It’s an opportunity for a new beginning as the Seattle Sounders FC comes home for two pivotal matches this week. First comes a chance to take a step toward repeating as U.S. Open Cup champion in a Wednesday evening quarterfinal showdown with the L.A. Galaxy. On Sunday night the second half of the Major League Soccer season begins against FC Dallas.
A capacity crowd is expected for Seattle’s Open Cup fixture at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT. The 25th consecutive sellout crowd will be at the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field on Sunday to support the Sounders FC bid to get back in the win column against FC Dallas. It starts at 7:30 p.m. PT.
Seattle (4-8-3, 15 points in MLS) will be at home to play four of its next five competitive matches, plus a friendly. It completed a stretch of three consecutive MLS and cup road games by falling, 3-1, at Los Angeles last Sunday. Sounders FC has lost five of the last six, including three in a row for the first time.
Still searching for its first victory over a Western Conference opponent, the Rave Green is unbeaten (1-0-2) in three previous meetings with FC Dallas (5-2-6, 21 points), beginning the week six points in front of Seattle and fourth in the West. Dallas has won three in a row and is unbeaten in four. The two sides drew, 2-2, in Frisco, Texas on April 22.
Meanwhile, in cup play, Sounders FC extended its undefeated run to seven matches at Portland last week by drawing 1-1 with the Timbers. Seattle won the penalty kick tiebreaker, 4-3. If it advances past the Galaxy, Sounders FC will host either the Houston Dynamo on August 31 or Chivas USA on September 1 in an Open Cup semifinal at Starfire. The Open Cup Final is scheduled for October 5. Wednesday’s quarterfinal will be webcast on www.SoundersFC.com.
Sunday’s game will be televised on KING 5 and heard on News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM with Arlo White calling the play. In Spanish the match will be broadcast on 1210 AM Homero with Rene Aleman, Noe Menendez and Victor Hernandez.
Seattle visits D.C. United on July 15 in a game to be televised nationally on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. First kick is 4:30 p.m. PT at RFK Stadium.
Sounders FC will host Scotland’s Celtic FC in another ESPN2 match, a friendly, on July 18 at 12 p.m. PT.
For tickets to Sounders FC home matches, call 1-877-MLS-GOAL or visit www.SoundersFC.com.
Upcoming Competition Schedule (All times Pacific)
Wednesday, July 7, 7 p.m. – L.A. Galaxy, Starfire Sports Stadium, Tukwila, Wash. (U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal)
Sunday, July 11, 7:30 p.m. – FC Dallas, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle
Thursday, July 15, 4:30 p.m. – at D.C. United, RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
Sunday, July 18, 12 p.m. – Celtic FC, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle
Sunday, July 25, 7:30 p.m. – Colorado Rapids, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle
Wednesday, July 28, 7 p.m. – Metapan, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle (CONCACAF Champions League play-in)
One Step Closer
Sounders FC can take a huge stride toward doubling the size of its trophy collection by advancing past the Galaxy and into the semifinal round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. There are a total of six MLS teams in the final eight. Houston hosts Chivas USA on Tuesday night. Seattle defeated five MLS opponents plus Portland en route to its 2009 championship.
Repeating: A Difficult Feat
Repeating as champion is difficult, as history has shown. No club in the Open Cup’s professional era (since 1994) has accomplished the feat, although five have made it back to the Final. In 2009, Seattle defeated the 2008 cup winner, D.C. United, in the Final. The last club to successfully defend its championship was the New York Pancyprian Freedoms in 1982-83. The Open Cup is the longest running team tournament championship in the U.S., dating back to 1914. It is open to both amateur and professional clubs who can qualify.
Cup History in Seattle
A Seattle team is vying to make the Open Cup semifinals for the fourth year in a row. Sounders FC won the title in 2009 and the USL-1 Sounders reached that stage in both 2007 (against FC Dallas) and 2008 (Charleston). Prior to the Sounders FC victory last year, the only Seattle club to qualify for an Open Cup final was the amateur Mitre Eagles in 1987. The Eagles fell to Club Espana of Washington, D.C., on penalties following a 0-0 draw.
While the NASL Sounders did not participate in the Open Cup, the A-League Sounders competed on an annual basis, beginning in 1995. They lost to El Paso in the semifinals that season, and also advanced to the final four in 1996.
