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April 5, 2011 at 9:16 AM

Sounders FC weekly release of team news and notes

This information providing by the team…

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Seattle Returns Home Seeking to Light the Fire

Determined to build momentum and more than double its point production, Seattle Sounders FC faces a tough foe, the unbeaten Chicago Fire, on Saturday on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. Sounders FC is seeking its first victory of the new season while Chicago is coming off a bye in Major League Soccer play. Saturday’s match will be aired live on KING 5 at 1 p.m. PT.

While the season may have changed to spring, the sun has yet to shine nor the temperatures noticeably rise for those living in the Emerald City. Perhaps a brighter, warmer forecast for this weekend will extend to the Rave Green.

Seattle (0-2-2) is making progress, evidenced not only by successive draws but also increased goal production. Three goals have been scored in the last 100 minutes and, on average, Sounders FC has unleashed 16 shots per game.

Sounders FC hopes to have forward Fredy Montero available for selection this week. Scorer of 22 goals in his first two seasons, Montero missed the 2-2 draw at San Jose last week following surgery on his fractured right wrist.

Under second-year coach Carlos de los Cobos the Fire (1-0-1) got off the mark with a draw at FC Dallas and a 3-2 home win over Sporting Kansas City, the latter on March 26. Chicago’s off week was partially filled by a U.S. Open Cup play-in win, 2-1, over Colorado on March 30.

Sounders FC has never lost to the Fire, drawing twice during the inaugural 2009 season and sweeping last year’s series, thanks to a pair of late game-winning goals. The two sides met again during the 2011 preseason, with Seattle prevailing, 1-nil, over 120 minutes of play.

Describing all the action over the airwaves will be Arlo White, on both KING 5 and 97.3 KIRO FM. The game is also being broadcast on La Gran D 99.3 FM.

Awaiting Seattle after the Fire are two games on the road against fast-starting opponents. Sounders FC visits Eastern Conference leader Philadelphia Union on April 16 at 1 p.m. PT and the undefeated and defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids on April 22 at 6:30 p.m. PT.

The next home game is April 30 against Toronto FC. For Sounders FC tickets go to www.SoundersFC.com or call 877-MLS-GOAL.

Upcoming Competition Schedule (All times Pacific)

Saturday, April 9, 1 p.m. – Chicago Fire, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle

Saturday, April 16, 1 p.m. – at Philadelphia Union, PPL Park, Chester, Penn.

Friday, April 22, 6:30 p.m. – at Colorado Rapids, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colo.

Saturday, April 30, 7 p.m. – Toronto FC, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle

Wednesday, May 4, 4:30 p.m. – at D.C. United, RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

April Answers

Left winger Steve Zakuani served a sweet cross to O’Brian White for Seattle’s second goal last week, renewing his knack for helping the Rave Green get points in the month of April. Over his brief career, Zakuani has prospered most in April, scoring four of his 15 goals and also adding two assists.

Seattle is unbeaten (2-0-3) in matches in which he scores or assists. Zakuani had scored the first Sounders FC goal of 2011 in the March 25 draw with Houston. He led the team with four shots (two on goal) at San Jose.

From ‘Trialist’ to Stylist

Back in February, when he first joined a Florida training session, he was known only as the ‘Trialist.’ Quickly he showed the skills, cunning and creativity that go with a player of his international quality. Soon he was placed on the team’s discovery list and the identity of Mauro Rosales was revealed.

In a span of six weeks, Rosales has further impressed, signed a contract, and last week earned a place in the starting XI at San Jose. Playing up front, Rosales shone brightly in the first half against the Quakes, assisting on the game’s opening goal and later forcing two saves.

It’s All Good

It’s a team sport, but good things seem to go hand in hand with good results for Brad Evans’ side. At San Jose Evans scored his first goal since missing the latter half of 2010 due to a knee injury, and that goal, the 10th of his career, kept intact his teams’ unbeaten record when he scores. Sounders FC is 4-0-1 when Evans gets a goal and he was also 4-0-1 when scoring for Columbus from 2007 to 2008. His last goal for Seattle had come in the 2010 opener against Philadelphia.

OB Opens Account

O’Brian White’s go-ahead header against the Earthquakes opened his Sounders FC scoring account. White, acquired in an offseason trade, had scored four times in his first two seasons with Toronto FC. His nine shots on goal this season is already a career high (he had eight in 2010). White had scored a goal and an assist in two games against Seattle last season.

