Preview - Seattle vs. Sporting KC, May 21, 2011
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Preview: Sporting KC out to snap losing streak in Seattle

Seattle Sounders FC remain home for a second consecutive weekend when they take on Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening at Qwest Field. Sounders FC have played to back-to-back draws, last a 1-1 tie with the Portland Timbers in the first MLS Cascadia rivalry match. Sporting have lost four games on the trot as their season-opening road trip continues.


REFEREE: Geoff Gamble. SAR (bench): Corey Rockwell; JAR (opposite): Eric Proctor; 4th: Drew Fischer
Gamble's MLS Career: First game

INJURY REPORT: SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – OUT: FW O’Brian White (L leg surgery); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); QUESTIONABLE: MF Mauro Rosales (hamstring strain); MF Brad Evans (adductor strain); MF Erik Friberg (ankle sprain)

SPORTING KANSAS CITY – OUT: FW Konrad Warzycha (R knee surgery); PROBABLE: FW Omar Bravo (sports hernia); MF Birahim Diop (R hamstring strain); MF Davy Arnaud (neck strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: KC: Jon Kempin (U.S. U-20 national team)

ALL-TIME: Sounders FC 3 wins, 6 goals … Sporting 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0
AT QWEST FIELD: Sounders FC 3 wins, 6 goals … Sporting 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0
RETURN MATCH: 8/6: Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 6:30 p.m. CT

4/17: SEA 1, KC 0 (Fucito 90)
10/9: KC 1, SEA 2 (Arnaud 84 – Nyassi 66; Fernandez 78)
• Sounders FC have won the last three meetings between the teams in league play, four in a row when adding a U.S. Open Cup encounter.
• Kansas City’s only win all-time against Seattle came in 2009 at Qwest Field, a 1-0 victory in the first meeting ever between the clubs.
• Coaches record: Sigi Schmid v KC: P36 W16 L15 D5 … Peter Vermes vs. SEA: P3 W0 L3 D0

Seattle Sounders FC played to a draw for a second consecutive match, this time a 1-1 result in their first-ever MLS meeting with the Portland Timbers, Saturday evening at Qwest Field. Sounders FC have 14 points from 11 games on the season, sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference.

• Sounders FC took the lead in the 52nd minute. Roger Levesque lofted the ball forward to Fredy Montero, who outleaped two defenders to flick the ball on to Alvaro Fernández, who then had time to settle before lashing a left-footed shot inside Troy Perkins’ near post.
• But Portland pulled level from yet another set piece. In an almost instant replay of the goal against Philadelphia a week earlier, Jack Jewsbury lofted a free kick toward Mamadou Danso in the heart of the area, and the Gambian centerback nodded it into the net.
• Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made four changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Tyson Wahl came back into the back four for Jeff Parke and Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans started in midfield for Erik Friberg, and Nate Jaqua came in up top for Roger Levesque.
• SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl - Servando Carrasco - Brad Evans (Roger Levesque  42), Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernández - Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua (Lamar Neagle 79).

