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April 29, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Sounders FC vs. Toronto FC, preview and prediction

Toronto FC Logo.jpgSounders FC (2-2-3) vs. Toronto FC (1-2-4)

Saturday, April 30, 7 p.m., Qwest Field, Seattle, Wash.

Dual broadcast: KONG 6-16 TV, 97.3 KIRO-FM (Arlo White, Erin Mayovsky)

Referee: Ricardo Salazar

KEY TORONTO PLAYERS

GK Stefan Frei — Certainly one of the best goalkeepers in the league in my opinion. Has a league-high 26 saves, which characterizes what is demanded of him, and you have to think he’ll be called upon a couple times. Like Kasey Keller has played all 630 minutes in goal this season.

F Alan Gordon — The 29-year-old veteran has given a little spark to the TFC attack and already has two goals and one assist. Has a tireless work rate and is a bit of a pest, as seen in 10 fouls committed in his four games. Can he continue to produce for his third team in two years?

D Adrian Cann — Has started all seven games in the back. He has size (6-foot-3) and experience (30 years old). Was actually named the team’s most valuable player for the 2010 season and has made a couple appearances for the Canadian national team.

KEY MATCHUPS

Nate Jaqua vs. Ty Harden — Neither started last week but I’ll predict they do Saturday. Jaqua will certainly be inspired to show well in what’s expected to be his first time in the first XI. Harden is a tough-minded defender I got to know well when I covered the Huskies in college.

Brad Evans vs. Julian de Guzman — When Seattle has dominated, it’s because Evans and Alonso have won the majority of duels, headers, second balls and 50-50 balls in the midfield. Toronto’s DP has been underwhelming in his three years, and already has 13 fouls and three yellow cards this season, but has the talent to make a difference on the night.

Seattle’s emotions vs. Seattle’s emotions — A weird way to put it, I know. But will the Sounders FC come out with an inspired performance after what has been a difficult week or will the loss of a couple teammates take an emotional toll and be too much to overcome? This will be the seventh different lineup in eight games as well.

PREDICTION

Certainly this won’t be Sigi Schmid’s speech to the team before the game, but I think getting Toronto at home after a trying week is the best match-up Sounders FC could hope for. The Canadian side is in transition with a new coach, new management and several new players. I think that sets up well for the home team.

In front of 36,000 adoring fans, I don’t see Seattle losing this one. There will be a tribute for Steve Zakuani in the 11th minute and I’m sure the injured midfielder will be on everyone’s minds for all 90.

I think Jaqua will have an impact. Depth with Alvaro Fernandez and Erik Friberg will help the Sounders and I also think Mike Fucito sees some action.

Sounders FC 2, Toronto FC 0

SEA — Jaqua (Fredy Montero) 27′

SEA — Montero (Erik Friberg) 73′

* * *

What do you think? Think the difficult week will have an impact on the game Saturday?

COMMENTS

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