Tag Archive | "Brad Evans"

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Sounders Take Lead in Cascadia Cup

Posted on 09 June 2013 by Kyle Alm

Sounders got back to business in Seattle against the Vancouver Whitecaps after all the hoopla of the US Men’s National Team and their win in Jamaica on Brad Evans stoppage time goal. There were several USMNT luminaries in attendance in advance of Tuesday’s match in Seattle versus Panama to see the Cascadia Derby played out in front of 53,679 fans in attendance.

Seattle Sounders found the back of the net early in the match on a perfectly weighted through ball down the middle of the park to Andy Rose in the 9th minute to open the scoring for the home side. It would take the visitors mere seconds to equalize as Camilo Sanvesso got on the end of a cross from Russell Teibert.

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Camilo and Teibert would combine again in the 26th minute as Camilo dove past Lamar Neagle to put his head on the cross for his second goal of the evening and a 2-1 lead. There was a bit of confusion from Sounders defending this set piece, Leo Gonzalez was pointing at some Whitecaps players behind the defensive line, in what seemed to be an offside position but moved goal side before the ball was struck.

Down 2-1 at halftime neither Sounders nor Whitecaps made a change for the half, Lamar Neagle and Obafemi Martins would provide the all the lift that Sounders needed. In the 53rd minute there was a minor moment of controversy over a foul on Martins at the top of the box. A penalty could have been awarded, but referee Hilario Grajeda awarded a free kick from the top of the box instead.

Martins and Neagle had several good combination passes that created shooting opportunities, none better than one on a pass from Mauro Rosales that had exceptional pace. Martins controlled the pass in one fluid motion and kept his speed, beat a defender, but put his shot just wide of the net. The combination of Martins to Neagle did unhinge the Whitecaps defense shortly after they had subbed off Andy O’Brien for Greg Klazura. Klazura would find himself beaten in the box by Neagle, and chopped him down from behind. It was an unecessary foul, Neagle was not a threat to score from that position.

Whitecaps did not have an answer after that. Sounders would add an additional goal from Lamar Neagle to secure their three points and the lead for the 2013 Cascadia Cup.

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Sounders Slump, Drop 3 Points to Montreal in Seattle

Posted on 03 March 2013 by Kyle Alm

In a much anticipated opener after the departure of defensive stalwart Jeff Parke, Fredy Montero and fellow Designated Player Christian Tiffert there were a lot of missing faces that have become familiar to the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field. In addition to the afforementioned players, Sounders were also missing Marc Burch & Osvaldo Alonso to suspension and David Estrada to injury.

Montreal Impact came into Seattle with a few new faces of their own. New coach Marco Schallibaum was brought in to build on the team’s moderate success in it’s inaugural MLS season. Impact have a few familiar faces as well: Alessandro Nesta, Davy Arnaud, Felipe Martins, and goalkeeper Troy Perkins.

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Montreal won a sum total of two road matches in 2012, they were able to reach half of that total tonight and got their 2013 season off to a great start with 3 points on the road.

Arnaud, the Montreal Captain would score the deciding goal in the 35th minute of play on a counter-attack. Felipe Martins lead Davy Arnaud through a Sounders defense that Sigi Schmid described as, “sixes and sevens,” in his post-match press conference, with a chip that lead to another chip over Michael Gspurning’s outstretched hand from his position on the 6-yard box.

That goal would be the only one scored in this affair. Sounders were able to create chances and certainly seemed to have the better of play than the visiting side. Sounders were certainly unlucky in their defeat with Brad Evans hitting the post from nearly 30 yards & Eddie Johnson hitting the crossbar from about 7 yards.

DeAndre Yedlin, Sounders rookie and former academy player, started tonight in place of Adam Johansson as right back. If there were questions about the 19 year old handling the pressure of starting in the season opener in front of 40,000 fans, they were answered. Yedlin ate it up, he defended well, showed great speed getting up the line, and nearly got on the end of a cross from Mauro Rosales on a give-and-go that he started. One of the few bright spots for Sounders tonight.

