July 25, 2011 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Seattle Sounders FC
Rave Green Begin Next Phase in Panama, Houston
Just as July comes to a close, Sounders FC opens a new phase to the 2011 season. The longest road trip of the campaign commences Tuesday night in Panama and continues on Saturday evening in Houston.
Seattle is pitted against San Francisco FC in the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round aggregate goal series. That match in Panama City starts at 5 p.m. PT and will be televised live by Fox Soccer. The return leg will be August 3 on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.
Major League Soccer play resumes after the All-Star break on Saturday when Sounders FC (10-4-8, 38 points) are hosted by the Houston Dynamo (5-7-9, 24 points). KONG 6/16 will air the match live at 5:30 p.m. PT.
The Rave Green are leaving behind the mild marine climate of Puget Sound for the rainforest-like environs of Panama and the high heat and humidity of Houston. Sounders FC are vying for advancement to the Champions League group stage for the second year in a row. A year ago, they eliminated El Salvador's Metapán in the prelim round, 2-1 on aggregate.
San Francisco FC has qualified for the Champions League each of the last three years but has not advanced past the preliminary stage since 2008.
Going into Houston there are a dozen regular season matches remaining in the MLS season, and Sounders FC has finished strong in each of their first two seasons. They clinched an MLS Cup Playoffs berth by going 5-2-3 down the stretch in 2009 and in 2010 they were the hottest club MLS over the second half of the year at 10-2-3.
Seattle has heated up sooner in 2011, going unbeaten in the last nine (6-0-3) and winning five of the last six. The unbeaten run began at Real Salt Lake on May 28 and the last three wins have all featured comebacks, capped by the 4-3 home victory over Colorado on July 16.
After a seven-match winless rut during May the Dynamo has gone 2-2-3 and they are 5-3-3 at home. Seattle is 4-3-2 away and unbeaten in its last six on the road. This could be the Rave Green's final visit to Robertson Stadium as the Dynamo are scheduled to open their new, 22,000-seat, downtown home park in mid-2012.
The MLS series stands square at 2-2-3 after a March 25 meeting ended 1-1 in the Emerald City. Sounders FC have yet to win a match played in Texas.
Seattle will play twice again next week, hosting San Francisco in the second deciding leg of that series on August 3 and then traveling to Sporting Kansas City on August 6.
Calling the Houston game on both KONG and 97.3 KIRO FM will be Arlo White. Outside the Seattle area the match can also be seen on ROOT Sports. La Gran D 99.3 FM will also carry Saturday's game.
Tickets for Sounders FC home MLS and Champions League matches are available at www.SoundersFC.com or by calling 800-745-3000.
Mileage Plan Benefits
Whereas the last trip for Sounders FC was the shortest in the club's brief existence, this week's travel will be the longest for competitive play. There are 3,685 air miles separating Seattle from Panama City. It's only a small consolation that San Francisco is playing Tuesday night's match some 15 miles from the regular home ground in La Chorrera. A year ago in soggy San Salvador, Seattle got the vital road goal and a 1-1 result, thanks to a second-half header from Alvaro Fernandez.
In league play this season Seattle will travel an estimated 50,582 miles and seems to handle it all in stride. They are 15-13-13 all-time on the road, and have snapped the two longest home unbeaten streaks in MLS history, at Columbus in 2009 and Real Salt Lake earlier this season. They have managed the difficult conditions in Texas by drawing twice at FC Dallas and once at Houston and are 0-2-3 overall.
Wing Commander Keller
While the team will log about 7,400 miles in flying this next week, Kasey Keller will surpass 10,000 miles in the skies. Arrangements have been made by MLS for the goalkeeper to join the All-Stars in Harrison, N.J. for Wednesday's game with Manchester United. Earlier this month, Keller was voted by the fans to the MLS All-Star First XI. He will then fly back to Houston and rejoin Sounders FC prior to Saturday's match. Dynamo keeper Tally Hall is also a member of the All-Star selection. Keller has started 77 consecutive MLS regular season matches dating back to April 25, 2009.
Heat-Seeking Sounders FC
Sounders FC are seeking to finish July undefeated and if they do so by winning in Houston it would establish a new club record for points in a month. Seattle is 3-0-1 this month and despite having one match rescheduled and three of four played on the road, it has an opportunity to total 13 points and surpass 40 for the year. Already the Rave Green have gone unbeaten in April and June (both 3-0-2).