Starfire is Surefire
The stadium ground at Starfire Sports Complex has proven to be a touchstone for Sounders FC, with the Rave Green winning each of its four cup related games there in 2009. Capacity crowds of increasing sizes backed Seattle to play-in wins over Real Salt Lake (4-1) and Colorado (1-0), followed by tournament victories over Kansas City (1-0) and Houston (2-1 after extra time). A new FieldTurf surface was installed at the stadium last month.
Sounders FC and the Galaxy will be facing off in Open Cup play just three days after meeting in an MLS fixture at The Home Depot Center. It’s reminiscent of two Cup fixtures in 2009. Seattle played Colorado three days after drawing, 2-2, against the Rapids away. And in the Cup semifinal, Seattle hosted Houston 10 days following a 2-1 home win.
MLS Target: 45 Points
He said it before and he’ll say it again. Sigi Schmid predicts that it will require 45 points for an MLS side to breathe easy about securing a playoff position. With only 15 points in the bag, that means Sounders FC must average two points per match over the second half of the season to reach Schmid’s safety zone. In the league’s 14 seasons to date, only one club with 45 or more points (Kansas City in 2005) has missed the cut and only four teams with 40 or more points have been eliminated (including D.C. United and Colorado last season). In 2009, Real Salt Lake qualified for the eighth and final postseason spot with 40 points (it totaled 19 points after 15 games) and went on to win MLS Cup.
Second Half, Second Chance
Looking toward the second half of 2010, there is brightness on the horizon. Sounders FC is only four points out of the eighth and final playoff spot. Of the eight remaining matches against the West, five are at home. And help has already begun arriving.
Forward Nate Jaqua, last year’s No. 2 scorer, has played in the past two matches after missing the first 13 with an abdominal injury. Starting central midfielders Osvaldo Alonso and Brad Evans, who because of injuries have played together only seven times, are expected to return by the end of the month.
Nkufo Arrives July 13
Seattle will also welcome its key offseason acquisition next week. Forward Blaise Nkufo will arrive on July 13 and he can be added to the active roster on July 15. Nkufo represented Switzerland during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He played the past seven seasons for FC Twente in Enschede, Holland. Twente won the Dutch Eredivisie in May and Nkufo scored a club record 114 goals in league play.
The supporters of Twente will pay tribute to Nkufo on Sunday, July 11, unveiling a statue outside De Grolsch Veste, the team’s home stadium.
Zakuani Goes Beyond
By scoring his fifth goal of the season at L.A., left wing Steve Zakuani has already surpassed the sum of his rookie campaign. Zakuani now shares the team lead in goals with Fredy Montero and his finishing rate is much improved as a sophomore. Zakuani has shot only 22 times (12 on goal) this season. He took 46 shots (21 on goal) to score four goals last season.
Montero in the Mix
Fredy Montero, who assisted on Zakuani’s second-half strike against the Galaxy, tops the team with five goals and is tied for fourth in MLS with six assists. That is one assist shy of his total for 2009, when he also scored 12 goals to earn MLS Newcomer of the Year. Montero has either scored (4) or assisted (4) on eight of the last 10 goals scored by Sounders FC, dating back to April 22.
Increase the Pressure
Since blanking New England for its last win, 3-0, on June 5, Sounders FC has allowed three goals in each of the last three MLS games. Sigi Schmid has said that one answer would be to increase pressure on the opponents upfield. In the last two games, Philadelphia and L.A. were able to move forward into shooting range. The 12 shots on goal by Union and the seven by the Galaxy rank second and third, respectively, on the opponent list. The 11 corners taken by the Galaxy are second only to the 12 by Real Salt Lake last season. Of the six games in which Seattle has yielded more than two goals, four came in the first half of this season. In 2009 Sounders FC shared the top goals-against average in MLS at 0.97
The Injury Factor
Seattle has yet to put its projected first XI on the pitch in 2010. Injuries have sidelined key players such as Nate Jaqua (the first 13 matches), Osvaldo Alonso (the past seven matches), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (the past five) and Brad Evans missed the last two matches after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee on June 22. Peter Vagenas, who has started in place of either Evans or Alonso, missed four games during May and June, and Michael Fucito has been lost to a knee injury since scoring the winner versus Kansas City on April 17.
Only four players have appeared in each of the 15 matches. Kasey Keller is the only player to start each fixture and he is the leader in minutes (1305). Defender Tyrone Marshall tops all outfield players (1260). Already Sigi Schmid has used 26 different players in MLS matches, compared to 22 in all of the inaugural season.
