SEATTLE - JUNE 05: Leonardo Gonzalez #19 of the Seattle Sounders FC is mobbed by teammates after scoring a goal against the New England Revolution on June 5, 2010 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
3 Total Updates since June 26, 2011
almost 2 years ago Commentary 0 commentsContinue
almost 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Things didn't get off to the best start for Seattle with Sainey Nyassi scoring from outside the box off a short corner to put the New England Revolution on top 1-0, and Sigi Schmid was forced to burn a sub in the 17th minute when Jeff Parke left the game with a migraine. The Sounders were the better side for the majority of the first half but New England's defense was solid and the Revs held onto their lead as the clock ticked past the half hour mark.
In the 34th minute Seattle won a free kick at the edge of the box and Tyson Wahl curled an absolute stunner into Matt Reis' top right corner, leveling terms and bringing CenturyLink Field to full voice. It was Wahl's first MLS goal and was as good as any the Sounders have scored all season, and just over five minutes later Alvaro Fernandez put Seattle ahead 2-1 after getting on the end of a beautiful sequence of passes from Mauro Rosales and Roger Levesque and finishing well past Reis.
The Sounders were clearly looking for a third and come out with attacking intent on display in the second half, but the Revolution looked significantly more organized at the back than they had in the final quarter hour of the first and the Sounders had a great deal of difficulty finding a way through. Sigi Schmid opted to attempt a style more geared towards controlling possession, bringing on Pat Noonan to improve the hold-up play in transition. The strategy was successful, but the end of the game was not without its heart-in-throat moments; Kasey Keller was forced into a fantastic save after Shalrie Joseph nearly equalized with a headed chance off a corner and Zack Schilawski saw a driven chance from well outside the box beat Keller but deflect off the woodwork.
In the end, the Sounders were able to capitalize on their dominant performance and run their unbeaten streak to six games. Seattle have now picked up nine points in eight days, bringing them within four points behind their next opponent LA Galaxy in the same number of games played and level with FC Dallas in second place in the Western Conference. Though Seattle are still a tick behind LA and Dallas in terms of points per match, no team in MLS is on better form over the past few months and with reinforcements likely to begin arriving with the open of the transfer window on July 15th, the Sounders have to be considered contenders for the Supporters Shield. It's a fairly stunning turnaround from the earlier part of the season, when injuries and poor results making even a solid playoff seeding look a tall order.
Seattle take on the Kitsap Pumas on Tuesday at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila before traveling to Los Angeles to face the Galaxy in the season's first real "six-pointer" on the 4th of July. If the Sounders manage a result at the Home Depot Center, the second half of the year could shape up to be very interesting indeed.
almost 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Sigi Schmid is pretty clearly looking to keep a few bullets i the chamber ahead of the Seattle Sounders US Open Cup match against the Kitsap Pumas on Tuesday as Fredy Montero, Mike Fucito and Nate Jaqua all start the day on the bench. Montero is not in the 18, presumably because of the sore quad that forced him to leave Thursday's game against the New York Red Bulls. Mauro Rosales starts at the withdrawn forward spot in Montero's absence. Brad Evans is also unavailable.
Sounders first-round draft pick Michael Tetteh makes his first appearance in the Sounders 18, while Pat Noonan will also be available in the final game of his current contract with the team. No major surprises for the Revs, but worth noting that US International Benny Feilhaber has returned to the starting lineup after recovering from the ankle injury that kept him out of the Gold Cup.
Two solid defensive teams with the home team's most dangerous scoring weapons on the bench? Might want to grab some cream cheese.
Sounders Starting XI:
Keller; Riley, Hurtado, Parke, Wahl; Carrasco, Neagle, Fernandez, Friberg; Levesque, Rosales
Boss, Ianni,, Michael Tetteh, Nate Jaqua, Pat Noonan, Mike Fucito
Revs Starting XI:
Reis; Alston, Cochrane, Soares, Barnes; Nyassi, Phelan, Joseph, Feilhaber, Guy; Lekic
Shuttleworth, Boggs, Coria, Loewy,,
almost 2 years ago Update 0 comments
It didn't exactly come out of nowhere, but given the often frustrating nature of the first half of the Seattle Sounders season it might come as a surprise that the team is performing as well as any in the league at the moment. The Sounders have picked up eleven points over their past five, bringing them back into the discussion of possible Supporters Shield contenders, and they enter this afternoon's match against the Revolution riding a two game winning streak. The Sounders have exactly been without their problems over the past month or so but they've been grinding out results when necessary and playing largely solid soccer with Sigi Schmid seeming to settle in to a preferred rotation and tactical approach.
