Here are some notes from the club:
Undefeated in its last four matches and yet still seeking to hit its stride, Seattle Sounders FC takes a trip for the second week in a row with a rare Friday night bout against the holders of the MLS Cup, the Colorado Rapids. First kick is 6:30 p.m. PT at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., and the game will be televised live on Fox Soccer.
Sounders FC (1-2-3) is coming off a dramatic draw, 1-1 away to Philadelphia Union. Colorado (3-2-0) idle since April 13, is trying to halt a two-game losing skid. Since firing four past DC on April 3 the injury-plagued Rapids have been held scoreless in losses at FC Dallas (3-0) and Real Salt Lake (1-0).
Seattle is in the midst of playing four of five matches on the road, including three in the Eastern Time Zone. It hosts Toronto FC on April 30 before going to D.C. United on May 4 and Columbus on May 7.
While the Rave Green leads the series 2-1-1 they have not won in Colorado in two previous trips, earning a 2-2 draw in 2009 and losing 1-nil last season. The Rapids have outscored visitors at DGS Park 7-2 in 2011 and they are 18-4-10 in regular season home matches since the start of 2009.
Sigi Schmid can choose from his full compliment of players this week. Fredy Montero made a triumphant return at Philadelphia following a two-game absence. Montero came off the bench to set-up the stoppage time equalizer by fellow substitute Alvaro Fernandez.
Arlo White calls the match on 97.3 KIRO FM. The game is also being broadcast on La Gran D 99.3 FM.
Sounders FC and Toronto FC meet at 7 p.m. PT on April 30. For tickets go to www.SoundersFC.com or call 877-MLS-GOAL.
Forwards vs. Rapids
Four of the Sounders FC primary attackers have found joy in previous encounters with Colorado. Nate Jaqua has scored a total of four goals and two assists in 14 career meetings against the Rapids, including three goals and an assist for Seattle in 2009. Fredy Montero has two goals and four assists in four games versus Colorado, and Steve Zakuani scored both goals in last season’s home win. While with Toronto FC, O’Brian White scored against Colorado in 2009. Seattle’s average of 1.75 goals per game versus the Rapids is second only to its 2.00 against D.C. United.
In the final stages of the Philadelphia match, Sigi Schmid inserted extra attackers in pressing for the eventual equalizer. Jaqua, Montero joined Zakuani and Mauro Rosales to form a robust frontline. Rosales assisted on two goals in his first two starts for Seattle and earned the late corner that led to the game-tying goal at Philadelphia.
Of Men and Minutes
Mauro Rosales made his third start in a row and went the full 90 for the first time. Leo Gonzalez came off as Seattle went with an extra attacker for the final 13 minutes. Gonzalez had played every minute in the first five matches. Rookie midfielder Servando Carrasco was unavailable for the Union match, having been suspended by MLS for a foul against Chicago’s Patrick Nyarko. Carrasco had dressed for each of the first five matches, playing in two and starting once. Kasey Keller, Osvaldo Alonso and Jeff Parke have each played all 540 minutes this season.
Numbers of Note
In the last three outings the offense has taken 11 shots on goal, scoring five times. In the previous three matches there were 19 shots on goal but only one score.
Although Sounders FC has allowed more than one goal only once this season, it is one of six clubs yet to post a shutout.
The five fouls committed by Osvaldo Alonso last week tied the club’s all-time high, set on three other occasions, and the team’s 17 total fouls rank No. 2. The combined four corner kicks taken by Seattle and the Union tie for the fewest in a match with the L.A. road game in 2009. Sounders FC scored goals off corners in both matches.
Of the six opponents played to date, Seattle has faced four sides-L.A., Philadelphia, New York and Houston-that are currently either first or second in their respective division. Combined, those teams have a record of 10-4-8.
Kasey Keller started his 61st consecutive MLS regular season match at Philadelphia. He has started 69 of Seattle’s 70 MLS regular season and playoff matches.
The Sounders FC reserves played a training game against the University of Washington last Saturday, winning 2-1. Taylor Graham scored from a Miguel Montaño corner kick and guest player Daniel Gray converted a cross from Lamar Neagle. The first MLS Reserve League home match will be on May 9 against Chivas USA at Starfire Stadium.
Among the Leaders
Sounders FC leads the league in shots (85) and shots on goal (30). The club is second in corner kicks (32), fouls committed (87) and offside (16) and is tied third with seven assists. Fredy Montero, who has missed two games, is fourth in shots (16) and teammate O’Brian White is tied ninth (14). Montero (9) and White (7) are also tied first and fifth in shots on goal, respectively. Mauro Rosales is tied fifth in fouls suffered (13). Leo Gonzalez tied second with 13 fouls committed and tied third with three yellow cards. Erik Friberg is tied eighth in MLS with 15 corner kicks.
Seattle is 2-1-1 against Colorado but is yet to win at DSG Park. Last season, Sounders FC lost 1-0 at Colorado (May 29) behind a Conor Casey goal and won 2-1 in the return match (July 25) with a brace from Steve Zakuani. The Rave Green have outscored the Rapids 7-4. Nate Jaqua is the goals leader with three strikes and Fredy Montero leads both teams with four assists.
The Rapids sit third in the Western Conference and fourth in the race for the Supporters’ Shield with nine points through their first five games. After winning its first three games of the season, Colorado has dropped its last two, both on the road. The team was shut-out in both losses but was without the services of key players such as Conor Casey and Pablo Mastroeni. The Rapids are 2-0-0 at home this season and have outscored visitors (Portland and D.C. United) 7-2.
Colorado’s frontline will likely feature speedster Omar Cummings along with English newcomer Caleb Folan. Cummings has two goals in his three starts with Folan netting two goals in four starts. Conor Casey has yet to open his account in 2011 and has missed the last two games with a calf injury. Captain Pablo Mastroeni has also missed the last two games with a calf/Achilles injury. Quincy Amarikwa, who scored the winner at Chivas USA in week three, suffered a high ankle sprain last Wednesday and Mac Kandji remains out after offseason ACL surgery. Despite the injuries, a handful of Rapids have started all five matches, including defenders Kosuke Kimura and Marvell Wynne and midfielders Jeff Larentowicz and Jamie Smith. Goalkeeper Matt Pickens has allowed six goals (1.20 GAA), making seven saves.
The Colorado Connection
Tyrone Marshall has played in the last two matches for Colorado, including a start at Real Salt Lake. Sanna Nyassi has appeared in four of five matches, starting one with one assist. Both Nyassi and Marshall played key roles for Seattle in its first two seasons. Nyassi was chosen by Vancouver in the expansion draft then dealt to the Rapids. Marshall was obtained in the re-entry draft last December. Danny Earls, who spent the preseason with Sounders FC before being released, has rejoined the Rapids. Earls was acquired by Seattle from Colorado in a trade prior to the expansion draft last November.
Seattle right back James Riley is from Colorado Springs and was a two-time All-American at Harrison High School. Riley played club soccer for the Colorado Rush and USL PDL’s Colorado Springs Blizzard.
Seattle’s four-game unbeaten streak equals the longest current run in MLS…Brad Evans turns 26 on Wednesday, April 20…Steve Zakuani was credited with an assist on Alvaro Fernandez’s winner at Philadelphia…This marks only the third Friday match for Seattle. It beat Chivas USA, 2-1 at home, in 2010 and tied Houston, 1-1 at home, earlier this season…Saturday marks the 35th anniversary of the first kick of the Tacoma Tides. The American Soccer League franchise played just one season, beginning on April 23, 1976, when the Tides won at Sacramento, 1-0, on a Roy Sinclair goal.