Playing with a combination of grit and flair, the Seattle Sounders FC enters the week with an eye on bringing a cup final to its home pitch and further boosting its postseason aspirations during a cross country trip in MLS.
On Wednesday night Sounders FC is pitted against Chivas USA in a sold-out U.S. Open Cup semifinal at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila, Wash. First kick is 7:30 p.m. The scene shifts 2,500 miles to the east and Foxborough, Mass. on Saturday, when Seattle faces the New England Revolution at 4:30 p.m. PT.
Over the past two months since beginning Open Cup play, Sounders FC (9-8-5, 32 points in league; 11-10-7 overall) has been on domestic tear, losing only once in 10 games.
If it can advance past Chivas USA (6-11-4, 22 points), Seattle will host the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final on October 5 on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. The Columbus Crew and D.C. United meet in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
The Rave Green are cup holders but have yet to score a goal in four MLS meetings with Chivas USA, which defeated D.C. United, 1-0, at home on Sunday to snap a three-game winless string. Seattle will face Chivas USA again in its final regular season home game on October 15.
After coming from behind to beat the Chicago Fire, 2-1, at home last week Sounders FC rides a franchise-best seven-game unbeaten (5-0-2) streak into New England. The 3-0 win over the Revolution on June 5 matched the biggest victory margin for the club. The Revs (6-12-3, 21 points) have lost three in a row but are 5-4-2 at home. They host Monarcas Morelia in the SuperLiga final on Wednesday.
Seattle’s surge to begin the second half of the season has propelled it into the second of four wild card slots. Eight teams qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs: the first two teams in each division and the teams with the next four best point totals.
Arlo White will call all the week’s action. The cup semifinal will be available for viewing via a webcast at www.SoundersFC.com and Saturday’s match will be televised on KONG 6/16 and heard on both KIRO 97.3 FM and Homero 1210 AM.
Sounders FC is back home on September 9 to play reigning MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake in a nationally televised contest. Tickets for home matches are available by calling 1-877-MLS-GOAL or visiting www.SoundersFC.com.
Upcoming Competition Schedule (All times Pacific)
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.
Thursday, September 9, 8 p.m. – Real Salt Lake, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle
Tuesday, September 14, 7 p.m. – CD Saprissa, Estadio Ricardo Saprissa, San Jose, Costa Rica(CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage/Round Three)
Saturday, September 18, 4:30 p.m. – Columbus Crew, Columbus Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
No Stopping Sounders FC
Sounders FC supporters who give their full 90 have been rewarded with some glorious stoppage time goals this season, the most recent being Fredy Montero’s game-winning header against Chicago last week. Montero sealed the come-from-behind performance in the second minute of stoppage time. Seven matches have been decided in the 85th minute or later, including four wins (Kansas City, New York, D.C. and Chicago).
It was Seattle’s fourth comeback victory and first since defeating FC Dallas in the final regular season game of 2009.
Back to 2009 Levels
The seven-game unbeaten (5-0-2) streak is the best yet for Sounders FC, breaking two six-game runs (1-0-5 and 3-0-3) in 2009. Only FC Dallas’ 12-game unbeaten run is longer this season. And after a lackluster finish to the first half of the 2010 season Seattle has battled its way back to a playoff position. The total of 32 points after 22 games equals the sum at the same stage (8-6-8) a year ago.
The Rave Green is above .500 for the first time since going to 2-1-2 after a draw at FC Dallas on April 22. The three-game home win streak is also a new standard.
Montero: MLS Player of the Week
Fredy Montero was voted MLS Player of the Week for his brace against the Chicago Fire. It is the second time Montero has earned the award. He won it in Week 1 of 2009 after scoring twice in the inaugural match win over New York. This is the second weekly award for a Sounders FC player this season. Steve Zakuani took the honors in Week 17 after bagging two goals against Colorado on July 25.
Fredy esta Muy Caliente
Fredy Montero was voted MLS Player of the Month for July and he has made a strong argument for August with his second career multi-goal game against Chicago. Montero finished the month with three goals (two game-winners) and an assist in three MLS games as Sounders FC went 2-0-1. Eight of his 13 shots were on goal and he also added an assist in a CONCACAF Champions League match.