Brad Evans was also impressive, he looked confident with his touch and nearly saved the match with his shot from distance. Evans has clearly benefited from being in with the US Men’s National Team in January.

For Sounders there are more questions and uncertainty about the team than ever. They are not used to losing at home, especially season openers. Fans have been waiting for a breakthrough, for possession, corner, shots on goal statistics to be transformed into wins and a Supporter’s Shield. Even Marco Schallibaum had to admit that his side was a little lucky that Evans or Johnson didn’t score, but that is part of soccer. Sometimes luck is on your side and other nights your shots bounce back on to the pitch.

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RSL Hold Sounders 0-0 in Seattle

Posted on 03 November 2012 by Kyle Alm

Real Salt Lake all but wrapped up the #2 seed in the Western Conference when they held Sounders to a 0-0. Zach Scott had been sent off early in the match and Sounders were able to hold off for a 0-0 draw. Salt Lake and Seattle have had a burgeoning rivalry that is comparable to either of their Cascadia Cup opponents, the largest difference being that RSL and Seattle have played more meaningful matches against each other rather than geographic proximity.

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Michael Gspurning came off of his line to make a sliding tackle on Ned Grabavoy right at the edge of the box on a through ball from midfield. Nick Rimando was also active early making a save on Brad Evans, after the Sounders midfielder made a clever timed run to get in behind the defense. Rimando came up big twice to keep his sheet clean in the 33rd minute on consecutive. Sammy Ochoa worked very hard to get his header, pushing on Chris Wingert with both hands to get into position. Ochoa’s header was saved for a corner that Jhon Kennedy Hurtado would put on frame with a ducking header was met by a more spectacular save by Rimando than the last moments before.

Jeff Parke was issued a yellow card for a foul on Espindola right before the halftime whistle blew. Espindola would not return for the second half with a hamstring injury.

Sammy Ochoa, filling in for Eddie Johnson as Fredy Montero’s strike partner, had his best opportunity to score on a cross from Brad Evans in the 57th minute. Ochoa sent the ball sailing, and Sigi Schmid called immediately for his replacement, David Estrada.

The most dramatic moment of the match came in the 67th minute when Christiam Tiffert and Nick Rimando collided in the penalty area when Rimando was coming out for the ball. The RSL goalkeeper covered his face and kicking at the ground in agony. The match would be suspended for no less than 8 minutes while Rimando received treatment to stop the bleeding above his eye. There was a confused group of fans who were heckling Rimando during this time although he was clearly receiving necessary treatment.

Sounders attack in the second half was predictable, speculative, and ultimately impotent against Nick Rimando, who continued his brilliant performance despite his injury and swelling around his eye. Rimando read and picked out crosses and continued to show excellent reflexes and reaction saves. In addition to David Estrada, Mario Martinez (82nd minute for Tiffert) and Steve Zakuani (90th+4 for Mauro Rosales) were brought on to bolster the Sounders attack, with little to no effect.

RSL did not show much offensive firepower either, and Gspurning didn’t have nearly as much to do as his counterpart. Alvaro Saborio, recently returned from injury, did not appear himself tonight. Kyle Beckerman did not appear in the stat sheet much, but was effective in controlling the midfield and distributing the ball to keep his side organized. Javier Morales also had a relatively quiet night.

There was some extra time scuffling involving Osvaldo Alonso and some RSL players and even some staff from the look of things. If this is a burgeoning rivalry it blossomed tonight, the return leg, with so much at stake should be quite an exciting affair. Eddie Johnson should be back from his hamstring injury. Fabian Espindola’s hamstring is a question mark as of post-match, his availability is unknown at this point.

The way these two sides have played against each other, and other teams, have not yielded many goals for either side. Although RSL have shown several times that they can come to Seattle and get results, the advantage of playing at home for the return leg, and potential shootout, is clear.

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Seattle Sounders Fall in Shootout to Sporting KC

Posted on 09 August 2012 by Kyle Alm

A hot and muggy Kansas City afternoon gave way to a thunderstorm that delayed the started of this much anticipated match for over 30 minutes. Lightning within 2 miles of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park means a 30 minute delay from that strike.

