The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
An eight-match winless streak can color the view of even the most optimistic fan. Turns out though that the current rate of points earned per match by the 2012 Sounders is the best in their four-year MLS history for the midway point of the season.
SSFC Weekly News & Notes / Club Press Release
Seattle hit the halfway point of the 2012 MLS season on Saturday in New England. Seventeen games into their fourth professional season, Sounders FC is well on pace with the output of the first three years.
Fifteen games into the 30-game seasons in 2009 and 2010, Seattle averaged 1.47 and 1.00 points per match, respectively. In 2011 – the team’s highest point total – Sounders FC collected 1.47 points per match through the first 17 games of the expanded 34-game season.
The team is ahead of that pace this season with an average of 1.53 points per match through the opening 17 games. Seattle is also off to the second-best 17-game start in club history (7-3-7, 28 points in 2009), and will look to pile up more points in the final 17 matches of the campaign.
Record through First-half of Season:
Season / Games / Record / Points (PPM)
2009 15 5-3-7 22 (1.47)
2010 15 4-8-3 15 (1.00)
2011 17 6-4-7 25 (1.47)
2012 17 7-5-5 26 (1.53)
Eddie in Form
Eddie Johnson continued to produce goals for Sounders FC as he netted his first brace in Rave Green on Saturday night. Johnson out-jumped defenders and powered two headers past the keeper, bringing his season total to a team-high seven goals (tied-eighth in MLS). Johnson has scored four of the team’s past five goals, including Goal of the Week nominations at Montreal and Portland, and he is averaging 0.63 goals per 90 minutes. His stretch of four goals over the past four games (342 minutes played) is an exciting 1.05 goals per 90 minutes.
As Eddie Johnson showed on Saturday, Seattle’s forwards are shouldering the scoring load this season. Sixteen of the teams 21 goals this season have come from forwards, with just two from the midfield and two from defenders. When Sounders FC led the league in scoring last season, 33 of 56 goals came from the midfield, with 18 scored by forwards and three by defenders. Seattle has scored 21 goals in its first 17 matches this season for an average of 1.24 goals per game, which is ahead of last year’s pace in which Sounders FC averaged 1.12 goals per game through the opening 17 matches.
Seattle Takes on Rocky Mountain Rivals with Salt Lake, Colorado
Seattle Sounders FC begins the second half of the 2012 Major League Soccer campaign with a pair of meetings against Rocky Mountain rivals. First comes an Independence Day date with Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Sounders FC then returns home to host the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.
Wednesday’s match will be broadcast live on KING 5 with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller calling the action, and can be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM. The match will also be carried live in Spanish on KOMO2 and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
Saturday’s match will be nationally broadcast on NBC Sports Network, and can be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM and in Spanish on La Gran D 99.3 FM.
Sounders FC (7-5-5, 26 points) currently sits third in the Western Conference and continues to search for its first league win since May 9 (0-4-4).
Seattle conceded a late equalizer and settled for a 2-2 road draw against New England on Saturday night. Eddie Johnson continued his goal scoring form, netting his first brace in Rave Green with a pair of first-half headers. Johnson leads the team with seven goals, and has scored four of Seattle’s last five goals.
Earlier in the week, Sounders FC took another step in its quest for a record fourth consecutive Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a hard-fought 1-nil road win over the San Jose Earthquakes. Teenager Cordell Cato became the youngest player in club history to score a goal as Seattle extended its Open Cup unbeaten run to 17 matches (16-0-1).
The four-game, 12-day road trip for Seattle wraps up on Wednesday in Sandy, Utah. Real Salt Lake (10-6-2, 32 points) is second in the West despite losing three straight matches, including two at Rio Tinto. Seattle will look to even the series after RSL took the season advantage in May with a 1-0 win in the Emerald City.
The club then returns to the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field for the lone home league match of the month. The Colorado Rapids (7-8-1, 22 points) visit Seattle for the second time this season with the home side winning the first meeting, 1-0. The match will be the first of two against the Rapids this month as Sounders FC visits Colorado on July 28.