Sounders FC are six wins over .500 for the first time. They are also six points ahead of their 22-match start to 2009 (8-6-8) and 2010 (9-8-5). After going 0-2-2 in the first four games, Seattle is now 10-2-6 since April 2. Seattle also owns a six-game unbeaten run on the road where its record is 4-2-5.
Jewels of July
At least three players should be in contention for MLS July Player of the Month. Osvaldo Alonso, Fredy Montero and Mauro Rosales have been the offensive instigators of late, with at least one of them directly involved in all seven goals scored by Seattle.
Alonso is coming off his second career multiple assist match versus Colorado, and he also converted the game-winning penalty kick at Portland. Rosales also has a goal and two assists this month. Both players made the MLS Team of the Week 18, Rosales for a team-high fourth time this season.
Montero is on a tear, with three goals and an assist in the last two outings. He also set-up the penalty in Portland. Montero has scored two goals and assisted on another in the two series wins over Houston. Montero, an MLS Player of the Month choice twice before including July 2010, celebrates his 24th birthday on Tuesday in Panama.
What Rave Have Done Lately
Sounders FC are the far and away league leaders in late goals, scoring 11 times in the final 15 minutes. A pair of those came in the last eight minutes against Colorado in the last MLS match on July 16. A 2-2 tie was snapped by Fredy Montero and Mauro Rosales in the 82nd and 84th minutes, respectively. During the nine-match unbeaten run eight goals have been scored from 74 minutes on, including four game-winners. Seattle, which produced four goals only once in the club's first 77 games, has twice tallied four in the last five matches.
On the Mend
Just in time for the congested fixtures ahead, forward O'Brian White is back and available for selection while defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado is nearing his return. White played the final 14 minutes of last week's Manchester United friendly. It was his first action since April 22 at Colorado. The following week White underwent surgery to remove a blood clot in his left leg. He had started the first seven matches, scoring two goals and adding two assists.
Hurtado sustained a sprained MCL in his right knee at Portland on July 10 and is questionable for Saturday's match in Houston. El Presidente had started all 16 appearances this season with one assist.
Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso has been named one of the six inactive MLS All-Stars, as decided by the player ballot, MLS announced today.
Each year, a total of 32 players are named All-Stars and today MLS announced the final six: Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC), Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United), Eric Hassli (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Juninho (L.A. Galaxy), Joel Lindpere (New York Red Bulls) and Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
Earning his first All-Star selection in his three-year MLS career, Alonso, 25, has been rock-solid as holding midfielder, helping Sounders FC to a club record nine-game unbeaten streak. Alonso has played 90 minutes in all 21 appearances this season and has already scored a career-high three goals with two assists.
2010 MLS All-Star First XI
Goalkeeper: Kasey Keller(Seattle Sounder FC)
Defenders: Sean Franklin (LA Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Rafa Marquez (New York Red Bulls), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls).
Midfielders: David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Jack Jewsbury (Portland Timbers), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
Forwards: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
The 150 Watch: Schmid Just One Win from Historic Mark
The pace has quickened on Sigi Schmid's march toward 150 career victories. He is now only one away from becoming the first in MLS to reach that plateau. Schmid is the all-time leader in both regular season (149) and postseason (19) wins. Last week he extended his contract through 2015.
His teams have won two MLS Cups, two Supporters' Shields (best record), and three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups. Two of those Open Cup triumphs have come with Seattle, which became the first club in 28 years to successfully repeat as champions. Sounders FC also became the first expansion team in 11 years to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2009 and qualified again in 2010. Schmid's regular season record in Seattle is 36-21-25 and 49-29-28 in all competitions.
Crowd for Man Utd Friendly a Record-Breaker
The capacity crowd of 67,052 for last week's Manchester United friendly broke the attendance record for any match played in the Pacific Northwest. The previous standard of 66,848 was set in 2009 for the Barcelona friendly.
