Tag Archive | "Roger Levesque"

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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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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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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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