Tag Archive | "Fredy Montero"

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Sounders Own (Goal) Timbers

Posted on 08 October 2012 by Kyle Alm

Seattle and Portland had the honor of closing the MLS weekend in Seattle in front of ESPN’s cameras and 66,000 fans. It doesn’t matter if Portland’s season is effectively over, they lead the Cascadia Cup coming into tonight’s match and a win against Seattle will always cover up few of this season’s shortcomings. Sounders would be faced with the possibility of slipping to 4th in the Western Conference and facing Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas, & LA Galaxy to finish the MLS, not to mention a CONCACAF Champions League match.

The recently retired Roger Levesque was awarded a Golden Scarf from the Seattle Sounders. Levesque as a player was a constant thorn in the side of the Portland Timbers from when the Sounders played in the USL. His goal against Portland in the 2009 US Open Cup is still the fastest at 48 seconds, forever immortalized in TIFO. Levesque was given a microphone and announced the Sounders lineup to the delight of the 66,452 fans minus 1,500 of the Timbers Army.

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There was a furious start to the match, both sides were up, and there were a few physical challenges between players. One challenge by Lovel Palmer, sent Christian Tiffert sprawling into the sponsor boards. Tiffert had something to say when he got up and referee Jair Marrufo had something to say back to the German, probably along the lines of “my job”, and awarded a free kick for a foul in the 10th minute. 2 minutes later Jhon Kennedy Hurtado & Bright Dike hit heads on an aerial challenge that left both players bloodied and sent to the sideline for bandaging to stop their bleeding. Both players would return to the match.

In the 25th minute Timbers gave up an own goal on a Adam Johansson cross that was played by Osvaldo Alonso and cleverly dummied by Christian Tiffert at the top right of the penalty box. Mamadou Danso scored on his own net when he stretched out to prevent the ball from getting to Montero.

Eddie Johnson added a second goal three minutes later where he found himself all alone at the top of the Timbers box, Brad Evans delivered a ball that was more than adequate to the Sounders’ leading scorer from the left wing. Sounders showed good creativity with their off the ball runs, the Timbers defense was clearly befuddled at that moment.

Portland had opportunities and saw a roughly equal time with the ball in Seattle in the first half, both sides took eight shots each, Portland had 4 on target compared to Seattle’s 2, and Seattle had a slight edge in possession 52.5% to 47.5%.

Former Sounder Mike Fucito was subbed on for Sal Zizzo to start the second half; Sounders made no changes at the half.

Montero was credited for the Sounders third goal of the match at the 62nd minute, although it was initially credited as an own-goal to Jack Jewsbury who was sliding to challenge the Colombian striker who had collected his own rebound on a shot in the 6 yard box.

Timbers brought on Eric Brunner for Mamadou Danso in the 68th minute and Eric Alexander for Darlington Nagbe in the 78th,

It would be revealed after the match that Leo Gonzalez had pulled his hamstring, and that was why he was subbed the 77th minute for Marc Burch.

There was not much left to do for the Sounders.  They didn’t exactly bunker down, but they did not try to pressure the Timbers defense as they had before the third goal was scored. Possession in the second half against Portland was in the Timbers favor 57.3% to 42.7%. Mauro Rosales and Christian Tiffert were subbed off in the 87th and 88th minute for Andy Rose and David Estrada.

Seattle further solidified their playoff standing with the 3-0 win, moving back ahead of the LA Galaxy with a game in hand and regular season finale in LA awaiting them. The Cascadia Cup is still in play for Timbers.  An outright win in Vancouver on October 21st, and they can claim the Cascadia Cup as their own.

“My imagination, this is what heaven is like, packed stadium, beat Portland 3-0.” Coach Sigi Schmid mused at his press conference, Sounders fans probably agree. If Schmid is correct, hell is probably like the Timbers Army bus ride back to Portland.

