The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
It’s a rare off week for Sounders FC. No match this weekend but we’ve still got the latest news and notes as released by the club. Added bonus: this post features shots from Wilson Tsoi’s Sounders-Rapids gallery for goalWA.net
Sounders FC Welcomes Bye Week After Strong Start to Season
Off to the best five-game start in club history, Seattle Sounders FC takes a two-week break before returning to action on April 28 at the Chicago Fire. Sounders FC currently sits third in the West and fourth overall in the MLS standings.
The Rave Green improved to 3-1-1 last Saturday, exceeding its previous best start of 3-2-0 in the inaugural campaign, and the club has averaged two points per game (fourth in MLS) this season.
Victory number three came last Saturday as the Rave Green recorded its second straight shutout in a 1-nil home win over the Colorado Rapids. Defender Zach Scott scored his first career goal on a brilliant glancing header from Alex Caskey’s corner kick in the second half.
Riding a 248-minute shutout streak, keeper Michael Gspurning and the Seattle defense have held three teams scoreless for the league’s second-best goals against average (0.40).
The team will take three days off of training before returning to the practice field on Thursday to begin preparations for the year’s lone match against the Chicago Fire, which will mark the 100th regular season game for Sounders FC.
Despite the pause in league play, Sounders FC will stay busy with two MLS Reserve League games, as well as a training game at Starfire Sports. The reserve team fell to the LA Galaxy, 1-0, on Monday and will return to Los Angeles to play Chivas USA next week.
Tickets to home MLS matches are available through http://www.SoundersFC.com, all Ticketmaster Outlets, CenturyLink Field Box Office or by calling 877-MLS-GOAL.
In This Issue
* Hitting the Mark: Seattle Averaging Two Points per Game
* April Foiled: Unbeaten Streak Extended to Seven
* Original Sounder Scores: Scott’s First a Winner
* Getting Defensive: Seattle Backline Among League’s Elite
* Keeping it Clean: Another Gspurning Shutout
* Play Smart, And Hard
* Sueño MLS 2012 in Seattle on April 21-22
* Academy Update
* Throw-ins: Meet Patrick Ianni, Friendly Facebook
Upcoming Competition Schedule (times are Pacific & subject to change)
Saturday, April 28, 5:30 p.m. – Sounders FC at Chicago Fire, Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL
Wednesday, May 2, 7 p.m. – Sounders FC vs. L.A. Galaxy, Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Saturday, May 5, 1 p.m. – Sounders FC vs. Philadelphia Union, Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Wednesday, May 9, 5:30 p.m. – Sounders FC at FC Dallas, FC Dallas Stadium, Frisco, TX
Saturday, May 12, 7 p.m. – Sounders FC vs. Real Salt Lake, Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Upcoming Reserve League Schedule (times are Pacific & subject to change)
Monday, April 23, 11 a.m. – Sounders FC at Chivas USA, Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.
Friday, June 1, 6 p.m. – Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, Wash.
Monday, August 6, 7 p.m. – Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy, Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, Wash.
Sounders FC Training Schedule (times are Pacific & subject to change)
Tuesday, April 17 – No Training
Wednesday, April 18 – No Training
Thursday, April 19 – 10 a.m. Training at Starfire
Friday, April 20 – 10 a.m. Training at Starfire
Saturday, April 21 – 10 a.m. Training at Starfire; 10:30 Training Game vs. Univ. of Wash.
Sunday, April 22 – 10 a.m. Training at Starfire
Hitting the Mark: Seattle Averaging Two Points per Game
The strong start to the 2012 MLS campaign continued last weekend as Sounders FC earned its third victory of the season with a win over the Colorado Rapids. Seattle has taken 10 points through the first five matches, marking the best start in club history (previously nine points through the first five matches in 2009). Last year – Seattle’s best regular season – the team averaged 1.85 points per game, finishing second overall in the MLS standings. The club is well ahead of its 2011 pace, reaching the 10-point mark in three fewer games. Only three other teams in MLS have averaged more points per game than Seattle to start the 2012 season: Sporting Kansas City (three), San Jose Earthquakes (2.16) and Real Salt Lake (2.14).
April Foiled: Unbeaten Streak Extended to Seven
The month of April has treated Sounders FC quite well. Seattle has played a total of 16 regular season games in April and has earned points in all but four contests (7-4-5), including just one loss in the past 11 April outings (5-1-5). The Rave Green used April as a springboard to success in 2011, going undefeated (3-0-2) in its five April matches. The club has extended its April unbeaten streak to seven matches this season with a draw against DC United and a win over Colorado. The last April loss for Sounders FC was on April 25, 2010 at Toronto FC.
