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

July 20, 2010 at 7:52 PM

Sounders FC weekly release of team news and notes

A couple steps already down the comeback trail, the Seattle Sounders FC comes home with a chance to take a giant stride toward joining the MLS Cup Playoff chase against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday night. First kick is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.

That match also signals the start of another fixture-congested fortnight, with Sounders FC playing five times in 15 days. The CONCACAF Champions League play-in series opens at home on July 28 at 7 p.m. PT against El Salvador’s Metapan. Both games will be nationally televised on Fox Soccer Channel.

While the Colorado match marks the 26th consecutive sellout, good seats are still available for the Metapan match. For tickets to Sounders FC home matches, call 1-877-MLS-GOAL or visit www.SoundersFC.com.

Sounders FC (5-8-4, 19 points) gained ground in the playoff race last week by beating D.C. United, 1-0, on the road. The largest home crowd of the season, 45,631, saw Seattle drop a friendly, 2-1, to Scotland’s Celtic FC.

Although unbeaten in two MLS matches, the Sounders FC seeks its first home victory since June 5 as well as its initial win against a Western Conference opponent. All five of the team’s wins have come by shutout against clubs in the Eastern Conference.

The Rapids (6-4-5, 25 points) stand fourth in the West, but after a strong start they have gone five matches without a win, dating back to June 5. There have been four draws during that stretch, including a 1-1 result with Kansas City at home last week.

The series with Seattle was squared at 1-1-1 at Colorado on May 29. The Rapids’ Conor Casey scored the game’s only goal. Last season, Sounders FC got three goals from Nate Jaqua and two from Fredy Montero in winning 3-0 at home and drawing 2-2. Seattle also won an Open Cup play-in against Colorado, 1-0, at home in 2009.

Sunday’s match will be broadcast live on KIRO 97.3 FM with Arlo White and on Homero 1210 AM with Rene Aleman, Victor Hernandez and Noe Menendez.

Seattle returns to MLS play on July 31 at San Jose at 7 p.m. PT, then continues on to San Salvador for the return leg with Metapan on August 3.

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.

Upcoming Competition Schedule (All times Pacific)

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 preliminary round)

Saturday, July 31, 7 p.m. – at San Jose Earthquakes, Buck Shaw Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.

Tuesday, August 3, 7 p.m. – at Metapan, Estadio Cuscatlan, San Salvador, El Salvador (CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round)

Sunday, August 8, 8 p.m. – Houston Dynamo, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle

Montero on the March

Fredy Montero remains one of the hottest forwards in MLS after extending his consecutive games with either a goal or an assist to six at D.C. Montero crossed to Roger Levesque for the game-winning goal in the 89th minute for his seventh assist of the year, tying him for third in the league. His six shots at D.C. United was one short of his team record, set March 25 against Philadelphia.

The 22-year-old Colombian forward is the only player to rank among top 10 in both goals (tied for seventh with six) and assists. Montero has either scored (5) or assisted (5) on 10 of the last 12 goals scored by Sounders FC, dating back to April 22. In 2009, when he led Seattle with 12 goals and seven assists, Montero scored in five straight matches.

Nkufo Rollout Continues

A series of firsts for forward Blaise Nkufo will likely continue against Colorado as Seattle’s second Designated Player signing looks to make his MLS debut. Nkufo was in uniform for the first time at D.C., although he did not see playing time. Against Celtic he started and played the first 60 minutes up front.

Nkufo’s last competitive match was at the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 25, a scoreless draw between his Swiss National team and Honduras in the final group stage game. Nkufo scored 114 goals over the past seven seasons for FC Twente, leading the Enschede club to the Dutch Eredivisie title in 2010.

Tickets Available for CONCACAF Match

Good seats are still available 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 San 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 are available at www.SoundersFC.com, by calling 800-745-3000, all Ticketmaster outlets and the Qwest Field Box office.

Sounders FC Tops 100,000 Fans on Facebook

The Seattle Sounders FC announced it has reached 100,000 fans on Facebook.

According to the Sports Fan Graph website, the Sounders rank No. 1 in fans/likes on Facebook in Major League Soccer. The team ranks No. 8 among all soccer-related pages. FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Liverpool rank first, second and third, respectively. The Sounders FC also has more fans than 10 National Football League teams, 18 National Basketball Association teams and four Major League Baseball teams.

