Tag Archive | "Michael Gspurning"

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Seattle Sounders Score Early, Portland Timbers Score Late

Posted on 16 March 2013 by Kyle Alm

As Seattle Sounders and Portland timbers rekindle their decades old rivalry for 2013 there was much anticipation in CenturyLink for Obafemi Martins arrival. As much vitriol and familiarity between Seattle and Portland, both clubs are without key contributors from their past and are somewhat unknown to each other. Portland has undergone the most dramatic changes with a new coach and new style of play that Caleb Porter brought with him from University of Akron.

Sounders were coming off of their historic win on Tuesday over Tigres in the CCL and were looking for their first points after dropping their home opener in MLS to Montreal Impact. Seattle would be the first road match for Portland, who has also lost to Montreal but also managed to get a point against New York Red Bulls in a dramatic 3-3 comeback.

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Both sides were looking for their first win against their biggest rival. The stage was set once again for these old adversaries to take center stage during rivalry weekend.

Sounders were able to score first in the 13th minute after Steve Zakuani was able to capitalize on a Timbers turnover when he took the ball to the left edge of the penalty area and found Eddie Johnson who finished the cross with his right foot on the first touch. Donovan Ricketts was unable to alter the path of the ball and Johnson didn’t have to do much to finish and went and pointed up to the Timbers Army section in the upper bowl of CenturyLink Field.

There were no changes for either side at halftime. The first half was dominated by Sounders in terms of possession, Portland took more shots, but none of were anything that would make Sounders GK Michael Gspurning nervous, he only had one save to make during the entire match. Timbers did hit the crossbar on a Diego Valeri set-piece from distance in the 49th minute, but that was as close as they had come all match.

Obafemi Martins made his debut for Sounders in the 70th minute coming on for Sammy Ochoa, who had not impacted the match positively for Sounders. Martins received a large cheer, got a couple of touches, suffered a couple of fouls, and looked like a player who had never played with his new teammates before. With Martins international duty coming up it will be difficult for Sounders to assimilate their newest player with his teammates, but you can tell that he has the ability to be an impact player on Sounders.

In the 90th minute Rodney Wallace let all of the air out of the building with a free header on a second ball into the box after a corner. Wallace lost Hurtado on his run and was able to keep his header close to the post and away from Gspurning who collected the ball out of his net, slammed it into the turf and continued to express his displeasure at conceding a late goal. Hurtado also was demonstrably upset at Alex Caskey and Osvaldo Alonso, presumably for not getting any pressure on Andrew Baptiste before he crossed the ball in.

Coach Sigi Schmid was disappointed in conceding a late goal, but offered very little in way of explanation other than Wallace did make a long run from the wing which confused the back-line marking. Sounders were lucky that they were able to hold on to a point looking back at the match, Timbers had a good argument for a penalty kick award against Hurtado when he scissor tackled Ryan Johnson in the box. Timbers also had the previously mentioned set piece off the crossbar that would have turned Rodney Wallace’s header into a winner.

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Wondo Keeps Quakes Top of Table

Posted on 23 September 2012 by Kyle Alm

Seattle Sounders slim chance at winning the Supporter’s Shield was crushed Saturday evening in Seattle when the San Jose Earthquakes put on an offensive display that shows that they truly belong at the top of the MLS Table. The two sides have been building some bad blood recently, a couple of close matches, a couple of physical altercations, the same mutually exclusive prize in an unbalanced schedule and you’ve got a budding rivalry.

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It didn’t take long for the Quakes to get started, in the 2nd minute Simon Dawkins was given space to shoot from a yard beyond the penalty box semi-circle. It was a horrible start for Sounders at home, all Michael Gspurning could do was watch it sail into the top corner and voice his displeasure at his defenders. Although it is not uncommon to give a midfield player space that far away from goal, it was too much space and the shot was not challenged by a defender.

Sammy Ochoa starting in place of Eddie Johnson, suspended for yellow card accumulation, was given his first real opportunity to start in MLS action and made an important contribution when he was able to beat his defender with a flick and then crossed the ball, Fredy Montero tried for it near the middle of the goal, but it was just out of reach. Steve Zakuani was ready for the ball when the cross went past the Colombian, and finished unmarked to draw the Sounders level.

San Jose Earthquakes were the dominant team in the first half, they were able to pass the ball with more ease, get forward in dangerous positions, create crosses, and get shots on goal. Their winner came on a corner kick that was conceded by Adam Johansson & Michael Gspurning in an awkward fashion. The corner kick went over the goal frame and was sent back in by Victor Bernardez and flicked past Gspurning by Chris Wondolowski, who stayed on pace with Roy Lassiter’s record 27 goals from 1996. Wondowlowski has 22 goals now with 4 matches left in the season to catch Lassiter.

Zakuani, who had been the hero moments earlier, was caught on the back post after the ball had been played out initially, he stayed on the post for the second cross into the box by Bernardez. A player can’t be offside on a corner because of where the ball is on the end line, when a player is stuck on the post defending you can’t be offside then either. Wondowlowski would have been offside had Zakuani stepped off the post, Ianni gave space, and tried to close when he realized he was onside, but it was too late.

As much as San Jose came out screaming in the first half, their enthusiasm was considereably muted in the second half. Scoring opportunities, crosses, were all down in the second half as the Quakes looked to defend their lead in Seattle. Sounders looked better and did have a better second half, but when the opposing team is bunkering down to defend a lead you can’t help but look better than you did before.

Sounders only managed one shot on target the entire night, Zakuani’s goal. Jon Busch didn’t have a single save.

Usually rivalries are give and take, but it’s been all San Jose this season and the Sounders have been taking it. San Jose had always been a good offensive side that defended poorly, Frank Yallop has gotten his side organized and kept the goal differential on the positive side by 26 goals after tonight’s match. Sounders fans would probably start a rivalry with any team that Steven Lenhart is on.

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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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