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Sounders in final training before Chivas USA

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on Sep. 3, 2013 at 9:58 am with No Comments »
September 3, 2013 9:58 am

The Sounders are training this morning, and I’ll be back with whatever news pops up after that session. Meanwhile, here are some notes from the club, looking at the two-match week ahead:

Winners of five of its last six outings, Seattle Sounders FC kicks off a three-game home stand on Wednesday night against Chivas USA. Three days later, Sounders FC concludes its busy eight-day stretch with a Saturday night matchup against the Chicago Fire. Both matches are set to kickoff at 7 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.

Wednesday’s match was originally scheduled for April 7 and was moved to September 4 to accommodate Seattle’s CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal series against Mexico’s Santos Laguna. The game will be televised locally on KONG 6/16 with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller on the call, and can be heard on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. The match can also be heard in Spanish on La Gran D 99.3 FM.

Saturday’s match will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network with John Strong and Robbie Earle on the call. The match can also be heard on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller calling the action, and can be heard in Spanish on La Gran D 99.3 FM.

Sounders FC (12-8-4, 40 points) caught fire last month, posting the best August in club history while jumping into third place in the Western Conference. The only team with five wins in the past six games, Seattle holds the third-best points per game average (1.67) in MLS.

In its final Eastern Conference road trip of the season, Sounders FC gutted out a gritty win at Crew Stadium last Saturday, downing Columbus, 1-0, despite playing down a man for 83 minutes. Eddie Johnson tallied his team-high seventh goal of the campaign, connecting on a Mauro Rosales free kick for the second-straight game.

With consecutive shutouts, goalkeeper Michael Gspurning enters Wednesday’s match against Chivas USA with a 196-minute shutout streak. Gspurning has posted eight clean sheets (T-6th in MLS) through 20 games, and Seattle’s defense ranks second in the West and fourth overall with a 1.08 goals against average.

The Seattle side will play four of five September matches at CenturyLink Field, where the team is currently riding a club record 10-game unbeaten streak. Sounders FC could reach the top mark this season (12), held by the San Jose Earthquakes.

Wednesday’s clash with Chivas USA (5-14-7, 22 points) marks the third and final meeting of the season. Seattle won the previous two matches and is unbeaten in the past 10 meetings (6-0-4) with The Goats.

Coming off a late draw at Vancouver Whitecaps FC last Sunday, Chivas USA is unbeaten in its past two outings and has lost just once (1-1-2) since August 11. Newcomer Erick Torres has tallied six goals in just eight matches with Los Rojiblancos, including braces in his past two games.

Sounders FC will then wrap-up a stretch of three games in eight days on Saturday night against the Chicago Fire (10-10-5, 35 points). One of the league’s hottest teams since July 20, the Fire has lost just once in its past seven matches (4-1-2), climbing within two points of the fifth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Having never lost to the Fire, Sounders FC will look to continue the trend and extend its seven-game (4-0-3) unbeaten streak in the series.

Sounders FC will be without U.S. internationals Johnson and Clint Dempsey as the duo has joined the national team for 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Costa Rica (Friday, September 6) and Mexico (Tuesday, September 10). Both players are expected to return to Seattle following the Mexico match and be available for selection against Real Salt Lake on September 13.

The three-game home stand concludes on September 13 when Supporters’ Shield leaders Real Salt Lake visit the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field for the lone time this season.

Sounders FC Fast Facts
* .583 – Seattle’s winning percentage of .583 is the third-best in MLS.
* 1.08 – Seattle’s 1.08 goals against average ranks fourth in MLS, and second in the Western Conference.
* 3 – Sounders FC sits third in the Western Conference standings, and third overall with 1.67 points per game.
* 4 – Obafemi Martins ranks fourth in MLS with four game-winning goals.
* 5 – Mauro Rosales is tied-first in MLS with five game-winning assists.
* 6 – Seattle is the only team with five wins in the past six matches.
* 10 – Sounders FC currently holds a club record 10-game home unbeaten streak, the second-longest in MLS this season.
* 11 – The team has allowed the fewest goals (11) in the second half this season, including just four goals allowed in the final half hour.
* 12 – With 12 points last month, Sounders FC set the club record for most points in August. The four wins also marked the most wins in a single month in club history.
* 16 – Sounders FC has amassed the most points in MLS (16) since July 20.
* 33 – Mauro Rosales’ 33 career assists is one shy of matching Fredy Montero’s club record.
* 40 -Sounders FC has secured the second-highest point total (40) through 24 games this season, which also ranks second in club history.
* 44 – Sounders FC is unbeaten in 44 straight games (36-0-8) when scoring first.

Date Change: Sounders FC to Host Chivas USA on September 4
The Seattle Sounders FC-Chivas USA match, originally scheduled for April 7, has been moved to Wednesday, September 4. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.

The match was moved in order to accommodate Seattle’s CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal series against Mexico’s Santos Laguna. Sounders FC hosted the first leg of the series on April 2 with the second leg on April 9 in Torreon, Mexico.

Unbeaten at Home: Seattle’s Streak Reaches 10 Games
Sounders FC has been dominant at home in 2013, extending its home unbeaten streak to a club record 10 games (7-0-3), including three straight wins. The club’s last home loss came in the season opener on March 2, a 1-0 defeat to the Montreal Impact. There have been several impressive home records this season. The San Jose Earthquakes hold the top mark at 12 games unbeaten at home. Overall, just five teams have held home unbeaten streaks of nine or more games this season, including all three Cascadia Cup sides.

Sounders Unbeaten in 10 Straight against Chivas USA
Sounders FC has been dominant against Chivas USA in league play, unbeaten over the past 10 games (6-0-4) against The Goats. The two sides met on June 1 with Seattle earning a 2-nil road victory and met again on July 28 as Sounders FC earned a comeback 2-1 win at CenturyLink Field. Overall, Seattle is 6-2-4 against Chivas USA in league play, with the two losses coming in the first two meetings in 2009. Seattle also ousted Chivas USA from the 2010 and 2012 U.S. Open Cup, bringing the all competitions record to 8-2-4.

* Seattle has won the past four meetings, dating back to August 25, 2012.
* Sounders FC has outscored Chivas USA 18-10, including goals in the past six games.
* Eddie Johnson leads all players with four career goals against Chivas USA, and Mauro Rosales leads all players with four assists in the series, including a club record three helpers last August.
* Overall, nine active Sounders FC players have scored against Chivas USA.
* Sounders FC is 3-0-2 against Chivas USA at CenturyLink Field.
* Seattle’s 18 goals against Chivas USA in league play is the third-most against an opponent in club history, ranking behind FC Dallas (20) and Colorado (19).

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