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Sounders FC

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

August 16, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Sounders FC weekly release of team news and notes

As one of two MLS sides still active in three competitions the Seattle Sounders FC must constantly shift its attention, but for the next two matches the Rave Green will focus solely on the international landscape. During its league bye week the Sounders FC visits Honduras for the group stage opener of the CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday against CD Marathon. First kick is 7 p.m. PT.

Seattle hosts CF Monterrey of Mexico on August 25 on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field to begin a three-match home stand across all competitions. League play resumes on August 28 versus the Chicago Fire and the U.S. Open Cup semifinal with Chivas USA is on September 1 at Starfire Sports Stadium.

Unbeaten in nine matches (6-0-3) and allowing only three goals since July 7, Sounders FC had its four-game MLS win streak snapped with a scoreless road draw at Chivas USA last week. Seattle is 10-8-7 overall and fourth in the Western Conference at 8-8-5 (29 points).

This marks the second trip to Central America this month. Sounders FC secured a place in Group C by drawing, 1-1, in a preliminary round game against Metapan in San Salvador on August 3. Three of the first four group games are on the road. Marathon comes to Seattle September 29.

Sounders FC has yet to lose a non-MLS competitive match, winning all six of its Open Cup-related matches en route to the title in 2009 and going 1-0-1 in both the Open Cup and CCL so far this summer.

Marathon began the Honduran Apertura campaign by drawing twice, 1-1 at home to Deportivo Savio and 2-2 away to Platense. El Monstruo Verde (the Green Monster) finished seventh out of 10 teams in the Clausura of the Honduras Liga Nacional last year. It qualified for the CCL by claiming the 2009-10 Apertura.

Thursday’s match from the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula will be televised nationally on Fox Soccer Channel and will be broadcast on KIRO 97.3 FM.

For tickets to Sounders FC home matches, call 1-877-MLS-GOAL or visit www.SoundersFC.com.

Upcoming Competition Schedule (All times Pacific)

Thursday, August 19, 7 p.m. – at CD Marathon, Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano, San Pedro Sula Honduras (CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage/Round One)

Wednesday, August 25, 7 p.m. – CF Monterrey, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle (CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage/Round Two)

Saturday, August 28, 7:30 p.m. – Chicago Fire, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle

Wednesday, September 1, 7:30 p.m. – Chivas USA, Starfire Sports Stadium, Tukwila, Wash. (Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal)

Saturday, September 4, 4:30 p.m. – at New England Revolution, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.

Clean Sheets

For more than a month the Sounders FC defense has been in a state of denial, allowing only three goals during the overall unbeaten string, including three consecutive MLS shutouts. The current opponent scoreless streak of 351 minutes is now the longest in the team’s existence, surpassing the 350 minutes to begin the inaugural season. It is the fifth-longest scoreless run in MLS this season. Seattle has risen to 10th (1.19 average) in scoring defense after ending the first half of the season at 13th (1.53).

Keller at 50 (Appearances)

Kasey Keller marked his 50th league appearance with a shutout at Chivas USA, his fourth in the last six games and seventh on the year. He has 18 and owns a GAA of 1.02 for his career. Keller’s current run of 351 scoreless minutes between the pipes is 106 away from his club record of 457, set last season. He is No. 2 among all MLS players in minutes played with 1845 and his eight wins is fourth. The two-time MLS All-Star has yet to miss a league match due to injury and has played in 46 straight.

Ahead of the Pack

Entering the week Seattle has played five more matches than its next scheduled league opponent, Chicago. However the Fire will begin making-up ground with two matches this week. Real Salt Lake has also played 21 matches. By the end of the regular season, Sounders FC will have played at least 41 competitive matches. It played 38, including MLS Cup playoffs, in 2009. The only other MLS club competing in three competitions is Columbus, which is also active in the CCL and Open Cup. This is Seattle’s first bye of the season (other than during the World Cup break).

Still Among the Hottest

The nine-game undefeated streak in all competitions is the longest for Sounders FC and the six games without a loss in MLS matches two such runs in 2009. Only FC Dallas’ 10-game unbeaten run is longer and Seattle’s record of 5-3-2 in the last 10 games is third-best behind only Dallas (6-0-4) and Real Salt Lake (5-1-4). The Rave Green goes for its third straight league home win against Chicago on August 28.