Montero has scored (9) or assisted (7) on 16 of the last 19 goals scored by Sounders FC since April 22, including five goals and three assists during the current seven-game unbeaten run. He is thirdin goals (10) and tied for third in MLS assists (9) and is one of two players to rank among top 10 in both categories.He has 11 goals and 10 assists in all competitions.
Last week’s goal versus the Fire was Montero’s fourth game-winner of the season, ranking third in the league. He also has three game-winning assists (tied for fourth).
Nyassi Called In to Gambia National Team
The Gambia National Team has called in midfielder Sanna Nyassi for Saturday’s African Cup of Nations qualifier with Namibia in Banjul, Gambia. Nyassi will miss Seattle’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal versus Chivas USA and the MLS match on Saturday at New England. He will return to Seattle on September 6. Nyassi has started the last six MLS matches and eight altogether this season. He has three assists (all game-winners) in 17 appearances.
On Your Feet: It’s a Throw-In
While it’s usually corners and free kicks in the attacking third that tend to whip the crowd into a frenzy, throw-ins have contributed to a pair of key victories. Fredy Montero’s winner against the Fire began on the right flank with a quick throw from James Riley. Nathan Sturgis got to it and swung the cross into the far post for Montero to nod home.
It was somewhat reminiscent of the 1-nil win over Kansas City on April 17. A quickly taken throw by Brad Evans up the right side found Mike Fucito in the box for the game-winner in the second minute of stoppage time.
Will Cup Runneth Over?
Should Seattle emerge victorious against Chivas USA on Wednesday, the Sounders FC will host the final at Qwest Field on Tuesday, October 5, at 8 p.m. PT. Sounders FC is the defending Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champions, and it is bidding to become the first repeat winner since 1982-83 when the New York Pancyprian Freedoms won back-to-back.
Chivas USA is the only semifinalist that has not won the Open Cup previously. D.C. United claimed the title in 1996 and 2008. Columbus won in 2002.
If Chivas USA defeats Seattle and D.C. United defeats Columbus, the final will take place on October 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET at RFK Stadium. If Columbus defeats D.C. United and Chivas USA defeats Seattle, the final will be held on October 12 at 8 p.m. PT at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, recognized as U.S. Soccer’s National Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. The tournament has crowned a champion for 96 consecutive years dating back to 1914. It is the oldest annual team tournament in U.S. sports history and among the oldest soccer tournaments of its type in the world. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor longtime soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.
Starfire: The Other Magic Kingdom
Sounders FC is a perfect 5-0-0 in competitive matches played at Starfire Sports Stadium. It won four times in 2009 Open Cup related matches, including a comeback extra time semifinal win over Houston. This season Seattle ousted the L.A. Galaxy, 2-0, in the quarterfinal round at Starfire on July 7.
The Cup: Nate’s Been Great
Nate Jaqua has scored each of Seattle’s three goals in Open Cup play this season, but he may only be getting started. Jaqua is coming into midseason form of late, supplying plenty of spark off the bench in recent appearances against Marathon, Monterrey and Chicago. Jaqua missed the first 13 games this season through injury. Shortly after returning he was named U.S. Open Cup Player of the Quarterfinal Round by TheCup.us. Jaqua scored both goals in the 2-0 win over the L.A. Galaxy and had also scored against Portland in the third round of the tournament.
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 over D.C. United 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.
Chivas USA Path to Semifinal
A 3-1 road win over the Houston Dynamo advanced Chivas USA to the semifinal round for the first time. Justin Braun scored twice for the Red-and-White, which had edged the USL Austin Aztex on penalties after drawing 0-0 in the third round. Michael Lahoud got what proved to be the winning goal in the 65th minute while Braun tallied in the 5th and 90th minutes. This marks the first semifinal appearance for the club.
History Says No Easy Week
Chivas USA and New England may have had their struggles this season, but both sides have proven most puzzling to Seattle. In MLS play, Sounders FC is a combined 1-4-2 against Chivas USA and the Revs, and the Rave Green has yet to score a goal against the former in four matches (two losses and two scoreless draws). The sole victory was against New England at home on June 5, 3-0.
