Preview: Red-hot Sounders play host to surging Union
Fresh off their historic U.S. Open Cup victory at midweek, Seattle Sounders FC look to keep alive their bid for three trophies in 2011 when they play host to Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC have already qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs, but must win if they are to keep alive their bid for the Supporters’ Shield. Union are winning touching distance of a first playoff berth in the club’s second season after their 1-1 win at Chivas USA last weekend, now tied for second place in the Eastern Conference.
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REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. SAR (bench): George Gansner; JAR (opposite): Ian Anderson; 4th: Ramon Hernandez
MLS Career: 122 games; FC/gm: 24.9; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 47; pens: 47
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); QUESTIONABLE: MF Mauro Rosales (R knee MCL sprain); DF James Riley (concussion) …
PHILADELPHIA UNION – OUT: GK Faryd Mondragon (R finger fracture); GK Thorne Holder (concussion); FW Levi Houapeu (L ankle strain); QUESTIONABLE: GK Zac MacMath (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: FW Danny Mwanga (R hip strain); FW Veljko Paunovic (L calf strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: SEA: Fredy Montero (caution accumulation; through Oct. 8)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SEA: Osvaldo Alonso, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado … PHI: Carlos Valdes
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Alvaro Fernandez, Erik Friberg, James Riley, Zach Scott … PHI: Danny Califf, Brian Carroll, Danny Mwanga, Sheanon Williams
ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Union 1 win, 4 goals … Sounders FC 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 1
AT SEATTLE (1 meeting): Sounders FC 1 win, 2 goals … Union 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
• In the first meeting this season, Alvaro Fernandez scored well into second-half stoppage time to counter a first-half Carlos Ruiz goal as the teams ended in a 1-1 draw, April 16 at PPL Park.
• The teams split their meetings in Union’s inaugural campaign last year.
• Union’s first game ever came at Qwest Field, a 2-0 Sounders FC win March 25. Then history was made again in the second meeting as Union defeated Sounders FC 3-1 on June 27, the opening game at PPL Park.
• Coaches record: Peter Nowak vs. SEA: P3 W1 L1 T1 … Sigi Schmid v PHI: P3 W1 L1 T1
LAST MEETING (MLS)
4/16: PHI 1, SEA 1 (Ruiz 32 – Fernandez 91+)
• Union took the lead in the 32nd minute. After Kyle Nakazawa was taken down by Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, Carlos Ruiz hit a curling freekick around the wall and just inside Kasey Keller's right post.
• But Sounders FC hit for the leveler in the first minute of added time. A corner kick fell to Fredy Montero in the left side of the area, and he sent a short, lofted chip into the goalmouth where Alvaro Fernandez flicked a header in off the right post.
• PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Faryd Mondragon - Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Danny Califf, Jordan Harvey - Kyle Nakazawa, Amobi Okugo, Stefani Miglioranzi (Danny Mwanga 60), Keon Daniel - Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz (Justin Mapp 80)
• SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Kasey Keller – James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez (Fredy Montero 66) - Osvaldo Alonso - Erik Friberg (Alvaro Fernandez 78), Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani - Mauro Rosales, O'Brian White (Nate Jaqua 67).
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC extended their league winning streak to three games, defeating the New England Revolution 2-1 on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. Sounders FC have 57 points from 31 games on the season, in second place in the Western Conference.
• The Revolution opened the scoring in the 35th minute. 16-year-old Diego Fagundez shed his marker in the goal area and headed home Benny Feilhaber's corner kick to notch his second goal of the campaign.
• But Sounders FC were level barely a minute later. Fredy Montero seized upon Ryan Cochrane's poor pass to race onto the loose ball and thump home inside the far post.
• Three minutes after the break, Seattle were in the lead. New England failed to deal with a long hoof up field by Keller and the subsequent service into the penalty area. Nate Jaqua chested the deflected ball for the open Montero to poke home from the heart of the area for the eventual winner.
• In advance of the U.S. Open Cup final, Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made six changes to the team that cruised to a 3-1 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Empire Field. Only goalkeeper Kasey Keller, defender Zach Scott, midfielder Alvaro Fernandez and the strike pair of Nate Jaqua and Fredy Montero maintained their places.
• SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Kasey Keller - Roger Levesque, Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl, David Estrada, Erik Friberg (Osvaldo Alonso 79), Servando Carrasco, Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 46) - Nate Jaqua, Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 68).
• Sounders FC are now riding a three-game league winning streak for the second time this season, and have recorded 11 of their 16 league wins this season since mid-June, after the win in New England.
• Fredy Montero has scored two goals in back-to-back games and has five goals and three assists in the last six league games. He has moved into a tie for sixth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
• “He in great form right now and when a goal scorer’s hot, you sort of continue to bet on him and ride him,” said Schmid. “That was one of the reasons why we started Fredy (against New England). We were looking to get somewhere between 45 and 60 to 70 minutes out of him, and then get him off the field. He rewarded us with two goals.”
• Goalkeeper Kasey Keller was credited with six saves in the win against New England, matching his season-high (set twice previously).
• “I think some of the saves were obviously good; some of the saves were routine for a guy like him. I thought we did a better job of just keeping the shots from distance that weren’t as dangerous,” Schmid said. “I know he didn’t feel well about the goal he gave up down in Guatemala, but he’s a great pro, he’s a great goalkeeper. He’s one of the best the U.S. has ever seen.”
