Sounders return home to face undefeated Wizards

All-time record: Each team holds a 1-1-0 record against the other. What's at stake? Points at home are critical at any point of the season, but this match takes on added importance for Seattle with Sounders FC set to embark on a two-match road trip next week. A result would also allow goalkeeper Kasey Keller to exorcise the demons from last season, when Kansas City took advantage of a first-half Keller red card to post a 1-0 victory at Qwest Field. The Wizards, winners of their first two, hope to continue the perfect start. Last meeting: With a hand in all three goals, Seattle’s Freddie Ljungberg posted arguably his best game of the season at Kansas City as Sounders FC won 3-2 at Community America Ballpark. With Seattle driving towards the postseason, the road performance was one of Seattle’s grittiest as the team scored the game’s final two goals to earn three points on the road. Remember when...? Davy Arnaud fired a rocket from distance to score the only goal from the team’s first meeting at Qwest Field. Heroes & villains: Ryan Smith vs. James Riley: The Englishman Smith has been one of the brightest newcomers early in the Major League Soccer season. Riley will have his hands full to defend the skilled, left-footed player, who is equally dangerous on the shot, pass or dribble. Fredy Montero vs. Jimmy Conrad: One of the better central defenders in the league, Conrad excels at winning balls in the air and handled Colorado’s Conor Casey a week ago. The skillful Montero presents a different kind of challenge. Will the Colombian be able to hold the ball up against the stronger, bigger Conrad? Will Montero be able to use his quickness to elude Conrad for a free shot on goal? How Conrad fares against Seattle’s primary goal-scoring threat will have a lot to do with the final outcome. Stat that makes you go “Hmm...” Recent signing Sunil Chhetri is the eighth player of Asian descent and the first Indian-born player to play in Major League Soccer. After playing one half during Kansas City’s midweek U.S. Open Cup qualifier, the striker/midfielder may see the field on Saturday, especially after Kansas City lost Zoltan Hercegfalvi to a torn ACL. He said it: “I’m most proud that we played a man down for 60 to 65 minutes and Kansas City was celebrating quite extensively at the end of the game. That shows how much respect we’ve already garnered in this league. If they’re playing a man up and win a squeaker and they’re happy, that’s good for us.” -- Sigi Schmid, April 11, 2009, after 10-man Seattle lost 1-0 at home to Kansas City.

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