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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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PREVIEW: Chelsea at Seattle Sounders

Posted on 18 July 2012 by Kyle Alm

When Chelsea was announced as Sounders exhibition match, the reaction seemed a measured sigh of disappointment with the exception of Chelsea fans. Despite winning the UEFA Champions League Chelsea was not a draw. Chelsea had been to Seattle in 2009, and with the notable exception of Didier Drogba, Chelsea remain much the same side.

When Roger Levesque announced that Chelsea would be his final match everyone wanted to be there.

Roger Levesque has probably given himself carpal tunnel signing autographs for fans post match and no one can forget his 48 second goal in Portland in the 2009 US Open Cup, or epic goal celebrations a la Lumber Jaqua and Scuba Steve. When Roger gets in the fans get pumped. They love him so much he was featured above all other Sounders in an ECS TIFO aimed directly across the bow of the Timbers.

It certainly seems calculated, Roger gets to play his final game as a Sounder against a high-profile opponent in a meaningless match. Not a bad way to go out, Roger has to figure on being close to retiring and he probably isn’t going to see the pitch in the remaining US Open Cup matches, CONCACAF Champions League or many MLS matches.

It’s the surest way to make sure you play, Levesque will probably get 70-80 minutes tonight, plenty of time to score and be taken off to a rowsing ovation from his adoring fans.

Aside from Levesque’s curtain call, look for Sounders to showcase their two transfer rumors, Fredy Montero and Alvaro Fernandez, to rampant speculation.

 

UPDATE: Levesque is not in the starting lineup.

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MLS Goal of the Week Week 10

Posted on 14 May 2012 by Kyle Alm

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ASN’s Best XI, Week Twenty-One

Posted on 31 August 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Major League Soccer parity is starting to show as the Galaxy lost yet again to a hungry Kansas City squad while the Crew lost some ground to New York after tying Dallas in Columbus. In the process, the Hoops broke a relatively surprising record, a ten game road unbeaten streak. Could Dallas be an MLS Cup contender this season or will there be a late-season break of form? In other news, Jimmy Conrad had quite possibly the best game of his season while Best XI stalwarts, Stefan Frei, Fredy Montero, and Rafa Marquez all made the team yet again. The biggest surprise however? The artist of Philadelphia’s last-minute 2-1 win over New England Justin Mapp. Mapp was send packing from Chicago but just like his teammate, Sebastien Le Toux, he has firmly established himself as a new Philadelphia hero.

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 21

GK: Stefan Frei, Toronto FC – 8

Even though the Reds weren’t able to pull out a win once again at BMO Field, it was a back and forth affair with the defending champions. Frei was lights out once again in between the posts as RSL – through Javier Morales and Fabian Espindola – tested again and again. Frei had surefire competition this week with Goalkeeper of the Year contender, Jimmy Nielsen.

DEF: Jimmy Conrad, Kansas City – 8

It’s a bit of an odd thing not to hear Jimmy Conrad’s name in Defender of the Year talks or even in the general discussion of the league. Regardless, Conrad delivered an impressive performance vs. slumping Los Angeles, shutting down Edson Buddle and company and grabbing the insurance goal as well.

DEF: Zach Loyd, FC Dallas – 7.5

Loyd has been pushed into centreback action after initially seeing time at fullback and he has performed admirably over the past couple games. Loyd, along with second-year back George John, helped blank the Eastern Conference leading Crew. The Hoops set the away unbeaten streak in the process having gone 3-0-7 in their last ten games. Loyd’s biggest contribution was a goal-line clearance that preserved the shutout midway through the second half.

DEF: Tyson Wahl, Seattle – 7.5

It was his first start in 17 matches at left back for Wahl, filling in for the suspended Leo Gonzalez. It was the former Wizard’s touchline run and pinpoint cross that allowed for ASN Player of the Week Fredy Montero to knock home the equalizer. It was Wahl’s first Major League Soccer assist. You can add Wahl to listen of fringe players that have really stepped it up as of late. Patrick Ianni has solidified a starting spot with the surging Sounder while Nathan Sturgis has a good run of form.  

