Kick Off: Sounders near qualification to CCL quarters

Kick Off - Seattle Sounders celebrate

Photo Credit: 
SoundersFC.com

It’s like night and day for the Seattle Sounders in the CONCACAF Champions League.

After losing their first three group matches in the competition last year, Seattle are the only CCL team of 16 to have a perfect record after three matches this time around. Last night they rode a brace from striker Fredy Montero for a 2-1 road win against Herediano in Costa Rica. Watch the highlights here. (VIDEO)

It was a perfect occasion for the Colombian star to refer to himself in the third person: “The team always trusts me and believes in Fredy Montero.”

Despite scoring the fastest goal in club history after just 23 seconds, FC Dallas could only draw 1-1 at home against Panamanian side Tauro. They will hope they don’t live to regret the dropped points: “When you play at home, you always have to win. And you can’t let a lead get away,” said Dallas goal scorer Daniel Cruz.

FCD’s scoring frustrations have led manager Schellas Hyndman to call out attacking midfielder Ricardo Villar for lack of production: “He’s playing the No. 10 position, but he’s not getting shots and he’s not getting scoring chances. And we’re playing with five midfielders. If there’s anybody who should be free, it should be him.”

It was a Champions League night to forget for Toronto FC, who suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat in Mexico City against Pumas UNAM. It was 4-0 at the halftime break. Watch the lowlights here. (VIDEO)

TFC manager Aron Winter called the first half a “disaster” in the Mexican press after the match but he refused to admit that the result was proof of some gap between MLS and the Mexican league: “There is no difference in quality. There is a difference in the kind of game that is played. I repeat, the game was lost in midfield. It’s not common that we have four goals scored on us but unfortunately it happened like that.” (SPANISH)

Hand it to young TFC forward Peri Marosevic. He’s not overly discouraged by the result: “We still have a good chance of doing well in CONCACAF. We’ve got two home games and we’ve got an away game against Dallas. ... We know we can do it.”

When a team ties a match on the road with just minutes to go, usually they leave happy. Not the Houston Dynamo. Dominic Kinnear’s squad had a man advantage for 79 minutes and a 1-0 lead but still needed a late Calen Carr strike to equalize 2-2 last night. Watch the highlights here, including the 11th minute red card to Emmanuel Ekpo. (VIDEO)

Former Crew midfielder Adam Moffat, who took a stiff arm to the face from Ekpo, voices the Dynamo’s sentiments: “We got the point on the road but the way the game knocked out – we’re disappointed. We’re disappointed for them to be down 10 men for so long and for us not to get the win.”

As far as the Crew go, they’ll be glad to retake the sole lead of the Eastern Conference and see two new additions to the lineup – Shaun Francis and Danny O’Rourke – go 90 minutes. Andrés Mendoza also worked hard in addition to converting two penalties. But there is concern about the MRI that defender Chad Marshall will undergo today for a hip injury that took him out of the match at halftime.

The next MLS match will be played on Friday night when the New England Revolution meet the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field. It may be the Revs’ first trip there, but New England defender Ryan Cochrane used to practice there on Wednesdays as a kid. “In a lot of ways it’s personal for,” he says of the match (11 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer).

While the Timbers seem likely to be forced into a change at center back due to an injury to David Horst, forward Jorge Perlaza showed up for work on Wednesday only to be sent home by Portland manager John Spencer. "He's been throwing up the last couple of days. We wanted to get him out of the locker room to make sure everybody else doesn't catch the virus."

It’s September 15 and that means one thing. It’s roster freeze deadline in MLS – the last day trades can be made before squads are set for the stretch run – and it’s also your chance to complete the MLSsoccer.com satisfaction survey. Tell us what you like about the site and what you want to see.

Philadelphia Union manager Peter Nowak wants to see media get their facts straight. He criticized what he called erroneous reporting on the apparent visa issues involving midfielder Keon Daniel and this was his suggestion to those who wanted to find out more: “Call the MLS Players Union representative and ask them about it.”

Up north from Philly, the New York Red Bulls are looking for a way to get back in the win column and to do that manager Hans Backe may very well look to teenager Juan Agudelo, the forward he has kept on the bench for most of the season: “He definitely can be a guy that starts the game on Saturday,” Backe said in reference to the Red Bulls’ match in Dallas.

The Chicago Fire host Chivas USA on Saturday (4 p.m. ET, TeleFutura), but first played their sister club, CD Guadalajara, on Wednesday night in a friendly. A second-half goal by the Mexican side was enough for a 1-0 Chivas win and Fire defender Cory Gibbs took it hard: “It's one of those things where you don't like to lose. It's just unfortunate losing on a free kick. We just have to keep pressuring. For morale, it's not good.”

LA Galaxy fans may have another international player among their ranks by January. According to reports from Italy, 34-year-old Roberto Baronio is in talks to join LA ahead of next season. (ITALIAN)

Here’s what we know this morning about the Bob Bradley to Egypt story: The Egyptian FA is announcing that the American is the country’s new national team manager but Bradley’s camp refuses to confirm it. There is the minor detail of a contract that’s yet to be signed.

Another coach getting back into the work force is an old MLS face. Tim Hankinson, former manager of the Tampa Bay Mutiny during the Mamadou “Big Mamma” Diallo days, has taken over the minor league San Antonio Scorpions. He says: "It's very important that we're playing the game in a way the Hispanic community will appreciate."

The Philadelphia Union are mining the minor leagues for new talents, with two players joining the MLS club for training. They’re coming from the same team that gave Union right back Sheanon Williams his break before he moved to Philly.

Former US national team defender Tony Sanneh seems to know something. He’s tweeted the rumor that US fullback Timothy Chandler is making a switch to the German national team with head coach Joachim Löw visiting his club this week. Chandler is not yet tied down to the USA despite his appearances in friendly matches.

There are two Europa League matches televised by GolTV later on this afternoon. It’s free-spending Paris St. Germain taking on Red Bull Salzburg (1 p.m. ET), followed by Spanish side Atlético Madrid hosting Scottish giants Celtic (3 p.m. ET). A doubleheader from the South American equivalent of the Europa League – the Copa Sudamericana – airs on Fox Deportes beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

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