Firsts: Ianni, Riley, Wahl (all defenders)
While scoring goals is nothing new for Fredy Montero, his set-up men against the Fire were all collecting their first assist of the campaign. In fact, Tyson Wahl was making his first appearance in 17 matches at left back, starting for the suspended Leo Gonzalez. Wahl tight-roped the left sideline before sending a curling ball into Montero’s path for the equalizer against Chicago. It was Wahl’s first career assist. Patrick Ianni was also credited with an assist, his first since May 16, 2009, on the play. Nathan Sturgis notched his first career MLS assist on the cross to Montero for the winner. James Riley earned his third of the year on the play.
Sounders FC Support is a Growing Legend
The loyal, passionate and thunderous support of Sounders FC is already becoming legend. In 2009 the club established an MLS record (30,943) for average season attendance and to date there have been 28 consecutive sellouts of MLS matches. Attendance for last week’s match with Chicago was 36,386-the largest for an MLS match. Seattle is now averaging 36,174 this season. Last week’s turnout of 22,513 for the CONCACAF Champions League match with Monterrey was the second-largest for a Champions League/Champions Cup match played in the U.S.The top mark is 26,528 for D.C. United v Chivas de Guadalajara on March 15, 2007.
Chivas de Guadalajara Coming to Seattle
Sounders FC will host Chivas de Guadalajara, an 11-time champion, one of Mexico’s most popular teams and the 2010 Copa Libertadores runner-up, on Tuesday, October 12, on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT and the match will be televised live on TeleFutura.
Tickets for the Chivas match go on sale on Monday, September 13 at 10a.m. Tickets will be available at www.SoundersFC.com, by calling 800-745-3000, all Ticketmaster outlets and the Qwest Field Box office. The match is part of the Sounders FC 18-game season ticket package.
“Chivas Guadalajara is arguably the best supported team in Mexico, and as evidenced by their run to the final stage of the Copa Libertadores they are an outstanding side,” said Sounders FC Owner Joe Roth. “Given the loyalty and devotion of both teams’ supporters, the atmosphere that evening will be electric.”
Chivas de Guadalajara is Mexico’s most successful club with 11 league championships. It is famous for using only Mexican players and features many of the country’s top players, including Jonny Magallon, Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista, Alberto “Venado” Medina and Luis Michel, who all represented Mexico at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Other stars on the team include Omar Bravo, Edgar Mejia, Patricio “Pato” Araujo, and Hector Reynoso.
This is the first visit to Seattle by Chivas de Guadalajara. In 1985 Universidad de Guadalajara faced FC Seattle at Memorial Stadium.
Grammatrain Video Debuts
The music video for “The Last Sound” by Seattle based band Grammatrain premiered during the Sounders FC pregame show on KONG-TV (ch. 6/16) August 28 prior to the Sounders FC vs. Chicago Fire match and on the video boards at Qwest Field during halftime.
The backdrop for the music video was Seattle’s Gas Works Park located on the northern shores of Lake Union. The shoot took place on May 20 and features several hundred Sounders FC fans who participated on a volunteer basis.
Sounders FC owner Drew Carey pledged to help the band make a “proper video” after receiving a copy of the song. Carey introduced the band to video producer Nik Venet, whose body of work includes videos for The White Stripes, Jane’s Addiction and U2. The video, while including some Sounders elements, will largely be a rock performance video, incorporating places around Seattle.
The Last Sound is available now from iTunes, Amazon and Rock Band Network. For more information visit www.SoundersFC.com or www.Grammatrain.net .
Defense Still Going Strong
It’s a testimony to the defense that the seven-game unbeaten run has been accomplished while averaging less than two goals per match. Sounders FC has allowed only three goals during the stretch, with a club record 379-minute scoreless streak ending on a Chicago penalty kick. Seattle is now ninth (1.18 average) in scoring defense after ending the first half of the season at 13th (1.53).
Seattle is in the midst of seven consecutive weeks with midweek competitive matches. In addition to the eight remaining regular season games, Sounders FC will play four CCL group stage fixtures, plus at least one more Open Cup game. If it defeats Chivas USA on Wednesday, there would be midweek matches during each of the final 10 weeks of the regular season. The U.S. Open Cup Final is October 5 and the friendly with Mexico’s Chivas de Guadalajara is October 12. Playoffs, a friendly and a berth in the Open Cup final could potentially push that total to 19 competitive matches between now and November 21, the date of MLS Cup 2010. The Rave Green gets one more weekend off, after the September 9 match with Real Salt Lake.