Original Sounder Scores: Scott’s First a Winner
Zach Scott’s game-winning goal against the Colorado Rapids was meaningful on several fronts. The header to the far post marked Scott’s first career goal in over 2,000 minutes of league action (3,642 minutes over all competitions), and first competitive goal since June 24, 2008 in a 6-0 US Open Cup win. Scott also converted the decisive penalty kick in a shootout against the Portland Timbers in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup on June 30, 2010. Seattle improved to 14-4-5 with Scott in the starting lineup (18-5-6 overall).
With the goal, Scott became the final inaugural starting XI field player to score in MLS play. The original starting XI also included James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyrone Marshall, Sebastien Le Toux, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Sanna Nyassi, Nate Jaqua and Fredy Montero. In addition, the two substitutes in the inaugural game (Steve Zakuani and Roger Levesque) have also scored.
Getting Defensive: Seattle Backline Among League’s Elite
The most potent attack in MLS may garner most of the attention but the backbone of Seattle’s success over the past three seasons has been its defense. The trend has continued this season as Seattle has earned three shutouts in its first five matches, allowing just two goals this season (Ryan Johnson’s MLS Goal of the Week in week two and Chris Wondolowski’s penalty kick in Seattle’s third game). Sounders FC ranks second in MLS with a 0.40 goals against average. Last season, it took 12 games for Seattle to earn three shutouts.
Patrick Ianni continues to make a positive impact as the club’s only defender to play every minute this season. Seattle is 25-14-12 when Ianni starts (32-15-17 overall). Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning and midfielder Osvaldo Alonso are the only other players to have played every minute this season.
Keeping it Clean: Another Gspurning Shutout
Michael Gspurning has assumed the Seattle nets with authority. The towering Austrian is one of two keepers in MLS to allow two or fewer goals this season. Gspurning ranks second with a 0.40 goals against average, and is tied-second with three shutouts. His 248-minute shutout streak is currently the second-longest in MLS (Sporting Kansas City/Jimmy Nielsen – 337), and his saves percentage (86.7) is third among keepers. The 10-men in front of the goal box have done their part as well, allowing just 47 total shots (fourth-fewest in MLS) with just 15 shots on frame (third-fewest).
Play Smart, And Hard
Seattle lost the possession battle to Colorado, 60-40. The Rapids out-passed Sounders FC by nearly two-hundred, 569-375. Still, the Rave Green found a path to victory by winning 23 tackles while losing just four, as well as winning 53-percent of the duels. Seattle held the Rapids in their defensive half of the park where over 56-percent of their successful passes were completed, with just three successful passes inside Seattle’s 18-yard box. And, despite not having the advantage in possession, Seattle outshot Colorado, 18-4 (5-1 on goal), and attempted seven more open play crosses and seven more corner kicks.
Sueño MLS 2012 in Seattle on April 21-22
Hundreds of aspiring young soccer players from across the United States have already signed up for Sueño MLS 2012 – presented by Allstate, the premier nationally televised search for the best undiscovered soccer talent in America, which this year will include tryouts April 14-29 at FC Dallas, Seattle Sounders FC and CD Chivas USA (see calendar below).
Though most spots have been filled, players are being urged to continue registering for the three tryouts by visiting http://www.SuenoMLS.com. Once all the slots are filled, players will be able to register on the waiting list. The first ever winner, Chivas USA standout Jorge Villafaña, was a waiting list winner when he won the inaugural edition in 2007.
The tryouts will be chronicled on Univision Network’s “República Deportiva” (Sports Republic), the highest-rated weekly sports entertainment show on Spanish-language television, which will follow the action in a unique “reality show within a show” format (airs Sundays at 11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. CT/12 p.m. PT). The program’s co-host Felix Fernandez is scheduled to be on-site at select Sueño MLS events.
In each tryout city, field players will be battling for one of five invitations to a week-long trial with their respective youth development host club and a ticket to the exciting four-day “Final Event” which will be staged in the greater Los Angeles area and be hosted by MLS Argentine soccer legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto. The finals will include training sessions, scrimmages, guest celebrity scouts, and an opportunity to meet some of the League’s biggest stars. The ultimate champion will be crowned on Sunday, May 13, live on “República Deportiva” (see calendar below for more information).
Returning to Sueño MLS for a second year is the Allstate “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper award – El Portero Allstate. One goalkeeper at each of the three local tryouts will be selected as the top goalkeeper and will also compete in the “Final Event” for the opportunity to be named El Portero Allstate and train with a MLS youth team. El Portero Allstate will be selected in conjunction with the winner of the Sueño MLS 2012 – presented by Allstate, and mentored by Mexican goalkeeping legend Adolfo Rios.