Seeing Red in L.A.

Sounders FC was seeing red at The Home Depot Center again last week. Defender Leo Gonzalez was sent off along with Mariano Trujillo of Chivas USA during second-half stoppage time following a brief scuffle. In five visits to the HDC three Seattle players have been ejected (along with three players from Chivas USA and the L.A. Galaxy). It was the first red card for Gonzalez and just the second for Sounders FC in the last 30 matches. Eight players were sent off in the first 21 games played by the club.

It’s About to Get Busy

From the outset, Sounders FC has professed to be a club with ambitions to win trophies and compete on a world stage. The silverware haul began with the U.S. Open Cup in 2009 and that victory earned Seattle a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League. A byproduct of playing for championships is more matches, especially in the final nine weeks of the regular season. There will be two matches scheduled for at least six of those weeks.

In addition to the nine remaining regular season games, Sounders FC will play six CCL group stage fixtures, plus at least one more Open Cup game, the September 1 semifinal with Chivas USA. Playoffs, a friendly and a berth in the Open Cup final could potentially push that total to 22 matches between now and November 21, the date of MLS Cup 2010.

Evans Added, Fucito Removed from DL

Midfielder Brad Evans was placed on the Disabled List due to a left patellar tendon injury and forward Mike Fucito was removed from the DL last week.

Evans is required to miss six MLS games. He is eligible to return to league play for the October 2 match versus Toronto FC on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.Evans, 25, is entering his fourth season in MLS. He started 11 of 12 appearances this season with one goal and three assists. His last appearance was June 10.

Fucito, 24, was placed on the Disabled List on May 7. He has appeared in two MLS games, both as a reserve with Seattle this season.Now in his second year, Fucito scored the game-winner in extra time of a 1-0 win over Kansas City on April 17, which was also his last game played.

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 MLS matches), Osvaldo Alonso (seven games), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (the past 11) and Brad Evans (the last eight). Mike Fucito has been out with a knee injury since scoring the winner versus Kansas City on April 17.

Only three players have appeared in each of the 20 matches. Kasey Keller is the only player to start each fixture and he is the leader in minutes (1845). Fredy Montero is the only outfield player with 21 appearances. Defender James Riley tops all outfield players in minutes (1788) and ranks fourth in MLS. Already Sigi Schmid has used 28 different players in MLS matches, compared to 22 in all of the inaugural season.

Fans: Opportunity Knocks

Sounders FC fans have filled the stadium to capacity for 27 consecutive MLS matches. Now comes the opportunity to see the Rave Green play some of the best teams in the region as CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) group games begin. Seattle will host three matches: August 25 versus Mexico’s CF Monterrey, September 29 versus CD Marathon of Honduras and October 19 versus CD Saprissa of Costa Rica.

Tickets are on sale now for all CCL home fixtures and $50 per seat deposits are being taken for new 2011 season ticket memberships. For tickets to Sounders FC home matches, call 1-877-MLS-GOAL or visit www.SoundersFC.com.

Montero’s The Man

Although Fredy Montero’s nine consecutive games of contributing a goal or an assist was snapped at Chivas USA, he still picked up his fourth career MLS Goal of the Week for his strike against Houston on August 8. Montero, the MLS Player of the Month in July, has scored (7) or assisted (7) on 14 of the last 17 goals scored by Sounders FC, dating back to April 22 and has been directly involved in each of the team’s eight goals during the current six-game league unbeaten run. Each of his last three goals have been game-winners. He scored the game-winner in the first leg against Metapan. Montero is tied for fourth in goals (8) and is second in MLS assists (9) and one of two players to rank among top 10 in both categories.

Pulling the Strings

Sigi Schmid is seemingly making all the right moves. Only two goals have been allowed in 557 minutes of pairing Patrick Ianni and Jeff Parke in central defense since July 7. Tyrone Marshall has come on strong in relief of Parke and in two CCL starts, teaming with Ianni and Taylor Graham to allow just one goal in 253 minutes.