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.
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 12) and Brad Evans (the last nine). Mike Fucito has been out with a knee injury since scoring the winner versus Kansas City on April 17.
Only two players have appeared in each of the 22 matches. Kasey Keller is the only player to start each fixture and he is the leader in minutes (1935). Fredy Montero is the only outfield player with 22 appearances. Defender James Riley tops all outfield players in minutes (1878) 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. Four players-David Estrada, Evans, Hurtado, and Peter Vagenas-are currently on the MLS disabled list.
Fans: Opportunity Knocks
Sounders FC fans have filled the stadium to capacity for 28 consecutive MLS matches. Tickets are available for the final two CONCACAF Champions League home matches, September 29 versus CD Marathon of Honduras and October 19 versus CD Saprissa of Costa Rica. Deposits of $50 per seat are also 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.
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 (810) of the last nine 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 more than 700 minutes during the nine matches since July 25 were Osvaldo Alonso (796) and Fredy Montero (746).
The Kids Are Alright
During the seven-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 the past two matches. Steve Zakuani (22) had started the first five games of the streak. The other starting members of the 25-and-under set are forward Fredy Montero (23) and center back Patrick Ianni (25).
Rookie Michael Seamon (23) has seen action in 11 of the last 14 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.
Previous Sounders FC-Chivas USA Meetings
Sounders FC 0, Chivas USA 2 – April 18, 2009 – The Home Depot Center
In a matchup for the best record in the Western Conference, the Sounders FC could not convert a number of early chances into goals and then paid for some costly mistakes. An own goal by James Riley in the first half was coupled with a late breakthrough by Chukwudi Chijindu in the 84th minute, sending Seattle to a second straight defeat. The hosts capitalized on their first opportunity. Jonathan Bornstein controlled the ball near the left post and crossed it into the crease. Riley inadvertently redirected it past keeper Chris Eylander in the 32nd minute. With the Sounders FC pressing forward in the final minutes, Bojan Stepanovic’s cross put Chijindu clear to beat Eylander in the 84th. Sounders FC finished with an 11-6 edge in shots. Eylander made his first MLS start in place of Kasey Keller, serving a suspension for his red card one week earlier.
Sounders FC 0, Chivas USA 1 – June 6, 2009 – The Home Depot Center
Seattle’s streak of six games without a loss, which included five consecutive ties, ended by being blanked by the Western Conference leaders. Despite controlling possession for much of the game and finishing with superior totals in almost every offensive category, Seattle suffered its first loss and first shutout since losing at Chivas on April 18. Chivas USA got the sole goal of the game from Eduardo Lillingston late in the first half. In the 38th minute, from the left side of the box Maykel Galindo found Paulo Nagamura, whose low near-post shot was parried by Kasey Keller. But the ball fell to Lillingston and he knocked it straight in for the score. Perhaps the best Seattle opportunity was in the 68th minute when Freddie Ljungberg’s free kick from the right set up a Jhon Kennedy Hurtado header in front of the net that skipped over the bar. Seattle finished the game down a man for the fifth time as Jaqua was sent off in the 88th minute with his second yellow card.
Sounders FC 0, Chivas USA 0 – September 19, 2009 – Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field
Held scoreless for the fourth consecutive match at home, Seattle was forced to settle for a draw as Zach Thornton made six saves for his third shutout against Sounders FC. Nine of Seattle’s 12 shots came in the second half, beginning with a Steve Zakuani header which was stopped by a leaping Thornton. It was a physical match with eight cards issued, including a red card to Chivas USA’s Marcelona Saragosa in the 71st minute of the match. Seattle outshot Chivas USA 12-4 and also finished with a 10-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Sounders FC 0, Chivas USA 0 – August 14, 2010 – The Home Depot Center
Kasey Keller earned his eighth shutout of the season as Seattle extended its unbeaten streak to six league matches with a road draw.Keller kept a clean sheet with three saves. The first scoreless draw of the season featured a header off the right post by Sanna Nyassi in the 62nd minute and a diving save by Zach Thornton to deny Fredy Montero on a free kick in the 70th. Shortly before the final whistle Leo Gonzalez and Mariano Trujillo of Chivas USA were shown red cards following a scuffle.