Running the Numbers

Sounders FC is now 21-4-7 all-time when scoring first. The four losses were all on the road…Six players-Kasey Keller, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg and O’Brian White-have started each of the first four matches…Not since late in its inaugural season has Seattle had back-to-back draws. Earlier, in May of 2009, Sounders FC strung together five consecutive draws…Sounders FC has not gone winless at home in more than two consecutive games since an 0-2-1 stretch in early 2010. It went 0-1-3 at one stage in 2009.

April 9 Anniversary: Pele, Kingdome & All That

Saturday will mark the 35th anniversary of one of the cornerstone events that established Seattle as a North American soccer capital. On April 9, 1976 the Kingdome hosted its first sporting event, a friendly played between the NASL Sounders and the New York Cosmos. A capacity and record North American crowd of 58,128 watched Pele score twice in a 3-1 win for the Cosmos.

The region’s reputation for passionate support has only grown with time. There have since been four bigger crowds for matches played at Qwest Field. Since joining MLS in 2009, Sounders FC has twice broken the league records for season attendance (36,173 in 2010), selling out 34 consecutive MLS matches.

Match Recap: Sounders FC 2 at San Jose Earthquakes 2 – April 2, Buck Shaw Stadium

First-half goals from Brad Evans and O’Brian White provided Seattle Sounders FC with the offense in a road draw against the Earthquakes.

Despite playing without last year’s co-scoring leader Fredy Montero, Sounders FC twice took the lead only to have the Earthquakes draw level. Halftime substitute Khari Stephenson scored the tying goal in the 52nd minute on a long-range blast off Kasey Keller’s fingertips and into the upper right corner.

Nate Jaqua produced the visitors’ best opportunity to pull ahead. In the 81st minute Jaqua collected a loose ball 12 yards out, but his shot was deflected wide of the net by a Quakes defender.

Sounders FC held a 17-12 advantage in shots (8-5 on goal) and on corner kicks, 10-6.

Pressuring form the outset Seattle finally broke through to take its first lead of the season in the 17th minute. Following a throw-in by White in the right corner, Erik Friberg slipped a pass to Mauro Rosales who sent a cross into the box and a charging Evans was able to redirect the ball past the goalkeeper for the goal.

White put his team in front, 2-1, shortly before halftime. He headed home a left-wing cross from Steve Zakuani.

San Jose was on the defensive much of the first half-hour but first equalized on an opportunistic run by Simon Dawkins. Latching onto a feed from Bobby Convey, Dawkins sent his shot past Keller from 15 yards.

Keller’s quick reactions saved Sounders FC twice in the first half. His left hand denied last year’s MLS scoring king, Chris Wondolowski, in the 9th minute and he stopped Joey Gjertsen in stoppage time.

Jon Busch, the Quakes keeper, kept his team in contention. He made two first-half saves. Among them were close-range saves of Zakuani in the 3rd and Rosales in the 11th minute.

Montero missed the game after undergoing surgery on a fractured right wrist on Thursday.

Rosales made his first start (in place of Montero) since being signed on March 18 and notched his first MLS assist. James Riley returned to right back after missing last week’s 1-1 home draw with Houston with a mild concussion.

Reserve League Match Recap: Sounders FC 1 at San Jose Earthquakes 0 – April 3

Michael Tetteh came off the bench to break a scoreless draw, striking an 87th-minute game winner to give Sounders FC a 1-0 win over the Earthquakes in a Reserve League match at the Nutrilite Training Facility in San Jose.

Tetteh, who entered the match in the 62nd minute, gave Seattle a win in its Reserve League opener. He cut in from the left, took a friendly bounce off an Earthquakes defender while trying to dribble to the right and then unleashed a shot that whizzed through the legs of center back Brad Ring and into the net past a diving Quakes keeper Andrew Weber.

Weber made several quality stops for San Jose and finished with seven saves in his second Reserve League start. Terry Boss needed one save to earn the shutout for Seattle.

Both sides had their chances at goal with a narrow 13-11 shot advantage for Seattle, but Sounders FC finished with an 8-1 advantage in attempts on goal.

Sounders FC Launches Free Mobile Application

The Sounders FC announced today the first version of its native iPhone mobile application is now available for download in the iTunes App Store. The free application will provide fans real-time access to the club in a mobile form including: traditional non-match day information, i.e., team alerts, scores, rosters, schedule and access to social media feeds. Match day features include statistics, access to the live blog commentary provided by club insider Matt Gaschk and access to live audio streams featuring team broadcaster Arlo White.

In addition to traditional content, the app will introduce a new component called “The Pulse.” A first-of-its kind feature, “The Pulse” will allow fans to declare their thoughts and feelings on the latest club news and information for all followers to view.