Sporting KC had control of the match early in the first half, in the second minute Teal Bunbury received a square ball near the top of the box, had he allowed the ball to continue rolling Kei Kamara was unmarked on Sporting’s left wing. Bunbury put his shot over the bar, Kamara certainly had the better position for a scoring opportunity.

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© 2012 Denise McCooey & Prost Amerika

Sounders struggled to to creat chances and possess the ball in offensive poistion, seemed to have difficulty making accurate passes, and to make matters worse Osvaldo Alonso was given a caution in the fourth minute for dissent following a challenge on Kei Kamara that sent certainly appeared to be embellished. Alonso was booked for dissent when Referee Ricardo Salazar had something to tell Alonso.

Michael Gspurning was called into action for his first save of the night in the sixth minute on a header in the box from Kamara on a throw-in but went straigh at Gspurning. Sounders gave up another scoring opportunity on a throw in the 26th minute, a shot from distance that went off of the crossbar.

Sounders had their first shot on goal when Eddie Johnson connected with a Mauro Rosales corner kick in the 30th minute that Jimmy Nielsen managed remarkabley managed to save.

Kamara set the crowd alight with a rocket of a shot that hit the side netting in the 38th minute. The crowd thought it was a goal, the confetti operator thought so as well. Once again it was a throw in that lead up to the shooting chance.

Sporting started the second half well, Teal Bunbury had another shot on frame that Gspurning saved. Sporting were much more the aggressor in the second half and had the more dangerous chances throughout the match. Sounders made two substitutions in the 69th minute, bringing on veteran Brad Evans and DP Christian Tiffert for Andy Rose and Alex Caskey, two rookie Sounders.

Controversy struck in the 84th minute when Pat Ianni was whistled for a handball in the box for a penalty. Replays were inconclusive, none of the press seemed to be able to tell who the handball was actually on. It seemed more of a case of the ball playing the hand, usually not given as a penalty. Kei Kamara would step up the spot, send Gspurning to left and went right.

Sounders showed their resilience and drew level two minutes later when Zach Scott headed home a corner kick in the 86th minute to draw level and send the match to extra time and eventually a penalty shootout. Both sides seemed content with their chance in that scenario. Schmid would sub Fredy Montero for Marc Burch in the 107th minute of extra time. An extra defender turned out to be exactly what Sounders needed when ten minutes later Patrick Ianni was sent off in the 118th minute for a reckless tackle he was yellow then red and Sounders were left with ten men to finish the match and managed to kill off the rest of the time without conceding a goal.

Ricardo Salazar made two controversial calls, the penalty kick on a phantom handball and allowing Paulo Nagamura to take a second penalty kick after Gspurning had made a save on his first attempt. To Salazar it appeared that Gspurning moved off the goal line before the shot was taken, it’s rarely called in most penalty kick situations because it’s dificult to see the line when the ball is being struck and every goalkeeper is taught to anticipate the kick.

In the end Sporting KC had the better opportunities to score, Gspurning did an admirable job keeping them out of his net, but they were unlucky not to score a few of their chances. Kei Kamara’s shot off the crossbar definitely stands out. Gspurning made more saves than Jimmy Nielsen did in the shootout, the final shootout tally was 3-2. Ultimately it was unfortunate that there is so much speculation about officiating in a Cup Final.

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Sounders Score 4 Goals, Lose 4-2 to Chelsea

Posted on 19 July 2012 by Kyle Alm

For the regular fan a “big club” like Chelsea or Barcelona come to town it is an exciting event. In the Sounders inaugural MLS season there were three extra matches for season ticket holders, one was for the MLS Cup, the other two were later announced to be Barcelona & Chelsea.

Obviously the appeal of successful European sides is compelling enough for Seattle fans to fight mid-week traffic and it helps to build the relevance of MLS and helps gain exposure for the league and for players that may be looking to leave MLS for Europe. There is a consistent, if not somewhat annoying and pretentious, refrain that these friendlies should not be played at all considering the risk of injury to players and a crowded game schedule with MLS, US Open Cup, & CONCACAF Champions League fixtures. There is a risk involved, but injuries can happen at practice as easily as during a match.

