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Leg 1
11/23 FINAL
1LA
0SEA
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Leg 2
11/30 9:20pm
SEA
LA
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Western Conference Championship
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Leg 1
11/23 FINAL
1NY
2NE
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Leg 2
11/29 3:00pm
NE
NY
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Eastern Conference Championship

Sounders look to stay hot against visiting Toronto FC

Seattle Sounders FC return home to their Qwest Field crowd to take on Toronto FC on Saturday evening. Sounders FC extended their unbeaten streak to five games in difficult circumstances last weekend, a 1-0 win against the Colorado Rapids. Toronto FC haven’t won in five league games, last a 1-1 home with the Columbus Crew, but are coming off a victory against FC Edmonton of the NASL at midweek in the Canadian Championship.

REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Peter Manikowski; JAR (opposite): Jeff Muschik; 4th: Armando Villarreal MLS Career: 127 games; FC/gm: 27.0; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 39; pens: 48

INJURY REPORT: SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – OUT: MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); PROBABLE: FW Pat Noonan (R quad strain) …TORONTO FC – OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba (R knee surgery recovery); FW Keith Makubuya (adductor strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Adrian Cann (pectoral contusion); FW Alan Gordon (adductor tightness); MF Alen Stevanovic (adductor strain); DF Nana Attakora (adductor tightness); MF Gianluca Zavarise (adductor tightness)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: TOR: Tony Tchani (through May 1)

WARNINGS:

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Leo Gonzalez … TOR: Julian de Guzman; Dan Gargan

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 5 goals … Toronto FC 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 1

AT QWEST FIELD (2 meetings): Sounders FC 1 wins, 3 goals … Toronto FC 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 1

RETURN MATCH: 6/18: Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7 p.m. ET

LAST YEAR (MLS):

4/25: TOR 2, SEA 0 (De Rosario 58; White 76)

10/2: SEA 3, TOR 2 (Zakuani 21; Nkufo 26; Nyassi 59 – De Rosario 16; Barrett 88)

  • Toronto FC have won just one of the four all-time meetings, that a 2-0 win last April 25 at BMO Field.
  • Coaches record: Aron Winter vs. SEA: first game … Sigi Schmid v TOR: P10 W5 L1 D4

SEATTLE SOUNDERS

Seattle Sounders FC ran their undefeated streak to five games, getting the game’s lone goal in a victory against a 10- man Colorado Rapids on Friday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Sounders FC have 9 points from 7 games on the season, sitting in a tie for third place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The match turned early. In the third minute, Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan went in with a two-footed sliding tackle on Sounders winger Steve Zakuani and was given a straight red card. Zakuani was taken off on a stretcher and immediately transported to the hospital to undergo X-rays for a broken leg.
  • In the 19th minute, Sounders FC finally took advantage. O'Brian White laid the ball off to Mauro Rosales, who subsequently found Fredy Montero at the edge of the penalty area. The Colombian then slipped the ball under ‘keeper Matt Pickens for his first goal of the season.
  • Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made two changes to the team that came back for a 1-1 tie with Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Tyson Wahl started at left back for Leo Gonzalez, and Fredy Montero came back into the team for Erik Friberg.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl - Mauro Rosales (Erik Friberg 74), Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Steve Zakuani (Alvaro Fernandez 9 / Leo Gonzalez 82) - Fredy Montero, O'Brian White.

TEAM NEWS

  • While Sounders FC recorded a second victory, it came at a price: 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year finalist Steve Zakuani suffered a double fracture of his right leg that will put him out for the remainder of the season. With two goals and two assists, Zakuani has played a part in four of Seattle’s seven goals this season.
  • "We've talked about depth all season," said midfielder Brad Evans. "It's something that the coaches brought in: a number of guys who can play at any minute and make an impact. Now it's up to guys stepping in and contributing the best they can."
  • Zakuani had started six of the seven games for Sounders FC this season, including four in a row in an unchanged midfield four before the Colorado game, when Erik Friberg did not start for the first time with the club.
  • “Certainly (Alvaro) Fernandez came in (as Zakuani’s replacement at Colorado) and played in the left position,” Schmid said. “(Erik) Friberg played there when Steve couldn’t play in a game in New York, so that’s another possibility. Lamar Neagle has done well in the reserve games – he is somebody else who can play wide.
  • Michael Tetteh right now is probably a better wide midfielder than he is left back, so he is a possibility. Miguel Montaño is somebody who can play there, (but he) needs to be sharper at practice on a daily basis in order to get himself in there. And then we can always alter a little bit the way we play.”
  • For Fredy Montero, his goal was his first since scoring his 10th in 2010, netting both goals in a 2-1 win at Chicago on Aug. 28. That was the last of 10 goals for Montero last season; he’d played 1,094 minutes without hitting the back of the net.
  • “It definitely helps his confidence,” Schmid said to the Tacoma News-Tribune. “Anytime a goal-scorer scores a goal it helps them in terms of their level of belief. He’s going to continue to work hard. The team knows he can score goals and he is capable of that and we need him to come through with goals.”
  • Despite scoring just the one goal this season, Montero is tied for the MLS lead with 11 shots on goal, along with San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski (who has three goals). He has 23 goals in 65 MLS league and cup matches – Sounders FC is 14-2-5 in games when he scores.
  • “I think it is as simple as finishing,” Montero said. “I’ve been working on finishing and that’s what I’ve changed.”