MID: Rafa Marquez, Red Bull New York – 7.5

It’s amazing what one bad outing will do for you. Marquez is now the go-to man in central midfield and if it weren’t for Dane Richards, he would have won all the praise for yet another fine display. Rafa can win possession and deliver a gorgeous ball in a matter of seconds and having that kind of engine in the midfield provides plenty of space and opportunities for the attacking triumverate of Henry, Angel, and Richards.

MID: Davy Arnaud, Kansas City – 8

Arnaud can rub people the wrong way at times (much like Ben Olsen used to do at DC United) but nobody can ever question his work ethic. He scored the gamewinner against the Galaxy and provided the assist to Conrad to keep the Wizards on an unquestionable roll. True captain material, will the Wizards be able to do the same this weekend in Philadelphia?

MID: Justin Mapp, Philadelphia – 7.5

He didn’t have much time to work with but Mapp came to life in the last ten minutes and the game changed dramatically. A pinpoint over-the-top through ball assist was his first contribution as the young Jack McInerney equalized. In injury time, he provided the traveling Union supporters with something they’d remember forever – a happy bus ride home. After a Le Toux finish was broken up by the Revs’ Chris Tierney, Seb had the presence of mind to lay a perfect ball to Mapp who cooly placed his shot from 20 yards out to win the game in injury-time.

MID: Dane Richards, Red Bull New York – 8.5

If it weren’t for Fredy Montero, Richards would unquestionably be the Player of the Week this time around. He has new life on flank with Henry and Marquez around and he has stepped up in a big way for the Red Bulls. His play overshadowed Thierry Henry’s first MLS goal and that alone says enough. With big name players like Marquez and Henry comes space and less attention on the speedster. If he can deliver the goods weekly, the Red Bulls could be the team to beat come the postseason.

FWD: Conor Casey, Colorado, 7.5

Casey was all over the place for the Rapids who weren’t shy about beating down the 10-man Dynamo after an early Lovel Palmer sending off. It’s been mostly a down year for the big man, especially after that 2009 season but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Casey and Cummings duo started to gel again for a late season playoff push.  

FWD: Fredy Montero, Seattle, 8.5, ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK

The Sounders went down to Chicago late in the first half as Freddie Ljungberg was raring to punish his old club. The younger Fredy, however, had different plans. Montero hit for two, including the gamewinner, in a solid 2-1 win for the Sounders that confirmed Seattle is one of the hottest teams in the league right now. His efforts won him Major League Soccer’s player of the week honors for only the second time in his career (surprisingly). With Ljungberg gone, something tells me this form will continue.

FWD: Justin Braun, Chivas USA, 7.5

Braun has been a real headache for all MLS defenses this season, a surprising development in my book. Early on in his career, he looked destined to become the next Alan Gordon but he has developed into an incredibly competent striker with a lot of the components Kenny Cooper had. Decent feet, great in the air, and rather quick for a big man, count Braun in for future national team camps. Braun did the damage again in a 1-0 win over DC United on Sunday night, powering an 18-yard header home from distance and ultimately assuring the Goats three points.

Archives:

Week 20, Best XI

Week 19, Best XI

Week 18, Best XI

Week 17, Best XI

Week 16, Best XI

Midseason, Best XI

Week 15, Best XI

Week 14, Best XI

Week 13, Best XI

Week 12, Best XI

Week 11, Best XI

Week 10, Best XI

Week 9, Best XI

Week 8, Best XI

Week 7, Best XI

Week 6, Best XI

Week 5, Best XI

Week 4, Best XI

Week 3, Best XI

Week 2, Best XI

 Week 1, Best XI

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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week Eighteen

Posted on 10 August 2010 by Breton Bonnette

It was a battle of goalkeepers this week as two deserving candidates –  Johnson of Chicago and Frei of Toronto FC – put up huge performances. The DPs had their say as well however. Rafa Marquez and Nery Castillo each made their debuts in a lively fashion but the clash of the DPs ended in a scoreless draw. Two super-subs worked their magic vs. a frustrated Philadelphia Union squad but ultimately lost out on the bid for Player of the Week to a young striker that has found new life this season in Seattle.

