Energized by a dramatic road victory, the Seattle Sounders FC seeks a possible move into second place in the Western Conference when it hosts the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. First kick is 12 noon on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.
Seattle (3-3-3, 12 points) is back home for three of its next four games prior to the World Cup break. It hosts Argentina’s Boca Juniors in a friendly on May 26 at 7:30 p.m. Sounders FC snapped a four-game winless run and earned its first road win at New York, 1-0, last week.
Tied for second in the West, San Jose (4-2-1, 13 points) is off to its best start since re-entering Major League Soccer as an expansion team in 2008. The Earthquakes, who gave-up a league- high 50 goals last season, have held the opposition scoreless in each of the last three matches, winning twice and drawing 0-0 at New England last week.
Sounders FC is 2-2-1 at home and has never lost two consecutive games at home. The Los Angeles Galaxy dealt Seattle a record home loss, 4-0, on May 8. San Jose is 1-1-1 on the road this year.
Seattle is still looking for its first three points against a West opponent. To date, it has gone 0-1-2 within the conference and 3-2-1 versus the East.
Saturday’s match can be seen live on both Fox Soccer Channel, nationally, and, locally, KONG 6/16. Arlo White’s call of the action will also be heard on News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM. In Spanish the match can be heard on 1210 AM Ke Buena with Rene Aleman, Noe Menendez and Victor Hernandez.
For tickets to Sounders FC home matches, call 1-877-MLS-GOAL or visit www.soundersfc.com.
Following the Boca Juniors match, Seattle resumes MLS play at Colorado on May 29. First kick is at 6 p.m. PT. Sounders FC hosts the New England Revolution on June 5 and D.C. United on June 10.
Upcoming Competition Schedule (All times Pacific)
Saturday, May 22, 12 p.m. – San Jose Earthquakes, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle
Wednesday, May 26, 7:30 p.m. – Boca Juniors, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle
Saturday, May 29, 6 p.m. – at Colorado Rapids, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colo.
Saturday, June 5, 7:30 p.m. – New England Revolution, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle
Saturday, June 10, 7 p.m. – D.C. United, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle
Young & Impressionable
Seattle’s youngest players have been at the forefront of the past two matches. Against Los Angeles, 18-year-old Colombian forward Miguel Montano injected energy into the attack upon his debut in the second half. At New York, 21-year-old Sanna Nyassi made the starting XI and repeatedly tested the Red Bulls defense with his speed and quick change of direction. Nyassi finished with three shots, including an attempt on an open net in the 53rd minute which was cleared by a defender. He also suffered three fouls.
Seven of the players used by Sigi Schmid at New York were 25 or under: Nyassi (21), Steve Zakuani (22), Nathan Sturgis (22), Fredy Montero (22), Patrick Ianni (24), Brad Evans (25) and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (who turned 26 the next day, May 16).
Montero on the Mark
Fredy Montero was back on the mark, scoring the dramatic late goal at New York. It was Montero’s third goal of the season and his first in four matches. In the 85th minute he brought down a lofted ball from Brad Evans in the box, warded off defender Mike Petke and slipped his left-footed shot past Bouna Coundoul from close range. It was the first goal scored by Montero as a substitute; he came on in the 78th minute. His only other non-starting appearance was at Toronto FC on April 25. Montero has scored four of his 15 career goals versus New York.
There was good news on the fitness front with respect to forwards last week. Pat Noonan was available for selection and played the final minutes at New York. Noonan had missed three games with a hamstring strain suffered at FC Dallas on April 22. Nate Jaqua is nearing his return following his first week of full training. Jaqua, the club’s No. 2 scorer with nine goals and seven assists in 2009, was placed on the disabled list on March 25 with a lower abdominal injury. Michael Fucito, another forward, was placed on the disabled list last week with a knee injury and Miguel Montano was out last week with a groin strain.
