April. Nyassi, who twice contracted and beat malaria during his childhood, served as the Sounders FC ambassador for the Nothing But Nets cause in 2009. The team and its supporters raised over $30,000 as part of a four team challenge which allowed for more than 3,000 insecticide-trested bed nets to be distributed. Nyassi and Sounders FC co-owner Drew Carey will serve as co-chairs for the 2010 Nothing But Nets Campaign.
Among the Leaders
Fredy Montero and Freddie Ljungberg are 1-2 among MLS leaders in fouls suffered (14 and 13, respectively). Kasey Keller is tied for third in MLS goalkeeping shutouts with two.Montero and Osvaldo Alonso are tied forth fourth in assists with two apiece.
Columbus Series Recap
Sounders FC 1, Columbus Crew 1 – May 30, 2009 – Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field (Match 11)
Nate Jaqua scored the tying goal in the 58th minute to split the points with the defending champion Crew in Sigi Schmid’s first encounter with his former club. Columbus opened the scoring in the 12th minute of the match on a lunging header by Alejandro Moreno. On a quickly taken free kick, Jed Zayner slipped the ball up the right flank for Pat Noonan, whose cross found Moreno open at the far post for the finish past Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller. Keller came off his line to stop Moreno from close range in the 18th minute, but Freddie Ljungberg, returning to the lineup following a two-match absence due to a migraine, had a chance to pull Seattle even in the first half. After running on to Steve Zakuani’s ball on the left side of the box, he was brought down by Zayner, resulting in Seattle’s first penalty kick. Ljungberg stepped to the spot but sent his shot wide of the left post in the 32nd minute. Early in the second half, Ljungberg assisted on the tying goal. He lobbed a ball behind the Columbus defense and near the right post for Jaqua’s 10-yard volley into the upper left corner of the net. It was the second equalizing goal for Jaqua in as many matches and the fifth consecutive tie for the Sounders FC. Seattle finished the match a man down for the fourth time after defender Tyrone Marshall was sent off the field in the 92nd minute of the match with a red card after a tussle with Steven Lenhart. Sounders FC remained unbeaten (4-0-5) with Keller going the distance. With Osvaldo Alonso out (quadriceps strain), Brad Evans returned to attacking midfield. Tyson Wahl got his first start at left back.
Sounders FC 1, Columbus 0 – October 3, 2009 – Crew Stadium (Match 28)
Seattle snapped an MLS record 22-game home unbeaten streak by Columbus and all but assured itself of a playoff berth by blanking the Eastern Conference leaders as Sigi Schmid made his first visit to Columbus since winning MLS Cup 2008. Sounders FC secured its lead in the 36th minute. Brad Evans played Fredy Montero into the box. Crew keeper William Hesmer got to the ball first but could not hold it. Roger Levesque located the rebound near the top of the area and slotted it into the back of the net for his first career MLS goal. The final 20 minutes were tense. In the 70th minute Tyrone Marshall twice saved Seattle. First, Marshall used an overhead kick to clear Steven Lenhart’s header from crossing the goal line. A moment later, a long-range drive by Kevin Burns was deflected wide of the right post by Marshall’s outstretched leg. The Sounders FC dodged yet another bullet in the 83rd minute. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado brought down Eddie Gaven, resulting in a Crew penalty kick. Guillermo Barros Schelotto took the spot kick but steered his shot wide left. Osvaldo Alonso nearly doubled the advantage to 2-0 in the 75th minute. Alonso’s 20-yard attempt caromed off the right post, then the back of Hesmer before spinning out for a corner kick. Seattle dodged a final bullet in the 82nd minute when Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was called for a foul inside the box, earning the Crew a penalty kick. Guillermo Barros Schelotto missed the goal wide left. Sounders FC wore its all blue strip for the fourth time on the road and remained unbeaten (3-0-1) doing so.
Sounders FC 2, FC Dallas 2 – April 22, 2010 – Recap
Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani scored goals but Jeff Cunningham answered with a pair of penalty kicks, the second coming in the fourth minute of stoppage time for FC Dallas.
Sounders FC remained unbeaten with two draws on the road while FC Dallas was unable to notch its first win.
The first Dallas penalty kick came in the 27th minute. Kasey Keller collided with Cunningham as the two converged on a loose ball near the top of the box. Cunningham placed his spot kick in the lower left corner of the net.
Steve Zakuani equalized for Seattle shortly before halftime. Osvaldo Alonso split the defense with a ball up the left flank. Zakuani took it and drove into the box before shooting past Dario Sala to the far corner. It was Zakuani’s second goal and Alonso’s second assist of the season.
Fredy Montero put Seattle ahead, 2-1, in the 55th minute with a spectacular free kick from 40 yards. Montero whipped the ball over the FC Dallas wall and into the upper left corner for his second goal of the season.