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week Eighteen

GK: Sean Johnson, Chicago – 9

That’s two selections  in a row for the kid. He’s not giving his starting spot back anytime soon.  “A stellar performance in his second start. Not only did he make outstanding saves but he was a massive presence in the box” – Jeff Tobin, ASN Chicago

DEF: Nana Attakora, Toronto FC – 7.5

A 20th minute header along with a Chad Barrett gamewinner pushed Toronto FC into playoff contention and extended the Reds home unbeaten streak to 10. Attakora has been a revelation for TFC this year and earns his second selection on the ASN MLS Best XI.

DEF: Chad Marshall, Columbus – 8

Marshall, injury and all, corralled the speedy Sebastien Le Toux, showing that even at less than 100% the big centerback can still display his Defender of the Year form. Now I know he’s injured or something but did Marshall really give up a shot to play vs. Brazil to rest for the Crew?

DEF: Rafa Marquez, Red Bull New York – 8

Marquez was clearly in the midfield but in order to fit him in here, we put him in the position he generally plays for El Tri. Regardless, Marquez’s distribution was world class vs. Chicago, unleashing Mac Kandji and Dane Richards on several occasions. If his performance was a sign of what to come, the Red Bulls are going to be much stronger. Could Marquez play a different breed of a #10 – something the Red Bulls are looking for? His searching balls from the back say yes but can he put the ball in the net if need be?

MID: Pat Phelan, New England – 7.5

New England fans can’t ask for much more than that. Not only did Pat Phelan get his first goal in his professional career but it also happened to be the gamewinner. The Revolution now seem to have momentum going in their direction as they haven’t lost since a humiliating 5-0 dismantling at the hands of Real Salt Lake.

MID: Dwayne de Rosario, Toronto FC – 8

De Rosario, with the help of some TFC buddies, ended Chivas USA’s good run of form. The All-Star has been a busy man as of late – CONCACAF Champions League, All-Star Game, MLS – but he has yet to drop a dud of a game. Both De Rosario and FC Dallas’ David Ferreira take the cake as most important to their squad’s everyday form.

MID: David Ferreira, FC Dallas – 8

Cunningham stole the show with a second half brace but Ferreira jumpstarted the FC Dallas offense by converting yet another penalty after Brad Knighton’s 24th minute gaffe. The diminutive midfielder paired up with Cunningham later on, showing why he is the main main in the Hoops offense.

MID: Dane Richards, Red Bull New York – 8

It was only a second half appearance for the speedster but Richards did everything he could to make his presence known. If it weren’t for Mac Kandji’s wasteful goalscoring efforts, Richards could have one or two assists to his name. Received several superb balls by new DP Rafa Marquez. The Jamaican will be dangerous running off the precision of Marquez.

FWD: Steven Lenhart, Columbus, 8

On two occasions in ‘week eighteen’, the Philadelphia Union was sunk by a substitute’s brace. The first was a midweek win by the Crew and the aggressor was one of the hardest working strikers in the league, Lenhart. The powerful target striker shrugged off Danny Califf and Cristian Arrieta on more than one occasion, heading home two goals that grabbed the Crew three vital away points as they start their charge for the finish line.

FWD: Jeff Cunningham, FC Dallas, 8.5

The Union’s second loss of the week . Chris Seitz looked unbeatable for a stretch their until Cunningham slipped a near post, no-angle ball under him to put FC Dallas ahead. He then added another for good measure, a well-executed header to seal the deal. For his second-half brace, Major League Soccer awarded the veteran goalscorer Player of the Week honors.

