Preview: Heavyweights Sounders, RSL meet for matinee
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
4 p.m. PT (KING-NBC; KMYU-2.2; watch LIVE online)
September 10, 2011 (WEEK 26; MLS Game 246)
Seattle Sounders FC face a real test in keeping their rampaging form going when they meet Real Salt Lake on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC extended their league unbeaten streak to four games in their last match, a club-record 6-2 victory against the Columbus Crew. Real are coming off back-to-back victories, winning the only MLS game last weekend, a 2-1 home victory against Philadelphia Union.
REFEREE: Mark Kadlecik. SAR (bench): Mike Kampmeinert; JAR (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic
MLS Career: 13 games; FC/gm: 23.2; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 3; pens: 4
INJURY REPORT: SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC — OUT: GK Terry Boss (concussion); MF Michael Seamon (lateral ankle tendon); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); FW O'Brian White (leg surgery) ... REAL SALT LAKE — OUT: FW Chris Agorsor (R hand fracture); MF Nelson González (R foot fracture); MF Javier Morales (L ankle fracture dislocation); DF Chris Wingert (L wrist fracture); DOUBTFUL: GK Kyle Reynish (R ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Robbie Russell (L back spasms); PROBABLE: MF Jean Alexandre (R knee internal pain); FW Fabian Espíndola (L knee contusion); MF Ned Grabavoy (L adductor strain); MF Will Johnson (L MCL sprain); DF Jamison Olave (lower back pain); GK Nick Rimando (back contusion); FW Álvaro Saborío (R knee effusion)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SEA: Servando Carrasco, Erik Friberg, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Fredy Montero, Tyson Wahl ... RSL: Kyle Beckerman, Robbie Russell
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez, James Riley, Zach Scott ... RSL: Jean Alexandre, Fabian Espindola, Chris Wingert
- ALL-TIME (5 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 5 goals ... Real 1 win, 3 goals ... Ties 2
- AT SEATTLE (2 meetings): Sounders FC 1 win, 2 goals ... Real 0 wins, 0 goals ... Ties 1
- In the first meeting this season, Lamar Neagle and Patrick Ianni scored late goals to propel Sounders FC to a 2-1 win May 28 at Rio Tinto Stadium, Real's first loss in Sandy in more than two years.
- In five all-time league meetings between the clubs, each team has won at home once. The Seattle victory in the first meeting this year was the first by a road team.
- Coaches record: Sigi Schmid v RSL: P11 W5 L3 D3 ... Jason Kreis vs. SEA: P5 W1 L2 D2
LAST MEETING (MLS)
5/28: RSL 1, SEA 2 (Gonzalez 88 — Ianni 72, Neagle 84)
- The match turned just before the hour mark, when RSL defender Jamison Olave was shown a straight red card by referee Mark Kadlecik after bringing down Sounders FC striker Mike Fucito.
- Seattle capitalized in the 72nd minute. Nate Jaqua knocked down a corner onto the foot of Fredy Montero, who slipped to defender Patrick Ianni and he easily finished from almost on the goal line.
- Sounders FC then doubled the lead in the 84th minute as Lamar Neagle received the ball near the edge of the 18-yard box and curled in a stunning shot over RSL 'keeper Nick Rimando and off the underside of the bar.
- RSL pulled one back just four minutes later when Nelson Gonzalez received a throw-in in the box, turned a defender and ran towards the middle of the area, striking a left-footer past Kasey Keller.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Robbie Russell (Nelson Gonzalez 76), Jamison Olave (sent off 58), Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran - Andy Williams (Luis Gil 87), Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson - Ned Grabavoy - Jean Alexandre (Chris Wingert 62), Fabian Espindola.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Kasey Keller — James Riley, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl — Osvaldo Alonso — Brad Evans, Erik Friberg (Roger Levesque 80), Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 18) — Mike Fucito (Fredy Montero 70), Nate Jaqua.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC won a second consecutive game and extended their unbeaten streak to four games in impressive fashion, rolling to a club-record 6-2 win against the Columbus Crew on Aug. 27 at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC have 48 points from 27 games on the season, in second place in the Western Conference.
- Seattle took the lead after just four minutes, when Lamar Neagle was freed on the left, drove into the area and hit a low shot that Crew goalkeeper Will Hesmer failed to corral. Mauro Rosales doubled the lead in the 16th minute from the penalty spot, after the Crew's Rich Balchan handled the ball at the edge of the penalty area.