Among the Leaders
Sounders FC leads the league in corner kicks (134), fouls suffered (267) and assists (34). Seattle is sixth in shots (249) and eigth in shots on goal (97). It is fourth in offside (72). Sounders FC also ranks tied for fifth in fouls committed with 244. Fredy Montero is third in MLS with 10 goals and tied for third with nine assists. Steve Zakuani has added seven goals (T-10th). Montero has taken 70 shots (3rd) with 30 on goal (4th). Montero is fourth with 47 fouls suffered. Kasey Keller is fifth with 1935 minutes played.
Last CCL Match: Seattle Sounders FC 0, CF Monterrey 2 – August 25, 2010 – Recap
Sounders FC dropped to the bottom of the Group C standings despite finishing with a commanding advantage in shots and corner kicks. Neri Cardozo scored the first goal and assisted on the second for Monterrey. Aldo de Negris added the second goal for the visitors.
Sounders FC is winless through its first two Group C matches, having lost, 2-1, to CD Marathon in Honduras on August 19. In the other Group C game of Round Two, Saprissa of Costa Rica beat Marathon, 4-1.
Monterrey opened the scoring in the 41st minute. Jesus Zavala played a long ball into the box where it took one bounce before Cardozo headed it past an onrushing Kasey Keller. In the 58th minute Cardozo chipped a ball behind the Seattle defense and de Nigris touched it once before sending a right-footed strike inside the near post.
Sounders FC forward Nate Jaqua had a 90th minute goal called back. He knocked in the rebound of a Fredy Montero shot saved by Jonathan Orozco but the goal was disallowed due to offside.
Seattle nearly scored in the 61st minute off a Nathan Sturgis corner kick. Jaqua headed the ball towards goal but it was knocked down by keeper Jonathan Orozco. Montero had a chance to put away the rebound but the ball was cleared off the line.
Just minutes after entering the match as a halftime substitute, Jaqua served a ball to Sanna Nyassi who slid a shot past Orozco from 6 yards but it caromed off the right post.
Seattle owned statistical advantages in shots (17-7, 6-3 on goal) and corners (12-5).
The crowd of 22,513 was the second-largest for a Champions League/Champions Cup match played in the U.S.
Monterrey leads Group C with six points. Saprissa and Marathon each have three points.Seattle’s next Champions League match is September 14 at Saprissa.
Last MLS Match: Seattle Sounders FC 2, Chicago Fire 1 – August 28, 2010 – Recap
Fredy Montero scored two goals, including the game-winning header in second-half stoppage time, as the Sounders FC extended its unbeaten streak to seven league games.
Montero equalized Chicago’s penalty kick with a strike in the 36th minute and then scored the decisive goal in the 92nd minute before a capacity crowd of 36,386.
In the second minute of second-half stoppage time, James Riley took a quick throw-in to Nathan Sturgis who served a left-footed cross to Montero, lurking at the far post. Montero headed the ball down, past keeper Sean Johnson, for his 10th goal. It was Sturgis’ first assist this season and Riley’s third.
Montero’s equalizer came in the 36th minute. Defender Tyson Wahl, making his first appearance since April 25, took a pass from Patrick Ianni and served a long ball to the box. Montero chased it down, touched the ball once as he beat two defenders and blasted a shot inside the near post.
Wahl recorded his first point in MLS since entering the league in 2006 and it was Ianni’s first assist this season.
Chicago had taken an early lead on a penalty kick in the 27th minute. Seattle’s Jeff Parke was whistled for a handball in the box when Patrick Nyarko’s pass struck his arm. John Thorrington stepped up and knocked the penalty kick past Kasey Keller. It was the first goal allowed by Seattle in MLS play since July 25, snapping the club’s record 379-minute opponent scoreless streak.
Seattle celebrated its 28th consecutive sellout crowd with the largest attendance for an MLS match. Sounders FC is above .500 for the first time since April 22.