World Cup Viewing Party on Sunday
The Seattle Sounders FC, Washington Youth Soccer, and France Education Northwest are hosting fans at the Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion on Sunday, July 11, to view the 2010 FIFA World Cup final match. The match will be projected on a 10×14 foot screen. The viewing party is FREE and open to the public.
Additional activities include a pre-match performance by the Sounders FC Band Sound Wave, give-a-ways from Washington Youth Soccer, and an opportunity to sign a giant 4×20 foot scarf to support USA’s bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.
The World Cup Final will open the Bastille Day Celebration at the Seattle Center. The celebration features live music and performances, art and car exhibitions, children’s activities, wine, beer, and delicious French food.
Registration Opens Wednesday for Beach Blast
The second annual Sounders FC Soccer Beach Blast Tournament, presented by Super Supplements, is set for August 22 at Alki Beach. Registration opens on Wednesday, July 7 at www.SoundersFC.com. Registration is $100 per team and $10 of that will benefit Washington Youth Soccer.
The 3-on-3 tournament will be played on sand at Alki, located in West Seattle. Space is limited to the first 48 team entries (24 male and 24 female). Each team is allowed up to five players and all participants must be 18-years-old.
A Shootout First
When it comes to Open Cup play, Sounders FC is nearly a sure shot. Seattle converted four of its five attempts to win the tiebreaker at Portland in a third round game last week. Nathan Sturgis, Steve Zakuani, Fredy Montero and Zach Scott all hit the mark while Kasey Keller stopped two Timbers’ shots. It was the first such shootout for Sounders FC. The only penalty kick scored in a competitive match also came in Open Cup play in 2009. Seattle is 0-3 in kicks from the spot in MLS matches.
Celtic on Sale
Tickets are now on sale for the summer friendly between Sounders FC and 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 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.
Tickets Now Available for CONCACAF Match
Tickets are on sale for the home leg of the Sounders FC first foray into international competition. Seattle will host Metapan of El Salvador on Wednesday, July 28 at Qwest Field. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.
The return leg is scheduled for August 3, with the Sounders FC traveling to El Salvador to play Metapan to determine the series winner.
Based on aggregate scoring, the winner will advance to the Group Stage on August 17-19. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the knockout quarterfinals, set for February and March of 2011. CONCACAF Champions League winner will advance to FIFA Club World Cup.
Tickets will be available at www.SoundersFC.com, by calling 800-745-3000, all Ticketmaster outlets and the Qwest Field Box office.
All-Star Voting Ends Soon
Fan voting for the 2010 AT&T MLS All-Star First XI ends on Tuesday, July 6. Fans may vote online at http://www.mlssoccer.com/all-star. For the first time in League history, fans may also vote by texting a last name from the ballot to “22442.” Additionally, fans can text an MLS club name to “22442” to vote for all nominees from that team. Fan voting will comprise one quarter of the total vote for the First XI selections, with MLS players, coaches & GM’s, and media each accounting for one of the other three quarters.
The MLS All-Stars will take on Manchester United in the 2010 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Reliant Stadium, in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, July 28 (live on ESPN2 and TeleFutura at 8:30 p.m. ET).
Among the Leaders
Sounders FC leads the league in three statistical categories: shots (174), corner kicks (91) and fouls suffered (204). Seattle has recorded 21 assists, which is fourth most, and the club has been whistled offside 52 times, second in the league. Fredy Montero is top ten in MLS with five goals (T-10th) and six assists (T-4th). Steve Zakuani also has five goals (T-10th). Montero has taken 38 shots (3rd) with 13 shots on goal (T-10th). Montero is tied for third with 31 fouls suffered and Freddie Ljungberg is second with 35. Ljungberg leads the league with 75 corner kicks. Two Seattle veterans are among the top five in minutes played. Kasey Keller leads the league with 1305 minutes played in net and defender Tyrone Marshall is tied fourth amongst all players with 1260 minutes played.
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.
About FC Dallas
The last time Sounders FC faced FC Dallas, the Texans had yet to win a game (0-1-2 in Match 4). Since the 2-2 draw on April 22, FC Dallas has won five of nine matches (5-1-3), with its sole loss to the L.A. Galaxy, 1-0. Dallas currently sits fourth in the West and enters Sunday’s match on a three-game win streak. In its last two wins, the deciding goal has been a second-half penalty kick. FC Dallas leads the league with five penalty kick goals, including two against Seattle. Dallas is second in MLS with 171 shots with 69 on goal (2nd).