- Sounders FC made it 3-0 in the 21st minute when Neagle calmly turned home a cross from James Riley from the right side of the area. Then Mike Fucito made it 4-0 five minutes before the halftime break, taking a pass from Rosales in the goalmouth and quickly spinning past Hesmer to deposit the ball into the goal.
- The Crew pulled a goal back just before the hour mark when Jeff Cunningham converted a penalty kick for his landmark goal, after Emilio Renter"a was fouled in the area. But Neagle completed his hat trick in the 70th minute, a thumping drive from the edge of the area that hit the underside of the crossbar and just cleared the goal line before bouncing back out.
- Josh Gardner scored the Crew's second in the 73th minute with a searing free kick that dipped and dove past Kasey Keller in the Sounders FC goal. But then Gardner scored at the other end of the park, turning a cross from the left into his own goal to complete the scoreline.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made two changes to the team that came away from Pizza Hut Park with a 1-0 win against FC Dallas. James Riley and Tyson Wahl came into the back four, for Zach Scott and Leo Gonzalez.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Jeff Parke (Zach Scott 75), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl - Mauro Rosales (Alvaro Fernandez 71), Erik Friberg, Osvaldo Alonso, Lamar Neagle - Mike Fucito (Nate Jaqua 78), Fredy Montero.
- The six goals scored in the victory against Columbus are a club record — the previous high in a league match came in a 4-0 drubbing of the Crew in the same fixture a year ago.
- The four goals in the first half were also a club record and Sounders FC were the first time to score four goals in the opening 45 minutes since Colorado dispatched Chivas USA 4-0 in August 2009.
- "We got off to a good start. Then we were able to parlay that and score more goals after that," Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. "With the amount of games we're playing, to be able to come out and score six goals against the Eastern Division leader I think is something that the team's got to be very proud of."
- Lamar Neagle became the first Seattle player to score a hat trick at home. "He keeps working hard. He's working on his first touch, which is something that's helping his game come along," Schmid said.
- Mauro Rosales increased his season assist total to nine, one off the club record set last season by Fredy Montero.
- "We have many options. That's why we scored this many goals. Today was six and we had about 15 more chances or something like that," Rosales said. "When we have the chances, it's something that we have to do — try to score as many goals as we can. I think we are working very hard and we are having a good time."
- Jeff Cunningham's penalty kick, which gave him the all-time MLS lead in goals scored, snapped Sounders FC's shutout streak at 309 minutes, the third-longest in club history and the seventh-longest this season.
- Sounders FC have won eight of their last 11 games, since June 18, losing just once in that time. Before that win vs. Toronto FC, Seattle was tied for third in the Western Conference; they did not move into second place in the division until defeating FC Dallas on Aug. 20.
- Then on Aug. 30, Sounders FC defeated FC Dallas 1-0 in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals Aug. 30, the game's lone goal coming from Fredy Montero.
- Here's the Sounders FC team: Kasey Keller, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 84), Fredy Montero (James Riley 89), Pat Noonan (Mike Fucito 66).
- The final is set for Oct. 4 at CenturyLink Field, when Sounders FC will aim to become just the fourth club to win three consecutive Open Cups in the 98-year history of the tournament, joining the Fall River Marksmen (1930-1932), Stix, Baer and Fuller (1933-1935) and Greek American SC (1967-1969).
- "We've won games different ways. We've won games by scoring goals. We've won a game by playing a man down and scoring goals, and we've won games by being able to defend with a lot of resolve and win 1-0," Schmid said.
- Sounders FC also announced the acquisition of Sammy Ochoa, who had made 27 appearances over the last five years with Estudiantes Tecos in Mexico. Ochoa, a native of Riverside, Calif., was a part of Schmid's U.S. team at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
- "We're happy to have Sammy join our team because it gives us a little more depth at forward," said Schmid. "He did well when he was here on his trial. Now it's just a matter of getting him fit and getting his game legs and he could help us. He's a good back-to-goal player and a good finisher around the box. Those are qualities that he's had. In all his time in Mexico he was in and out of the lineup because they had so many head coaches so it was tough to establish a rhythm."
- Goalkeeper Terry Boss backstopped Puerto Rico to a scoreless draw against St. Kitts and Nevis in a World Cup qualifying match on Saturday.