In the 94th minute, John Yeisley went to the ground after attempting to split two Sounders FC defenders in the box. On the ensuing penalty, Cunningham converted after sending Terry Boss the wrong direction. It was the 124th MLS goal for Cunningham, who is second in the career list.
Boss made his MLS debut in the second half. Keller left the match at halftime after experiencing blurred vision resulting from the Cunningham collision.
Freddie Ljungberg came off the bench for the first time this season, replacing Montero in the 78th minute. In addition, rookie David Estrada made his first MLS start.
Sounders FC 0, Toronto FC 2 – April 25, 2010 – Recap
After a strong first-half showing Seattle allowed two second half goal and dropped the second leg of the two-match road trip in the rain and wind at BMO Field.
Dwayne De Rosario scored the game-winner in the 58th minute and assisted on the second Reds score. After a Toronto FC cross hit the referee, De Rosario dispossessed Osvaldo Alonso at the top of the box and fired a shot into the right side netting of the far post.
De Rosario scored the first five Toronto goals this season. After another Sounders FC turnover in the 76th minute he also figured in the second Toronto FC goal. He found O’Brian White who was isolated against Kasey Keller.
Keller had saved an 18-yard drive by White in the first half.
Stefan Frei thwarted Sounders FC with foot saves off Nathan Sturgis and Brad Evans early in the second half, then kept the shutout intact by batting down a close-range blast from Fredy Montero in the 83rd minute.
Steve Zakuani entered the match in the 60th minute for Sanna Nyassi. On his first touch, Zakuani played a ball through the Toronto FC defense to Brad Evans who fired a one-time shot on goal that was deflected out of bounds by the keeper.
Seattle had the advantage in total shots, 11-5 (4-3 on goal) and 7-5 on corners.
Four Sounders FC players earned their first start of the season: Patrick Ianni, Nyassi, Sturgis and Tyson Wahl. Brad Evans started up top with Freddie Ljungberg, marking the first time Evans started at forward for Seattle. Montero came on in the 71st minute.
Blaise Nkufo seeks to end his record-setting seven-year career with Holland’s FC Twente on a high note this Sunday. With a victory at NAC Breda, Twente will win its first championship in 84 years. Dutch cup winner Ajax trails Twente by a single point and plays at NEC Nijmegen on Sunday. Nkufo is Twente’s all-time scoring leader with 114 goals in the Eredivisie, including 12 this season. He 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.)
Head coach Sigi Schmid served three seasons at the helm of the Crew, guiding Columbus to its first MLS Cup championship in November 2008. Schmid’s Columbus teams were 34-33-25 and he was named MLS Coach of the year in 2008. In addition to Schmid, Seattle midfielder Brad Evans, forward Pat Noonan and assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson were on the 2008 Crew squad. Evans scored the game-winning goal for the Crew in a playoff semifinal win. After two years in Columbus he was selected in the expansion draft and has become a regular starter in the Seattle midfield. Noonan joined Columbus in 2008. Last season, Noonan assisted on Alejandro Moreno’s goal in a 1-1 draw at Qwest Field. Hendrickson played his final three seasons for the Crew. Schmid, Evans, Noonan and Hendrickson joined the Columbus MLS Cup championship contingent honored at the White House by President Barack Obama on July 14, 2009.
The College Connection
Steve Zakuani, the No. 1 pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, attended the University of Akron, 126 miles northeast of Columbus. Sounders FC defender James Riley played alongside Columbus midfielder Brian Carroll (2001-02) and goalkeeper William Hesmer (2001-03) at Wake Forest. Sounders FC midfielder Stephen King was a teammate of Columbus forwards Jason Garey (2004-05) and Robbie Rogers (2005) at Maryland. Columbus defender Chad Marshall played with Seattle defender Taylor Graham and forward Roger Levesque at Stanford for one season (2002). Columbus defender/midfielder Frankie Hejduk played three seasons at UCLA under Sigi Schmid. Pat Noonan and Crew midfielder Danny O’Rourke played together for two seasons at Indiana University (2001-02).
The last time Sounders FC faced the Crew, Seattle snapped Columbus’ MLS record 22-game home unbeaten streak and secured a winning record in its inaugural season. The Crew enter week six of the 2010 season unbeaten at 2-0-1, including a 1-0 win over defending MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake last week. Midfielder/forward Guillermo Barros Schelotto has scored three goals in three games and is tied for third in MLS. In its only road game this season, Columbus tied FC Dallas 2-2, allowing a Jeff Cunningham penalty kick and a stoppage time goal.
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
Terry Boss made his MLS debut in goal at FC Dallas. He replaced Kasey Keller, who left at halftime with blurred vision. Keller has started all but one match in the Seattle franchise’s existence…The start time for the August 14 match at Chivas USA has been moved to 8 p.m. PT…Miguel Montano played as a reserve last Friday with the Colombian U-20 national team in a 1-1 draw against Ecuador in Ibarra, Ecuador. Montano returns to training with Seattle on Tuesday.