Forward Jeff Cunningham has a team-high four goals. His total of 125 goals is second all-time to Jaime Moreno (132) of D.C. United. David Ferreira has three goals and four assists, including goals in each of the last two games and a goal or assist in each of the last four games (3-0-1). Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman has 27 saves in nine appearances, starting every match since May 5. Hartman has allowed six goals for a goals-against average of 0.67. Midfielder Daniel Hernandez has played the full 90 minutes in all 13 matches this season. Brek Shea won MLS Player of the Week in Week 11.
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. John has started all 13 appearances this season. 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. David Ferreira is from Santa Marta, Colombia.
Last Meeting: Seattle Sounders FC 2 at FC Dallas 2 – April 22, 2010 – Recap
Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani scored for the visitors but Jeff Cunningham answered with two penalty kicks, the second tying the game in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Dallas struck first on a Cunningham penalty in the 27th minute. Seattle keeper Kasey Keller had collided with Cunningham as he slid to grab the ball
Zakuani equalized shortly before halftime. Osvaldo Alonso split the defense with a ball up the left flank to Zakuani who sent a right-footed shot inside the far post. Fredy Montero put Sounders FC ahead in the 55th minute with a free kick from 40 yards. Montero whipped the ball around the FC Dallas wall and into the upper left corner for a strike that later won MLS Goal of the Week.
Seconds away from a win, Seattle was called for a penalty when, in the 94th minute, John Yeisley of FC Dallas ran into two Sounders FC defenders and fell. Cunningham stepped up and knocked the ball to the left post, past Terry Boss.
Keller left the game at halftime after experiencing blurred vision from the collision with Cunningham. Boss replaced him, making his MLS debut in net for the final 45 minutes.
Freddie Ljungberg entered the game as a 78th minute substitute for Montero. It is Ljungberg’s only appearance off the bench to date. Rookie David Estrada made his first MLS start.
Previous Sounders FC-FC Dallas Meetings
Seattle 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 draw 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. Evans nearly made it 2-0 in the 36th minute. He poked Osvaldo Alonso¹s 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. Sounders FC lost Evans and defender Zach Scott to injuries during the match, and it was playing without three starters: Freddie Ljungberg (migraine), Nathan Sturgis (hamstring) and James Riley (suspension).
Seattle Sounders FC 2, FC Dallas 1 – October 24, 2009 – Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field
Brad Evans scored the game-winning goal in the 84th minute as Seattle capped the regular season by winning their third in a row. FC Dallas scored first. Midfielder Atiba Harris found space at the top of the box to rip a shot into the left side netting past Kasey Keller. Seattle entered the final half-hour plainly intent on ending its lengthy 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 chipped 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.
Seattle Sounders FC 1 at L.A. Galaxy 3 – July 4, 2010 – Recap
Steve Zakuani’s second-half strike was not enough for Seattle as it lost for the third straight match. Before a capacity crowd of 27,000, the Galaxy extended its lead to nine points in the West on goals by Edson Buddle, Juninho and an own goal by James Riley.
Los Angeles, entering on a two-game winless streak, welcomed back Buddle and star midfielder Landon Donovan from their duty with the U.S. National Team at the World Cup. Donovan connected with Buddle in the 19th minute for the game’s first goal. Donovan swung a corner kick into the box where Buddle headed it into the top corner for his 10th goal and Donovan’s 10th assist. Both lead the league.
Juninho added a second tally in the 48th minute, making it 2-0 on a 30-yard strike into the top corner of the net for his first career MLS goal.
In the 66th minute, Zakuani closed the gap. He took a ball from Fredy Montero, split the Galaxy defense and slid a shot into the side netting for his fifth goal of the season. It was Montero’s sixth assist of the season, which is tied for fourth in MLS.
Seattle appeared to be on the verge of pulling level, but in the 74th minute Freddie Ljungberg’s shot was saved by Donovan Ricketts and three minutes later the Galaxy restored its lead. A driven ball through the crease from Alan Gordon was deflected by Riley into his own net. It was the first own goal by Seattle this season.
Sounders FC was outshot 15-9 (5-4 on goal) and surrendered 11 corner kicks. Seattle matched a club record for fewest corner kicks in a game with one.
L.A. had defeated Seattle, 4-0, at home on May 8 behind the three assists and one goal from Donovan.
Sigi Schmid went with the same XI at L.A. as Philadelphia a week earlier.