TORONTO FC

  • Toronto FC saw their winless streak reach five games, the Columbus Crew coming back for a 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. TFC has 7 points from 7 games on the season, in a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Winless all-time vs. their Trillium Cup foes, Toronto FC took the lead in the 41st minute. Tony Tchani latched on to a through ball from Julian de Guzman and coolly slotted his second career goal past Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer.
  • But before the match restarted he was sent off, having earned his second yellow card for leaping into the BMO Field crowd in celebration after he earned a first during a scrap with the Crew’s Kevin Burns in the 37th minute.
  • The Crew took advantage of the man-up situation just four minutes into the second half. Emilio Renteria scored his first goal of the season, sending a glancing header inside the far post from a Sebastian Miranda cross.
  • TFC head coach Aron Winter made three changes to the team that fell 3-0 to D.C. United at BMO Field. Dan Gargan, Dicoy Williams and Alan Gordon came into the team, for Oscar Cordon, Alen Stevanovic and the suspended Ty Harden.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - Dan Gargan, Dicoy Williams, Adrian Cann, Danleigh Borman - Jacob Peterson, Julian de Guzman, Tony Tchani (sent off 41), Maicon Santos (Joao Plata 77) - Alan Gordon (Mikael Yourassowsky 46), Javier Martina (Richard Eckersley 64).

TEAM NEWS

  • For the second time this season in MLS, a player scored a goal – then was immediately sent off following his celebration. Tony Tchani scored his first goal for TFC and then was shown a second caution after jumping into the BMO Field crowd; it happened to Vancouver’s Eric Hassli on April 6 vs. New England.
  • “It was stupid because he had his first yellow card, and you know that when you leave the pitch to jump in the crowd you are going to get your second yellow,” said TFC boss Aron Winter. “At that moment he was emotional because it was his first goal for TFC, and he forgot, but it was not clever.”
  • Tchani’s goal ended a 284-minute goalless drought for Toronto; it also put an end to the Crew’s club record 414-minute shutout streak.
  • Dicoy Williams made his first TFC start, coming in for the suspended Ty Harden in central defense. He partnered Adrian Cann, who was forced off after just 12 minutes against D.C. United with a rib injury, yet returned to the lineup for the Columbus game.
  • English fullback Richard Eckersley made his TFC debut, coming on as a substitute in the 63rd minute.
  • “I thought the new guys that came on did very well, and I’m happy that we played as a unit,” Cann said. “It’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t get the three points we were aiming for, especially with a man down, I thought that if we had 11 guys playing we would take the three points, no problem.”
  • Alan Gordon was also able to return to the lineup after missing two games with a groin injury, but he was taken off at halftime in favor of defender Mikael Yourassowsky with TFC up a goal and down a man.
  • The Columbus game ended a three-game homestand where TFC was able to take just two points of a possible nine. Along with Vancouver, Toronto has played the most home games in MLS this season (5).
  • “It is a pity that we tied, because after last week how we started, compared to now, it was a very good start. Not only the start, but the way we played the first half, it was very good because we were dominating the game at that time,” Winter said. “In the second half we made some changes because we have a very hard period in the coming weeks, and you have to be careful with some players, so we made some changes to at least get one point.”
  • On Wednesday, Toronto FC started their Nutrilite Canadian Championship off on the right foot with a 3-0 victory against a 10-man FC Edmonton of the NASL at Commonwealth Stadium. Maicon Santos gave TFC a lead in the first half, then finished off his brace to cap the scoring after Alan Gordon doubled the lead shortly after halftime.
  • The teams meet May 4 at BMO Field in the second leg of the series, as TFC aim to win the Voyageurs Cup for a third consecutive year.
  • Here’s Winter’s team: Stefan Frei – Richard Eckersley (Dan Gargan 46), Dicoy Williams, Ty Harden, Danleigh Borman - Oscar Cordon, Tony Tchani, Maicon Santos – Mikael Yourassowsky, Alan Gordon (Jacob Peterson 59), Joao Plata (Nicky Soolsma 65).