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Chelsea started out looking very dominating, Jeff Parke was flattened by Romelu Lukaku on a run in the 3rd minute of play that had no other possible outcome than a goal. Eden Hazard piled on in the 11th minute with another goal that took a deflection and went in behind Bryan Meredith, no chance at the save given his momentum and the deflection.

Fredy Montero got the Sounders on the scoreboard with an inextricable turnover that he recived alone at the top of the box, Henrique Hilario had no chance at the Colombian’s shot as it rolled past in the 14th minute. Fredy Montero would strike again for another goal in the 32nd minute on a cross from Mauro Rosales, Montero certainly showed his quality, trapped with his right foot on the top of the box, brought the ball to his left foot and placed his shot to the far post.

For Sounders drawing equal was a huge accomplishment for a team who had yet to score against a visiting English Premier League team. It would only last eight minutes until Marko Marin’s shot was deflected in by a Sounders defender for the second time, an arguable own goal by Jeff Parke, the second goal of the night that he had a touch on. Lukaku would get one more goal in the 44th before the halftime whistle.

More of the Chelsea first team were put on at the half, Frank Lampard, Gary Cahill, Michael Essien, Sam Hutchinson, Kevin de Bruyne, Jamal Blackman, and Ramires staring the half. Sounders kept their 11 on the pitch. Despite the first team coming on there would be no more scoring and both teams settled in. Seattle began substituting the 60th minute, and an eager Seattle crowded started to buzz when Roger Levesque warmed up, continued to build when Andy Rose and Patrick Ianni were put on for Osvaldo Alonso and Jeff Parke.

Levesque came on in the 66th minute for Eddie J0hnson to a rousing ovation from the Emerald City Supporters and the 53,400 odd fans.

Brad Evans managed to take a knock to the knee in the 67th minute and was not able to continue. Although some may take this as proof positive that friendlies are bad, it is Brad “nagging injury” Evans we are talking about here and players get hurt in practice also, but no one ever says not to practice.

Ultimately, this match was about Roger Levesque closing the chapter on his Sounders career, it was a proper stage for his retirement. Levesque wasn’t likely to see much time at the end of the 2012 season, retiring against Chelsea was a better place to find playing time than in a meaningful game at the end of the season.

Roger Levesque stayed on the field for over 30 minutes after the match signing autographs for fans. That’s why the Seattle fans love him so, and for scoring in 48 seconds against Portland.

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David Estrada tracks Corey Ashe.

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Seattle Sounders Houston Dynamo

Posted on 24 March 2012 by Kyle Alm

Houston Dynamo brought an undefeated record and maximum points into CenturyLink Field to face Seattle Sounders fresh off of their St. Patrick’s Day victory on the strength of MLS Player of the Week, David Estrada. Houston, a perennial Western power, now finds itself atop the Eastern Conference after defeating San Jose Earthquakes & Chivas USA.

David Estrada tracks Corey Ashe.

Houston’s style is much more physical and direct than Seattle’s, even though both sides play a 4-4-2. Houston’s forwards are not as fast as Seattle’s, but they are larger and better in the air. Houston will try and get the ball in a dangerous set piece position and try to get fouled to set up their goal. Seattle relies more on movement off the ball and passing to open up defenses.

In the 23rd minute David Estrada was sitting at the top of the circle waiting for a rebound on a corner kick, when the ball dropped right at his feet. Estrada struck the ball that deflected off of Geoff Cameron and past Tally Hall for what would later be credited as an own-goal.

Patrick Ianni drew a penalty on a corner in the 27th minute when Geoff Cameron ran under the Sounders defender while he was in the air winning the ball. Brad Evans converted the Sounders first PK of the year without incident to put the Sounders up 2-0. Although there is little disagreement about whether or not Ianni was fouled, there is some suspicion cast on the consistency of a PK being awarded for that infringement.

