SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs NEW YORK RED BULLS
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
Sept. 29, 2013 (WEEK 31, MLS Game #287)
6 p.m. PT (ESPN/Deportes; TSN2)
One of the biggest matches of the entire Major League Soccer season is ahead on Sunday evening when Seattle Sounders FC meet the New York Red Bulls in a top-of-the-table clash at CenturyLink Field. The Red Bulls come into the contest holding the top spot in the Eastern Conference and chase for the Supporters’ Shield, riding a four-game winning streak following their 1-0 home win vs. FC Dallas. Sounders FC saw their five-game winning streak put to an end, but have still lost just once in league play in more than two months, following their 1-1 draw at the LA Galaxy.
REFEREE: Kevin Stott. AR1 (bench): Craig Lowry; AR2 (opposite): Brian Poeschel; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 241 games; FC/gm: 25.6; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 60; pens: 53
DISABLED LIST: SEA: Josh Ford
SUSPENDED: SEA: Zach Scott (through Sept. 29)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SEA: Leo Gonzalez, Zach Scott, Djimi Traore
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Osvaldo Alonso, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Adam Moffat … NY: Jamison Olave, Tim Cahill, Jonny Steele
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Sounders FC 3 wins, 11 goals … Red Bulls 2 wins, 7 goals … Ties 2
AT SEATTLE (3 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 7 goals … Red Bulls 1 win, 3 goals … Ties 0
LAST YEAR (MLS)
7/15: NY 2, SEA 2 (Le Toux 24; Lindpere 61 – Fernandez 16; Montero 67)
- The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
- The teams have split their meetings over the last three seasons. Both teams won on the road in 2010, then held serve with home victories the next year. Last season, the clubs played to a 2-2 draw July 15 at Red Bull Arena.
- Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. NY: P35 W11 L14 D6 … Mike Petke v SEA: first game
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC saw their club-record winning streak come to an end but still extended their undefeated run, reaching a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. Sounders FC lead the Western Conference with 50 points from 28 matches.
- Sounders FC took the lead in the 25th minute. Eddie Johnson lost his marker on his run from the top of the box and was alone just above the 6-yard box to powerfully head home Mauro Rosales' corner kick from the right.
- The Galaxy pulled even on the final touch of the half, after Seattle defender Zach Scott picked up a yellow card for tripping Jose Villarreal just above the restraining arc. Juninho curled the ball inside the left post with the resulting free kick.
- Sounders FC finished a man down after Scott was sent off for his second yellow deep in stoppage time, but the Galaxy could not take advantage.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made one change to the team that defeated Real Salt Lake 2-0 in a top-of-the-table clash at CenturyLink Field. Eddie Johnson came back into the side for Marc Burch.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning - DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott (ejected 89), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez - Mauro Rosales (Brad Evans 76), Andy Rose (Adam Moffat 65), Osvaldo Alonso, Lamar Neagle - Eddie Johnson, Obafemi Martins (Marc Burch 82).
- While Sounders FC saw their five-game winning run put to an end, they still extended their undefeated streak to six games with the result in southern California, and have lost just once in their last 11 games, since July 13.
- "I think the result is secondary, tonight we showed a great effort, which is important to us after the first game we played here,” Sounders FC goalkeeper Michael Gspurning said. “I think we played really well and had great chances, even to win the game. We took a point, and we move on."
- Eddie Johnson scored his first goal in four games, netting the Seattle goal vs. LA. Each of his last three goals have come on headers set up by a dead-ball service from Mauro Rosales, last netting the only goal in wins vs. Portland and Columbus on Aug. 25 and 31.
- “We had some very dangerous chances, even late in the game with Evans almost getting in their twice, Eddie had a look as well,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “I think we had opportunities to get a second goal but it is what it is, an end to end game, it was a good game for the fans, an exciting game, not always the best soccer though.”
- There is an injury concern with Johnson for the Red Bulls match, after he suffered a shoulder injury during training.
- Clint Dempsey did not make the trip to LA, suffering a hamstring injury that kept him out of the match. Dempsey has played only 29 minutes over the last four matches, mainly due to international duty; his last appearance in the first XI came Aug. 31.
- “He didnít do that much with us,” Schmid said. “Obviously it’s something that, either from the wear and tear of the national team, playing those games in rapid succession, maybe coming back and taking a wrong step at training. It’s hard to tell.”
- Brad Evans was able to return to action in the Galaxy match, coming on for the final 14 minutes for his first appearance since Aug. 31, when he was forced off with a hamstring injury after just 19 minutes in the win at Columbus.