The match marked Freddie Ljungberg’s return to Qwest Field after he was traded to Chicago on July 30. Ljungberg led the Fire with two shots.
Seattle finished with a 12-9 edge in shots (4-4 on goal) and 6-4 on corner kicks and all four Montero shots were on target, including a free kick from 25 yards in the 3rd minute which was saved by Johnson with a lunge to the right post. He has five goals and three assists during the unbeaten run.
Defender Leo Gonzalez missed the match while serving a red card suspension.
About Chivas USA
Chivas USA sits in last place in the Western Conference with 19 points in 20 games. With nine league matches remaining, Chivas looks to close out the season strong with the help of several recent additions, including midfielder Rodolfo Espinoza, forwards Alan Gordon and Giancarlo Maldonado. Following a midseason stretch where it lost every match (0-6-0), Chivas USA has earned points in six of its last eight games, going 3-2-3. The Red-and-Whites defeated D.C. United, 1-0, behind an early goal by Justin Braun on Sunday night. In Open Cup play, Chivas USA advanced past the Austin Aztex on penalties and then downed the Houston Dynamo, 3-1. In its last trip to Seattle, Chivas USA earned a scoreless draw at Qwest Field. The two clubs also battled to a scoreless draw on August 14 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Keeper Zach Thornton returned on August 14 and has started the last three games in net. Thornton earned his fifth clean sheet of the season, making three saves against D.C. United. He has allowed 17 goals for a goals against average of 1.18. Sounders FC are yet to score against Thornton and the Chivas defense. Thornton ranks second all-time with 74 career shutouts in MLS. Justin Braun leads the offense with eight goals (T-6th in MLS) and three assists, including the game-winner in the first half against D.C. United last Sunday. He has taken 49 shots (10th in MLS) with 21 on target. Jesus Padilla has added four goals. Newly signed midfielder Rodolfo Espinoza has started all six appearances with one assist and rookie Ben Zemanski has started 12 of 17 matches, also recording one assist.
About New England
After winning a pair of matches in early August, the Revs have dropped three straight, including a 2-1 home loss to Philadelphia last week. New England is 5-4-2 at home this season, allowing 13 goals (1.18 GAA). The last time the two clubs met Seattle earned its first victory over New England, 3-0. The Revs are the only other team in MLS to play home matches on artificial turf.
Twins Sainey Nyassi of New England and Sanna Nyassi of Seattle have yet to share the pitch in the teams’ three meetings, and it won’t occur this time around either. Sanna was called in to the Gambia National Team for Saturday’s African Cup of Nations qualifier against Namibia in Banjul. Sainey Nyassi and Revs teammate Kenny Mansally were also called in for the match. A pair of first-year players lead the Revs with five goals. Midfielder Marco Perovic has five goals in his first season in MLS, starting 16 of 17 appearances. And rookie Zack Schilawski has five goals on the year. Midfeilder Shalrie Joseph has four assists in 13 appearances for the Revs. Joseph has scored all three of New England’s goals against Seattle in series history. Goalkeeper Matt Reis returned to goal on June 27 and has started all eight appearances. Sophomores Kevin Alston and Darrius Barnes have helped steady the New England backline. Alston, an All-Star defender, has started all 17 appearances this season.
Seattle/New England Connections
Forward Pat Noonan was a mainstay of New England for his first five seasons in MLS, leaving the team after the 2007 season as the club’s No. 4 goalscorer (37) and No. 3 in assists (29). Noonan has since played for Columbus and Colorado but he’s yet to hit the net against the Revs in three meetings. Right back James Riley played his first three professional seasons for the Revolution. He was drafted by New England in 2005 out of Wake Forest, where he was once a teammate of Pat Phelan. While with New England, Riley was a starter for the 2007 Open Cup champions and MLS Cup runners-up in both 2006 and 2007. He scored his only MLS goal against New York at Gillette Stadium in 2005. Darren Sawatzky, the Sounders FC director of youth development, played two seasons (1996-97) in Foxborough.