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake returned home and won for a second consecutive match, defeating Philadelphia Union 2-1 on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL moved into fourth place in the Western Conference, with 42 points from 25 matches.
- All the goals came in the opening 45 minutes. RSL opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Kyle Beckerman played a short corner to Paulo Junior, received the return pass and looped around the top of the penalty area before unleashing a wicked blast into the upper right corner that left Union 'keeper Faryd Mondragón helpless.
- Beckerman again played a part as Real doubled their lead eight minutes later. Again from a corner, Beckerman this time picked out the head of Chris Schuler, and the towering center back easily guided a header past Mondragón.
- Union cut the deficit in half at the half-hour mark. Justin Mapp broke free down the left side of the field, and delivered an early cross to Sebastien Le Toux, and he beat RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando with a first-time shot from the right side of the penalty area.
- RSL coach Jason Kreis made four changes to the side that defeated Chivas USA 1-0 at The Home Depot Center. Chris Schuler came into the back four for Nat Borchers, and with Arturo Alvarez, Will Johnson and Alvaro Saborio on international duty, Andy Williams, Collen Warner and Paulo Junior came into the team.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Robbie Russell (Blake Wagner 94+), Chris Schuler, Jamison Olave, Tony Beltran - Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman, Collen Warner (Ned Grabavoy 73) - Luis Gil - Paulo Junior (Cody Arnoux 66), Fabian Espindola.
- After he was allowed to remain with RSL instead of joining the U.S. national team for the friendly against Costa Rica, Kyle Beckerman scored a goal and set up the second.
- "I'm pretty pleased, obviously, that he was able to stay with us and contribute in such a meaningful fashion tonight. The first goal was fantastic, and the assist on the second goal was really, really nice too. ÖIt was important that our captain was with us tonight and leading us," said RSL head coach Jason Kreis.
- Alvaro Saborio did play for Costa Rica in the 1-0 win against the USA, then also returned to Salt Lake for the league match, although Kreis did not use him.
- "He came to me after the last game last weekend, and said, 'Hey coach, I want to be in the 18 next weekend.' At first I said, 'no chance, I wouldn't want to take that kind of risk with you.' And then I said, 'if you don't play 90 minutes [with Costa Rica] I'll consider it.' Last night I got a text message from him that said, 'Coach, I really, really want to be there for you and to try and help this team right now.' I think he felt the same way that all of us do trending forward. We're all in this together, we're all fighting and he really wanted to be a part of it."
- Real moved into fourth place in the Western Conference, four points behind FC Dallas for the final automatic qualifying place — but they have played two fewer games than each club ahead of them in the division.
- "This is one of those games that we had in hand and if we win we jumped Colorado (Rapids) so it had a lot of importance; I think the biggest thing was that it was a gritty performance," Beckerman said. "It wasn't the prettiest but we were able to stay in there and really fight and make sure we didn't give up the draw late in the game and we were able to manage to keep the three points because it meant a lot to us."
- Cody Arnoux made his debut for the club, coming on for the final 24 minutes in a forward role.
- "Cody [Arnoux] is a player that has a real fighting mentality. Something that I've observed of him in the last couple of weeks, now that he is fully fit and healthy, is that he's a guy that will give you everything he's got," Kreis said. "And so I think he came on and did exactly that, and I think that was exactly what we needed."
- With Nat Borchers out to suspension, Chris Schuler took his place in central defense — and scored his second goal of the season. His first came April 9 vs. New England.
- "It's good to get a goal. It was a good ball, and I was able to get up and put it in," Schuler said. "... I'm just doing everything I can to get better in the air. It's definitely an area I need to improve on."
- Beckerman played 45 minutes for the USA in the 1-0 loss to Belgium on Tuesday.
- Will Johnson played 90 minutes for Canada in their 3-0 win against Puerto Rico in a World Cup qualifier. He came on as a substitute in the 69th minute in the 4-1 win against Saint Lucia.
- After coming on as a substitute in the 58th minute, Jean Alexandre scored two goals for Haiti in their 6-0 win against the U.S. Virgin Islands on Saturday in a World Cup qualifier. He then played 90 minutes in the 4-2 win over CuraÁao in a World Cup qualifier.
- Arturo Alvarez played 34 minutes for El Salvador in 4-1 win over Cayman Islands, after playing 26 minutes in a 3-2 win against Dominican Republic, both matches World Cup qualifiers.