Sounders FC News & NotesJuly 9, 2012 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Seattle Sounders FC
With the weekend win, Seattle Sounders FC suddenly finds itself amidst a four-game unbeaten run (three in MLS) and third in the Western Conference standings. The upcoming week brings the opportunity for the club to advance to its fourth straight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final as well as capture another season series with a nationally televised match at New York on Sunday afternoon.
Wednesday's Open Cup quarterfinal match against Chivas USA will kick off at 7 p.m. PT at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Wash. The match will be streamed live on SoundersFC.com and can be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM with Mark Rogondino and Taylor Graham on the call.
Sunday's match against the Red Bulls will be nationally televised on ESPN, and can be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM with Gus Johnson and Kasey Keller calling the action.
Sounders FC (8-5-6, 30 points) captured a much-needed league victory on Saturday night in an emotional match against the Colorado Rapids. Mauro Rosales served two assists as Eddie Johnson headed in his team-high eighth goal of the season and Alvaro Fernandez opened his 2012 account.
The 2-1 victory that snapped Seattle's nine-game winless stretch was overshadowed by the return of winger Steve Zakuani who had missed over 14 months with a broken leg suffered in April 2011 against the Rapids.
Earlier in the week, Sounders FC traveled to Salt Lake and earned a scoreless draw with RSL on July 4. It was the third shutout of the season for Bryan Meredith as Seattle became the first team in league history to earn three consecutive results at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Sounders FC is unbeaten in four of its past five matches across all competitions, and the three-match undefeated run in league play is the fourth-longest active streak.
The Rave Green now turns its attention to the Open Cup semifinals. A rematch of the 2010 semis looms as Chivas USA returns to a sold-out Starfire Stadium on Wednesday evening. Seattle is unbeaten in 17 (16-0-1) Open Cup matches since joining MLS in 2009, and is vying to become the first team in the 99-year history of the tournament to win four consecutive titles.
The stretch of nine games in just under a month will wrap up on Sunday afternoon in New York as Sounders FC takes on the Red Bulls (9-5-4, 31 points) for the lone matchup of the year. New York is currently two points out of first place in East, and had a three-game unbeaten run snapped at New England last weekend.
Sounders FC will then take a two-week break from MLS action but will stay busy with an international friendly against Champions League winners Chelsea on July 18 on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. The team will return to league play on July 28 at Colorado.
Sounders FC Fast Facts
* Coach Sigi Schmid started his 19th lineup in as many games against Colorado
* Fifteen of Seattle's 23 goals have been scored in the second half (25 of 37 in all competitions)
* Andy Rose's 747 minutes played in MLS leads all Sounders FC newcomers (Alex Caskey - 2nd/724)
* Seattle became the first MLS team to earn three straight (1-0-2) road results at Real Salt Lake
* With the win over Colorado, Seattle improved to 5-2-0 in nationally televised games this season (3-0-0 on NBC Sports Network). Five of Seattle's final six regular season games will be nationally televised.
* The team's MLS record while participating in the Open Cup is 21-10-17
* Eight of Seattle's 23 MLS goals this season have been headers
Sounders FC has strung together four straight results to emerge from an uncharacteristic nine-game winless stretch. Three of those results came on the road, beginning with an Open Cup match - a regular lunchpad for Sounders FC - at San Jose followed by two road draws in league play at New England and Salt Lake. Seattle continued the run on Saturday with the win over Colorado, which clinched the season series for Sounders FC with one match remaining. Seattle has already won four season series, tied three and lost two, with eight yet to be decided.
In their Hands
The remaining MLS schedule presents Sounders FC with a unique opportunity to control their own destiny. Fourteen of Seattle's final 15 league matches are against Western Conference opponents, allowing Sounders FC to position themselves well within the playoff hunt. Seven matches against West opponents will be at home. The opportunity comes at the right time of the season as Seattle has the best record in MLS starting July 1 through the end of the season. Sounders FC has gone 27-10-9 in that time span over the past four seasons for a winning percentage of 59-percent.
Mauro the Maestro
Mauro Rosales pulled all of the right strings on Saturday night. Starting up top as a withdrawn forward, Rosales combined with both Alvaro Fernandez and Eddie Johnson on well-placed crosses, marking his first multi-assist game since September 17, 2011, and just the third of his MLS career. Rosales is tied-fourth in MLS with six assists, and is tied-seventh with 0.48 assists per 90 minutes.
Eddie Johnson has emerged as a consistent threat in Seattle's attack. With five goals in the past six games, Johnson now leads the team with eight tallies (tied-eighth in MLS). His game-winner on Saturday was a textbook header from a Mauro Rosales cross - a constant theme this season - and he has now scored five of the team's last seven goals. His 0.62 goals per 90 minutes ranks just outside the Top 10 in MLS. Four of Johnson's eight goals have been headers from a Rosales cross, including two of his past three strikes. All eight of his goals have been assisted, and Johnson and Saer Sene are the only players in the Top 10 of the Golden Boot race who did not play in MLS last season. Six of Johnson's goals have been scored on the road, and he looks to continue the trend this weekend at New York where he has five goals and one assist in 12 career games versus the Red Bulls.