Andre Hainault was subbed at the half for Jermaine Taylor, the only substituion made by either side at half. Hainault was involved with a collision with Brad Evans that left him a little hobbled. Brad Evans would later sub off.

53′ Roger Levesque gets a sitter from Alvaro Fernandez drew a collective groan from the CenturyLink crowd when the ball tails off wide right. Levesque had the ball fall perfectly for him in front of the net with time to shoot and missed horribly. Levesque had a decent game other than that, he made several one-touch passes in the attack, but he didn’t really stretch the field or pose a threat on the flank for Mauro Rosales.

Almost immediately Will Bruin was on the counter attack was in a deep position near the six yard box, but was off-balance and unable  to get any power behind his header.

61′ Servando Carrasco for Brad Evans due to the previously mentioned collision with Hainault. There was no word on the extent of his injury after the game, but it is not thought to be serious.

Houston is not a team known for an open style of play, being down two goals is not conducive to their style of play. Sounders played for possession much of the second half, and looked good doing so, impressive without Mauro Rosales. Houston brought on Macoumba Kanji for Ching 76th minute countered by Leo Gonzalez for Roger Levesque, a tactical defensive move in 81st.

There was a bit of controversy towards the end of the match after Brad Davis was shown a caution for persistent infringement earlier in the 78th minute. Fernandez took an elbow or shoulder check on one of his off the ball runs. Either the ref thought El Flaco was simulating or Davis caught a break because he was already carrying a caution, either scenario should not play out as a no-call.

Michael Gspurning was only called into action for two saves the entire night, granted it was two more than Tally Hall made and in the end that’s all that matters.

38,304 in attendance.

For more photos from the match, check out the slideshow gallery: http://americansoccernews.net/2012/mls/photo-gallery-mls/photo-gallery-sounders-fc-vs-houston-dynamo/

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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 7: Bruin impresses but Davis fuels Houston statement win

Posted on 04 May 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Our job is to pick the individuals that stood out in the past week of Major League Soccer play and there many that did but ultimately, it was the team that was on display in Week 7. Statement wins from Seattle (coming off Zakuani’s injury), Houston (shaky start to the season), Chivas USA (recent subpar play), and Philadelphia (ten men) were big as both Western Conference powers Los Angeles and Real Salt Lake fell to FC Dallas and Portland respectively. Individuals played their part, though, with a rookie stealing the show. It was his supplier, however, who walked away with Week 7’s ASN Player of the Week honors.  

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 7

GK: Jimmy Nielsen (Kansas City)

Nielsen’s name was considered one of the best signings of last season and, despite a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls, he showed why 2011 is no different this past weekend. The Danish keeper kept Kansas City in a match that looked set to blow wide open early on, stopping a Rafa Marquez penalty kick and making several clutch saves before Luke Rodgers dampened an impressive showing.

DEF: Jeremy Hall (Portland)

A force on the right flank when asked to play fullback for the Timbers against Real Salt Lake. The former Terp has come a long way since rookie year and several tumultuous showings at right back for the New York Red Bulls. Hall, however, stood out against Salt Lake, helping them to a big 1-0 win providing further confirmation that winning at JELD-WEN is going to be a very difficult task for visiting teams.

DEF: Carlos Valdes (Philadelphia)

Another stellar defensive outing from Valdes, especially so as he and Califf were given even more responsibility than usual with both wingbacks pushing up high early on.  Then, after Harvey’s ejection, as the Union continued to attack, it was the steady hand of Valdes that insured that no quick counterattack or long ball challenged the Philadelphia goal.  So solid has Carlos’ play been that it seems fruitless to try and point out the myriad positive plays he makes in this space.  Instead, one must try and identify any mistakes.  As has been the case more often than not this season, there were none against San Jose. – Sam Toma, ASN Philly

It’s Valdes’ THIRD appearance in the ASN Best XI to go with one bench appearance.

