Some club notes looking ahead:
Seattle Sounders FC returns to action this week with the year’s lone road match in Colorado as the Rave Green take on the Rapids for the third time this season. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. PT at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
The match will be televised live on KONG 6/16 with Rob Palmer and Kasey Keller on the call, and can be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM. The game will also be carried in Spanish on KOMO2 and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
Sounders FC comes out of the bye week as the fourth-place team in the West, despite playing fewer games than all but two conference foes. The team is unbeaten in its last six matches (3-0-3) across all competitions, including a four-game (1-0-3) unbeaten run in league play (second-longest active streak in MLS).
The Seattle squad stayed busy with a midweek friendly against Chelsea FC last week. Fredy Montero netted a first-half brace to pull Seattle level but the Blues tallied twice before halftime and held on for a 4-2 win.
Later this week, two Sounders FC players – Osvaldo Alonso and Eddie Johnson – will participate in the MLS All-Star game versus Chelsea on Wednesday at PPL Park in Chester, Penn. Kickoff is 5:30 p.m. PT and the match will be televised live in ESPN2.
Seattle will test its undefeated run in Colorado (7-13-1, 22 points) this weekend as the Rapids look to climb out of a five-game losing skid. Colorado is currently tied-seventh in the Western Conference after falling 2-nil to Real Salt Lake over the weekend. The Rapids are 5-4-1 at home this season and host Welsh club Swansea in a friendly on Tuesday at DSG Park.
Sounders FC will return to the Emerald City for a pair of home matches next week. CONCACAF Champions League group play begins on Thursday, August 2 against Trinidad’s Caledonia followed by a league contest versus LA Galaxy on Sunday, August 5. Both matches kickoff at 7 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.
In just 16 days Sounders FC will travel to Kansas City in search of its fourth straight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title against Sporting KC in the final on August 8.
A Look Ahead
Sounders FC has played 26 games in all competitions this season, beginning in early March with a pair of matches against Mexico’s Santos Laguna. Twenty MLS games and four Open Cup matches later and Seattle is well past the midway point of the 2012 season with just 19 games remaining over the next three months.
The final 14 matches of the MLS regular season will feature opponents from the West; half of which will be home games. In the 10 matches against the East this season, Seattle won four season series (Toronto, Houston, Chicago and Philadelphia), tied four (DC United, Kansas City, New England and New York) and lost just two (Columbus and Montreal). Sounders FC already won the series with Colorado, and leads Los Angeles and Dallas by two goals. The team is tied with Chivas and Vancouver, and down by one goal to San Jose, Salt Lake and Portland.
Despite completing all five Eastern Conference road trips, the Rave Green still have plenty of travel ahead. A projected 25,487 air miles await Sounders FC, which begins with this weekend’s trip to Denver. Over half of those air miles will come during Champions League play as the round trips from Trinidad and Honduras account for 13,702 miles. Overall, Seattle will visit 10 cities in four countries in 92 days.
Sounders FC has earned points in nine of 12 (3-3-6) road games across all competitions this season. Seattle’s 12 road points in MLS play ranks tied-sixth, and the team is tied-fifth in road goals (13) and road goals against (14). Seattle’s current three-game road unbeaten streak is tied with LA Galaxy for the longest active streak in MLS. Seattle had the longest road unbeaten run in MLS this season at five games, ending after the May 26 match at Chivas USA.
Colorado Series Notes
Sounders FC has dominated the all-time series with Colorado, taking a 6-1-1 advantage with wins in the past five meetings. Seattle has won all five meetings at CenturyLink Field, outscoring Colorado 10-4, and has split the three matches at DSG Park, going 1-1-1. It will be Seattle’s first visit to Commerce City since an emotional 1-0 win last year when winger Steve Zakuani suffered a broken leg. Seattle has defeated the Rapids twice at home this season, 1-0 on April 14 and 2-1 on July 7. The Rave Green have scored multiple goals in five of the eight games and have been held scoreless just once. Fredy Montero leads all players with four goals and five assists in the series, putting 10 of his 24 shots on frame.
The Rapids sit seventh in the Western Conference with 22 points (7-13-1), but have had success at home, going 5-4-1 with a 19-11 goal advantage. The team leads MLS with 13 losses and has the fewest draws (one). The 2010 MLS Cup champions are currently amidst a five-match losing streak and are 1-7-0 since the start of June. Colorado is strong offensively, ranking eighth in MLS with 1.29 goals per game, seventh in shots (266), and fourth in shots on goal (100). However, they surrender 1.43 goals per game (15th in MLS) and have been out-scored 9-3 during their five-match losing skid.
Coach Oscar Pareja’s attack has produced 27 goals by 13 different players, led by forward Omar Cummings and midfielder Jaime Castrillon with five goals apiece. In his first season in MLS, Argentine midfielder Martin Rivero is tied for seventh with six assists, while midfielder Brian Mullan is just outside the top 10 with five assists. Forward Conor Casey – a six-year MLS veteran with 50 career goals – has two goals and two assists in 11 appearances since coming back from a torn Achilles on April 28. Veteran goalkeeper Matt Pickens leads MLS with 108 saves this season.
The Colorado Connection
Former Sounders FC defender Tyson Wahl recently joined Colorado in a trade with Montreal. Wahl has played 90 minutes in both appearances for the Rapids, and started all 11 matches while with the Impact.
Wahl made 39 appearances in three seasons with Seattle, including career-highs in appearances (23), starts (22), minutes (1,989), goals (1) and assists (2) in 2011. Eddie Johnson and Colorado head coach Oscar Pareja played together with the Dallas Burn from 2001-04. Pareja also played for Colombia’s Deportivo Cali – the former club of Fredy Montero and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. Montero and Hurtado will face fellow Colombian countrymen Jaime Castrillon and Luis Zapata. Argentine midfielders Mauro Rosales and Martin Rivero will also meet each other on Saturday. Rapids forward Conor Casey attended the University of Portland from 1999-2000. Casey and Eddie Johnson crossed paths on the U.S. National Team from 2001-on. Former Sounder Tyrone Marshall has six starts and eight appearances this season for the Rapids. Marshall was obtained by Colorado in the 2010 re-entry draft.