FWD: Fredy Montero, Seattle, 9 – ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Montero is rejuvenated and actually has been for some time. The addition of Blaise N’Kufo, however, has ensured that the Colombian stays with the Sounders for the time being and continues to tack on to his streak of 14 consecutive Seattle goals that he has either scored or assisted upon. The effective  linking play between N’Kufo and Montero, as well as the addition of Alvaro Fernandez in the midfield, also means that the Sounders aren’t giving up the Western Conference anytime soon. His totals for the season now sit at 9 goals and 9 assists.

Archives:

Week 17, Best XI

Week 16, Best XI

Midseason, Best XI

Week 15, Best XI

Week 14, Best XI

Week 13, Best XI

Week 12, Best XI

Week 11, Best XI

Week 10, Best XI

Week 9, Best XI

Week 8, Best XI

Week 7, Best XI

Week 6, Best XI

Week 5, Best XI

Week 4, Best XI

Week 3, Best XI

Week 2, Best XI

Week 1, Best XI

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Everything positive as Sounders put down the Revolution

Posted on 06 June 2010 by nschiffler

Where was this kind of play all season?

Inspired by an early goal by Leo Gonzalez, his first in MLS, the Seattle Sounders broke out of their offensive slump and routed the New England Revolution 3-0 at Qwest Field.

Steve Zakuani and Fredy Montero added first-half goals as the Sounders controlled the run of play for 90 minutes, giving the home side a huge win that they desperately needed to get themselves back in the pack of playoff contending teams.

“We want to make this a tough place for teams to play,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I think we made it that way tonight, so it does a lot for our spirit, it does a lot for our confidence, it just does an awful lot for the morale. And it was good to win and score some fine goals.”

It didn’t take long for Seattle to get on the scoresheet with one of those fine goals. Montero held up with the ball well, allowing Gonzalez to arrive, and the Costa Rican played the ball to Zakuani. His touch back got away from him but fell right to Gonzalez, who hit a brilliant, swerving, unsaveable shot with the outside of his foot from the edge of the penalty area that found the back of the net.

Not to be outdone, Zakuani chipped in with a wonderful goal of his own about twenty minutes later. Again it was Montero, this time taking a quick throw-in, acting as the catalyst. The throw found Brad Evans in the box, and he controlled the ball before looping it back out to Zakuani. He took the ball out of mid-air, volleying it with his right foot off the crossbar and in, with the kind of accuracy no keeper in the world could have done anything about.

Pat Noonan tried to get in on the goal-scoring action in the 31st minute. He received the ball with two defenders on him, shook off one and juked past the second before smacking his shot off the post. The ball rebounded away to safety.

But Seattle wasn’t done putting the ball in the back of the net. In the 42nd minute Gonzalez passed to Noonan, who touched the ball over to Montero. He took his time with the ball at his feet, faking a shot to create a little more space, before smashing a low shot under beleaguered backup goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth and in for another score.

Schmid credited the change to a 4-4-2 formation, with Ljungberg playing on the wing and Noonan up top with Montero as a second striker, for some of the offensive production.

“Sometimes if we’re a little more clever, a little more composed, we’ll get even more goals,” he said. “It was definitely a huge step in the right direction and the change in formation helped us the most.”

Two of the Sounders’ highest profile offensive players, Ljungberg and Montero, shined in their new positions. Although Ljungberg didn’t get on the scoresheet, he was influential all game long, constantly breaking down the New England defense.

The Seattle domination continued in the second half even though they were unable to score again. But New England never threatened and they appeared beaten as soon as the second goal was scored against them.

Perhaps the best way to summarize the one-sidedness of the match is through the comments of New England coach Steve Nicol, who was understandably disappointed with the match.

“There is nothing we can take away from this game that is positive,” Nicol said.

If nothing about the match was positive for New England, then everything was positive for the Sounders.