DEF: George John (FC Dallas)

John’s second consecutive appearance in ASN’s Best XI and once again, well deserved. John and his defensive compatriots held the Galaxy as the Hoops offense found two goals to beat the Western Conference leaders. He was largely responsible for limiting the influence of Juan Pablo Angel and has quickly become one of Schellas Hyndman’s most trusted defensive picks.

MID: Brad Evans (Seattle)

Sigi Schmid often talks about the hidden and underlying influence that Brad Evans has on any particular Sounders game. There was nothing under-the-radar, however, about his game against Toronto FC this past weekend. He took part in all three goals, scoring two and assisting the other. With Zakuani out, the Sounders are not surprisingly playing each game like its their last with a sense of urgency and center midfielders, Osvaldo Alonso and Evans are at the forefront of that.

MID: Brad Davis (Houston) – ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Davis played architect yet again in the Dynamo’s 4-1 thrashing of DC United. It’s one thing for a striker to make a nice off-the-ball run but there has to be that person to provide the perfect service for him to hammer home. If it weren’t for Brad Davis, Will Bruin wouldn’t have had the breakout game he did. There’s still a young history in Houston but I must recommend that Davis is starting to take over that “face of the franchise” role from Brian Ching. His second appearance in the Best XI this season.

MID: Dwayne De Rosario (New York)

Hans Backe doesn’t want De Rosario to play for Canada in this summer’s Gold Cup. Could a lot of it have to do with his performance in the Red Bulls 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City? DeRo looked the part, causing a porous Kansas City defense problems and causing the foul that led to botch Rafa Marquez penalty attempt. The former MVP set Luke Rodgers up with an easy gamewinner as the Red Bulls continue to lead the Eastern Conference. It’s DeRo’s second time in the Best XI this season.

MID: Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia)

Left as the sole defensive midfielder to help anchor the defense, it was trial by fire for the rapidly developing Okugo.   From early on, it was clear that Amobi was up to the task, as he not only stood tall in defense, but was happy to keep the ball and move forward to initiate the attack.   Then, at halftime, when Stefani Miglioranzi came on to take on the lion’s share of the defensive responsibility, Okugo shifted to a hybrid role and found himself pushing forward as the Union’s attack continued to gain momentum, even with the man disadvantage.   First, he trailed the attack in the 70th minute when a failed clearance came to him and he took a strong shot from 25 yards that forced Jon Busch into action.  Then, the payoff came in the 76th minute, when a strong run into the box ended with an attempted cross that struck the hand of Earthquakes defender Jason Hernandez and resulted in the ultimately game-winning penalty kick, converted by Le Toux.  Okugo’s versatility is fast making him invaluable to the Philadelphia side.  It is going to be incredibly difficult to keep him out of the starting XI from this point forward. – Sam Toma, ASN Philly

FWD: Will Bruin (Houston)

Bruin, a rookie, is further cementing the well-known fact that Dominic Kinnear knows how to scout talent. The former

Courtesy of MLSSOCCER.COM

 Hoosier striker connected for his first hat-trick in his professional career (and first hat-trick registered in Major League Soccer this season) as the Dynamo helped DC United continue its descent into the pits of the Eastern Conference. His off the ball movement and strength in the air was further aided by some suspect marking by United’s defense. Regardless, it was a big day for the rookie and one that Houston supporters will hope comes more often.

FWD: Alejandro Moreno (Chivas USA)

Union fans look away. Several games into the season and Moreno already has three goals and two assists. His tireless work ethic and determination fits well with almost any team but it has been sorely needed with a revamped Chivas USA squad now making waves. There’s a winning streak in Los Angeles with this past contest, a 3-0 shellacking of the New England Revolution, and Moreno had a hand in all three goals (one goal, two assists).

FWD: Emilio Renteria (Columbus)

The Crew are without their Designated Player Andres Mendoza but could it be that they gave the wrong player their pay day? Renteria thrived as the lone striker up top for the Crew as provided both tallies in a 2-1 over Vancouver. It seems the Crew are starting to find their identity amidst a six game unbeaten streak and Renteria, with three goals, should continue to be part of the ongoing “discovery process”.