The Revolution, meanwhile, are at the moment in shambles. Winless since a 1-0 victory over Vancouver on May 14th, New England have picked up just two points in their past five and have recently come under scrutiny for the controversy surrounding last week's clash between supporters groups and police and stadium personnel that led to numerous arrests and stadium bannings. The Revs have struggled mightily with injuries this season and in early June lost Marko Perovic to season ending knee surgery. New England are currently third-worst in MLS, ahead of Vancouver by a point (with the Whitecaps holding a game in hand) and Toronto FC on goal difference and are one of five teams in the league without a win on the road.
For all of their problems, New England are not without talent. The Revs central midfield pairing of Shalrie Joesph and Benny Feilhaber (who is returning from the ankle sprain that kept him out of the Gold Cup) is well above average and though their defense is in no way world beating it's among the better back lines in the Eastern Conference and has kept them in most games this season; in 15 games New England have allowed 2 or more goals just five times and only two of their seven losses have come by more than one goal. Make no mistake; this is a poor Revolution side but they're likely not as bad as their current place in the standings in they've most assuredly been the victim of some pretty poor luck. New England's biggest problem is fairly simple; they don't score very often.
And really, that's an understatement. New England's 12 goals put them dead last in MLS with the next most impotent attacks-Toronto FC and Columbus, with Toronto having played two more games than New England to be fair-both sitting at 16. The Revs have gotten very little from their forwards on the year with Rajko Lakic one of two players with multiple goals on the year (Joseph being the other.) Considering that Seattle has been one of the better defensive teams in the league to this point and both sides having their struggles in the attack to this point, it seems reasonable to expect a somewhat low-scoring and tense affair, no?
Well, maybe. But there are reasons to think that it isn't all that simple. For one, Feilhber is a genuinely dangerous player that quite simply hasn't had a great deal of time to make an impact on the season and though he's likely not 90 minutes hit he'll bring danger to the Revs attack that has been sorely missing. There's also the fact that the Sounders will be without Osvaldo Alonso, arguably the single most important player to the Sounders tactical approach. Though Servando Carrasco has played well for the most part this season, Seattle without the Honey Badger is something of an unknown quantity; the matchup between Joseph and Carrasco (assuming he gets the nod) will be key to Seattle's success. It's also possible that Sigi Schmid opts for a more attack oriented midfield pairing of Brad Evans and Erik Friberg given New England's poor attack but that's somewhat difficult to envision given Sigi Schmid's preference for a deep-lying destroyer type to allow the wide midfielders to push forward with less risk of the back line being left exposed.
The bigger key for Seattle, as it generally is, will be the play of Fredy Montero. The Souders much-maligned young designated player has functioned in a much freer trequartista role these past two games to a fair amount of success, but the risk in such an approach is the reality that running the entire attack through one player puts the team in danger of being completely stifled by effective man-marking. Montero is a good enough player that it generally isn't an issue, but on any given day it very well may be. Who Sigi Schmid chooses to play up top is anyone's guess; Nate Jaqua is clearly second choice to Mike Fucito at the moment and Fucito's early exit on Thursday likely has him fresh enough to get the nod this afternoon. Still, Jaqua looked strong as a substitute against the Red Bulls and could find himself back in the mix given the short turnaround. Roger Levesque's brace against New York could push Schmid to give him the nod against a weaker opponent and the possibility of Montero getting a day off can't be discounted either. It's even theoretically possible that Pat Noonan could find himself inserted back into the XI after several strong performances in reserve league play; there really is absolutely no way of knowing which way Sigi is leaning.
What is clear is that the Sounders could really do with another three points. With the transfer window opening soon and Seattle almost certain to emerge with a not-insignificant upgrade at forward, a Sounders win would bring them to within four points of LA Galaxy in the same number of games played, well within shouting distance of the current best in MLS. While there are reasons to believe that a win against the Revs at home isn't the slam dunk it might appear on first glance, none of them are compelling enough to expect a Supporters Shield contender to lose to one of the weakest sides in MLS at home. So, are the Sounders Supporters Shield contender? Nothing that happens tomorrow will be enough for anyone to answer that question definitively. But we very well may get a whole lot closer.