Sounders Player Ratings
Kasey Keller 6.5 – Came out very well to punch clear a couple times when he was needed, but had very little to do.
James Riley 6 – Not much action on his side but he was reasonably solid when called upon.
Jeff Parke 6 – Played bigger than he is. He did misjudge one ball that led to a New England free header, and while not winning every ball always put pressure on the opposing player.
Tyrone Marshall 6.5 – Did well in the air early even when under pressure, and was winning most everything. New England weren’t offering much going forward, though.
Leo Gonzalez 8 – Incredible game. After scoring an absolute golazo, it seemed like he got an extreme boost of confidence and was a monster on offense and defense. Got forward fearlessly and was still able to recover defensively. He was subbed out in the 90th minute just so he could get a huge ovation. That says a lot.
Freddie Ljungberg 7.5 – Very good work on the ball on wing throughout the entire game, was able to use his pace and trickery to get free. To his credit he stayed out on the wing, keeping the formation in good shape, and he appeared to be much more effective there. Although he didn’t always link up perfectly with the other attackers, still had his best game in a long time.
Patrick Ianni 5.5 – Stepped into a few hard challenges early and always won the ball. Was effectively physical and helped take Joseph out of the match. His passing was really bad though, as he had quite a few weird giveaways and balls played to nobody.
Brad Evans 6.5 – Constantly was getting himself in good spaces, and his being in the right place led to goal number two. Probably in his best position as an all-purpose central midfielder.
Steve Zakuani 7 – Combined extremely well down the left wing, and was very dangerous early. Scored his goal on a ridiculously good volley. Shifted to right side in second half sometimes and drifted out of the match occasionally, but it was over already then.
Pat Noonan 7 – Quietly effective. One really good run to beat two defenders and hit the post. Played intelligently, especially to get it to Montero for the third goal. He did look like he had tired legs toward the end and was subbed out in the 81st minute.
Fredy Montero 7.5 – Good holding-up play on the ball throughout the game. He just looks so much more comfortable as a second striker, I cannot emphasize this enough. Fantastic composure on his goal, and was involved in the other two. Showed just how good he can be.
Roger Levesque 5.5 (sub 81) He’s a hustler, even though the game was completely out of reach. Missed a pretty good chance.
Sanna Nyassi (sub 85) Not on long and barely touched the ball.
Taylor Graham (sub 90) Not on long and I’m not sure if he ever touched the ball.

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Freddie Ljungberg

Posted on 25 May 2010 by Kyle Alm

Although this is not the first time Freddie Ljungberg has been questioned about his on pitch demeanor by fans or commentators, this is the first time that any of the Sounders has been criticized so harshly by Coach Sigi Schmid. Ljungberg has higher expectation than any player at the club with possible exceptions being Kasey Keller and Fredy Montero. The expectations on Keller may be lower given his age and past performances for the US Men’s National Team. Montero has high expectations that are based on “potential.” Ljungberg’s expectations are rooted in his status as a Designated Player and his large, by MLS standards, salary on the happy side of $1 million.

Ljungberg’s multiple outbursts directed at referee Alex Prus on Saturday while a good game was going on indicated that the Swede is far from happy on the pitch in Seattle. Ljungberg shouts at his teammates, argues with the officials, and recently he was on the sidelines arguing with Schmid. Ljungberg’s demonstrations on the pitch on Saturday had to be seen to believed. He totally lost his cool as he shook his fist at an opposing player after complaining to Prus about not getting foul called. But there is a reason why Freddie Ljungberg doesn’t get every call.

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There is a school of thought, that basketball fans will surely recognize, that dictates that if you foul enough you will get away with enough fouls to have effectively changed the pace and tempo of a game to your favor. Ljungberg is the most second most fouled player in MLS currently after leading the league in 2009. He gets that call more than anyone in the league and he’s complaining that he doesn’t get enough calls?