Bench: Keon Daniel (Philadelphia), Tim Ream (New York), Rafa Marquez (New York), Marcos Mondaini (Chivas USA), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA), Kenny Cooper (Portland), Marco Pappa (Chicago), Jimmy Nielsen (Kansas City), Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas), Geoff Cameron (Houston), Corey Ashe (Houston)

ARCHIVES:

MLS Best XI, Week 6

MLS Best XI, Week 5

MLS Best XI, Week 4

MLS Best XI, Week 3

MLS Best XI, Week 2

MLS Best XI, Week 1

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Michael Fucito Goal Celebration

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Fucito winner saves Sounders at Qwest

Posted on 18 April 2010 by Kyle Alm

The gray Seattle sky served as an appropriate backdrop for the Sounders on Saturday. Both teams started quickly in the first half and had chances to score, but the game became quite slow with both teams seemingly content to play from their defensive half when the other team had the ball. After 91 minutes of dreary dullness that seemed so pervasive during the Sounders vs Kansas City match a single bright spot stood out. Michael Fucito netted his first goal as a Sounder after coming on in the 85th minute for Steve Zakuani. It was first goal that Kansas City has allowed all season, first goal in stoppage time in Sounders history, and probably the first assist off of a throw-in. Evans to Fucito. Substitute to substitute.

“I saw Brad had the ball and I just kind of ran through trying to stretch them. It was a great throw great pass, and I turned and I was one on one with the goalie, hit it, and you know, I finished it well, it was unbelievable.”

Michael Fucito goal celebration

The fans at Qwest erupt as Michael Fucito scores the winner in the 92nd minute.

I wonder if the Wizards defenders are going to receive calls from their old coaches asking them about how Fucito got so open? Fucito had no one around him and only needed one touch to beat Jimmy Nielsen for the winner. Fans at Qwest who had been loud all game suddenly exploded with delight.

But it only took a few moments for the Sounders to show weakness as Kansas City promptly came down and shot the ball just wide of Kasey Keller’s post. That would have been a major letdown. Talk about the air going out of the building. Questions galore at that point.

There are still plenty of questions about the starting lineup that the Sounders put on the pitch. Ljungberg was not sharp today, nor was he sharp against Real Salt Lake last week. His touch was heavy, he isn’t going to beat anyone off the dribble and his passing was off. He was called offsides at a point late in the game that cost the Sounders a scoring opportunity. Sounders coach Sigi Schmid in his post-game statement was quick to mention how well Vagenas controls the ball in midfield and how important it was to his game plan against KC. It worked. Despite a couple of dangerous turnovers that lead to KC chances. Still Vagenas’ mistakes didn’t hurt, so he can be forgiven.

Now that we are four games into the season I’ll revisit my Seven questions for the Seattle Sounders 2010 Season post from the beginning of the season.

Nate Jaqua: I’ve heard he’s “training,” but he’s not going to be playing real soon, probably in a couple of weeks. Hasn’t had a chance to produce.

James Riley: Riley has been solid since he has been back. He does give players a lot of space up til the edge of the box. Hasn’t hurt him consistently that I can tell.

Fredy Montero: Has really improved getting the ball to his teammates with the exception of Freddie Ljungberg. For some reason the two best players on the pitch are never on the same page. He’s got assists and goals and will be in the running for a Golden Boot if he doesn’t transfer to CSKA Moscow or wherever the next rumor takes him.

Steve Zakuani: Major improvement, may be having the best season of any Sounder, Montero has a major stake in that argument. But Zakuani hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. That yellow card today was silly, he should have put his hands on the ref. In his defense the ref did come towards him and I think Zakuani was letting him know he was close enough, but I digress. Zakuani is a dangerous player and has continued to show improvement from game to game.

Freddie Ljungberg: Truculent at times, talks to the ref too much, and hasn’t been able to sync up with Montero well, which is a tragedy when you think about how much better the team would be. In the past I thought that the problem was with Montero not releasing the ball early enough or not looking for passes but I am wondering if Freddie Ljungberg has more to do with it that I would like to admit.

