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

May 25, 2010 at 9:23 AM

Sounders FC weekly release of team news and notes

A pair of matches await Seattle Sounders FC this final week of May as the club seeks to create some momentum going into the World Cup break. Argentina’s legendary Boca Juniors will meet Sounders FC in the first international friendly of the season, on Wednesday night on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. First kick is 7:30 p.m. PT.

Seattle (3-4-3, 12 points) resumes MLS play on Saturday night, visiting the Colorado Rapids (4-3-1, 13 points) at 6 p.m. PT at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. A single point separates the two teams in the Western Conference standings.

The largest crowd of the year will be on hand for the midweek match with Boca Juniors. The Buenos Aires giant, a three-time world champion and winner of six Copa Libertadores titles, will be playing the second match of its three-match American tour. Boca lost to the Los Angeles Galaxy, 1-0, on Sunday night. Its tour concludes on Saturday against the Portland Timbers.

Seattle will don its Electricity kit for the first time on Wednesday night. Over 38,000 tickets have been sold and good seats are still available. For tickets to Sounders FC home matches, call 1-877-MLS-GOAL or visit www.SoundersFC.com.

Sounders FC will go after its second straight road win in Colorado after becoming the first MLS team to win at New York’s Red Bull Arena. Seattle was beaten, 1-0, by San Jose at home last week, leaving the team winless (0-2-2) against the West thus far.

The Rapids beat D.C. United, 1-0, at home on Saturday, snapping a two-game losing streak. They travel to New York for a U.S. Open Cup Play-In match on Wednesday.

Wednesday’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 710 AM ESPN Seattle. In Spanish the match can be heard on 1210 AM Homero with Rene Aleman, Noe Menendez and Victor Hernandez.

On Saturday the match will be carried in English on KONG 6/16, FSN (outside the Seattle area) and News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM. The game can be seen in Spanish on THIS-TV (Digital 4.2/Comcast 114) with Jaime Mendez and Hugo Alcaraz-Cueller and also heard on 1210 AM Homero.

Sounders FC will play twice at home prior to the World Cup break, hosting the New England Revolution on June 5 at 7:30 p.m. PT and D.C. United on June 10 at 7 p.m. PT.

Upcoming Competition Schedule (All times Pacific)

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

Sunday, June 27, 2 p.m. – Philadelphia Union, PPL Park, Chester, Penn.

Sounders FC Announces “Friends & Family 4 Pack” for Boca Juniors Match

Sounders FC announced a “Friends and Family 4 Pack” which will include four match tickets and all you can eat hot dogs, sodas and stadium snacks for $96. These seats are located in the all-inclusive food and beverage sections.

More than 38,000 tickets have been sold to match on May 26. Qwest Field gates open at 6 p.m. and first kick is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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).

Tickets are available at www.SoundersFC.com, by calling 800-745-3000, all Ticketmaster outlets and the Qwest Field Box office. The Qwest Field Box Office will be open on match day at 10 a.m. The Sounders FC Box Office is located at the NW corner of Qwest Field

Fans are recommended to arrive early and participate in the March to the Match and Soccer Celebration.

Injury List Lengthened

Central defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado has become the third player placed on the disabled list after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee. The injury occurred in stoppage time of the loss to San Jose last week. Hurtado was a finalist for MLS Defender of the Year and was an All-Star selection in 2009. Forward Nate Jaqua (lower abdominal fascial tear) has been on the IR since the start of the season and Michael Fucito (knee contusion) was added on May 7.

Rare Occurrence

Boca Juniors becomes the first Argentine side to face a Seattle club at home. Sounders FC players and staff attended a Boca home match at La Bombonera while training in Buenos Aires prior to the 2009 season. In 2007, another Buenos Aires club, Argentinos Juniors, faced Mexico’s Atlas in a friendly at Qwest Field.

Sounders FC/Argentina Connections

Seattle finished its 2009 preseason tour with a 2-1-1 mark in training games against Argentine reserve sides. Sounders FC forward Miguel Montano played the past two years for the reserves of Quilmes Atletico Club, positioned in the fifth tier of the Argentine development structure.

Boca Travel Roster

Goalkeepers – Javier Garcia, Josue Ayala, Sebastian D’Angelo

Defenders -Gaston Sauro, Leandro Aguirre, Hugo Ibarra, Leandro Marin, Luciano Fabian Monzon, Ezequiel Munoz, Breyner Bonilla (Colombia), David Achucarro.

Midfielders – Jesus Mendez, Cristian Erbes, Matias Gimenez, Nicolas Colazo, Gaston Rossi.

