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Sounders turn attention to Fire, busy schedule

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on April 24, 2012 at 7:15 am with No Comments »
April 24, 2012 12:04 pm

The Sounders return to training this morning, preparing for their Saturday match at Chicago.

I’ll be back here with some news after training.

However, for now, some notes from the club regarding the coming week, which will be followed by a busy coming month:

The break is over for Sounders FC as the Rave Green returns to action for the busiest stretch in club history with nine games in 32 days. The contests begin this Saturday with a match against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. Kickoff is slated for 5:30 p.m. PT.

Saturday’s match will be televised live on KONG 6/16 with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller on the call, and can be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM. The match will also be broadcast live out of market on ROOT Sports. La Gran D 99.3 FM will carry the match live in Spanish.

Sounders FC (3-1-1, 10 points) is off to the best five-game start in club history and will look to extend its MLS-best six-game (5-0-1) regular season road unbeaten streak.

With eight MLS matches before the end of May, including five over 15 days, Sounders FC looks to pile up the points with a possible 24 on the table. The Rave Green will also begin its march to a fourth consecutive Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title with the third round scheduled for May 29.

Once before did Sounders FC play nine games in a 32-day stretch. In August of last season Seattle went 7-1-1 with a historic win at Monterrey and a victory over FC Dallas to advance to the Open Cup final.

Despite playing the fewest games in MLS, Sounders FC sits fourth in the West and tied-sixth overall. The Chicago Fire (2-1-2, 8 points) are one of two other teams to have played just five matches and currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Seattle is unbeaten over its past two matches, and will look to extend its 248-minute shutout streak (second-longest active streak in MLS) and end April unbeaten for the second straight year. The match will be the second road contest of the season for Seattle, earning a draw at D.C. United in its first away game, and will also mark the 100th regular season game for Sounders FC.

Chicago is also unbeaten over its past two matches with a win over Toronto FC last Saturday. The Fire are unbeaten (1-0-1) at home this season.

Sounders FC has had great success in the series with Chicago. The Rave Green is 3-0-3 all-time versus the Fire in MLS play and also defeated Chicago in the 2011 U.S. Open Cup final.

Sounders FC will return to the Pacific Northwest for two home matches in the first week of May. Seattle will host the L.A. Galaxy on Wednesday, May 2 and the Philadelphia Union visit on Saturday, May 5. Both matches will be played on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.

Tickets to home MLS matches are available through, all Ticketmaster Outlets, CenturyLink Field Box Office or by calling 877-MLS-GOAL.

Upcoming Competition Schedule (times are Pacific & subject to change)
Saturday, April 28, 5:30 p.m. – Sounders FC at Chicago Fire, Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL
Wednesday, May 2, 7 p.m. – Sounders FC vs. L.A. Galaxy, Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Saturday, May 5, 1:30 p.m. – Sounders FC vs. Philadelphia Union, Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Wednesday, May 9, 5:30 p.m. – Sounders FC at FC Dallas, FC Dallas Stadium, Frisco, TX
Saturday, May 12, 7 p.m. – Sounders FC vs. Real Salt Lake, Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field

Busy Season: Nine Matches on the Horizon
Starting with Saturday’s match at Chicago, Sounders FC will play eight MLS games plus an Open Cup fixture before the end of May. The 32-day stretch includes a guaranteed four home games and four road trips, notably home matches against West foes L.A. Galaxy and Real Salt Lake as well as the first Cascadia derby match of the season at Vancouver.

The eight matches in the month of May will be the third time Seattle has played eight matches in a single month. Sounders FC went 7-0-1 last August in a month full of memories, including the late dramatic victory over Sporting Kansas City, the historic Champions League win at Monterrey, the 6-2 home win over the Columbus Crew and the win over FC Dallas to advance to the Open Cup final. Seattle also played eight games in September 2010.

Road Warriors: Seattle Looks to Extend MLS-best Road Unbeaten Run
The top road team in 2011 hopes to continue the trend as Seattle currently holds the longest regular season road unbeaten streak in MLS at 5-0-1. The trip to Chicago will mark the second road trip of the season, and following the match Seattle will have just three Eastern Conference road trips remaining. Seattle went 9-3-5 away from home in 2011 and not only won more games than every other team but lost just three times (two fewer than any other MLS club). Seattle’s .676 road winning percentage last season was fourth-best in MLS history as the Rave Green scored a league-best 24 goals on the road.

Two-Point Club: Sounders FC One of Three Teams to Average Two per Game
Seattle is in exclusive company as one of just three teams to average at least two points per game this season. Sounders FC has taken 10 points through the first five matches, marking the best start in club history (previously nine points through the first five matches in 2009). Sporting Kansas City (2.625) and the San Jose Earthquakes (2.28) are the only other teams to earn two points per game. Last year – Seattle’s best regular season – the team averaged 1.85 points per game, finishing second overall in the MLS standings. The club is well ahead of its 2011 pace, reaching the 10-point mark in three fewer games.

Chicago Series Notes
Sounders FC is undefeated against the Chicago Fire with three wins and three draws in the series. Seattle has shutout Chicago in all three games at Toyota Park, earning one win and two draws. The lone goal scored in the three matchups at Toyota Park came in the final minutes of the match on September 25, 2010. Sounders FC has outscored Chicago 6-3 on three fewer shots. Fredy Montero leads all players with two goals in the series.

About the Men in Red
Coach Frank Klopas’ 4-4-2 attack is headlined by the speedy duo of Dominic Oduro and Patrick Nyarko up front. Oduro leads the team with three goals through five games this season, and the pair combined for 50 points in 2011. In Saturday’s 3-2 win over Toronto, Nyarko fed Oduro to go up 1-0 in the first minute, then Oduro fed Nyarko in the 58th for the gamewinner. Midfielder Sebastian Grazzini leads the team with two assists so far in 2012.

Captain Logan Pause, in his 10th year with the Fire, continues to patrol the midfield and scored Chicago’s lone goal in a 1-1 draw vs. Houston on April 15. Six-foot-four goalkeeper Sean Johnson has played the last two matches for Chicago after missing the first three while playing with the US National Team in Olympic Qualifying. He made six saves in the win against Toronto FC. On defense, Gonzalo Segares has started all five games and scored a goal against Toronto, and recently-signed German international Arne Friedrich has joined Jalil Anibaba at center back the last two games.

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