Sounders Insider

Seattle Sounders FC and the Puget Sound soccer scene

Archives: Nov. 2012

Nov.
30th

Local connections with MLS Cup: Hall won first championship here, Arena got first coaching job

Arena

When MLS Cup 2012 kicks off ar 1:30 p.m. Saturday there will be a pretty impressive representation of players with Puget Sound connections.

The Galaxy playing roster includes midfielder Pat Noonan, formerly of Sounders FC. The Dynamo roster includes forward Cam Weaver, who was born in Tacoma; midfielder Nathan Sturgis, who played with Sounders FC; forward Brian Ching, who attended Gonzaga and played with the USL Sounders, and coach Dominic Kinnear, who played with the USL Sounders.

However, key guys with South Sound connections might be Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall, and Los Angeles coach Bruce Arena.

Hall was born in SeaTac, grew up in Gig Harbor and attended Gig Harbor High School. Arena in 1976 was a goalkeeper for the Tacoma Tides of the American Soccer League before the University of Puget Sound offered him a soccer coaching job that would change his life.

This week I was able to ask each about what they remember from their time in Pierce County. Some highlights:
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Nov.
29th

Sounders defender Ianni wins MLS goal of year, Montero’s third; RSL’s Rimando wins top save

Sounders defender Patrick Ianni struck the MLS goal of the year, it was announced today. You can see the kick above.

At the time, Ianni called it the best goal he had ever scored in practice, in a game or since he was born. (And I shrewdly got around to mentioning it in the eighth paragraph of my game story.)

Here’s the news from the league:

Major League Soccer’s most outstanding individual plays were honored today when Seattle Sounders FC defender Patrick Ianni earned the 2012 AT&T Goal of the Year and Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando won the Save of the Year.

On June 20 against Sporting Kansas City, Patrick Ianni launched himself horizontally to meet Mauro Rosales’ curling free kick with a right-footed side volley inside the near post. The goal tied the match in the 15th minute and the game ended 1-1.

The AT&T Goal of the Year was determined by an online and text fan vote, after 64 initial nominations for the award were eventually narrowed to four finalists. The final poll results for the four finalists:

Patrick Ianni (SEA) vs. SKC, 6/20 33.1%
Darlington Nagbe (POR) vs. RSL, 3/31 25.1%
Fredy Montero (SEA) vs. LA, 5/2 22.8%
Lee Nguyen (NE) vs. VAN, 5/12 19.0%

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Nov.
29th

San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski is MLS MVP

No surprise. Well deserved. Here’s the release from MLS:

Major League Soccer today announced that San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski was voted the Volkswagen MLS Most Valuable Player for the 2012 season.

Today at approximately 4 p.m. ET, Wondolowski will receive the award and be presented to media in the Los Angeles area covering MLS Cup 2012 at The Home Depot Center.

Wondolowski’s 27 goals this season tied the League’s all-time single-season goal record and won him a second Budweiser Golden Boot award. He also became the only player in MLS history to score the most regular season goals

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Nov.
28th

SKC’s Nielsen voted top keeper in MLS, Crew’s Higuain top newcomer; Gspurning third in each

This (disappointing) news just in from MLS:

Major League Soccer today announced the 2012 Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year and Newcomer of the Year awards.

2012 Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year: Jimmy Nielsen – Sporting Kansas City

The Danish goalkeeper put together one of the best regular seasons performances in recent history in just his third year in MLS. Nielsen led League in shutouts (15 – one behind Tony Meola for the All-Time Single-Season record), wins (18), and also held the season’s longest shutout streak at 414 minutes.

Sporting Kansas City’s captain was one of only two players in the

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Nov.
27th

Among top third in MLS revenue, Hanauer says Sounders might push budgetary envelope

Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer and coach Sigi Schmid met the media today for a 53-minute question-and-answer session looking back at the 2012 season and ahead to 2013.

Among the highlights:

They looked back on the 2012 season with ambivalence. They cited progress in advancing to the Western Conference final, but disappointment in failing to win a trophy and slipping to 56 points in the standings after reaching 63 the season before.

Neither outlined a single overriding area for improvement for the coming season. Schmid mentioned adding younger outside backs and depth at midfield. He indicated Christian Tiffert and Steve Zakuani could contribute more next year, when they will presumably be ready from the start of training camp in January. Asked specifically if he wants DP Fredy Montero back, Schmid said he wants all his players back.

Hanauer confirmed the club will exercise its option on goals-leader Eddie Johnson next season without bumping him up to DP status.

They indicated a general interest in keeping the core group together, if the salary cap issues allow it.

“There’s still growth that’s there,” Schmid said. “There’s still maturity that’s taking place. There’s leadership that’s taking place in the locker room that wasn’t there last year and for sure wasn’t there two or three years ago. … Obviously, there’s still another level for us to go, but I think we’re in view of the summit.”

Other highlights:
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Nov.
27th

Sounders GM looking ahead to Year 5: “We’ve got our work cut out for us”

Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer and coach Sigi Schmid held an end-of-season media event today, looking back at 2012 and ahead to 2013.

I tweeted several highlights earlier @donruiztnt. And I’ll add more later.

But for now, here is some of Hanauer’s opening overview:

Obviously we’re disappointed that we’re sitting here instead of in LA or in Seattle preparing for a game against Houston. We certainly believe that we had some good moments and good stretches this season and that generally it was another solid season. … With the playoff win we felt like maybe we got the

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Nov.
27th

Johnson wins MLS comeback player award, Zakuani 5th; San Jose’s Yallop wins coach award, Schmid 5th

Johnson

This news just in from the club:

Major League Soccer today announced Seattle Sounders FC forward Eddie Johnson was voted 2012 MLS Comeback Player of the Year.

Johnson finished sixth in the Golden Boot race with a club record 14 goals, and added three assists. The U.S. international playing his first season for Seattle appeared in a career-high 28 matches and helped Sounders FC reach the Western Conference Championship for the first time in club history. He also led the league with nine header goals, and added three goals in outside competitions.

“I would like the entire Sounders organization for giving me this opportunity in Seattle,” said Johnson. “This was a fun and exciting year and I share this award with my coaches and teammates for pushing me to be the best player I can be.”

Johnson, 28, signed with Sounders FC on February 17 after playing four years in Europe. He has been capped 44 times by the US National Team, including two appearances in 2012 World Cup Qualifiers. In his return to the national team, Johnson netted two goals against Antigua and Barbuda and an assist against Guatemala, helping the United States advance to the hexagonal stage. He now has 14 goals for the US National Team, and ranks second all-time with 10 goals in World Cup Qualifiers.

Johnson was named MLS Player of the Week twice this season (Weeks 22 and 27) and was named to the Team of the Week three times. Johnson was also named an MLS All-Star for the third time in his career. He was previously named Comeback Player of the Year with Kansas City in 2007.

And here’s an earlier release from the league:

Major League Soccer today announced the 2012 Coach of the Year and the Comeback Player of the Year awards.

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Nov.
26th

Garber calls 2012 most-successful season for MLS; 2013 season opens March 2 in same format

In addition to announcing MLS’ 2012 Best XI today, commissioner Don Garber also gave a wide-ranging “state of the league” address and conference call.

Among the things he said:

*2012 was the most-successful season in league history, citing record attendance, increased broadcast presence on NBC and NBCSN, and the expansion into Montreal. He said attendance is up more than 25 percent since 2005, and the 114 sellouts this season are a league record. There also were six crowds of 50,000 or more, three of those in Seattle.

*Sounders’ midfielder Eddie Johnson’s return to MLS was one of the league’s top stories.
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