Aches in the Middle
While the forward ranks are on the mend, those in the midfield are facing a variety of fitness issues. Osvaldo Alonso missed his first match of the season with a quadriceps strain last week. Alonso had played every minute of the first seven matches but was forced to come off in the 37th minute of the L.A. game. Peter Vagenas has started four in a row and six of the last seven, however he left the New York game with a quad strain in the 66th minute.
Marshall on 4 Yellows
Central defender Tyrone Marshall was issued his fourth caution of the season at New York. Players receive a one-game suspension after accumulating five. The season total could be rolled back from four to three if a player goes three consecutive games without a card. There have been no suspensions for Sounders FC players this season.
Note: Time Change for July 25
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field first kick on July 25 has been changed to 7:30 p.m. PT. The match will be nationally televised on Fox Soccer Channel.
Regaining Defensive Form
Seattle’s defense, which shared the MLS top mark in 2009 with only 29 goals allowed in 30 matches, regained that form in New York. After surrendering 12 goals in eight games this season, the Sounders held the Red Bull scoreless for the first time on the road. It has allowed nine goals in the last five outings. Last season through nine games, Seattle had allowed just six goals.
Participate in Food Drive
The Seattle Sounders FC, QFC, and Food Lifeline are encouraging fans to bring non-perishable food or cash donations to the Sounders FC match at Qwest Field on Saturday, May 22. The first 3,500 fans to donate will receive a Sounders FC whiteboard, compliments of QFC.
Volunteers from Food Lifeline will be available at all gates to accept contributions. The donations will assist Food Lifeline, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending hunger in Western Washington. Food Lifeline makes every penny count, with 95% of every donation going directly toward feeding hungry people.
Fans can also drop-off non-perishable food in collection bins at their neighborhood QFC or donate online at www.foodlifeline.org
Emerald Spire Presented by the Fans
The Seattle Sounders FC and Chihuly Studio announced an opportunity for a Sounders FC fan aged 16 years or younger to participate in pre-match activities prior to this year’s Boca Junior’s match on May 26 and Celtic FC match on July 18 at Qwest Field. The winner will also receive a glassblowing demonstration at Chihuly Studio to see how the Emerald Spire award was created.
Fans are invited to submit an essay of 200 words or less on how the nominee best exemplifies the Sounders FC core values: Passion, Community, Courage and Excellence. Winners will be selected by a Sounders FC front office committee and members of Team Chihuly.
Seattle won two of the three meetings with San Jose in 2009, with each team prevailing at home.
Sounders FC 2, San Jose Earthquakes 0 – April 25, 2009 – Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field
Rookie forward Steve Zakuani scored a goal and assisted on another as Seattle snapped a two-game losing streak. Kasey Keller made five saves to earn his fourth shutout and his 389 minutes of scoreless soccer sets an MLS record for consecutive scoreless minutes to start a season. Zakuani scored the first Sounders FC goal in the 38th minute. A free kick by Freddie Ljungberg bounced around in the box before settling at the feet of Tyrone Marshall who sent a quick far post cross to the head of Zakuani for the finish and his second goal of the season. Zakuani’s goal in the 42nd minute of last week’s game ended a stretch of 267 minutes without a goal for Seattle.
Sounders FC 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1 – June 13, 2009 – Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field
In the second meeting, Freddie Ljungberg and Fredy Montero led the way, each contributing a goal and an assist, as Seattle won for the first time in seven matches. Sounders FC opened the scoring shortly before halftime. Deep in the Earthquakes’ end, Montero stripped the ball off the feet of defender Jason Hernandez. He quickly found Sebastian Le Toux whose one-touch pass slipped in Ljungberg behind the defense for his second goal of the season past San Jose goalkeeper Joe Cannon. Montero scored what proved to be the decisive goal in the 59th minute off a play started by a Ljungberg corner kick. Montero converted re-directed header by Patrick Ianni to fall at the far post for a 2-0 lead. San Jose’s lone goal came midway through the second half. A pass from Montero was intercepted by Shea Salinas in the Sounders’ defensive third. He passed wide to forward Ryan Johnson whose cross inside the box across the face of the goal was finished by midfielder Darren Huckerby. Two regular starters, forward Nate Jaqua and central defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, missed the match through suspension. Patrick Ianni replaced Marshall and Le Toux was paired with Montero up front.