• Already missing attackers Steve Zakuani and O’Brian White, Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid was forced to make significant changes in his midfield. The first came before kickoff when Erik Friberg was injured the day before the game, then Brad Evans had to come off for an injury before halftime.
• “Losing a player like Evans changes it and losing Friberg as we prepare for the game certainly changes things as well for us,” Schmid said
• Schmid said Friberg was close to being available for the Portland match and said there’s a chance he could be ready for the KC contest. It was the first game Friberg had missed this season (he did come on as a substitute once, April 22 vs. Colorado.
• “Friberg is actually making good progress with his ankle,” Schmid said. “It was almost touch and go if he could play (against Portland), but it was a situation we felt the risk at the end would be too great.
• While Schmid said Evans’ injury is a day-to-day situation, the midfielder said he hoped he would be out only a week to 10 days.
• “I don’t know why [it happened],” Evans said. “For some reason I made a cross. I don’t know if I caught it too much on my toe but I felt a twinge in my groin. I tried to come back on, but my body said no.”
• In addition, Schmid said: “(Mauro) Rosales, we’ll put through a week of training, so we’ll be able to determine that at the end of the week.” Rosales has played only 31 minutes over the last four matches with a hamstring injury.
• Since he was held out of the game vs, Chicago on April 9, Sounders FC designated player Alvaro Fernández has scored three goals – his third coming against Portland. He has started the last four games in the Seattle midfield.
• For a second consecutive game, Schmid opted to pair Servando Carrasco and Osvaldo Alonso in central midfield.
• “For us, the big problem in the first half was having Carrasco and Alonso in midfield together. They both sat back too deep, so it was very tough for our forwards to have a connection for someone to play back to,” Schmid said. “… (O)ne of the two of them needed to push up more. That was something we talked about before the game, but in the heat of the game they forgot it.”
• The goal was the second this season conceded by Seattle from a set piece, the first coming on a direct free kick by Philadelphia’s Carlos Ruiz.
• “Their game [Portland's] is predicated around free kicks and set pieces. That's what their danger is. That's what they live for. The referee gave them quite a few. It seemed like our fouls happened for us on our (defensive) end of the field and theirs happened on their (offensive) end of the field,” Schmid said. “At the end of the day, we have to defend those things and we have to take care of that business.”

Sporting Kansas City saw their losing skid reach four games, falling 4-1 to the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. Sporting have 4 points from 7 matches on the season, sitting in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

• Sporting KC took the lead courtesy of a gift, when Milos Stojcev swung a ball in from the right flank and Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez was able only to re-direct it into the corner of his own net.
• The Galaxy hit for the equalizer before the end of the half. After David Beckham taken down inside the box, referee Baldomero Toledo immediately pointed to the spot, and Landon Donovan calmly buried the penalty kick.
• LA broke the game open in the second half. First, Donovan and Chad Barrett combined on a give-and-go into the penalty area from where Donovan beat a helpless Eric Kronberg.
• Then Juan Pablo Ángel found the back of the net shortly after coming on as a substitute. Barrett sent Ángel through and he easily slotted home from inside the area.
• Beckham then put an exclamation mark on the match when he buried a direct free kick from outside the left corner of the penalty area.
• SKC boss Peter Vermes made three changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Eric Kronberg came in to don the gloves in place of Jimmy Nielsen, Roger Espinoza replaced Korede Aiyegbusi at fullback, and Milos Stojcev started for C.J. Sapong.
• SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Eric Kronberg - Michael Harrington, Julio Cesar, Aurelien Collin, Roger Espinoza (Chance Myers 57) - Davy Arnaud, Stephane Auvray - Kei Kamara (C.J. Sapong 67), Milos Stojcev (Ryan Smith 65), Graham Zusi - Teal Bunbury

• With three games remaining before they open the new Livestrong Sporting Park, Kansas City has lost four games in a row and is winless in the last six.
• The last team with an extended road swing to start the season – the Chicago Fire in 2006, while Toyota Park was being finished – started with two wins and four draws in nine games. Sporting are the fourth club in MLS history to start the year with multiple games on the road while awaiting a new home: Columbus (1999), LA Galaxy (2003) and Chicago.
• “We have been talking about the same thing about playing on the road, we have known that,” captain Davy Arnaud said. “It is not easy but at the same time it is not so difficult that we should turn in a second half performance that we did tonight. It is just not obviously what we wanted and it is very disappointing.”
• The four goals allowed were a season-high for Sporting, who have allowed multiple goals in five of their seven games this season. They still have yet to register a shutout – the only team in MLS still without a clean sheet this season.
• “I thought in the first half we played really solid. Getting it to 1-0 was good unfortunately we made a critical mistake right before the half and gave a penalty kick but coming in 1-1 was good,” manager Peter Vermes said. “The second half is what put the dagger in us and that is the part that gets frustrating.”
• Vermes gave Eric Kronberg his first start of the season, and just the second of his MLS career. His only previous start came in the season finale last year, a 4-1 win against San Jose.
• “It was nothing against Jimmy (Nielsen) at all,” Vermes said of the decision to play his backup. “I think Jimmy has been playing well. It was time for us to give (Kronberg) a game.”