The Sounders will soon add another member to their 100 Club as Jhon Kennedy Hurtado made his 99th MLS appearance late in Wednesday’s 1-0 win against Chivas USA.
The veteran defender would become the fourth player in team history to reach the milestone. Take a look at the leaderboard:
1. Osvaldo Alonso, 131 games
2. Fredy Montero, 119 games
3. Brad Evans, 107 games
4. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, 99 games
5. Kasey Keller, 93 games
I asked Hurtado this week if 100 MLS games is particularly important to him. The Colombian, who can do interviews in English now, smiled at the question but noted “every game is important for me.”
Coach Sigi Schmid indicated Hurtado would be in the lineup Saturday against Chicago, noting his reduced role against Chivas was more as matter of rest.
Hurtado’s tenure with the Sounders has been an interesting one. Back in 2009, coming of a trial with AC Milan and a friendly with Germany’s Hannover, he made the MLS All-Star Game and was a finalist for MLS Defender of the Year. A major knee injury struck in 2010, and he has been in and out of the lineups the past three seasons.
Through the ups and downs, Hurtado said “the club is really important for me because this is my fifth year with the team. I have a good feeling here with my family. My kids were born here, that’s really important for me, and the coaching staff, my teammates have been a part of my life. I’m so happy for that.”
When it comes to this season, Schmid seemed to feel pretty strongly that Hurtado’s performance is on the uptick.
“I think Jhon has played well in the last two games that he’s played, and this last game for him was definitely a rest game,” the coach said. “That was the reason we made that decision. The games prior to that when he wasn’t in … he and I spoke, and his answers to me were very good about what I was looking for. It’s just the anticipation versus the reaction to plays. He knows when he reacts to plays, he’s physically gifted enough that a lot of times he can still win those situations successfully, but when you’re going against really top-quality forwards in our league, you have to anticipate a little bit more. He knows that it’s part of the game that he always needs to work on, and he’s aware and he’s done a really, really, good job the last two games for us that way.”