The mobile application was designed in partnership with POP, a leading digital agency that crafts experiences for the web, mobile devices and emerging digital platforms. POP works with Fortune 500 brands including Target, Amazon, Electronic Arts and Microsoft, out of offices in Seattle and New York.

The live blog commentary will be powered by ScribbleLive, a groundbreaking content delivery platform that gives the new web generation what they want – news now. Without delays, ScribbleLive enables real-time discussion and audience engagement.

ScribbleLive has been tried and tested by benchmark organizations like Reuters and Hearst Television and has been the lightning rod for such events as the iPad launch and the Red Bull Air Races.

Since its launch in February 2009, SoundersFC.com has had more than 8 million visitors from 211 countries and 23 million page views. SoundersFC.com is a supporters’ driven site with user generated content including: blog posts, forum posts, photos, and fan feedback. It is the most active online community in Major League Soccer (MLS) with over 7,500 registered users and continues to grow. The team has more than 166,000 friends on Facebook, more than any other soccer club in North America; and has more than 13,000 followers on twitter which ranks in the top three of all MLS teams.

Additional mobile platforms are being evaluated for future release.

For more information on this application and other mobile options visit www.SoundersFC.com/mobile

Sounders FC to Host Manchester United on July 20

Sounders FC will host Manchester United, winners of a record 11 English Premier League titles and three European championships, on Wednesday, July 20, on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT. The presenting partners for the Sounders FC international friendly match are AT&T and Samsung Mobile.

Managed by Sir Alex Ferguson since 1986, Man United features a star-studded lineup led by forward Wayne Rooney, defender Rio Ferdinand–both members of the English National Team–and other accomplished internationals such as Dimitar Berbatov, Nani, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) and legendary midfielder Ryan Giggs, the most decorated player in English history.

The match is part of the Sounders FC full 18-match season ticket package. In anticipation of the demand for tickets, seating at Qwest Field will be expanded to include the upper bowl.

The Red Devils will be making their third trip to Seattle. They met Scotland’s Celtic FC before a record Qwest Field crowd of 66,722 in 2003. In 1982 Man United faced the original North American Soccer League’s Sounders in the EuroPac Cup tournament, losing to Seattle, 3-0.

Manchester United has lost only three times in 30 matches and currently leads the EPL by five points. It won three consecutive titles from 2007 to 2009 and is aiming for a record 19th top division title.

The first English team to win a European championship, United added its third in the 2008 UEFA Champions League and later that year claimed the FIFA Club World Cup. Manchester United is now through to the quarterfinal stage of this season’s Champions League. United has won a record FA Cups and has advanced to the semifinal round of this year’s tournament.

Sounders FC Announces Premier Ticket Package for $99

Fans can guarantee seats for Manchester United by purchasing a three match ticket package for $99 prior to the public on-sale of individual tickets on June 1. In anticipation of the high demand for tickets, seating at Qwest Field will be expanded to include the upper bowl for the three featured Premier Pack matches. The Man United match is part of the Sounders FC full 18-match season ticket package.

The three-match ticket package includes Sounders FC home matches versus Manchester United, the New York Red Bulls on June 23, which includes a pre-match block party to be held in the North Lot, and the regular season finale versus the San Jose Earthquakes on October 15. The October 15 match will be Kasey Keller’s final regular season home match. As part of the Keller celebration, a limited edition Keller collectible will be distributed to the first 40,000 fans.

The three match ticket packages are available by phone at 1-877-MLS-GOAL or online at www.SoundersFC.com. Single match tickets exclusively for the Manchester United will go on-sale Wednesday, June 1.

Midfielder/Forward Pat Noonan Signs Extension

Sounders FC announced last week that midfielder/forward Pat Noonan has signed a three-month contract extension. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms were not disclosed.

Noonan, 30, is in his second season with Sounders FC. He played in 12 games last season, starting eight, and contributed one goal and one assist. A veteran of nine MLS seasons, Noonan has 41 goals and 33 assists in 164 career appearances.

Defender Leo Gonzalez Receives Green Card

Sounders FC announced last week that defender Leo Gonzalez has received his U.S. Green Card, granting him permanent resident status in the United States, effective immediately.

As a resident, Gonzalez will no longer occupy an International Player slot on Seattle’s roster.

Gonzalez, a native of Costa Rica, is in his third season with Sounders FC. He has started 41 matches at left back since arriving midway through the 2009 season, scoring one goal and adding one assist last year.