Lineup changes and substitutions have paid immediate dividends. Miguel Montano got the timely start against L.A. in the July 7 Open Cup semifinal and set-up both goals. Sanna Nyassi came on in the 88th minute at D.C. and promptly set in motion the game-winning goal. Fredy Montero scored the game-winner in the Metapan first leg only seconds after taking the pitch. Nine minutes into his substitute stint in the second leg, Alvaro Fernandez scored the equalizer. One minute after being inserted against Houston, Nate Jaqua won possession and his pass began the sequence for another Fernandez goal.

Every Minute Men

The minutes are mounting at a rapid rate with twice weekly matches of late. Right back James Riley has played each minute (540) of the last six MLS and Champions League matches played since July 25, as has keeper Kasey Keller. In fact, Riley has not come out of a league match since April 25. Also logging lots of minutes during the six matches since July 25 were Osvaldo Alonso (526), Sanna Nyassi (491), Fredy Montero (476), Leo Gonzalez (450), Patrick Ianni (450) and Nathan Sturgis (434).

The Kids Are Alright

During the six-game MLS unbeaten run the regular starting midfield quartet has consisted of players ages 24 and under. Sanna Nyassi (21), Osvaldo Alonso (24), Nathan Sturgis (23) and Alvaro Fernandez (24) teamed up at Chivas USA. Fernandez was making his first start for Sounders FC since signing on July 29. He replaced Steve Zakuani (22), who missed his first match of the regular season.

Rookie Michael Seamon (22) has seen action in nine of the last 12 matches in all competitions, starting five. Nineteen-year-old Miguel Montano had two assists against the L.A. Galaxy in the Open Cup and started against FC Dallas on July 11. Montano made his first MLS appearance since then at Chivas USA, replacing Fernandez in the 67th minute.

The other members of the 25-and-under set have made their mark. Fredy Montero (23) is on a scoring tear and center back Patrick Ianni (25) has helped the back four become stout again.

Champions League: Welcome to Group C

Sounders FC is among four MLS teams competing in the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. The top two teams in each four-team group advance to the knockout rounds in early 2011. Real Salt Lake, Columbus Crew and Toronto FC are the other MLS teams in contention. The L.A. Galaxy was eliminated in the preliminary round last week.

Group C consists of Seattle, Monterrey (Mexico), Saprissa (Costa Rica) and Marathon (Honduras). Sounders FC eliminated Isidro Metapan (El Salvador), 2-1 on aggregate, in the preliminary round while Marathon defeated Tauro (Panama), 4-2 on aggregate.

In group play each team plays one another twice, home and away. All Sounders FC games in Champions League will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel. The schedule for Group C (home teams listed first):

Round One

Tuesday, August 17

Monterrey (MEX) vs. Saprissa (CRC), 7 p.m. PT

Thursday, August 19

Marathon (HON) vs. Seattle Sounders FC (USA), 7 p.m. PT

Round Two

Wednesday, August 25

Seattle Sounders FC (USA) vs. Monterrey (MEX), 7 p.m. PT

Thursday, August 26

Saprissa (CRC) vs. Marathon (HON), 7 p.m. PT

Round Three

Tuesday, September 14

Monterrey (MEX) vs. Marathon (HON), 5 p.m. PT

Saprissa (CRC) vs. Seattle Sounders FC (USA), 7 p.m. PT

Round Four

Wednesday, September 22

Monterrey (MEX) vs. Seattle Sounders FC (USA), 5 p.m. PT

Marathon (HON) vs. Saprissa (CRC), 7 p.m. PT

Round Five

Tuesday, September 28

Saprissa (CRC) vs. Monterrey (MEX), 7 p.m. PT

Wednesday, September 29

Seattle Sounders FC (USA) vs. Marathon (HON), 7 p.m. PT

Round Six

Tuesday, October 19

Seattle Sounders FC (USA) vs. Saprissa (CRC), 7 p.m. PT

Wednesday, October 20

Marathon (HON) vs. Monterrey (MEX), 7 p.m. PT

Past Champions

Several members of the Sounders FC have tasted success in the Champions League predecessor, the CONCACAF Champions Cup. Ezra Hendrickson, now an assistant coach, scored two goals in the 2000 Final as the L.A. Galaxy defeated Olimpia of Honduras, 3-2, at the Coliseum. Peter Vagenas was a teammate of Hendrickson and Sigi Schmid was the Galaxy coach.