In defense of Ljungberg, he’s the second most fouled player in the league currently after leading the league in 2009. The sheer volume of which are enough to believe they are part of a deliberate and cynical defensive strategic against Ljungberg and Montero. Ljungberg has missed games due to injury a few different times after getting roughed up by opposing players. It’s a frustrating game where you take 18 shots and can’t score. When you don’t connect passes with teammates well or when you have only scored on goal in your Sounders career, and have yet to score a goal at Qwest it must be very frustrating. Especially when you are the team’s captain, highest paid player and should be the best player on the team. I doubt very seriously that Arsene Wenger would tolerate that kind of behavior for Arsenal, but it’s OK for the Sigi and for the Sounders. That d of attitude doesn’t carry much water in my opinion. The fans deserve better than what they have been getting from Ljungberg he’s a professional athlete, not a petulant child, and it’s time showed some maturity.

Arsène Wenger

“I played on the biggest teams in the world and you need to get upset if the ref is not doing the right thing,” Ljungberg said. “If you lose your passion, you won’t play. I don’t agree on that.”

You know who else quipped about their pedigree like that? David Beckham. It’s indefensible Euro-snobbery. Freddie, you play for Sounders FC currently. Played is the right word, because it is played out. Played, as in used to play? Players who talk about the past aren’t passionate, they are complacent. How many times has a referee ever reversed a call on the pitch? Exactly zero. None. Plus I don’t think that was what your coach was saying to you.

“You need to have your passion to play and I think that’s what the fans want to see as well. People that care, reaction if there is something that happens.”

Wrong again. Passion to “play” is not what fans want to see. Fans want see a passion to compete and to win. Not to “play.” Kids “play.” Professionals compete to win. What Ljungberg did on the pitch did nothing to help his team win. Did nothing to help him get a call. Do you know how many times I have seen a referee reverse a call? Exactly zero.

Pretty good advice from the other Sounders captain. Sounds like he gave it yesterday instead of pre-2009, maybe it will finally sink in.

PS How about a goal Freddie? Score a goal. At home in front of your fans.. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t believe that you have done that. Perhaps that should be your focus.

Qwest Field with Seattle in the background
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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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Ready for Sounders 2.0?

Posted on 25 March 2010 by Kyle Alm

Today is the opening game of MLS season XV. There will be rejoicing in Seattle for we have a collective bargaining agreement and we have a season. And we are playing host to First Kick for the second time in a row, itself a fortunate turn of events. It’s a safe bet that this game would be played in Philadelphia if their stadium was ready.

Seb Le Toux as a Sounder ©ASN/David Lindsay

It’s been said over and over again. So by now everyone has heard that the Seattle Sounders had one of, if not the best seasons an expansion side has ever had–both from a business perspective and on the pitch. In terms of ticket sales and money spent at the stadium, Seattle is one of the top in the league. The new expansion teams in Philadelphia, Portland, and Vancouver will be measured against us. Tonight, it should be interesting to see the Philadelphia soccer fan in action. They booed Santa Claus right?

The Union have done things in more low-key manner compared to the Sounders. Seattle made a pair of big signings with Freddie Ljungberg and Kasey Keller and rolled the dice on Fredy Montero. Seems like a no-brainer now, but no one else did it.

Philadelphia has hired a coach in Peter Nowak with a proven track record in and out of MLS.

A couple of questions for today’s match:

1. Will Sebastien Le Toux play for a full 90? Will he even start?

2. How does Danny Mwanga, #1 pick in this year’s draft, compare to Steve Zakuani? Estrada probably won’t play today but it will be worth noting how productive a player he can be. Estrada looked pretty good against Portland.

3. How are the pieces of Philadelphia’s expansion draft coming together compared to Seattle’s? Several people were surprised that Riley wasn’t taken along with Le Toux in the expansion draft. Although Riley won’t be playing today serving a suspension from last season, it will be worth evaluating how Philly’s back line holds up against Seattle’s attack.

Ultimately if the Sounders have difficulty creating opportunities today their scoring woes could continue. Evans will probably fill in at right back for Riley. Although it wasn’t necessarily Evans’ fault, the goal that the USL Timbers scored two weeks ago came right up his side.

Win, lose, or draw I’m sure most people will be happy that the season is starting. Unless there’s some kind of atrocious mistake that leads to a draw or a loss.

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