San Jose Earthquakes 4, Sounders FC 0 – August 2, 2009 – Buck Shaw Stadium
Shea Salinas assisted on two goals as San Jose dealt Seattle its worst loss of the season and ended a seven-game unbeaten run by Seattle. The Sounders FC started a stretch of three consecutive road games with a crucial mistake in the opening 90 seconds. San Jose’s Ryan Johnson crossed from the left corner and Osvaldo Alonso, running back toward his own net, deflected the ball past Keller for an own goal. The best Sounders FC opportunity in the first half came in the 27th minute. Seattle played a man down for the final 67 minutes. A red card was shown to James Riley following a foul on Darren Huckerby in the 33rd minute. Earthquakes keeper Joe Cannon misplayed a ball at his feet and Sebastien Le Toux poked it toward goal before Cannon recovered and retrieved it. San Jose struck three times in the second half. Following a feed from Salinas, Cornell Glen drilled a low, 18-yard shot into the left corner in the 54th minute to make it 2-0. Huckerby put it out of reach in the 77th minute, scoring from close range after the Seattle defense failed to clear his initial shot. Salinas had the key pass on a 84th minute counterattack, finding Chris Wondolowski for the fourth goal. The closest chance came in the 76th minute when Osvaldo Alonso stripped a defender and hit the crossbar from the left wing. San Jose, which had gone winless in its previous four games, finished with a 16-4 advantage in shots and forced Keller to make a season-high 10 saves. The Sounders FC played without all-star midfielder Freddie Ljungberg who was serving a one-game suspension after receiving a red card against Chicago.
Earthquakes goalkeeper Joe Cannon has four shutouts, second most in MLS, and has allowed seven goals for a goals against average of 1. Cannon enters the match with the league’s longest active shutout streak of 273 minutes, last allowing a goal against Chivas USA on April 24. Chris Wondolowski leads the team with four goals, ranking him fourth in MLS. Ike Opara has added two goals and four other Earthquakes have scored this season. Bobby Convey is second in the league with five assists and Ryan Johnson is fourth with four assists this season. Defender Jason Hernandez is the only San Jose player that has played every minute in the first seven games for a team-high 630 minutes played.
Seattle’s starting right back James Riley was selected by San Jose in the 2007 expansion draft following three years in New England. Sounders FC took him from the Earthquakes in the 2008 expansion draft. Riley played in 24 games for San Jose, starting 23.
Sounders FC/Earthquakes Connections
Sounders FC forward Roger Levesque started his professional career with San Jose before he joined the Sounders in the USL after several loan stints. Levesque played a total of four MLS games for the Quakes (2003-05). He was selected by San Jose with the 23rd overall pick in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. Earthquakes defender Chris Leitch played under Sounders FC Coach Sigi Schmid in 2006 for Columbus, starting 18 of 24 appearances. Earthquakes assistant coach Ian Russell is a former USL-1 Sounder who helped form the nucleus of two championship teams in San Jose from 2001-03. The former University of Washington standout played a total of six seasons in the league, playing for the USL-1 Sounders in 1998 and ’99. San Jose’s top scorer Chris Wondolowski played on the Houston Dynamo (2006-09) alongside Patrick Ianni (2006-08) and Nate Jaqua (2007, 2008).Tacoma native Joey Gjertsen returns to the Pacific Northwest where he played one season for the Tacoma Titans in 2001 and two seasons for Evergreen State in 2003-04. Gjertsen has appeared in all seven games for the Earthquakes this season, starting six. The rookie midfielder has one goal and one assist.
