Tag Archive | "Sounders"

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Big Day For Sounders

Posted on 27 August 2011 by Britt Ruby

What a day for being a Sounders fan. I’m honestly not sure what the bigger story of the day is.

The team won a match against the best team in the eastern conference 6-2. They are now 6-0-1 in the month of August. They are now just 3 points behind LA Galaxy in the race for the Supporters Shield.

Truly, no one could have asked for a better run of form for a month that starts a pretty crazy run of fixture congestion. A run that includes qualifying for group play on the CCL, a win in Dallas, and a win in Monterrey. And up next, a game at Starfire to move to the third straight USOC final.

Its a great time to be a Sounders fan. Let’s all sit back and enjoy.

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In Defense of Hanauer

Posted on 14 August 2011 by Britt Ruby

Today, Josh Mayers at the Seattle Times tweeted that the Sounders would not take advantage of the summer international transfer window. We all know that it’s not for lack of trying. Adrian Hanauer has stated publicly that he was “working frantically” trying to bring in a top-talent target forward but that he wouldn’t bring in a player that was too expensive or a poor fit for the team.

Sounders supporters have formed two camps around this issue: one saying that this is further evidence of Hanauer’s limited ability as an MLS-level GM, and a second saying that Hanauer used sound reasoning and handled the situation as well as anyone could have.

In reality, both these viewpoints have a measure of validity but are far too strong.

Hanauer is the leader of the FO and is responsible for roster construction. The reality is that he put together a roster that has been competitive at the MLS level from day one. He put together the roster that won the USOC and made the playoffs in the Sounders’ inaugural season, then again last year. He has them poised to make another run at the USOC, the MLS playoffs, and the CCL.

Adrian Hanauer has earned our trust.

Having said that, this failure to bring in an international top-caliber target forward IS a statement on his job performance.  The Sounders clearly have a need and have the DP slot and cap room available. Several players around Europe and elsewhere are available. For whatever reason, Hanauer was unable to complete a deal.

But this one failure, in this one situation, for this one need, does not negate all the excellent work Hanauer has done.

Hanauer should not bring in a player for the sake of doing it. He should not overpay for anyone. He was almost certainly willing to slightly overpay on a short-term deal because of the benefit of progression through USOC, CCL, and playoffs.

I have developed a great deal of trust in our GM and you should too. He has earned our trust over the last 2 ½ years. Obviously, we want a big-time TF to pair with Montero. But more than that, we should all want the Sounders to maintain depth in the roster with long-term young talent supplemented with short-term vets. Above all, we should want the Sounders to maintain a strong viable business that will last for generations.

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PREVIEW: Revolution @ Seattle Sounders

Posted on 25 June 2011 by Matty Jollie

CenturyLink Field is ALWAYS a tough environment

The New England Revolution (3-7-6, 15pts) travel to newly re-named CenturyLink Field in Seattle on Sunday afternoon to take on the Seattle Sounders (7-4-7, 28pts) for the fifth time in MLS history. Despite their early success in MLS, Seattle has seemingly always had trouble with the Revolution, amassing a 1-3-0 record, splitting the two meetings in Seattle.  New England is heading out west for the fifth time this season after their brief two game homestand last week that saw them earn two points from their matches with Chicago and Toronto FC.  New England has always had trouble with the difficult cross-country trip, and this season has been no different, going 0-2-2 thus far, with the two draws coming at the Los Angeles Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps earlier in the year.  Seattle is coming off a wild affair on Thursday night, defeating New York Red Bulls in a six goal thriller, 4-2.  Seattle has once again proven that they are an incredibly tough out at home, losing only twice in nine games at CenturyLink Field thus far in 2011, and if the Revolution are to earn a result on Sunday, it certainly won’t come easy.

 

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GOALKEEPER: You cannot find a better head to head match up at this position than you will experience in this one. Two of the most decorated and veteran goalkeepers face off on Sunday, as Matt Reis mans the net for New England, and he will be staring across the field at one of the most celebrated keepers in American soccer history, Kasey Keller.  Keller’s pedigree is incredibly well documented, playing all over Europe, captaining his German club for an entire season, leading the United States in World Cup play, and of course, his impressive streak of 59 straight MLS matches played as the team’s captain and leader.  Seattle has been solidly defensively, amassing a 1.00 goals against average in their last 7 matches, with most of the credit going to Keller, whose positioning and command of his back four is second to none.  While New England has struggled in the first half of this season, it certainly can’t fall upon the shoulders of ‘keeper Matt Reis. Reis, finally healthy, has found a great run of form of late, leading the Revolution to a 1.19 GAA this season, good for fourth in the Eastern Conference.  Reis has shown great command of his back line, and has always been an imposing force in the box.  Both goalkeepers are playing well coming into Sunday, which will make for a great match. ADVANTAGE: Push. Hard to believe when you’re dealing with Keller, but while the Seattle man may be far more decorated, there may not be a hotter hand in MLS than Matt Reis.