The top 10 attendances for matches played in the Pacific Northwest (notably Seattle, Vancouver, B.C. and Portland):
67,052 July 20, 2011 CenturyLink Field Sounders FC v Manchester United (friendly)
66,848 August 5, 2009 Qwest Field Sounders FC v Barcelona (friendly)
66,830 August 9, 2006 Qwest Field Real Madrid v D.C. United (friendly)
66,722 July 22, 2003 Seahawks Stadium Manchester United v Celtic (friendly)
65,289 July 18, 2009 Qwest Field Sounders FC v Chelsea (friendly)
60,342 June 20, 1983 BC Place Vancouver v Seattle (NASL)
60,051 October 1, 1983 BC Place Toronto v Tulsa (NASL final)
58,218 April 9, 1976 Kingdome Seattle v New York (friendly)
56,416 April 16, 2008 Qwest Field Mexico v China (friendly)
56,256 August 25, 1977 Kingdome Seattle v Los Angeles (NASL playoffs)
San Francisco FC (provided by CONCACAF)
City: La Chorrera, Panama
Stadium: Estadio Agustin Sanchez
Manager: Gary Stempel
Qualification method: 2011 Panamanian Clausura champion
Previous CONCACAF Champions League appearances: 3 (2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11)
Honors: Panamanian league - 7 (1994-95, 1995-96, 2006, 2007 Clausura, 2008 Apertura, 2009 Apertura, 2011 Clausura)
San Francisco is making its fourth Champions League appearance. In the inaugural tournament, San Francisco beat Guatemalan side Jalapa 5-1 in the Preliminary Round to advance to the Group Stage, where it went winless and finished last in Group B with two points from six matches. Two years ago, San Francisco carried a 2-0 edge into the second leg of a Preliminary Round aggregate series against San Juan Jabloteh, but suffered a 3-0 loss in Trinidad and was eliminated. Last year, it was again eliminated in the Preliminary Round 9-2 on aggregate by Cruz Azul. San Francisco plays in the renovated Estadio Agustin Sanchez, which changed to an artificial surface in 2008 and now has a capacity of 8,000. However, due to a current renovation of the stadium, the Champions League match has been moved to Estadio Rommel Fernandez, home of the Panama National Team, in Panama City. It has a capacity of 32,000 and a grass surface.
Nicknamed Los Monjes (The Monks), San Francisco won the 2011 Clausura on May 14 by beating Chorillo, 3-2, on a stoppage time goal. It opened the 2011 Apertura by winning, 1-nil, at Sporting Santa Miguelito last week, and beat Alianza at home by the same scoreline on July 24.
Awaiting the Winner
The second and deciding match of Seattle's preliminary round series with San Francisco will be on August 3 at 7 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. The winner of the aggregate goals series advances to Group D, joining defending Champions League winner Monterrey (Mexico),Comunicaciones (Guatemala) and the winner of the preliminary round matchup of Herediano (Costa Rica) and Alpha United (Guyana). Herediano and Alpha United meet July 26 and again August 4.
From Here to There
Sounders FC qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League by winning the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The other U.S. berths went to the Colorado Rapids (MLS Cup champion), L.A. Galaxy (MLS Supporters' Shield winner) and FC Dallas (MLS Cup runner-up). The former two receive automatic passage to the group stage. Toronto FC is Canada's representative.
The CONCACAF Champions League is open to the leading teams from federations throughout North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Monterrey of Mexico won the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League. Monterrey will represent CONCACAF in the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan in December. Italy's Inter Milan is the reigning world champion.
The Champions League consists of three stages: preliminary rounds, group play and knockout rounds. Group play will begin in mid-August and conclude in late October. Two teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals, to be played in February 2012. The quarterfinals, semifinals and final are two-match series with the winner determined by total aggregate goals. Away goals will be used as the tiebreaker. If teams remain tied after extra time in the second game, the outcome will be decided by penalty kicks.
Sounders in CONCACAF Past
This marks the third CONCACAF involvement for a Seattle professional team. Sounders FC advanced to the group stage in 2010, taking fourth behind Monterrey, Saprissa and Marathon. The A-League Sounders qualified as the U.S. representative in 1996 as champions of that league. Seattle defeated Surinam's Transvaal in the preliminary round then finished fourth in the final group stage, won by eventual champion Cruz Azul.
Open Cup Semifinal Set for August 30
Sounders FC can take another step toward securing their place in the 2012 Champions League on August 30, when they host FC Dallas in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal. The match will be played at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila, Wash. and it's already sold out. Seattle is bidding to become only the second three-peat winner in the tournament's 98-year history.