Sounders FC 1, New York Red Bulls 0 – May 15, 2010 – Recap
Fredy Montero scored the game-winning goal in the 85th minute to give the Sounders FC a 1-0 victory over the Eastern Conference leading New York Red Bulls at the brand new Red Bull Arena on Saturday night.
Seattle captured its first road win of the season and earned an important three points to lift out of last place in the Western Conference.
New York Red Bulls lost its second consecutive game and concedes its first loss at Red Bull Arena.
Montero came off the bench as a second half substitute in the 77th minute for Sanna Nyassi. Just eight minutes after entering the match, Montero struck for his team-high third goal of the season.
Montero got behind the Red Bulls defense and took a ball from Brad Evans. Montero controlled the ball with his chest to his thigh and rolled it past keeper Bouna Coundoul with his left foot.
It was Evans’ team-high second game-winning assist of the season.
Sounders FC defense put forth a strong effort throughout the game to help Kasey Keller earn his third shutout of the season.
After a scoreless first half, Seattle’s offense attacked early and often in the second, resulting in a 15-8 advantage in shots (4-1 on goal) and 6-2 on corners.
In the 53rd minute, Nyassi beat Coundoul to the ball and slid a shot toward goal that was stopped just short by a sliding New York defender.
Nyassi fired another dangerous shot in the 46th minute from just outside of the 18 that missed wide right.
Seattle evened the season series with New York who won 1-0 on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field on April 3.
Nyassi started up top along with Evans and Steve Zakuani as the 4-3-3 formation was retained and Patrick Ianni started for the first time this season in the midfield.
Forward Pat Noonan entered the match in the 89th minute for his first action since suffering a hamstring injury at Dallas.
Peter Vagenas left the match in the 65th minute with a leg injury. He was replaced by Nathan Sturgis.
Osvaldo Alonso sat out of the match due to a thigh injury suffered last week in the 37th minute against L.A. Galaxy. Miguel Montano was also held out due to a groin injury.
Drew Carey Invites Sounders FC Fans to Help Prevent Malaria in Africa
Seattle Sounders FC announced the launch of a six-week fundraising campaign to help raise money and awareness for the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign-a global, grassroots initiative to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Sounders FC owner Drew Carey and midfielder Sanna Nyassi will serve as honorary co-chairs of the fundraising initiative that will begin on May 1 and run through June 10.
Long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets are one of the most effective methods of preventing the spread of malaria. A $10 donation allows Nothing But Nets to purchase a net, deliver it to a family, and educate on its use. Fans who donate $30 or more will receive a limited edition Drew Carey bobblehead.
Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Inspired by sports columnist Rick Reilly, hundreds of thousands of people have joined the campaign that was created by the United Nations Foundation in 2006. It costs just $10 to provide a long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net to prevent this deadly disease. Visit www.NothingButNets.net to send a net and save a life. To date, Nothing But Nets has raised more than $30 million and distributed over 3 million nets to protect children and families in Africa. One bed net can protect a family of four for up to five years.
Sounders FC Announce Two International Friendlies
Sounders FC will host Argentina’s Boca Juniors on May 26 and Scotland’s Celtic on July 18 on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.
The two friendlies are part of the 18-match season-ticket holder package. A third match will be announced soon. Tickets are now on sale for Boca Juniors. Tickets will go on sale for Celtic on Tuesday, June 1 at 10 a.m. Tickets will be available at www.soundersfc.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, the Qwest Field Box Office, or by calling 800-745-3000.
Boca Juniors is Argentina’s most popular club, as well as the most successful on the international front, with three world club championships and six Copa Libertadores (South America titles). Boca, founded in 1905 and named for the Buenos Aires neighborhood of La Boca, wears a distinctive all blue strip with a yellow panel across the chest. Among its famous players is Diego Maradona, the co-player of the 20th century who retired there in 1997.