Previous Sounders FC-New England Revolution Meetings
Sounders FC 0, New England Revolution 1 – August 20, 2009 – Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field
Shalrie Joseph scored the game’s only goal as the Revolution blanked the Sounders FC in a nationally televised match, snapping Seattle’s eight-game home unbeaten streak. In the 21st minute of the match a combination play between New England’s Steve Ralston and Edgaras Jankauskas set up the goal. Joseph fended off Seattle’s Peter Vagenas and poked the ball past goalkeeper Kasey Keller from 6 yards. Nate Jaqua led Seattle with four shots, and his closest opportunity came in the 27th minute of the match. Taking a pass from defender Leo Gonzalez, Jaqua steered his 6-yard shot just wide of the near post. The best chance to equalize for the Sounders FC came in the 43rd minute. Fredy Montero was fouled by Ralston, then stepped up to take the resulting penalty kick. Montero’s shot ricocheted off the crossbar and the rebound was sent out of play for a goal kick. Seattle finished the match with 11 shots but was unable to get one on goal despite a 9-6 corner kick advantage. New England played without head Coach Steve Nicol, who was serving the second game of a two-game suspension. First assistant Paul Mariner was ejected from the match just before halftime.
Sounders FC 1, New England Revolution 2 – September 26, 2009 – Gillette Stadium
Shalrie Joseph scored two goals as the Revolution swept the initial season series. Seattle, trying to extend a three-game unbeaten run on the road, struck first. Following a near-miss by Nate Jaqua in the 3rd minute, Fredy Montero opened the scoring with a sensational unassisted goal in the 6th minute. Montero eluded two defenders on the right wing before unleashing a 30-yard blast which dipped under the bar for his 12th goal of the year. New England got back into the match in the 51st minute when Seattle defender Leo Gonzalez was called for a handball near the left edge of the box. Joseph converted the resulting penalty kick for his 7th goal of the year. Seattle mounted more offensive pressure as the final whistle neared, with Montero coming close on a bicycle kick with four minutes to go. But the Revs got the goal. A long ball from Jeff Larentowicz found Joseph alone in front for a free header past Kasey Keller in the 87th minute. It was Joseph’s third goal and second game-winner in two matches against the Sounders FC. It also marked the first time in 12 games that Seattle lost after scoring first.
Sounders FC 3, New England Revolution 0 – June 5, 2010 – Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field
Seattle scored a team record three first-half goals to snap a two-game losing skid and win at home for the first time in four matches.Leo Gonzalez scored his first goal and recorded his first assist for Seattle, and Steve Zakuani and Fredy Montero each added tallies as Sounders FC Gonzalez ended Seattle’s 270-minute home scoreless streak with a curling left-footed blast from 15 yards in the 5th minute. Steve Zakuani, who assisted on that goal, made it 2-0 in the 24th minute, volleying off the underside of the crossbar. Fredy Montero tacked on a third goal in the 42nd minute, beating Bobby Shuttleworth. Pat Noonan also hit the left post with a drive in the 32nd minute.Seattle fired a record 19 shots (8 on goal) and held a commanding 10-4 advantage in corner kicks.Kasey Keller made one save on two New England shots.
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)
36,386 August 28, 2010 Seattle v Chicago
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
*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 (3): Terry Boss, Jordan Jennings*, 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, Alvaro Fernandez, Sanna Nyassi, Michael Seamon, Nathan Sturgis, Peter Vagenas; Forwards (9): Mike Fucito, Blaise Nkufo, Nate Jaqua, Roger Levesque, Miguel Montano, Fredy Montero, Pat Noonan, Ty Perdido*, Steve Zakuani.
Fredy Montero’s multi-goal performance was the club’s fourth and his first since the inaugural game win over New York on March 19, 2009. Nate Jaqua and Steve Zakuani have also scored two goals in a match…Montero’s four shots on goal established a new team record…Steve Zakuani made his 50th MLS appearance against the Fire, coming off the bench in the 62nd minute. He had missed the game at Chivas USA on August 14…Michael Seamon celebrates his 22nd birthday on August 30 and Terry Boss turns 29 on September 1…Chivas USA was the first team to hold Sounders FC scoreless since Colorado on May 29…The Rave Green is now 6-4-1 against the East. Seattle is 3-0-2 in its last five meetings with Western Conference opponents after starting off 0-4-3…Thursday, September 2, marks the first anniversary of winning the 2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in Washington, D.C.