Forwards -Pablo Mouche, Lucas Viatri, Nicolas Blandi, Orlando Gaona Lugo (Paraguay), Sergio Araujo.

Head Coach – Roberto Pompei

Seeking a Friendly Victory

Seattle will be looking for its first win in a home international friendly after falling to England’s Chelsea, 2-0, and Spain’s Barcelona, 4-0, last season. Each match was played before crowds in excess of 65,000. Sounders FC hosts Scotland’s Celtic on July 18.

Shots Not Enough

Sounders FC has fired 69 shots in the past five matches yet has gone 1-3-1 and scored just twice in the process. The 18 shots levied at San Jose tied the team record, but included only three on goal. Seattle also took 11 corner kicks-one short of the record-against the Quakes. Each of the four defeats this season has been shutouts, and Sounders FC has totaled 55 shots in those games (16 on goal) and taken 36 corners.

Opportunity Awaits

With no restrictions on the number of substitutes versus Boca, Sigi Schmid will have an opportunity to see several players in match conditions. Jeff Parke will likely see action for the first time since his signing on May 13. Second round draft selection Michael Seamon will be in uniform. The unsigned Seamon joined the team for training last week following his May 15 graduation from Villanova University. Despite being on the IR for MLS play, Nate Jaqua would also be eligible for selection in the friendly.

Rebuilding the Fortress

One of the cornerstones of Seattle’s inaugural season success was its ability to accumulate points at home. Sounders FC lost only twice and finished with a goal differential of 21-10. Following a 2-0 win over Philadelphia on opening night, it has given up seven goals and gone 1-3-1. In six home dates Seattle has attempted 77 shots and earned 49 corners, but it has not scored a home goal in the last 266 minutes.

Take It Away

Seattle’s slow start at home is juxtaposed against a respectable mark of 1-1-2 on the road. Four of those points came against teams currently standing second in their respective conference. Sounders FC won, 1-0, at New York on May 15 on Fredy Montero’s skillful finish in the 85th minute. On April 10 it drew 2-2 at Real Salt Lake. A year ago, Seattle did not notch its second road win until its 10th away game, at L.A. on August 15.

Getting Younger

Sigi Schmid started four players ages 22 and under against San Jose, and also called on a teenager for a substitute. Midfielders Sanna Nyassi (21), Nathan Sturgis (22) and Steve Zakuani (22) joined forward Fredy Montero (22). Miguel Montano (18) replaced Nyassi for the final 28 minutes.

Midfield Depleted

One reason the XI was so young was that several veterans were unavailable due to injuries. In midfield, Peter Vagenas was out with a quadriceps strain and Brad Evans had a knee contusion. Osvaldo Alonso (quadriceps strain) missed his second match of the season but was back in uniform against San Jose. Seattle has not started the same lineup in two consecutive matches this season.

Champions League Draw

Sounders FC will face a yet-to-be-determined Central American team in the Preliminary Round of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League. The pairings were determined by a draw held May 19 at the CONCACAF offices in New York.

The first leg of the Preliminary Round will be July 27-29 with the second leg a week later. The winners advance to the six-round Group Stage, which will begin August 17-19.

Sounders FC will play its home match on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. Competition dates and ticket information will be announced soon.

Winners of the Preliminary Round series will advance to the Group Stage, which begins August 17-19. If Sounders FC advances to the Group Stage, it would join Monterrey (Mexico), Saprissa (Costa Rica) and either Tauro (Panama) or Marathon (Honduras) in Group C.

Seattle earned a berth in the Champions League Preliminary round by virtue of winning the 2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Two Champions League berths were originally allocated to El Salvador, but FIFA has suspended the country due to governmental interference in the federation affairs. The government has until June 8 to comply with FIFA’s non-intervention requirements or its teams will be barred from international competition, including the Champions League – and its berths will be reassigned.

If the ban is lifted, Seattle will face Metapan, which clinched El Salvador’s second berth with a 3-1 win over Aguila in the Clausura final on Sunday. CD FAS qualified for El Salvador’s first berth. Last year Metapan made the Group Stage where it finished fourth.

The Los Angeles Galaxy, last season’s MLS Cup finalist, will also participate in the Preliminary Round. Supporters’ Shield winner Columbus Crew and MLS Cup victor Real Salt Lake have berths in the Group Stage.

The CONCACAF Champions League is open to the leading teams from federations throughout North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Pachuca of Mexico won the 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League last month. It finished tied, 2-2 on aggregate, with Cruz Azul, but prevailed on away goals. Pachuca will represent CONCACAF in the FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in December.

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.

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.