In celebration of the milestone, the Sounders FC are offering a 30 percent discount coupon for a one-time purchase of full-priced team scarves through the team’s pro shop at http://proshop.soundersfc.com.

For more information and the Pro Shop promotion code, visit facebook.com/seattlesounders or http://www.sportsfangraph.com/

CONCACAF Announces Opening Dates for Group Stage

Pairings and schedules have been announced for the first two dates in the Champions League group stage. If the Sounders FC advances from its preliminary round series with Metapan of El Salvador, it will visit either Marathon of Honduras or Tauro of Panama on August 19. Marathon and Tauro meet in the preliminary round. Seattle’s first home date in the group stage would be August 25 against Mexico’s Monterrey.

The remainder of the group stage schedule will be announced following completion of the preliminary round.

Busy Days Are Here Again

A lull this week will give way to a near frenetic pace to open August. In a span of 10 calendar days between July 25 and August 3 Sounders FC will play four matches, including a road trip that begins in the Bay Area and extends to Central America. Should Seattle advance from its CONCACAF Champions League series with Metapan, it could potentially play 11 matches over six weeks and 23 times altogether before the MLS regular season ends in late October.

Roger Levesque: Road Killer

Roger Levesque has done it again. In the 29-year old’s first start since April 22, Levesque’s diving header for the late winner at D.C. United last week was his third goal in the last four MLS away wins. He scored the winner at Columbus and the tying goal at Kansas City, both in October of 2009. Levesque also notched road goals in 2009 Open Cup victories at Portland and D.C., the latter in the Cup Final.

The Late Show

Whether it’s been wins or draws, Sounders FC matches have often been decided in the final minutes this season. The win at D.C. United was the club’s third this year to be won with a goal in the 85th minute or later. Fredy Montero scored at New York with five minutes left on the clock and Michael Fucito scored against Kansas City in the second minute of stoppage time. On the downside, Seattle was moments away from taking all three points in games against Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas (twice), allowing two opponent goals in stoppage time and another in the 87th minute. Sounders FC scored twice in the 90th minute and beyond in its 3-2 loss to D.C. United.

Keller Soldiers On

Kasey Keller leads all MLS players in minutes played with 1485, but the last 25 of those were undoubtedly the longest. Keller raced off his line to confront Andy Najar of D.C. United and the resulting collision sent him tumbling in agony. After a goal line header by Patrick Ianni prevented a D.C. goal while Keller was prone, the Seattle keeper received treatment from the trainer and opted to stay in. He went on to make two more dramatic saves to preserve the shutout, his fifth and the team’s first in five games.

Back Four Settles In

The shutout at D.C. United was Seattle’s first since June 5 and, after leaking nine goals in consecutive losses to D.C., Philadelphia and L.A., the defense has now allowed only one goal in the last two outings, both with Patrick Ianni inserted into the back four. James Riley and Leo Gonzalez each have 16 starts on the right and left, respectively, this season. Jeff Parke has started the last seven matches in central defense.

Leo Takes a Seat

For the second time in as many league games the Sounders FC must go without a starter due to suspension. Defender Leo Gonzalez will miss the Colorado match after taking his fifth yellow card at D.C. United. Gonzalez has started all but one of the first 17 matches and his 1376 minutes is second only to James Riley (1428). Midfielder Miguel Montano, who missed the D.C. United game due to a red card suspension, is eligible to return against Colorado.

Reinforcements on the Way

The arrival of Blaise Nkufo and the return of several key players from injury should help solve Seattle’s struggles. Forward Nate Jaqua, last year’s No. 2 scorer, has played in three of the last four matches after missing the first 13 with an abdominal injury. He scored three times in Open Cup games against Portland and L.A.

Osvaldo Alonso also returned to action against Dallas following a seven-game absence due to a strained quadriceps. Alonso provided his tenacious ball-winning to midfield in the final 17 minutes at D.C. and got the start last week against Celtic.

Brad Evans has missed the past four games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee on June 22. Evans is expected to return to full training before the end of July.

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 (seven games), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (the past seven) and Brad Evans (four). Michael Fucito has been lost to a knee injury since scoring the winner versus Kansas City on April 17.