Since its inception in 2007, Sueño MLS has given thousands of talented young athletes a chance to showcase their skills and impress youth development scouts. The original winner, Villafaña (formerly Jorge Flores) of Anaheim, Calif., is now in his sixth year with MLS’ Chivas USA. The 2008 FC Dallas Sueño MLS winner, Gabriel Funes Mori, played with the FC Dallas Juniors U-18 team before moving on to Argentina’s legendary side River Plate, where he plays alongside his twin brother Jose, a Dallas Sueño MLS finalist that same year.
MLS partners participating in Sueño MLS 2012- presented by Allstate,also include adidas, Degree Men, Gatorade, Pepsi and Volkswagen.
April 14-15 Local market tryouts (FC Dallas)
April 21-22 Local market tryouts (Seattle Sounders FC)
April 28-29 Local market tryouts (Chivas USA)
May 9-13 National Finals in Los Angeles
May 13 Announcement of winner on República Deportiva
Eligible players must be males between the ages of 14 and 18 years old (born between dates of April 13, 1998 and May 14, 1994) with appropriate identification and retain their amateur status. Current collegiate student athletes will not be permitted to attend the final event in Carson, CA. Sueño MLS participants will be responsible for all personal expenses associated with the local market tryout, including travel to local tryouts, lodging, food, soccer equipment (shoes, training gear, etc.), etc. Program sponsors will cover all expenses for eighteen (18) participants selected to attend the final event in Carson, CA. For more information, please visit http://www.SueñoMLS.com. Participation in the event is free. Players may not register for more than one city.
Seattle Sounders FC 1 vs. Colorado Rapids 0 – April 14, 2012
Zach Scott’s first career goal proved to be the game-winner as Seattle Sounders FC defeated the Colorado Rapids, 1-0, Saturday afternoon on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. Alex Caskey registered his first career assist and Michael Gspurning picked up his second consecutive shutout in front a sellout crowd of 38,360.
Seattle (3-1-1, 10 points) extended its unbeaten streak to two games and earned its third shutout of the 2012 MLS season.
Colorado (3-3-0, 9 points) was handed its second straight loss and have now gone three games without a goal.
In the 63rd minute, Caskey served a corner kick that found Scott at the near post. The 31-year old right back rose up and deflected the ball inside the far post, out of reach of Rapids keeper Matt Pickens.
It was Scott’s first career goal across all competitions for Sounders FC.
Caskey recorded his first assist in his first career start. The 23-year old midfielder previously played 16 minutes as a sub against San Jose on March 31.
Sounders FC has now earned a shutout in back-to-back games and has three clean sheets in five MLS games. The last time the club earned consecutive shutouts was August 2011 (August 13 versus Chivas USA and August 20 at FC Dallas).
Sounders FC goalkeeper Michael Gspurning made just one save, but now has three shutouts in his first five MLS matches, allowing just one open-play goal so far this season.
Seattle out-shot Colorado, 18-4, including 12-1 in the second half. Seattle had 13 open-play crosses to Colorado’s six, as well as a 9-2 advantage on corner kicks.
In the fifth minute, Osvaldo Alonso intercepted a pass from Pickens in the offensive third, then passed to a cutting Fredy Montero on the left side of the box. The Colombian striker created some space and got off a strong shot that was saved nicely by Pickens.
Caskey and Scott nearly combined for a goal in the 13th minute when Caskey’s free kick found Scott in the box, but his header missed wide.
Montero was dangerous throughout the match. In the 29th minute, Alonso rolled a free kick to Montero for a shot from 35-yards out, but the attempt sailed high. In the 37th minute, Eddie Johnson led Montero up the middle, but Pickens charged out from the box to make a sliding clearance.
In the 50th minute, a Montero free kick from 30-yards out bent around the Colorado wall but missed just wide of the goal. After a run in the 89th minute, Montero chipped a shot from 20-yards but Pickens punched it over the bar.
Johnson made his first start for Sounders FC. He played 24 minutes as a sub in Seattle’s last match at D.C. United. His last regular season start was October 20, 2007 for Kansas City against FC Dallas.
MLS Reserve League: Seattle Sounders FC 0 at LA Galaxy 1 – April 16, 2012
With a goal in the 90th minute from midfielder Rafael Garcia, the LA Galaxy beat Seattle Sounders FC, 1-0, in an MLS Reserve League game at The Home Depot Center on Monday. The Galaxy improved their Reserve League record to 1-1-0, while Seattle fell to 0-2-1 with the loss.
Seattle was forced to play the final 20 minutes of the game down a man after Danish midfielder Christian Sivebaek was given a straight red card in the 69th minute for a hard tackle on rookie defender Bryan Gaul.
The Galaxy, who had the better of the play following Sivebaek’s red card, finally made took advantage in the 90th minute when Garcia, a rookie drafted out of Cal State Northridge in the second round of the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft, scored his first goal for the club. Galaxy Academy midfielder Raul Mendiola was credited with an assist on the goal.