On the Marc
Outside of the inaugural campaign, never has a player joined Sounders FC and played in the amount of games as Marc Burch in their first season. The left back was selected by Seattle in the 2011 MLS Re-Entry Draft after the club traded up to get the number one pick. Burch now leads the team with 19 league appearances and 23 games played in all competitions. He is fourth on the team with 1,520 minutes played in all-competitions and has already logged 1,331 minutes in league play (career-high is 2,174 minutes in 2009). His 19 appearances in 2012 are already more than his total in four of his six MLS seasons.
Saturday night ended the wait for a league win, but also ended the long-awaited return of Steve Zakuani. One of the most entertaining attacking players in the league through his first two seasons, Zakuani suffered a broken right fibula and tibia on April 22, 2011 and sat out over 14 months before making an emotional return on Saturday night. The throngs of Seattle supporters chanted his name as a national television audience watched perhaps the most important four minutes of Zakuani's career, who now sets his sights on returning to the form that produced 10 goals and six assists in 2010.
Sounders FC hosts Chivas USA in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals for the second time in four years. The two sides met in the 2010 semis on September 1 with Seattle advancing, 3-1. Nate Jaqua scored twice and Fredy Montero added a third and Jesus Padilla was the lone goal scorer for the Goats. Seattle also recently beat Chivas twice in the third round of the Open Cup as a USL side. In 2007, the Sounders ousted their top-tier opponent, 3-1, and won 2-nil in 2008.
Seattle's Lineup vs. Chivas USA (9/1/10): Kasey Keller; James Riley, Tyrone Marshall, Taylor Graham, Leo Gonzalez; Alvaro Fernandez (Roger Levesque 83), Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis, Steve Zakuani (Jeff Parke 90); Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua.
About Chivas USA
Chivas' road to the 2012 U.S. Open Cup semifinals has been full of late drama, including two stoppage-time winners. The Goats advanced past Ventura County, 1-0, in the opening round, and then squeaked by the Carolina Railhawks in their fourth-round matchup, 2-1. After conceding the equalizer in the 79th minute, Chivas was awarded a penalty kick for a handball in the box in second-half stoppage time, which Juan Pablo Angel converted for the late win over the Railhawks. In the quarterfinals, the Rojiblancos allowed the equalizer from Charlotte in the 84th minute before Jose Correa - Player of the Round for the quarters - scored his second goal of the match to win in stoppage time. The semifinal appearance will be the second in the club's history.
New York Series Notes
Sounders FC leads the all-time series with New York (3-2-1), including a 1-1-1 mark on the road. In the team's first visit to Red Bull Arena on May 15, 2010, Seattle won, 1-0, but dropped their last visit, 1-nil, on March 19, 2011. Seattle has outscored New York, 9-5, including a 4-2 win at CenturyLink Field the last time the two sides met. New York was Seattle's opponent in the club's inaugural MLS match, which Sounders FC won, 3-0 on March 19, 2009. Fredy Montero leads all players with four goals and 19 total shots (eight on goal). Both Montero and Roger Levesque have scored a brace against the Red Bulls. Three of Seattle's nine goals have been scored in the opening 15 minutes, and New York is yet to strike in the opening quarter-hour.
About New York
The Red Bulls currently sit in third place in the Eastern Conference, and just two points behind the lead with 31 points. They are unbeaten (5-0-2) at home with a 17-8 goal advantage, and are 2-1-3 against the Western Conference this season. They are third in MLS with 32 goals scored and 1.78 goals per game, but have struggled defensively, allowing 1.50 goals per game (16th in MLS). New York has won just once (1-2-2) since the beginning of June, most recently dropping a road match to New England, 2-0, on Sunday.
Red Bulls Notables
Coach Hans Backe's attack is led by the league's most potent scoring duo in Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry. Cooper's 11 goals this season is second in MLS, and Henry's nine is tied for third, despite playing only 11 games. Henry also leads the team with five assists. However, neither Cooper nor Henry have scored since May 23 and April 28, respectively. The Red Bulls get help from their back line with Brandon Barklage (two goals and three assists), Jan Gunnar Solli (two goals and two assists), and Roy Miller (four assists) all contributing to the offense.
Marc Burch played with Dax McCarty Brandon Barklage at D.C. United last season. Both teams feature Swedish defenders in Seattle's Adam Johansson and New York's Markus Holgersson. Defender Jeff Parke played his first five MLS seasons for New York and was named to the Red Bulls Best XI team. New York defender Roy Miller and Seattle left back Leo Gonzalez have been teammates on the Costa Rica national team. Sounders FC technical director Chris Henderson finished his 11-year MLS career with the Red Bulls in 2006. Seattle's backup goalkeeper Josh Ford is from Liverpool, N.Y. New York's Stephen Keel played for the USL Sounders in 2006.