From Here to There

Sounders FC qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League by winning the 2009 Lamar hunt U.S. Open Cup. The other U.S. berths went to Real Salt Lake (MLS Cup champion), Columbus Crew (MLS Supporters’ Shield winner) and L.A. Galaxy (MLS Cup runner-up). The former two receive automatic passage to the group stage. Toronto FC is Canada’s representative.

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. It finished tied, 2-2, on aggregate with Cruz Azul, but prevailed on away goals. Pachuca will represent CONCACAF in the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in December. Barcelona is the reigning world champion.

The Champions League consists of three stages: preliminary rounds, group play and knockout rounds. Group play will begin in mid-August and conclude in late October. Two teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals, to be played in February 2011. The quarterfinals, semifinals and final are two-match series with the winner determined by total aggregate goals. Away goals will be used as the tiebreaker. If teams remain tied after extra time in the second game, the outcome will be decided by penalty kicks.

Champions League Experience

Altogether, seven current Sounders FC players have seen action in Champions League or Champions Cup competition previously in their career: Patrick Ianni (HOU 2007-08), Nate Jaqua (CHI 2004, HOU 2008), Tyrone Marshall (LA 2003, 2006), Pat Noonan (NE 2003, 2006), James Riley (NE 2006), Nathan Sturgis (LA 2006) and Peter Vagenas (LA 2000, 2003, 2006). Sigi Schmid coached the L.A. Galaxy during tournament appearances in 1999, 2000 and 2003.

CONCACAF Heavyweights

Mexico’s Cruz Azuland Club America each have five CONCACAF championships. Defending champion Pachuca has won four times, all since 2002. Mexican clubs have dominated the tournament, winning 27 titles since it began in 1962. The only two U.S. clubs to win were D.C. United (1998) and the L.A. Galaxy (2000). No MLS side has advanced to the final since 2000 and none have won a quarterfinal since 2008.

Registration Open for Beach Blast

The second annual men’s Sounders FC Soccer Beach Blast Tournament, presented by Super Supplements, is this Sunday, August 22 at Alki Beach in West Seattle. Registration for the men’s and women’s division 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. 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 (128), fouls suffered (250) and is third in assists (30). Seattle is sixth in shots (237) and shots on goal (93). It is third in offside (70). Sounders FC also ranks fourth in fouls committed with 231. Fredy Montero is tied for fourth in MLS with eight goals and is second with nine assists. Steve Zakuani has added seven goals (T-7th). Montero has taken 64 shots (3rd) with 26 on goal (4th). Montero is third with 42 fouls suffered. Two Seattle veterans are among the top five in minutes played. Kasey Keller leads the league with 1845 minutes played and defender James Riley is sixth with 1788 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. In the other semifinal, the Columbus Crew will visit D.C. United on September 1.

Open 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 Marathon (Courtesy of CONCACAF)

Club: Club Deportivo Marathon

Founded: 1925

City: San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Stadium: Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano

Manager: Nicolas Suazo

Qualification method: Honduran Apertura 2009 winner

Previous Champions League appearances: 2 (2008-09, 2009-10)

Honors: Honduran league – 8 (1979-80, 1985-86, 2001-02 Clausura, 2002-03 Clausura, 2004-05 Apertura, 2007-08 Apertura, 2008-09 Apertura, 2009-10 Apertura); Honduran Cup – 1 (1994)

Official Web site: http://www.cdmarathon.com

CD Marathon, the second-most popular club team in Honduras, is making its third appearance in the CONCACAF Champions League. In the 2008-09 tournament, Marathon topped its group, but was upset by the Puerto Rico Islanders in the quarterfinals, 3-1. Last year, Nicolas Suazo’s squad finished second in Group B and was ousted by Mexican side Pumas UNAM 6-3 on aggregate in the knockout stage. Marathon, which recently opened its own Estadio Yankel Rosenthal, will play its Champions League matches at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano, a 40,000-seat stadium in San Pedro Sula which also doubles as the preferred home of the Honduran national team. El Monstruo Verde (the Green Monster), the only Honduran team to beat Argentine great River Plate, has won eight Liga National de Futbol Honduras titles and finished second 11 times, often to rival Olimpia. Forward Walter Martinez played for Honduras in the 2010 World Cup and Marathon is also led by defender Erick Norales, who converted the final penalty kick to book Honduras’ spot in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