Only three players have appeared in each of the 17 matches. Kasey Keller is the only player to start each fixture and he is the leader in minutes (1485). Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani are the only outfield players with 17 appearances. Defender James Riley tops all outfield players in minutes (1428). Already Sigi Schmid has used 26 different players in MLS matches, compared to 22 in all of the inaugural season.

Another Answer on the Road

Once again Sounders FC may have used a road win as a springboard. In 2009 it ended a three-game winless run by prevailing 2-0 at L.A. Another three-game winless stretch ensued only to be solved with a 2-1 win at D.C., and its final three-game win skein at the end of the regular season began with an unlikely 1-0 win at Columbus, snapping the Crew’s record home unbeaten streak.

Join the Sounders, See the World

Sounders FC will end this month and begin the next with the Big Trip. The first leg is a relatively short one: 696 miles to San Jose to meet the Earthquakes on July 31. The next day, August 1, brings the 2800-mile journey to San Salvador and the second leg of the Champions League series with Metapan. On August 4, the team returns to Seattle via Houston to prepare for a match against the Dynamo on August 8. If Sounders FC advances to the Champions League group stage the club will visit either Marathon of Honduras or Tauro of Panama on August 19.

Roster Moves

Sounders FC made two roster moves last week. Forward and designated player Blaise Nkufo was added to the active roster prior to the July 15 match at D.C. United. Earlier that day, David Estrada was placed on injured reserve due to a right hamstring strain and right first toe sprain.Estrada is required to miss six MLS games, however he can appear in non-league competition. He is eligible to return to league play for the September 4 game in New England against the Revolution.

Youth Movement

Sigi Schmid is relying more on his young players of late. On July 11 against FC Dallas Schmid started six players and used two substitutes ages 25 and under. At D.C. United he made two changes due to suspension and injury. Still, seven of the players were 25 or younger. The youth includes rookie Michael Seamon (21), Nathan Sturgis (23) and Steve Zakuani (22) in midfield. Patrick Ianni (25) has moved into the back four and Fredy Montero (22) starts up front. Sanna Nyassi (21) helped set-up the goal at D.C. United. David Estrada (22) came off the bench to score the goal against Celtic while Miguel Montano (19) started in midfield.

SUM Cup Schedule Set for Sounders FC U-17

The Sounders FC boys travel to Houston and San Diego later this month to compete in the fourth annual SUM Under-17 Cup and Surf Cup, respectively.

All 16 Major League Soccer teams will be represented and competing for the SUM Cup title in Houston, from Friday, July 23, through July 28. Seattle has been drawn into Group B and opens against FC Dallas on Friday at 4:30 p.m. PT. Sounders FC faces Philadelphia on Saturday at 6 p.m. PT and the final group stage game is against Columbus on July 26 at 4:30 p.m. PT.

The group phase will be held at Centennial Park in Houston. The four group winners advance to the semifinals, to be played at both Centennial Park and Carl Lewis Field on July 27. The 2010 SUM U-17 Cup final will be played on July 28 and placement games conducted on July 29.

Returning to the tournament are the two-time SUM U-17 Cup champions, D.C. United U-17 Academy Team, as well as the 2008 SUM U-17 Cup champions Real Salt Lake.

The Sounders FC is in the Boys U16 Super division of the Surf Cup. On July 31, it faces the Portuguese Athletic Tigres at 9:20 a.m. PT and LAFC at 2:40 p.m. PT. Its final group game is on August 1 against Chula Vista Rangers at 12 noon. The Surf Cup quarterfinals follow that afternoon, with the semifinals and final on August 2.

Sounders FC Youth Development Director Darren Sawatzky will join Sounders FC Academy Manager/Head Coach Dick McCormick and his staff of Bill Crook and Sean Henderson on the trips.

Registration Open for Beach Blast

The second annual Sounders FC Soccer Beach Blast Tournament, presented by Super Supplements, is set for August 22 at Alki Beach and registration is now open 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.

Among the Leaders

Sounders FC leads the league in corner kicks (105), fouls suffered (211) and is tied for second in assists (25). Seattle is third in shots (196) and offside (56). Sounders FC also ranks fourth in fouls committed with 186. Fredy Montero is tied for seventh and third in MLS with seven goals and seven assists, respectively. Steve Zakuani has five goals (T0inh). Montero has taken 48 shots (3rd) with 17 shots on goal (7th). Montero is third with 36 fouls suffered. Ljungberg is tied for first with 75 corner kicks. Two Seattle veterans are among the top five in minutes played. Kasey Keller leads the league with 1485 minutes played in net and defender James Riley is ninth amongst all players with 1428 minutes played.