This is the fifth consecutive year (and seventh altogether since 1995) that a Seattle team is through to the Open Cup semifinals. Sounders FC won the title in 2009 and 2010, and the USL-1 Sounders reached the final four in both 2007 (against FC Dallas) and 2008 (Charleston). The A-League Sounders got to the final four in 1995 and again in 1996. IN 2010 Sounders FC became the Open Cup's first repeat champion in the MLS era of the tournament. The last back-to-back winner was the New York Pancyprian Freedoms in 1982-83. New York Greek-American (1967-69) achieved the only three-peat in the 98-year-old tournament's history.
Date Change: Sounders FC to Host Philadelphia on October 8
The date for the home match versus the Philadelphia Union has been moved to Saturday, October 8. The game will start at 7:00 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.
At the request of Major League Soccer the match was moved from its original July 23 date to accommodate the Union's involvement in the Herbalife World Football Challenge. All tickets issue for the original date will be honored on October 8.
Academy Update: Sounders FC U17s Open Generation adidas Cup in Texas
The Sounders FC Academy U17s will join the senior team in Texas this week, with the boys competing in the Generation adidas Cup beginning Monday at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco. Formerly known as the SUM Cup, the Generation adidas Cup brings together the U17 teams from 16 MLS Development Academies.
The tournament are separated into four groups of four teams, and each team will play each other once in their respective groups. Games consist of two 30-minute halves. Penalties will be used as the tiebreaker should games end in a draw. The winner of each group will advance to the semifinals. There is no elimination and each team will play a total of five games.
Sounders FC are joined in Group B by Sporting Kansas City, Philadelphia Union and host FC Dallas. The Rave Green won the Northwest Division of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and then won two of three matches at the playoffs in Frisco, June 24-27.
The Sounders FC Pre-Academy U14-15s are also going to Frisco, and will join seven other MLS teams.
Recap: Sounders FC 0, Manchester United 7 - July 20, Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
The largest crowd in Pacific Northwest soccer history was on hand as Sounders FC fell to English Premier League champion Manchester United, 7-0, in an international friendly in front of 67,052. Wayne Rooney scored three of United's six second-half goals.
A halftime substitute, Rooney's first two goals came in the 52nd and the 69th minutes. He drifted to the back post to finish Nani's cross then scored his second following a feed from Ji-Sung Park. Rooney's third goal came in the 72nd minute as he fired a one-touch shot from inside the box and past second-half Seattle goalkeeper Terry Boss, completing his hat trick.
The Rave Green created several scoring chances, the best coming in the 37th minute when James Riley sent a ball over to Fredy Montero inside the box. Montero's left-footed shot was blocked by United starting keeper Anders Lindegarrd. Montero controlled the rebound, however, and sent it back in to Riley whose first-time attempt was also saved by Lindegarrd.
Montero led Seattle with five shots and despite not playing in the second half.
Second-half substitute Pat Noonan hit the crossbar in the 68th minute, and in the 74th minute he fired a shot that was blocked by Ben Amos, United's keeper for the second half. In the 53rd minute, Seattle's Mike Fucito sent Amos diving for another save.
Manchester United converted its first clear chance of the match as Patrice Evra sent a left-footed cross to a wide-open Michael Owen for a 15th-minute header.
Just before the end of the first half, the Red Devils nearly scored again. Owen was again left wide open in the box, one-on-one with Kasey Keller in the 43rd minute. Keller stood his ground and denied Owen from point-blank range, leaving it 1-nil at the interval.
The goals quickly mounted in the second half. Mame Biram Diouf scored in the 49th and Park, in between Rooney's second and third strikes, made it 5-0. Gabriel Obertan rounded out the United barrage in the in the 89th minute.
In his half of play, Keller had three saves and Boss made two stops. For Manchester United, Lindegarrd registered four saves in the first half and Amos notched three of his own.
Sounders FC holds a 2-1-2 record against the Dynamo in MLS play after a 1-1 draw in Seattle on March 25. Seattle outshot Houston 26-6 in that game but needed an 80th minute equalizer by Steve Zakauni to earn a point. Seattle has outshot Houston 65-38 (34-12 on goal) all-time in the series. Four of Seattle's seven goals have been scored in the second half while Houston is yet to score in the final 45 minutes. Next to the L.A. Galaxy, Sounders FC has played no opponent more than Houston (eight times, including playoffs and cup).
Seattle defender James Riley has scored or assisted in both of his visits to Robertson Stadium as a Sounder. Riley, who missed the March 25 match, assisted on Nate Jaqua's equalizer in 2009 and scored Seattle's lone goal at Houston last season. Fredy Montero is the only player to have multiple goals (2) against the Dynamo in league play.
