Preview: Seattle hope to snap winless streak, host SKC

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs SPORTING KANSAS CITY
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
June 20, 2012 (WEEK 16, MLS Game #135)
10 p.m. ET (KONG; KSMO)

Two of the high-flying teams in the early going of the MLS season meet at CenturyLink Field when Seattle Sounders FC play host to Sporting Kansas City. Sounders FC have hit a bit of a rocky patch, now winless in their last five games after a 4-1 defeat by the Montréal Impact last weekend. Sporting have returned from their own winless spell with back-to-back victories, last a 2-0 home win against Toronto FC on Saturday evening.

REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): C.J. Morgante; 4th: Fotis Bazakos
MLS Career: 134 games; FC/gm: 24.2; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 31; pens: 42

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INJURY REPORT:

  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – OUT: FW Babayele Sodade (R knee ACL tear); FW David Estrada (L foot fracture); DOUBTFUL: GK Michael Gspurning (R hip strain); DF Patrick Ianni (lower back pain); DF Leo Gonzalez (L quad strain); DF Adam Johansson (R hamstring strain); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); QUESTIONABLE: GK Josh Ford (R knee stress fracture)
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY – OUT: MF Korede Aiyegbusi (R knee sprain); DF Matt Besler (appendicitis); DF Cyprian Hedrick (L fibula fracture); GK Eric Kronberg (lower back strain); MF Luke Sassano (L knee sprain); DOUBTFUL: FW Bobby Convey (R calf strain); MF Paulo Nagamura (R abductor strain); PROBABLE: FW C.J. Sapong (groin strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: SEA: Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (through June 20)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SEA: Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Osvaldo Alonso … KC: Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Sounders FC 5 wins, 9 goals … Sporting 1 win, 5 goals … Ties 0
AT SEATTLE (3 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 2 goals … Sporting 1 win, 1 goal … Ties 0

LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/21: SEA 1, KC 0 (Parke 90)
8/6: KC 1, SEA 2 (Kamara (20 – Rosales 90; Neagle 90)
•    This is the only league meeting between the clubs this season.
•    Sounders FC have won five consecutive league meetings vs. Sporting Kansas City since a 1-0 KC win in the first meeting ever between the clubs, April 11, 2009 in Seattle.
•    Both Sounders wins came in stoppage time a season ago, Jeff Parke scoring in the 93rd in the 1-0 home win, and Lamar Neagle scoring in the 92nd after Mauro Rosales leveled in the 90th in Kansas City.
•    Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. KC: P38 W18 L15 D5 … Peter Vermes v SEA: P5 W0 L5 D0

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC saw their winless streak stretched to five games and long unbeaten run on the road ended in a 4-1 defeat by the Montréal Impact on Saturday afternoon at Stade Saputo. Sounders FC are in fourth place in the Western Conference with 24 points from 14 games.

LAST MATCH

HIGHLIGHTS: Seattle help Montreal open Stade Saputo

•    The inaugural MLS goal at Stade Saputo came after 18 minutes. Patrice Bernier skirted around a defender on the outside of the box and dished to Felipe, who promptly curled a shot past goalkeeper Bryan Meredith from the heart of the area.
•    The Impact doubled their lead in the 51st minute. Justin Mapp took a long crossfield pass and poured through the Seattle midfield from the left flank to the top of the box, where he coolly slotted a right-footed shot back inside the left post.
•    It got worse for Sounders FC in the 56th minute, when Jhon Kennedy Hurtado cut down midfielder Collen Warner as he surged into space toward the Seattle penalty area, drawing a straight red card from referee Mark Geiger.
•    The lead was 3-0 just two minutes later, again courtesy of a timely play from Bernier. He seized on a turnover from Seattle’s Álvaro Fernandez and funneled a pass into the box to a streaking Andrew Wenger, who rocketed a right-footed shot inside the near post.
•    Seattle pulled a goal back in the 61st minute when Eddie Johnson ran onto a through ball from Fredy Montero and chipped it over goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts from the heart of the area.
•    But the full margin was restored three minutes from the end when Lamar Neagle skipped through a couple of challenges in the area and poked home an angled shot.
•    Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center. Eddie Johnson came in for the injured David Estrada.
•    SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Bryan Meredith - Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (sent off 56), Marc Burch - Mauro Rosales (Cordell Cato 71), Andy Rose, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez (Alex Caskey 62) - Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson (Servando Carrasco 82).

 

TEAM NEWS
•    The Sounders FC five-game winless run is one away from the club’s MLS record, set May 2-June 6, 2009.
•    “It’s frustrating,” said defender Zach Scott. “It’s not indicative of the team we are. To be frank, it’s embarrassing to lose like that. … It felt like they were playing with a couple more guys than us the entire game.”
•    Sounders FC conceded a season-high four goals in their loss at Montréal last weekend, matching the number of goals they had allowed in their first 10 league games combined.
•    “Everyone individually needs to play better or we need to put guys on the field who can play better,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “We just need to find guys who can play better.”