DEFENDERS: Both sides have found their stride defensively of late, and both boat their share of youth and experience. Throughout their struggles this season, the New England Revolution have been solid defensively (the Revs have played 10 matches in which they’ve surrendered 1 goal or fewer), and as the season progresses and young players like A.J. Soares and Franco Coria gain more experience, the defense is only poised to continue to improve.  New England will once again be without Didier Domi, so it will be Darrius Barnes once again assuming the role of left back, a position Barnes has begun to adapt well to, as he has had plenty of opportunity to earn minutes at that position.  Kevin Alston will man the right back spot, and as the Revs’ spark plug continues to remain healthy, his run of form continues to improve.  Seattle is anchored by veteran presence, with former Revolution pick James Riley, as well as Jeff Parke. The two have been the more visible influences on the Seattle back line, often joined by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, a strong, physical presence in the center of defense. Seattle are giving up just a shade under a goal a game this season, but are always tough at home in front of their great support and atmosphere.  With their full compliment of defenders at their disposal, it will be up to Head Coach Sigi Schmid after a quick turnaround from Thursday night’s match on who will defend the Sounders’ net, but look for mainstays Riley and Parke to be a part of the match.  ADVANTAGE: Seattle. The Rave Green outfit are incredibly tough at home, and with the struggles of New England offensively still ongoing, it’s easy to see the advantage at the back.

MIDFIELDERS: New England will most likely be welcoming back USMNT midfielder Benny Feilhaber on Sunday afternoon (the newly acquired Feilhaber is listed as Probable on Friday’s injury report) and his addition couldn’t come soon enough. Just Feilhaber’s presence and creativity is sure to bolster a struggling Revs’ offense, and he will look to regain the chemistry that was beginning to emerge with Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph.  Sainey Nyassi had arguably his best match against Chicago on Saturday night, and with Zak Boggs still struggling through injury, Nyassi should get the start at right midfield. Left midfield will be a bit of a question, as Chris Tierney is listed as  doubtful for the match, so it may be newcomer Ryan Guy, whose brief cameo on Saturday night showed great promise from the California native, taking over and getting his first start in MLS play.  Seattle’s midfield has an incredible propensity to just continue to fire on all cylinders throughout each match, with Mauro Rosales and Osvaldo Alonso seemingly having tireless energy.  The two have combined for three goals and three assists, but it’s their midfield partner Brad Evans who leads the team in scoring, with four goals and an assist thus far in 2011. Evans has a knack for finding the goal, and his strong presence in the midfield and blue collar approach always make him a formidable foe in the center of the park.  It’s going to fall upon Shalrie Joseph to create and set a tone early in this match, and allow Benny Feilhaber to flow and create in the final third to help with the struggling Revs’ offense.  ADVANTAGE: Seattle. It’s too early to put too much pressure and expectation on Feilhaber, add to that the Sounders’ ability to create and finish through the midfield and you can see where the advantage will lie.

FORWARDS: The lack of offensive firepower in New England has been well-documented, however, since Revolution head coach Steve Nicol switched to a 4-4-2 (effectively giving striker Rajko Lekic a partner in attack instead of being the lone man up top), New England has seen an improvement in the quality and frequency of its’ chances.  Lekic ended a long goal-less drought against Chicago on Saturday night (the Danish international hadn’t scored since April 23rd), and with the addition of Kenny Mansally up top, New England is looking slightly more dangerous and likely to find an offensive breakthrough.  Seattle’s attack is anchored by a very familiar figure in Freddy Montero, and the Colombian international hasn’t disappointed, firing in three goals and four assists in 2011. Montero is the type of player that always needs to be accounted for on the field, and can spring up in attack at any time, so it will fall upon Matt Reis and company to keep track of him at all times.  With Steve Zakuani out for the season, the other forward slot has been manned by committee, with veteran big man Nate Jaqua sharing the minutes with the likes of Mike Fucito and even Alvaro Fernandez as well.  Jaqua provides a strong presence in the air, something New England has struggled with early in the campaign, but it’s been Fucito with a good run of form of late. Expect a balanced attack from Seattle, and it will be quite difficult for a well-traveled Revolution defense to contain a Sounders side coming off of a four goal output just four days prior.

 

PREDICTION: New England has played well defensively, and it is going to take a massive effort to keep this Seattle team off the scoresheet. The addition of Feilhaber will absolutely help, as will the possible inclusion of Ryan Guy.  Signs of improvement are evident throughout the Revolution team as they continue to fight the injury bug and add new pieces, and a breakthrough is certainly coming, but it won’t be on Sunday afternoon.  SCORE: Seattle 2 – New England 1.

 

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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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