Seattle Sounders FC 1 at Portland Timbers 1 – June 30, 2010 – U.S. Open Cup Recap
Two saves by Kasey Keller and a clinching score by Zach Scott in the penalty kick tiebreaker moved Sounders FC past its longtime regional rival and into the quarterfinal round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. After a 1-1 draw through the first 120 minutes, Seattle won on penalties, 4-3, before a sellout crowd of 15,422 at PGE Park.
Keller made six saves during the match, and then stopped the Timbers’ tries in the first and fourth round of penalties.
Nate Jaqua scored in the 13th minute to give Seattle the early lead. Miguel Montano took a ball from Michael Seamon on the left side and crossed to Sanna Nyassi at the far post. Nyassi flicked the ball back across the goal where Jaqua headed it past Steve Cronin.
It was Jaqua’s first competitive goal this season after returning to MLS action on June 27. Nyassi also recorded an assist on the first goal in last year’s Open Cup victory at Portland.
Portland tied in the 38th minute with a goal from Bright Dike, marking his fourth goal in the last two Open Cup matches.
Seattle played a man down for the final 19 minutes of extra time after Taylor Graham was sent off with his second yellow card in the 101st minute.
Sounders FC made nine changes to its first XI from the MLS match three days earlier in Philadelphia.
Seattle also beat Portland, 2-1, in a third round Open Cup match last July.
About L.A. Galaxy
The L.A. Galaxy defeated AC St. Louis, 2-0, in an Open Cup third round match at The Home Depot Center last week. Chris Klein and Juninho found the back of the net as the club made it to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2006. The Galaxy lineup for that match featured eight changes to the regular MLS starting lineup, notably Josh Saunders started in goal and Eddie Lewis wore the captain’s armband. Donovan and Buddle were not available for selection and Omar Gonzalez did not enter the game. On the MLS side, the Galaxy owns the best record (11-1-3) and sits nine points ahead of all other clubs. It didn’t take long for World Cup hero Landon Donovan and U.S. teammate Edson Buddle to connect for a goal, scoring in the 19th minute of their first match back.
Landon Donovan has ten assists to top the league and also scored in his last trip to Seattle (5/8). Edson Buddle is the league leader in goals scored with ten; an average of one goal per game in MLS play. Reigning Rookie of the Year Omar Gonzalez has started and played the full 90 minutes in all 15 games this season, scoring one goal at Seattle (5/8). Rookie Michael Stephens has already recorded seven assists and has 12 starts in 15 appearances. Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts is best in the league, allowing just five goals in 15 matches (GAA 0.36). Backup keeper Josh Saunders has appeared in one MLS match, earning a clean sheet in Toronto, and also earned the shutout against AC St. Louis last week in Open Cup play. On the injury front, defender Leonardo, who has been out since mid-April with a right quad strain, started and played the full 90 minutes in the third round match and Dema Kovalenko and Mike Magee are both out with injuries.
The following players are currently training with Sounders FC: Goalkeepers (3): Terry Boss, Chris Eylander*, Kasey Keller; Defenders (9): Taylor Graham, Leo Gonzalez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Tyrone Marshall, Jeff Parke, James Riley, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl. 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.
Kasey Keller has been nominated for an ESPY as Best MLS Player. Voting takes place online at http://espn.go.com/espys/…Nathan Sturgis turns 23 on Tuesday, July 6…Taylor Graham will miss Wednesday’s Open Cup match, serving a one-game suspension after being issued two yellow cards in the third round game at Portland last week…Tyrone Marshall was issued a yellow card at L.A. He will be suspended for one game if he receives another. Marshall ranks 12th in MLS career appearances with 288 games…Seattle has yet to have a player ejected this season. Through the first 15 games of 2009, its players saw five red cards…James Riley, who has played the full 90 in the last nine MLS matches, also went the entire 120 minutes at Portland…Miguel Montano saw his first MLS action in four games at L.A., coming on as a substitute in the 83rd minute…Sounders FC remains winless (0-4-2) against MLS Western Conference opposition. It was 6-4-5 in 2009. All four Sounders FC wins this season have come by way of shutout against Eastern Conference opponents…Sounders FC players and coaches will join representatives from Celtic FC and other international soccer stars for a dinner and auction at Qwest Field Event Center on Saturday, July 17, at 5 p.m. All proceeds from the event will be dedicated to provide funding to further develop soccer players in Washington State.