Goalkeeper Josh Ford Removed from Disabled List
Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Josh Ford was removed from the club's Disabled List on July 3, making him immediately eligible to participate in MLS games.
Ford, 24, was placed on the Disabled List on May 4 with a right knee stress fracture. He was on the 18-man gameday roster at Real Salt Lake and versus Colorado Rapids.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 vs. Colorado Rapids 1 - July 7, 2012
Alvaro Fernandez and Eddie Johnson scored second-half goals as the Seattle Sounders FC defeated the Colorado Rapids, 2-1, on Saturday night. Steve Zakuani made his first MLS appearance in over 14 months in front of 39,060 on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.
Johnson leads the club with eight goals (tied-eighth in MLS) and Rosales' six assists rank fourth in MLS. Sounders FC extended its unbeaten streak to four games (2-0-2) across all competitions, and snapped its nine-game league winless stretch.
Seattle opened the scoring in the 52nd minute when Fernandez lept over the defense and pounded a Rosales corner past Rapids keeper Matt Pickens. The goal marked the first of the season for Fernandez.
Sounders FC doubled its lead in the 64th minute on another Rosales assist. Patrick Ianni picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and rolled it to Rosales who sent a cross into the box. Johnson rose above the defense and beat Pickens with a header.
Johnson has scored five goals in his last six games, including five of Seattle's last seven goals.
With the two assists, Rosales now has a team-high six on the season, including four in the last five games. It was the first multi-assist game for Rosales since a 3-0 home win over D.C. on September 17, 2011.
Colorado cut the lead to 2-1 in the 79th minute when a long Luis Zapata cross found Omar Cummings, who put a hard volley past Bryan Meredith for his fourth goal of the season.
Zakuani made his first appearance since suffering a broken leg against Colorado on April 22, 2011. Zakuani entered for Rosales in the 86th minute.
Meredith picked up his third MLS win and finished with two saves. In the 74th minute, he made a diving stop on a Martin Rivero volley in the box to prevent the equalizer.
Fernandez was dangerous throughout the match. In the third minute, he headed a Johnson cross over the crossbar, and in the fifth minute his header from a Mauro Rosales free kick forced Pickens to make a diving save. In the ninth minute, Johnson sent a long ball to the streaking Uruguayan, but his shot was deflected away for a corner kick. Fernandez also had two breakaway opportunities in the second half.
Seattle Sounders FC 0 at Real Salt Lake 0 - July 4, 2012
Sounders FC picked up a road point in a scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake Wednesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium. It marks the seventh clean sheet of the season for Sounders FC, and their first since May 9.
Goalkeeper Bryan Meredith, in his first start since June 16, made two saves and earned his third shutout of 2012.
Seattle finished with just eight shots, but didn't lack for chances, much in thanks to midfielder Mauro Rosales. In the 24th minute, the Argentine sent a dangerous cross into the box, but RSL keeper Nick Rimando punched it away as Eddie Johnson rose to head it in.
In the 59th, a charging Zach Scott rose up and struck a Rosales free kick, but the shot sailed high. In the 88th, the defending MLS Newcomer of the Year sent a low cross across the box, but a streaking Cordell Cato couldn't quite get his foot to it in front of an open net.
Johnson, who had scored four goals in the previous four matches, was close on a few occasions and finished with a team-high four shots. In the 63rd, he made a hard run into the box on the left side, but his low shot rolled wide of the far post.
In second half stoppage time, the American striker rose and headed a cross from Marc Buch, but the attempt went wide.
Sounders U23 Update
Sounders U23's had a big weekend, picking up two wins to vault them into first place in the PDL NW Division standings. On Friday night, a 2-1 win over then-first place Kitsap Pumas put the Rave Green atop the table for the first time all season. After trailing 1-0 for most of the game, Deandre Yedlin tied the game in the 87th minute off a corner kick and a Kitsap own-goal in the 88th minute gave Seattle the win at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.
On Sunday, Darwin Jones took a rebound off the crossbar and smashed in a goal 25 seconds into the second half as the Sounders took down the Fraser Valley Mariners, 1-0, giving them three more points to stay in first place. Currently, Seattle is just one point ahead of Kitsap and will look to clinch the division title in the season finale Wednesday night against the North Sound Sea Wolves. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Franklin-Pierce High School.
Cordell Cato will celebrate his 20th birthday on July 15...Seattle defender Daniel Steres played for Ventura County against Chivas USA in the third-round of this year's Open Cup...The referee on Wednesday night will be Chris Penso...The Voice of Sounders FC Ross Fletcher traveled to England to cover the Olympics for BBC...Eddie Johnson's yellow card on Saturday brought his total to four. Fredy Montero has two more Good Behavior games until receiving a rollback on his total...On July 11, 2009, Sounders FC earned its first comeback victory in MLS, 2-1 over Houston.
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