• With an eye on the Open Cup final, Schmid installed Roger Levesque – who has been a wide midfielder and an out-and-out striker – at left back. Midfielder David Estrada made his first league start of the season and the second of his MLS career.
• “With James Riley having been out injured, right back was a little of a concern for us, but I thought Roger Levesque did a good job out there for us,” Schmid said. “So then the midfield became a concern for us and with Osvaldo (Alonso) being out and we didn’t want to play Brad Evans, I thought David Estrada came in and played well for us. It was good that those two guys had good games, but it’s always a little bit of a chess match when we’re trying to set the lineups.”
• On Tuesday, Sounders FC became just the third club in the 97-year history of the U.S. Open Cup to win the tournament three consecutive years, with a 2-0 victory against the Chicago Fire at CenturyLink Field.
• Fredy Montero’s 16th goal in all competitions for Seattle this season gave the club a 78th-minute lead, then Osvaldo Alonso netted the capper in stoppage time.
• Sounders FC became the club since New York Greek-American (1967-69) to win three consecutive Open Cups; also joining Stix, Baer & Fuller/St. Louis Central Breweries (1933-35).
• Here’s the Sounders FC team: Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Alvaro Fernandez (Erik Friberg 46), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle, Mike Fucito (Roger Levesque 89), Fredy Montero.
• Coming out of the Open Cup final, there could be some lineup changes ahead for Sounders FC – who are still alive in their bid to win the Supporters’ Shield. If they fail to take maximum points vs. Philadelphia, the LA Galaxy will clinch the league’s best overall record.
• “We had to bring on Erik Friberg for Alvaro Fernandez because he had a slight concussion - that's what the doctor told us, so we had to pull him off at halftime,” Schmid said. “That changes us a little bit too because then we wanted [Brad] Evans and Friberg to interchange a little bit more. Erik plays it more as a midfielder than a winger, so that allowed Lamar to push on a little bit more as well."
Philadelphia Union moved their undefeated run to six games, holding on for a late 1-1 draw with Chivas USA on Sunday evening at The Home Depot Center. Union have 44 points from 31 matches on the year, moving into a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference.
• Union broke the stalemate in the 59th minute. Picking up a ball tackled away by Freddy Adu, Justin Mapp was able to stroll forward before letting fly from beyond the restraining arc, hitting a dipping shot that sailed into the lower right corner past a diving Dan Kennedy.
• But Chivas USA hit for a dramatic equalizer. Released down the right side, Michael Lahoud chipped in a cross to the far stick where Juan Pablo Angel rose up to head it off the inside of the post and into the net.
• Union manager Peter Nowak made one change to the team that claimed a 3-2 victory against D.C. United at PPL Park. Justin Mapp came into the side in place of Roger Torres.
• PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-1-4-1): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Danny Califf, Gabriel Farfan - Brian Carroll - Michael Farfan, Amobi Okugo (Roger Torres 46), Veljko Paunovic (Freddy Adu 46), Justin Mapp (Kyle Nakazawa 74) - Sebastien Le Toux
• The draw extended Union’s unbeaten streak to six games (2-0-4), a club record, beginning with the wild come-from-behind 4-4 draw with New England on Sept. 7.
• “Regardless if we got the win or not, I think the last six games were very good,” Union team manager Peter Nowak said. “And we’re still in a position to control our own destiny with three games to go.”
• With a victory in Seattle, a win by either Houston or Portland in their Oct. 14 encounter, and a Sporting Kansas City win against New York on Oct. 15, Union will be assured of a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs in just their second season.
• “Obviously we want first place in the East, and the things it brings, whether it’s home field [advantage], or a bye and not having to deal with the wildcard,” Justin Mapp said. “It will be a battle these last few games and there is still a lot of soccer to play, but it would be huge."
• Union come into the week a point behind first-place Sporting Kansas City and tied with Columbus for second place (though they hold the tiebreaker over the Crew). The game against Seattle will be their game in hand; all three clubs will have two games remaining after this weekend.
• “We’ve seen in this league when teams think they’re already in the playoffs, the switch goes off, and all of the sudden they cannot come back,” Nowak said. “This group has put a lot of work in the past six weeks, and we’re going to continue to do that. It was a tough, difficult, physical game. Sometimes we need to do a better job, but after the Thursday game (vs. D.C. United) and getting a point (vs. Chivas), I think we’re very happy where we are.”
• Sebastien Le Toux saw his three-game goalscoring streak come to an end, though he still has nine goals in his last nine games, in a stretch where Philadelphia has scored 13 times. He was named the MLS Player of the Month for September.
• Freddy Adu was credited with his first assist in his return to MLS, setting up Justin Mapp’s first goal since scoring twice May 28, in Union’s 1-1 draw with Chivas USA on Sunday.
• “I think we all have one goal on our mind, which is to come first in the East,” said Adu, who entered the match as a substitute at halftime. “We’ve worked so hard and we think we deserve that, but we have to step out on the field and make it happen.”
• Goalkeeper Zac MacMath is listed as questionable on the club’s injury report after suffering an ankle sprain during the second half of the Chivas game, though he was able to finish the match.
• The backup goalkeeper is Chase Harrison, signed after injuries to starting goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón (broken finger) and third-string ’keeper Thorne Holder (concussion). Harrison has spent time with six different MLS clubs and played 2011 with USL PRO side Harrisburg City Islanders, but has yet to make his league debut.
• “You just have to pay your dues and when the opportunity comes, hopefully you can make the most of it,” Harrison said. “You have to be ready.”