Kasey Keller: Solid in goal. As usual. No worries there.

Corner Kicks & Set Pieces: Ugh. This needs it’s own post later this week devoted to this subject. I’ll just say that they are probably productive compared to the rest of the league and are really lacking in creativity, there are few instances where the ball doesn’t go exactly where you expect it to. A little misdirection can be a good way to find some space.

Rookie Class: Fucito got us three points today, I’d say that the 2010 Rookie Class for the Sounders is meeting or exceeding expectations for being productive. Estrada hasn’t had a breakthrough yet. Fucito remarked that his second game was a more settled affair for him. The same will also be true for Estrada .

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What awaits the Sounders tonight

Posted on 03 April 2010 by Kyle Alm

For the New York Red Bulls 2009 had to be disappointing. As runners up for the MLS Cup in 2008 they were expected to compete for a championship again. The Red Bulls came into Seattle as a team to beat and left as a study in moppishness. By any measure the Red Bulls tanked last season. Lowest point total in the league. Fewest goals scored.

The other side of that argument is that the Red Bulls were never really that good in the first place. Lowest point total for MLS 2008 playoff teams and the worst Goals Against of any playoff team. They were fortunate to wind up in the final and it may have been too optimistic to place them among the elite in the league. There has been a lot of discussion with a similar theme, “new stadium, new coach, new players, new team,” but who are these “new” Red Bulls?

Hans Backe has been brought in as head coach; he’s a newcomer to MLS, but has a lot of experience in “lower” European leagues and has won championships. Joel Lindpere has certainly been a noteworthy and productive midfielder so far, but it is still only one match into the season. Juan Pablo Angel is apparently still getting fit from his knee injury and may not be the player that he once was. Winning can cover any number of sins and shortcomings. When you lose everything is under a microscope. The win against the Chicago Fire doesn’t really prove anything for the Red Bulls, let’s see how they do away from their new stadium.

As for the Sounders everything seems to be lining up favorably. Ljungberg seemed to do whatever he wanted on the pitch, the only way that the Union seemed able to contain him by fouling him repeatedly. James Riley will be returning from a one-match suspension and will likely get the start tonight. Riley may not be the best defender in MLS but he doesn’t seem to make a lot of mistakes and he gets forward very well and had a career high in assists (and games) in 2009. The Sounders are definitely better with Riley on the pitch.

Key Matchups

Steve Zakuani – Jeremy Hall
Zakuani beat the Union defenders like a pack of rented mules. Zakuani could be one of the fastest wings in MLS and was instrumental in creating a goal for Evans and left a sitter for Roger Levesque that went into the North End stands.
Advantage SOUNDERS

Brad Evans – Joel Lindpere

Lindpere’s goal against the Chicago Fire was a very decent volley, the setup wasn’t all that great, it just kind of bounced to him and he got a shot. Lindpere is not the kind of player you can allow to shoot. He doesn’t need much space to get his shot off. Evans is a good midfielder, and a decent defender, should match up well with Lindpere physically. If Evans can keep Lindpere contained and keep him off of his goal pace it will be considered a successful outing.
Advantage EVEN

Questions:

Will Freddie Ljungberg start?
He’s been in training and is available for today’s match, but is a game time decision after due to heavy bruising from the Union.
LIKELY YES

Who starts on the right wing for Sounders FC Roger Levesque or Sanna Nyassi?
Levesque missed a couple of opportunities to score against the Union, but at least he had a chance to score and it didn’t hurt his team’s result. Sanna Nyassi looked good with the ball on his foot, which is a big improvement from last season, and was also able to use his speed to his advantage. Nyassi was trigger happy coming on and had a couple of shots where he had players open. Nyassi is also as fast as he is undersized. Nyassi could be more vulnerable to getting knocked off the ball.
TOSSUP (but look for both of them to play no matter who starts)

PREDICTION
2-0 Sounders, another clean sheet for Man of the Match Kasey Keller and deja vu for the Red Bulls.

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