Among the Leaders

Seattle leads the league in shots (64), shots on goal (36), fouls committed (54), offside (15) and corner kicks (25). Despite missing last Saturday’s match, Fredy Montero still leads the league in shots (14) and O’Brian White is second (13). Montero (10) and White (9) are also first and second in shots on goal. Montero is third in fouls suffered (10). Leo Gonzalez tied for second with eight fouls committed and he is tied for first with three yellow cards. Erik Friberg is fifth in MLS with 13 corner kicks.

Series Notes

Sounders FC swept the season series in 2010 with two winning goals in the dying minutes. After going down a goal on John Thorrington’s penalty kick in the 28th minute, Fredy Montero scored twice to lead Seattle to a come-from-behind victory in front of a packed house at Qwest Field. Montero equalized in the 36th minute off a cross from Tyson Wahl, who recorded his first MLS assist on the play. Montero scored the winner in the 92nd minute when Nathan Sturgis swung a ball to the far post where Montero’s header beat keeper Sean Johnson. In the return matchup on September 25 in Chicago, Blaise Nkufo scored in the 88th minute to give Seattle a 1-nil victory.

Sounders FC is yet to lose to Chicago in MLS play. The two sides battled to a 1-1 draw on May 2, 2009 with Tyrone Marshall netting the lone Seattle goal and played to a scoreless draw on July 25, 2009 at Qwest Field.

About Chicago

The Fire will travel to Seattle looking to remain unbeaten on the young season (1-0-1, 4 points). The Men in Red opened up with a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas in week one and followed that with a 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Park. Despite playing just two league matches in the first three weeks, Chicago has stayed fit with a win over reigning MLS Cup Champion Colorado Rapids in a U.S. Open Cup qualifier. The club has four goals (5th in MLS) with three assists and a +1 goal differential. Having played fewer games than every other MLS club, the Fire rank near the bottom in several statistical categories, including shots (24; 17th), shots on goal (14; T-16th) and corner kicks (7; 16th).

Fire Notables

The 29-man Chicago roster features 16 new players from last season. The attack is led by Guatemalan Marco Pappa and Uruguayans Diego Chaves and Gaston Puerari. The trio has accounted for all four Fire goals. In his fourth season with the club, Pappa had a career year in 2010, setting career-highs with seven goals and five assists, and he scored the game-winner against Sporting Kansas City on March 26. Forwards Chaves and Puerari are in their first years in MLS and create a dangerous combination up top. Chaves has scored in his first two games, netting an unassisted goal against FC Dallas in week one and converting a penalty kick in week two. Puerari added a goal against Sporting Kansas City off of a Pappa assist. Chaves has helped Chicago get off to a strong start with early goals in both games (17′ v DAL and 34′ v KC). Patrick Nyarko returns to the team after recording a team-high 10 assists last season. Logan Pause remains in the midfield while rookie Jalil Anibaba has started both games in the back with stalwarts Gonzalo Segares and Corey Gibbs. After starting much of the second-half of last season, keeper Sean Johnson, 21, returns to net. Johnson has a 1.50 goals against average with 12 saves.

SEA/CHI Connections

Nate Jaqua played for the Fire for four seasons (2003-06). He made 92 appearances for Chicago, scoring 21 goals with 11 assists. O’Brian White (2005-08) and Josh Ford (2007-10) played with Chicago defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe (2006-09) at UConn. Alvaro Fernandez (2007-08) played with fellow Uruguayan Diego Chaves (2004-09) with the Montevideo Wanderers. Chaves totaled 93 appearances with 27 goals in his six seasons with the club. Servando Carrasco played with Chicago forward Davis Paul at the University of California-Berkeley from 2007-10. Jeff Parke played with backup goalkeeper Jon Conway with the New York Red Bulls.

Throw-ins

Seattle suffered a franchise-low four fouls in San Jose. The eight shots on goal against the Quakes ties for No. 4 on the all-time team list…Other anniversaries: On April 7, 2008, following an online vote, the club announced it would be named Sounders FC. On April 8, 1983, Tacoma native (then with Team America) Jeff Durgan made his U.S. National Team debut by scoring a goal in a 2-nil away win over Haiti…In San Jose, David Estrada made his first MLS appearance, playing the final seven minutes, since April 25, 2010 at Toronto… Servando Carrasco will be at the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union (located in the Safeway store) in Federal Way on April 7 from 5-6 p.m….Steve Zakuani, Brad Evans and Leo Gonzalez will be at the Dick’s Sporting Goods at the Landing in Renton on April 10 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The players will be available for pictures and autographs…

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