The goal scoring sequence began on right wing touchline with Hector Jimenez, who spotted Mendiola open across the field on the opposite sideline. Mendiola received the pass from Jimenez, quickly gave it to an open Garcia and made a run into the box. Garcia played it back to Mendiola and then made a timely run into the box. Mendiola spotted Garcia and lofted a pass that Garcia crushed with his head into the back of the net.
Before the Sounders were cut down to 10-men, both teams struggled to break down the opposition’s defense.
Seattle’s two best chances came a minute apart just before the hour mark. In the 58th minute, rookie midfielder Andy Rose drove a powerful long-range shot that forced goalkeeper Bill Gaudette to parry his save around the post for a corner. On the ensuing corner kick, Marc Burch found Roger Levesque at the back post, only for his close range shot to be blocked. A scramble inside the box ensued before LA was eventually able to clear the ball away from danger.
MLS Reserve League: Seattle Sounders FC 0 vs. Portland Timbers 2 – April 10, 2012
The Seattle Sounders FC (0-1-1, 1 point) fell to the Portland Timbers (1-1-0, 3 points) 2-0 in an MLS Reserve League match on Tuesday night at Starfire Stadium.
The scoring opened in the 4th minute with an own goal from Seattle when Portland forward Brent Richards took a long throw from the left side that skimmed off the head of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and into the net.
Portland doubled its lead in the 22nd minute when Bright Dike received a pass from Steve Purdy and got around the Seattle defense, finishing from the top of the box.
Servando Carrasco nearly scored for Seattle in the 31st minute but his free kick from 30-yards out was stopped by the diving keeper Brian Rowe. Moments later, Christian Sivebaek rocketed a shot from 20-yards that missed just wide of the post.
The Seattle attack was more active throughout the second half, taking nine shots and earning nine corners in the final 45 minutes.
Sivebaek had another scoring opportunity in the 78th minute when he ran onto a Marc Burch throw inside the box but his left-footed attempt was stopped by Rowe.
Following a blocked shot from Sammy Ochoa in the 69th minute, guest player Daniel Steres nearly headed in the ensuing corner kick but his attempt sailed over the crossbar.
Ochoa nearly struck for a late goal in the 84th minute after a scramble in the box but his sliding attempt was cleared off the line by the Portland defense.
Seattle goalkeeper Andrew Weber left the game in the 24th minute due to injury and was replaced by Bryan Meredith.
Sounders FC Academy hosted divisional opponents San Jose Earthquakes and Cal Odyssey over the weekend at Starfire Sports Complex and came away with three wins in four matches. The U18′s split, starting with a 2-0 loss to San Jose on Saturday, then defeating Cal Odyssey 2-0 Sunday. The U16′s swept with a pair of shutouts, 5-0 and 3-0, over the Earthquakes and Odyssey, respectively.
The U18 Sounders (9-10-3, 7-5-1, 22 points NW Division) outshot the Earthquakes 17-13 Saturday morning, but were unable finish any chances in the shutout loss. On Sunday, Aaron Kovar and Jacob Beck each scored in a dominating 2-0 win over Cal Odyssey, earning three points to stay tied for first place in the NW Division with DeAnza Force.
The U16′s (15-5-2, 10-2-1, 31 points NW Division) didn’t allow a goal all weekend as they increased their commanding lead in the NW Division, now nine points ahead of the second place Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Goals from Duncan McCormick, Isidro Prado-Huerta, David Olsen (who also had an assist), Cody Crook, and Denis Kalamar fueled the 5-0 win over San Jose on Saturday. On Sunday, Kalamar made it 1-0 early on before Michael Steele netted a brace in a 3-0 downing of Cal Odyssey.
Next up for Sounders FC Academy is a pair of home matches on May 12-13 against Southern California opponents LA Galaxy and Chivas USA. Only the June 3 season finale against Whitecaps FC in Vancouver remains after.
Patrick Ianni will be at the Safeway in Kirkland on Thursday, April 19 from 5-6 p.m. Visit SoundersFC.com for more information…Sounders FC reached 250,000 “Likes” on Facebook last week…The Sounders FC U-23′s beat Gonzaga, 3-2, in their first exhibition match on Sunday afternoon…Seattle has lost just once (10-1-5) in Brad Evans’ last 16 appearances, and the club is 28-14-20 overall…Seattle has scored more goals (three) than any other MLS team between the 16-30-minute marks…Eight MLS teams have three or more wins; six of those eight teams are in the Western Conference…The CONCACAF Champions League Finals begin Tuesday, April 17. Seattle played and earned wins against both finalists, Santos Laguna and Monterrey.