Open Cup Pairings

Sounders FC will host Chivas USA in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal round on September 1 at Starfire Sports Stadium. The winner advances to the Cup Final, to be played on October 5. The Columbus Crew awaits the winner of the D.C. United-Harrisburg City Islanders quarterfinal on Wednesday night. The Crew will either visit United on September 1 or host Harrisburg City on August 31.

Cup History in Seattle

A Seattle team has now advanced to 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.

About Colorado

The Rapids have not won in five league matches (0-1-4), including last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Kansas City when Conor Casey scored the equalizer in the 74th minute. Casey is currently tied for 4th in MLS with seven goals and Omar Cummings has added four. The club is 11th in MLS scoring with just 17 goals scored but, with strong defense, Colorado sits in fourth in the Western Conference. Goalkeeper Matt Pickens has allowed 14 goals for the fifth-best goals against average (0.93). Despite the low goals allowed total, the Rapids have proven susceptible to first-half strikes, allowing nine of its 14 goals in the first 45 minutes. The Rapids are 3-3-2 on the road, averaging one goal scored and one goal allowed per away match. Colorado sits near the bottom of the league in total shots (151) and shots on goal (60).

Noonan Faces Former

Forward Pat Noonan faces his former team for the first time in Seattle since being traded on March 31. Noonan was traded to Colorado from Columbus in June 2009. He appeared in 17 games, starting nine with two goals in one season with Colorado before being released prior to the 2010 season.

Noonan has played in 12 games with eight starts for Seattle. He has one goal and one assist. He also scored the second of three goals in the international friendly 3-0 win over Argentine side Boca Juniors.

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 four. 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.

Last Meeting: Seattle Sounders FC 0, Colorado Rapids 1 – May 29, 2010 – Recap

Conor Casey’s goal in the 63rd minute was the difference as Colorado handed Sounders FC its second straight defeat in front of a crowd of 18,116 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Casey fended off a challenge from Jeff Parke and chipped a shot from the top of the box into the far corner of the net for his fourth goal of the season and first from open play.

Seattle could not convert on nine shots (one on goal) and four corners.

In the 58th minute, Steve Zakuani found space on the left side of the box and ripped a right-footed shot on goal that was deflected out by Marvell Wynne.

Patrick Ianni also had a scoring opportunity in the 39th minute when a Fredy Montero cross was headed clear. The rebound fell to Ianni’s feet and he blasted a one-touch shot from outside the 18 that was just wide of the far post.

Kasey Keller made four saves on 10 total shots from Colorado.

Keller’s first save of the game came in the 9th minute. Julien Baudet got his head on a Mehdi Ballouchy corner and the ball took one bounce in front of goal before Keller knocked it clear.

In the 73rd minute, Keller was left one-on-one with Ballouchy but dived to his left to save the shot.

Parke made his MLS debut for the club, marking his first league action since October 2008. He replaced Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, who sustained a torn ACL in the waning moments of the May 22 loss to San Jose.

Previous Sounders FC-Colorado Rapids Meetings

Seattle Sounders FC 2, Colorado 2 – May 23, 2009 – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park

Kasey Keller made five saves, four in the first half, and Seattle earned a hard fought point on the road. Forwards 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 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 off a cross from Omar Cummings. Kasey Keller made four saves in the first half, including a stop of Conor Casey’s point-blank header in the 35th minute. He added 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 when Casey got past two defenders, 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.

Seattle Sounders FC 1, Colorado 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.

Last MLS Match: Seattle Sounders FC 1, D.C. United 0 – July 15, 2010 – Recap

Roger Levesque’s late game-winning goal earned the Seattle Sounders FC three points on the road as it defeated D.C. United, 1-0, in a nationally televised ESPN2 match at RFK Stadium.

Kasey Keller made five saves to earn his fifth clean sheet of the season despite playing the final 25 minutes with a right midfoot sprain.

Sounders FC won for the first time in five matches, dating back to a 3-0 home win over New England on June 5. D.C. United (3-10-3, 12 points) lost for the first time in four matches.