The Dynamo have 24 points through their first 21 games and sit fifth in the East, seven points behind conference-leaders Philadelphia and Columbus. Houston had its four-game unbeaten streak (1-0-3) snapped on Saturday in a 3-nil loss at Chivas USA. The Dynamo are 5-3-3 at home, outscoring opponents 18-13. Overall, the Dynamo have averaged 1.14 goals per game while allowing 1.24. They put 31.8% of their shots on frame and are top 10 in shots (261; T-8th) and corner kicks (114; 2nd). Houston has seen the second-most players ejected (five) but has received the second-fewest yellow card cautions (25). Their last home loss came on June 18, 2-0 to Columbus Crew.
Eleven Dynamo players have scored their 24 goals, including six players with multiple goals. Midfielder Brad Davis instigates the attack with his league-leading nine assists. Davis has also added three goals and served a league-high 108 corner kicks. Tacoma-native Cam Weaver and rookie Will Bruin lead the team with four goals each. Bruin also leads the team with 49 shots (10th in MLS) with 21 on goal (T-5th) and is one of four players in MLS to score a hat trick this season. Midfielder Geoff Cameron has added three goals and three assists. Weaver and defender Andre Hainault have both committed 32 fouls (T-5th). All-Star keeper Tally Hall, who made six saves in the previous meeting, has a goals against average of 1.24 (11th) and has 65 saves (4th).
Houston features several personalities with Northwest ties, including two former A-League/USL-1 Sounders. Forward Cam Weaver was the Sounders' top scorer in 2005 as a rookie out of Seattle University. Weaver had helped the Redhawks win the NCAA Division II championship in 2004. Forward Brian Ching starred at Gonzaga and made the all-league team with the Sounders in 2002. Mike Chabala played his collegiate career at Washington. Goalkeeper Tally Hall is a native of Gig Harbor, Washington. Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear played for the Sounders' 1995 A-League championship team.
Two members of Sounders FC came north from Houston during the 2009 offseason. Nate Jaqua played parts of two seasons for the Dynamo, scoring 10 goals and six assists in 29 regular season appearances during 2007 and 2008. Jaqua, who came to Sounders FC via the expansion draft, scored two game-tying goals against the Dynamo in 2009. His 89th minute goal in the July 21 U.S. Open Cup semifinal sent the match into extra time and he also scored the 70th minute equalizer in a MLS meeting on August 23, 2009. Patrick Ianni was obtained in a January 26 trade for a conditional pick in the 2010 SuperDraft. Ianni spent his first three professional seasons wearing orange, making 35 league appearances for the Dynamo from 2006-08. He scored the game-winner on a second-half overhead kick against the Dynamo on July 11, 2009.
W-League Champions Begin Friday at Starfire
The Seattle Sounders Women and Starfire Sports will host the 2011 W-League Championships this week in Tukwila, Wash. The semifinals will be played on Thursday at 4 and 7 p.m. PT at Starfire Sports Stadium. The winners meet on Sunday at 4 p.m. PT for the championship, preceded by the third-place playoff at 12:30 p.m.
Unbeaten in their final six matches the Sounders Women will be joined by Vancouver, who beat Santa Clarita on Sunday, as well as Ottawa, the Central Conference Champions, and Atlanta, the Eastern Conference Champions.
The first and longest-standing women's league in North America, the W-League is USL's highest level of women's soccer in the United States and Canada. The 2011 USL W-League campaign has featured 27 teams in three regional conferences. This is Seattle's fourth appearance in the semifinals. The Sounders Women took third place in both 2006 and 2007.
For more information see SoundersWomen.com
Panama City is less than 500 air miles from Fredy Montero's hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia...Aside from Montero's birthday on Tuesday, Pat Noonan will turn 31 on August 2...Sounders FC are 17-2-5 all-time when Fredy Montero scores and they are 6-0-3 this season when he either scores or provides an assist. Seattle's record is 8-1-5 when Mauro Rosales starts...Sounders FC are (3-4-3) after allowing the first goal...The first hat trick in Sounders history was on July 27, 1977 by Tommy Ord. Playing in his third match since being acquired in a trade, Ord scored three goals in a 4-1 win at Connecticut...Seattle native Michelle Akers and the U.S. women won their first Olympic gold medal on August 1, 1996 in Athens, Georgia, defeating China, 2-1.