About Monterrey (Courtesy of CONCACAF)

Club: Club de Futbol Monterrey

Founded: 1945

City: Monterrey, Mexico

Stadium: Estadio Tecnologico

Manager: Victor Manuel Vucetich

Qualification method: Mexican Apertura winner

Previous Champions League appearances: None

Honors: Mexico league – 3 (1986, 2003, 2009); Copa Mexico – 1 (1991); CONCACAF Cup Winners Cup – 1 (1993)

Official Web site: http://www.terra.com.mx/rayados

Monterrey will make its CONCACAF Champions League debut after winning the Mexican Apertura title in December, beating Cruz Azul 6-4 on aggregate. Chilean Humberto Suazo, who has since joined Spain’s Real Zaragoza on loan, helped lead the Rayados to their third major Mexican league crown. Although Suazo is gone, Monterrey is home to Mexican international Luis Perez, longtime former Mexican center back Duilo Davino and Jesus Arellano. Monterrey plays at 32,000-seat Estadio Tecnologico, the second oldest stadium in Mexico after Estadio Azul. Plans are in the works for the club to move to Estadio de Futbol Monterrey in Guadalupe, a 50,000-seat stadium pattered after Wembley Stadium in England. The team is owned by FEMSA, the largest beverage company in Mexico and Mexican Victor Manuel Vucetich is the manager, the team’s 25th since 1962

Last Match: Seattle Sounders FC 0, Chivas USA 0 – August 14, 2010 – Recap

Kasey Keller earned his eighth shutout of the season as the Seattle Sounders FC extended its unbeaten streak to six league matches with a draw at The Home Depot Center.

Keller made three saves, including a stop on Alan Gordon’s shot from the top of the box in the 66th minute as well as Paulo Nagamura’s strike in the 68th minute.Sounders FC defense has conceded one goal in the last 450 minutes of MLS play, dating back to July 15.

Despite 10 shots (four on goal) for Seattle, the match resulted in a scoreless draw for the first time this season. It has yet to score in four meetings with Chivas USA and keeper Zach Thornton.

Sanna Nyassi nearly found the net in the 62nd minute. Blaise Nkufo served a cross to the far post where Nyassi sent a bouncing header off the right upright. Fredy Montero tested Thornton with a free kick in the 70th minute and Osvaldo Alonso hit a 25-yard blast in the 89th minute that Thornton tipped around the right post.

Montero had collided with Thornton in the box as he leapt to meet a Nathan Sturgis cross in the 38th minute. After a six-minute delay, Montero remained in the game with a thigh contusion.

Seattle’s Leo Gonzalez and Mariano Trujillo of Chivas USA were both sent off with red cards in second-half stoppage time.

Alvaro Fernandez made his first start for Sounders FC, going 67 minutes before being replaced by Miguel Montano.

Sounders FC Top Attendances

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

36,333 July 25, 2010 Seattle v Colorado

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

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

Sounders FC Roster

The following players are currently training with Sounders FC: Goalkeepers (2): Terry Boss, 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, Alvaro Fernandez, Sanna Nyassi, Michael Seamon, Nathan Sturgis, Peter Vagenas; Forwards (8): Mike Fucito, Blaise Nkufo, Nate Jaqua, Roger Levesque, Miguel Montano, Fredy Montero, Pat Noonan, Steve Zakuani.

Throw-ins

Chivas USA was the first team to hold Sounders FC scoreless since Colorado on May 29…Sanna Nyassi will miss the Marathon match after picking up a yellow card at Metapan. He had also drawn a caution in the first leg of the series…Last week’s game was the fourth scoreless draw for Seattle and the first on the road. The last 0-0 scoreline had also been against Chivas USA, on September 19, 2009…Sounders FC is now 8-1-3 this season and 18-2-5 all-time when scoring first…The Rave Green is now 3-0-2 in its last five meetings with Western Conference opponents after starting off 0-4-3.

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