In the 89th minute, Fredy Montero crossed a ball from the end line on the right flank to a diving Levesque at the far post. Levesque headed it past goalkeeper Troy Perkins for his first goal this season.

It was Levesque’s first start since April 22. He has scored in three of the last four road wins and also scored in last year’s Open Cup final in Washington, D.C.

Sanna Nyassi was credited with an assist just one minute after entering the match. It was his first point in league play.

Keller remains undefeated at RFK Stadium (8-0-2), including seven starts for the U.S. National Team.

In the 65th minute, Keller left his box to make a tackle but stayed down with a foot injury. Play continued as Santino Quaranta blasted a shot on an empty goal that was headed away by Patrick Ianni.

On the ensuing corner kick, Keller made a save at the far post on Pablo Hernandez’s header.He also made two stops on counterattacks by Andy Najar in the 8th minute and 51st minute.

Seattle held the advantage in shots 15-10 (5-6 on goal) and 11-3 on corner kicks.

Leo Gonzalez was issued his fifth yellow card, making him unavailable for the Colorado match. Blaise Nkufo was available for selection on the 18-man roster.

Friendly B: Seattle Sounders FC 1, Celtic FC 2 – July 18, 2010

David Estrada’s second-half strike was not enough for the Seattle Sounders FC as it lost, 2-1, to Scotland’s Celtic FC in an international friendly before a national television audience and crowd of 45,631 on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.

Celtic got goals from Georgios Samaras on a first-half penalty kick and Patrick McCourt in the second half to win for the first time on its four-match North American tour.

Samaras struck in the 32nd minute after being fouled in the box by Seattle goalkeeper Terry Boss. Boss was issued a red card on the play. As a result of the ejection, Jordan Jennings, a keeper who trained previously with the Sounders FC, entered the match for Fredy Montero. Jennings could not stop the penalty kick that Samaras buried in the upper left corner of the net.

Seattle played the final hour of the match shorthanded.

Celtic FC added another tally in the 64th minute when Milan Misun fed a ball to McCourt who slid it past Jennings for a two-goal lead.

Estrada pulled Seattle within one goal just one minute after entering the match. In the 66th minute, Estrada took a ball from Taylor Graham and blasted a right-footed shot past Celtic’s American keeper, Dominic Cervi, for his first goal for Sounders FC.

Estrada nearly equalized when he hit the crossbar in the first minute of second-half stoppage time.

Forward Blaise Nkufo made his Sounders FC debut, playing 60 minutes as a starting forward.

Sounders FC had beaten Boca Juniors, 3-0, in its first international friendly this season.

Seattle lost for the first time in its Electricity kit (2-1-1), including the friendly with Boca Juniors and two Open Cup matches.

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)

45,631 July 18, 2010 Seattle v Celtic (friendly)

40,122 May 26, 2010 Seattle v Boca Juniors (friendly)

36,344 June 5, 2010 Seattle v New England

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

36,146 June 10, 2010 Seattle v D.C. United

36,091 July 11, 2010 Seattle v FC Dallas

*46,011 November 22, 2009 MLS Cup (Real Salt Lake v L.A.)

Training List

The following players are currently training with Sounders FC: Goalkeepers (3): Terry Boss, Chris Eylander*, Kasey Keller; Defenders (11): Jalil Anibaba*, Taylor Graham, Leo Gonzalez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Tyrone Marshall, Jeff Parke, James Riley, Andy Rose*, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl. Midfielders (8): Osvaldo Alonso, David Estrada, Brad Evans, Freddie Ljungberg, Sanna Nyassi, Michael Seamon, Nathan Sturgis, Peter Vagenas; Forwards (8): Michael Fucito, Blaise Nkufo, Nate Jaqua, Roger Levesque, Miguel Montano, Fredy Montero, Pat Noonan, Steve Zakuani.

*invitee

Throw-ins

Sounders FC started eight American players for the first time at D.C. United…Nathan Sturgis took 11 corner kicks at D.C. United, tying the team record set by Freddie Ljungberg against New York on April 3…Fredy Montero turns 23 on Monday, July 26…Brad Evans will sign autographs at Qwest Field Pro Shop on Tuesday, from 6-7p.m…Seattle is winless (0-4-3) against MLS Western Conference opposition. It was 6-4-5 in 2009.

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