Celtic is making its fourth trip to Seattle and its third to Qwest Field. Winners of a record 34 Scottish cups and 42 league championships, the “Bhoys” from Glasgow boast a huge worldwide fan base. They are instantly recognizable for their green-and-white hooped jerseys. Celtic was the first British club to win a European championship in 1967. It met the NASL Sounders in 1981, and returned to face Manchester United in 2003 and Chelsea in 2004.
Jeff Parke Signed
Sounders FC completed the signing of defender Jeff Parke on May 13. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms were not disclosed. Parke will officially be added to the Sounders FC roster and be available for selection pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC).
Parke, 28, was selected by Seattle in the 2009 MLS Expansion Draft however he opted to sign with the United Soccer Leagues First Division Vancouver Whitecaps.
From 2004 to 2008 Parke was a fixture of the New York Red Bulls backline, playing 132 matches for the club.
Parke will begin training with Seattle on Tuesday, May 18.
The Run of Play
Despite allowing 12 goals in its first nine games, Sounders FC defense remains confident in the run of play. Six of the 12 goals allowed have come off dead ball situations. New York’s Macoumba Kandji scored from a corner in the 21st minute at Qwest Field. Real Salt Lake’s Alvaro Saborio headed in a corner to earn the draw in second half stoppage time. Jeff Cunningham added two penalty kicks at Dallas. And Landon Donovan served a corner to Omar Gonzalez in the 52nd minute and a free kick to Todd Dunivant in the 57th minute. Sounders FC defense has a 0.67 goals allowed average in the run of play.
Among the Leaders
Freddie Ljungberg is 1st in corner kicks with 35. Ljungberg is third among MLS leaders in fouls suffered with 20. Kasey Keller is tied for third in MLS goalkeeping shutouts with three. Montero is tied for eighth in assists with three, and 11th in goals scored with three. Montero is fourth in shots taken with 25. Brad Evans is tied for second in game-winning assists with two.
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)
36,273 May 8, 2010 Seattle v Los Angeles
36,241 March 25, 2010 Seattle v Philadelphia
36,219 May 1, 2010 Seattle v Columbus
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
*46,011 November 22, 2009 MLS Cup (Real Salt Lake v L.A.)
The following players are currently training with Sounders FC: Goalkeepers (4): Terry Boss, Derby Carillo*, Chris Eylander*, Kasey Keller; Defenders (10): Taylor Graham, Leo Gonzalez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Tyrone Marshall, Jeff Parke, James Riley, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl, Jamel Wallace#; Midfielders (9): Osvaldo Alonso, Raphael Cox*, David Estrada, Brad Evans, Freddie Ljungberg, Sanna Nyassi, Michael Seamon#, Nathan Sturgis, Peter Vagenas; Forwards (7): Michael Fucito, Nate Jaqua, Roger Levesque, Miguel Montano, Fredy Montero, Pat Noonan, Steve Zakuani.
#SuperDraft selection, *invitee
The May 22 home match with San Jose will now be carried by Fox Soccer Channel as well as KONG 6/16…Michael Fucito will sign autographs at the Pro Shop @ Qwest Field on Tuesday, May 18 from 6:00pm – 7:00pm…Michael Seamon returns to training this week after graduating from Villanova University this past Saturday…With 15 shots attempted last week, Seattle now has 51 over the past four matches. It’s the highest four-game total since shooting 55 times in matches 12-15 of 2009…This week’s match date in Seattle soccer history: May 22, 1976. NASL Sounders host Scotland’s Rangers in the club’s first international friendly, losing 1-0 at the Kingdome…Ten of Seattle’s 15 regular season victories have been by shutout, including each of the three wins this season… Sounders FC will learn their fate on May 19 when CONCACAF Champions League draw will set the Preliminary Round pairings and Group Stage brackets.The first leg of the Preliminary Round will be July 27-29 with the second leg a week later. The winners will advance to the six-round Group Stage, which will begin August 17-19.