WATCH: Seattle break down Sporting KC gameplan

•    The three goals allowed were the most since a 3-0 loss in the first leg of last year’s Western Conference Semifinal Series vs. Real Salt Lake. Seattle has given up nine goals over its last four games.
•    “We’ve been down before, we know what it takes to come back and pull out a result,” said Scott. “It’s unfortunate, but we just need to get back on how we play successfully and not worry about what the other team does. We need to go back to what we’re good at and play our type of possession soccer.”
•    Sounders FC saw their 10-game road unbeaten streak – the second-longest in MLS history – put to an end in the 4-1 loss in Montréal. Their last loss away from Seattle had come last July 30 at Houston.
•    “We are a good road team. Nothing that happened today is going to change my mind on that,” said Schmid. “But, obviously when you give 4 goals, that’s an issue. If we can play 1 v 1 when we are playing a man down, then we certainly won’t be losing 3-0 when we are playing either. That’s not what we are all about and we got to change that the next game.”
•    Making his 100th league appearance for Sounders FC, Fredy Montero set up Eddie Johnson for the lone Seattle goal. Montero has 38 goals and 30 assists for his MLS career.
•    “It was the game number 100 for me and it was meaningful. I can’t change what we did tonight,” said Montero. “But we will have another opportunity Wednesday and hopefully we’ll do better and get the three points.”

SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City won for the second time in as many matches, defeating Toronto FC 2-0 on Saturday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park. Sporting have 28 points from 12 matches, now in second place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

HIGHLIGHTS: Sporting down Toronto, 2-0

•    Sporting took the lead after 18 minutes. Chance Myers sent a ball down the right flank to Jacob Peterson on the overlap. Peterson's cross slipped through two TFC defenders in the area, and C.J. Sapong pounced to hammer home on the half-turn from the center of the box.
•    SKC doubled their lead in the 35th minute. Graham Zusi sent in a corner kick from the left and Julio Cesar ripped it first-time from just outside the top right corner of the six-yard box into the roof of the net.
•    Sporting head coach Peter Vermes made two changes to the team that recorded a 2-1 win against the San Jose Earthquakes at Livestrong Sporting Park. Lawrence Olum came into the back four for Matt Besler, and Jacob Peterson replaced Kei Kamara on the wing.
•    SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-1-3): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Lawrence Olum, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic - Julio Cesar, Roger Espinoza (Peterson Joseph 89) - Graham Zusi (Konrad Warzycha 90) - Jacob Peterson (Soony Saad 73), Teal Bunbury, C.J. Sapong.

TEAM NEWS
•    Julío César scored his first goal of the season – his third since coming to MLS – in dramatic fashion, hammering home a corner kick on the full volley.
•    “When they don’t press me and let me play, I get more comfortable,” Julio Cesar said. “You can get in the attack if you don’t have the pressure you usually have in this position.”
•    “What a goal,” said Graham Zusi. “Contender for Goal of the Year. If that doesn’t get Goal of the Week, I don’t know what will. It was just a great finish.”
•    For Zusi, the corner kick was his eighth assist of the season, tying him with D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario for the league lead.

WATCH: Off the field with Peter Vermes

•    “A lot of guys on this team are a force to be reckoned with in the air. Teal (Bunbury), C.J. (Sapong), Aurelien (Collin) and Julio (Cesar) have really done their part,” Zusi said. “Over the past two years now, we have become really dangerous on set pieces. I take the free kicks quite a bit, but these guys have done great to finish them off.
•    With Matt Besler sidelined following an appendectomy, Lawrence Olum made his first career league start.
•    “He was good in the air, he was tough, strong and he had good distribution. I thought him and (Aurélien) Collin were a good team with the fact that they were tough and they were both very hard. It was difficult for those guys to play against them,” said Vermes. “I thought they established their dominance pretty early and that continued throughout the game. Good partnership right there.”
•    With Kei Kamara still on international duty with Sierra Leone, Jacob Peterson made his first league start this season after eight appearances off the substitutes’ bench.
•    “I know that there’s a difference when you play a reserve game and an MLS game with the pace and the tempo, and for him giving us 70 minutes like he did was tremendous,” said Vermes. “He was busy, he was active and he put a lot of pressure on those guys. Him and (Chance) Myers had some good combinations on the outside. We were terrorizing them very early in the game which puts them on their heels and they can’t get out.”
•    he is probably coming off a 48-hour plane trip. It’s good that he will be back but at the same time, he is going to come back from a long trip so we will continue with the way we are going. We have four games in the next two-week period. We have to recover and get ready, and then we will assess how everyone is doing on Wednesday.
•    Vermes said he would reserve judgment before putting Kamara in the first team automatically for the trip to Seattle. “He is probably coming off a 48-hour plane trip. It’s good that he will be back but at the same time, he is going to come back from a long trip so we will continue with the way we are going,” said Vermes. “We have four games in the next two-week period. We have to recover and get ready, and then we will assess how everyone is doing on Wednesday.”
•    Sporting KC’s Konrad Warzycha became the second son of a former MLS player (current Crew head coach Robert) when he came on as a substitute in the 2-0 win vs. Toronto. The first was SKC teammate Teal Bunbury (son of Alex).