Sounders FC Named Pro Sports Team of the Year

The Seattle Sounders FC was honored as the 2010 Professional Sports Team of the Year by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily. The award was presented live at a special ceremony held on May 20 at the New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square.

The Sounders FC was recognized as part of the Sports Business Awards program, presented by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily, the two leading publications on the business of sports. The Sports Business Awards recognize excellence and outstanding achievement in the sports industry for 2009.

The Sounders FC was chosen from five nominees for Professional Sports Team of the Year, including, in alphabetical order, the Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Capitals.

From its “March to the Match,” to its marching band, the Sounders FC offered season-long innovation and ingenuity, becoming the model franchise for other sports teams to follow. With 15 regular season sell-outs and 22,000 season ticket holders, the Sounders played in front of an average crowd of close to 31,000, setting a Major League Soccer record for the highest average attendance per match.

Awards were presented in 15 categories. “We are pleased to recognize the achievement of the leaders in the sports industry with our third annual Sports Business Awards,” says Richard Weiss, publisher of the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily. “The winners and nominees being honored tonight represent the individuals, companies, agencies and media at the forefront of the sports industry.”

Colorado Series Recap

Seattle was unbeaten in three meetings with Colorado in 2009, including a 1-0-1 mark in MLS play, plus a victory over the Rapids in a U.S. Open Cup Play-In.

Sounders FC 2, Colorado Rapids 2 – May 23, 2009 – Dick’s Sports Goods Park

Kasey Keller made five saves, four in the first half, and Seattle earned a hard fought point on the road. Fredy Montero and Nate Jaqua scored for Sounders FC, which drew for the fourth successive game, three coming on the road. Sigi Schmid was forced to make a change in the match’s first minute: Osvaldo Alonso exited following a quadriceps strain sustained in pregame warm-ups and was replaced by Stephen King. Seattle was already playing without midfielders Freddie Ljungberg (migraine) and Brad Evans (left ankle sprain) and defender Zach Scott (lower abdominal strain). Seattle scored first. In the 17th minute Fredy Montero got his fourth goal of the season. Montero, making a near-post run, received a James Riley cross and shot off the post. The ball ricocheted back to Montero and he converted past Rapids keeper Matt Pickens. In the 25th minute Colorado’s Colin Clark evened the score. Omar Cummings sent in a cross which Clark redirected into the net. Kasey Keller made four saves in the first half to deny Colorado the lead. Keller was able to get a finger on a Conor Casey header hammered point-blank in the 35th minute, and in added time he made another sprawling save and poked the ball away off the foot of Nick LaBrocca in a one-on-one situation. The Rapids took the 2-1 advantage early in the second half. Casey got past two defenders using a step over move, then sent a left-footed shot off of Seattle’s Peter Vagenas and past Keller in the 47th minute. Nate Jaqua brought the visitors level in the 76th minute. Riley crossed to Montero, who headed the ball down to Jaqua.

Seattle Sounders FC 3, Colorado Rapids 0 – June 28, 2009 – Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field

Nate Jaqua scored two goals and Fredy Montero scored the opener and assisted on the others as the Sounders FC extended its unbeaten run to four games (2-0-2) while ending an eight-game unbeaten streak for the Rapids. Montero opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with his eighth goal of the season and fourth in as many games. His header on the goal line came after Jaqua had redirected Freddie Ljungberg’s corner kick. Colorado had an opportunity to equalize in the 35th minute but a penalty kick by Omar Cummings struck the crossbar. Jaqua made it 2-0 in the 48th minute. He slipped the ball to Montero and took the return pass for a shot past Rapids keeper Matt Pickens. Jaqua converted his sixth goal of the season in the 68th minute. Montero received a cross from Sebastien Le Toux and laid the ball open for Jaqua’s strike from 15 yards. It was his third goal in two games against Colorado and it clinched MLS Player of the Week for Jaqua. With seating expanded the match attracted the largest crowd of the season to date, 32,526. It was Seattle’s first shutout in 10 MLS games.

Seattle Sounders FC 1, Colorado Rapids 0 – May 26, 2009 – Starfire Sports Stadium

Kevin Forrest scored his first goal for the Sounders FC to lift his team over the Rapids and into the U.S. Open Cup third round. It was the second match between the two teams in three days, following a 2-2 in an MLS game at Commerce City, Colo. Seattle started strong yet could not get the vital first goal. Sanna Nyassi blasted a shot from 20 yards in the 13th minute, only to have Rapids keeper Preston Burpo parry. Roger Levesque latched on to the rebound and Burpo once again made the save. The sequence ended with Sebastien Le Toux volleying toward the left post, only to see Colorado defender Rob Valentino deflect it wide. Forrest, a forward in his second year out of the University of Washington, scored the game’s lone goal in the 61st minute. Nyassi took a long throw-in from the right flank. With a defender on his back, Leveque flicked it on to find streaking Forrest to finish with a header past Burpo at the far post.