- Steve Zakuani was also an unused substitute after his return from the disabled list, his last first team appearance coming back on April 20.
- “We’re getting close to 100 percent healthy. I think it will still be a week or two before we find ourselves with that choice lineup," Evans added. "But until then guys are going to plug in and obviously guys have done well."
- Adam Moffat also made his Sounders FC debut after his acquisition from the Houston Dynamo on the roster freeze deadline, coming on for the final 25 minutes.
- "It can be tough, and a bit of an adjustment. There were a few things maybe tonight, you know, guys runs, you just kind of get used to the more you play. Hopefully that will come with the more minutes I play,” Moffat said. “It would be great to win the Supporters’ Shield, I've won it twice with Columbus, so to come to a team at this part of the year is a good time, the team is doing great."
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls won their fourth consecutive match, claiming a 1-0 victory against FC Dallas on Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are in sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference and the MLS overall table with 51 points from 30 matches.
- The game's lone goal came in the 76th minute. Jonny Steele put in a cross from the left and as both Erick and Matt Hedges were trying to clear the loose ball, Erick put the ball into the back of his own net.
- Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles was called upon to make three saves in keeping the clean sheet for his club's fourth consecutive victory.
- Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke made one change to the team that defeated Toronto FC 2-0 at Red Bull Arena. Tim Cahill came into the midfield for Michael Bustamante.
- NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Kosuke Kimura, Jamison Olave, Markus Holgersson, David Carney - Eric Alexander (Brandon Barklage 84), Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill, Jonny Steele - Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips (Fabian Espindola 32).
- The Red Bulls won their fourth consecutive match – matching their four-game run from earlier this year, from April 20-May 8 – in the win vs. FC Dallas. The club record-winning streak is five games, set four times previously, including last season.
- “I knew absolutely that there was a goal in this game, at least a goal in this game. I was hoping the odds were in our favor to get it,” Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said. “We were knocking and knocking and knocking and they had two big boys in the center in there and we got after them a bit. … I’m proud of the guys that they played the whole game through and got the result.”
- The Red Bulls also recorded a second consecutive clean sheet, the second time this season they’ve recorded back-to-back defensive shutouts (also July 13-20).
- Tim Cahill made his return to the Red Bulls lineup after a two-match absence, after he was forced off early because of an ankle injury in the Aug. 31 win vs. D.C. United.
- “For us, it was a massive game, because if you look all over the conferences, both conferences,” said Cahill, “you see the results go our way even though Kansas City won last night. So you have to try and take advantage of it. I thought in the first half we got close to scoring and we should’ve, but when the ball falls like that and it goes in their own net from an own goal you’ll take that happily.”
- It’s the second time in three years the conference leaders have met this late in the season. The LA Galaxy defeated the Columbus Crew 1-0 at Crew Stadium on Sept. 24, 2011 in a top-of-the-table clash.
- But the Red Bulls will likely play in the top-of-the-table clash without Thierry Henry, who has two goals and three assists over the last five matches.
- “Going by history it would appear that he wouldn’t be available,” Petke said. “… He has a chronic issue with his Achilles, and if I’m being told by the doctors that it could be damaged, then it’s a situation that are you going to sacrifice or take that risk for one game, no matter what the significance is, when there’s still three more left to play in the regular season and hopefully the playoffs?”
- The Red Bulls could also be without center back Jamison Olave, who has started three consecutive matches.
- “Once you hear from doctors that you trust that are part of the organization and the medical staff that as far as turf goes with the way Olave’s knee is, and his knee has been great this year, but it could be [a situation where] he could go through all 90 minutes or it could be one bad turn on the turf and you lose him for the season,” said Petke. “Yes, it’s an important game, but is it important enough to risk our key defender for the rest of the year? I don’t think so. Both of those guys are huge question marks and I’ll probably lean more towards no they will not be going.”
- In addition, forward Bradley Wright-Phillips has been ruled out of the match because of a right hamstring strain he suffered in the FC Dallas match.
- “It would be a miracle if he was available this week,” Petke said. “You saw he was in full stride and the way he went down. I know he’ll be out this weekend, but beyond that I don’t want to speculate and put numbers down. But I don’t think this is a one week out type of thing.”
- Lloyd Sam could be available for selection again after missing the last two matches. “Lloyd was slated to pretty much potentially start against Dallas this weekend and at the last minute he just didn’t feel right,” said Petke. “You can’t force the player out if he’s not feeling right. He wasn’t 100 percent in his mind and he didn’t feel comfortable or confident and I give him credit for relaying that.”