Colorado’s Northwest Connections

The Rapids have several players with Northwest connections, including forward Conor Casey, who scored 16 goals last season. Casey attended the University of Portland (1999-2000), where he was a teammate of Sounders FC forward Nate Jaqua in 2000. Midfielder Ciaran O’Brien starred for Federal Way’s Decatur High School. He played on loan from the Rapids to the USL-1 Sounders in the summer of 2008 alongside his older brother Leighton, who played for the USL-1 Sounders for seven seasons. Their father, Fran, played for both FC Seattle and the Tacoma Stars. Two Sounders FC defenders are familiar with the Rapids back 4. Tyrone Marshall played alongside Marvell Wynne for two seasons at Toronto FC (2007-08) and James Riley spent three seasons playing next to defender/midfielder Jeff Larentowicz in New England (2005-07). Sounders FC technical director Chris Henderson played seven seasons over two stints with the Rapids (1996-98; 2002-05). He holds the club records for games played (178), started (170), minutes (14784), assists (53), shots (342), shots on goal (151), and fouls.

Sounders FC 0, San Jose Earthquakes 1 – May 22, 2010 – Recap

An early goal by Chris Wondolowski sent Sounders FC to its second straight home defeat and third altogether before 35,953 on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.The Earthquakes extended their unbeaten and shutout streak to four games.

Wondolowski scored the game’s lone goal in the 11th minute. Bobby Convey served a ball into the box that was headed by Brandon McDonald and Bobby Burling before reaching Wondolowski. His left-footed shot rolled just inside the back post for his fifth goal of the season.

Seattle attempted to answer with seven first-half shots. In the 21st minute, Freddie Ljungberg crossed a dangerous ball into the box that found James Riley whose shot from just inside the 18 deflected off San Jose defenders. One minute later, Ljungberg played a ball to a streaking Steve Zakuani who had his left-footed shot deflected out for a Seattle corner.

In the 28th minute, Ljungberg lofted a ball to Zakuani who ripped a left-footed shot on goal that was stopped by Joe Cannon, the San Jose keeper.

Seattle continued pressing until the final whistle, finishing in an 18-3 advantage in total shots (3-1 on goal) and 11-3 on corner kicks. It tied a team record for shots attempted.

Seattle nearly equalized in the 80th minute when Ljungberg headed Riley’s cross, which floated in front of goal and was headed again by Zakuani, forcing Cannon to jump off his line to clear the ball.

Rookie forward Miguel Montano nearly found the net in the 86th minute. Zakuani played a ball to Montero inside the box and his one-touch pass found Montano but his shot missed wide right.

Seattle fell to Los Angeles in its previous home match on May 8. Sounders FC lost twice at home in 2009.

Defender Jeff Parke made the 18 man roster for the first time since signing with Seattle on May 13.Brad Evans was held out of Saturday’s match due to a knee contusion suffered last week at New York. Peter Vagenas also sat out with a quadriceps strain.

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.

For more information visit www.soundersfc.com.

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.

Celtic Tickets Go On Sale June 1

Sounders FC will play Scotland’s Celtic on July 18 on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. It will be Seattle’s second friendly and, along with the Boca Juniors friendly, is part of the 18-match season-ticket holder package. A third match will be announced soon. 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.

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.

Among the Leaders

Freddie Ljungberg is 1st in MLS in corner kicks with 51. Ljungberg and Montero are tied for second in fouls suffered with 22. Kasey Keller is tied for fourth in MLS goalkeeping shutouts with three and second in minutes played in goal (855). Montero is tied for ninth in assists with three, and 11th in goals scored with three. Montero is fourth in shots taken with 27. Brad Evans is tied for second in game-winning assists with two.

Training List

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 (8): Osvaldo Alonso, 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

Throw-ins

Sanna Nyassi will sign autographs at the Pro Shop @ Pacific Place on Tuesday, June 1 from 6:00pm – 7:00pm…Jeff Parke’s last MLS appearance was as a member of the New York Red Bulls on October 9, 2008 at Real Salt Lake…Blaise Nkufo turns 35 on Tuesday, May 25…Tyrone Marshall is two caution-free games away from rolling back his season total from four to three. Players receive a one-game suspension after accumulating five yellows.

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