Following the Rapids match, Seattle will remain in the Pacific Northwest for a U.S. Open Cup semifinal match against Chivas USA on Wednesday, July 11 at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Wash.
Real Salt Lake Series Notes
Sounders FC will visit Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday hoping to repeat the result of their last regular-season visit to Salt Lake when the Rave Green snapped RSL’s MLS record 29-game home unbeaten streak. The sides have met four times since, with Salt Lake winning the two regular season meetings and the teams split the Western Conference semifinals last November, with RSL advancing 3-2 on aggregate. Salt Lake took the all-time series advantage (4-3-3, including playoffs) with a road win earlier this season on May 12. Salt Lake is 6-3-0 at home this season and Seattle is 2-2-4 on the road.
Salt Lake Notables
Real Salt Lake is amidst an uncharacteristic three-game losing streak. Despite the recent struggles, the perennial power sits second in the West with 32 points (10-6-2), and is third overall in the race for the Supporters Shield. The team has played the most games in MLS (18) and has scored 28 goals (4th in MLS). RSL is second in fouls committed (230) and third in yellow card cautions (32).
Forward Alvaro Saborio leads the Salt Lake attack with seven goals (eighth in MLS) and 46 shots (19 on goal). Fabian Espindola has added six goals and three assists and U.S. international Kyle Beckerman has four goals with three assists. Javier Morales has returned from last season’s injury and has scored twice with four assists in eight starts. The backline is shored up by RSL veterans Tony Beltran (team-high 1,603 minutes played), Chris Wingert, Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers. Keeper Nick Rimando is first amongst goalkeepers with nine wins and sixth with a 1.19 goals against average.
The RSL Connection
Seattle striker Eddie Johnson and Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis played together for four seasons (2001-2004) with the Dallas Burn. Both Leo Gonzalez and Alvaro Saborio began playing for the Costa Rica National Team in 2002. Saborio played for Gonzalez’s rival club, Saprissa, for five seasons. Seattle’s Mauro Rosales and Salt Lake’s Javier Morales and Fabian Espindola are from Argentina. Sigi Schmid coached midfielder Ned Grabavoy for one season at Los Angeles (2004).
Colorado Series Notes
Sounders FC has dominated the all-time series with Colorado, taking a 5-1-1 advantage with wins in the past four meetings. Seattle has protected its home turf with victories in all four meetings at CenturyLink Field, outscoring Colorado 10-4. Seattle defeated the Rapids, 1-0, at home in the first meeting of the season on April 14 when Zach Scott netted his first goal and Alex Caskey recorded his first assist. The Rave Green have scored multiple goals in four of the seven games and have been held scoreless just once. Fredy Montero leads all players with four goals and six assists in the series, putting 10 of his 23 shots on frame.
About the Rapids
The Colorado Rapids (7-8-1, 22 points) have remained in the middle of the conference this season and currently sit fifth in the West. The team is tied-sixth in MLS with 24 goals and has scored multiple goals in eight of 16 matches (tied-eighth in MLS). The Rapids have lost six of eight road contests this season (2-6-0). Colorado snapped a two-game losing streak with a commanding 3-0 home win over the Portland Timbers last Saturday and they host Vancouver in a midweek match on July 4. Midfielder Jaime Castrillon leads the group with five goals, and forwards Omar Cummings and Kamani Hill have each added three goals and one assist. Conor Casey opened his account last weekend with a goal against Portland. Overall, 13 different players have scored and 15 players have a goal or assist. The Colorado defense ranks 11th in MLS with a 1.31 goals against average. Matt Pickens has played every minute in net, making 65 saves while allowing 21 goals and keeping five shutouts.
Eddie Johnson and Colorado head coach Oscar Pareja played together with the Dallas Burn from 2001-04. Pareja also played for Colombia’s Deportivo Cali – the former club of Fredy Montero and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. Montero and Hurtado will face fellow Colombian countrymen Jaime Castrillon and Luis Zapata. Argentine midfielders Mauro Rosales and Martin Rivero will also meet each other on Saturday. Rapids forward Conor Casey attended the University of Portland from 1999-2000. Casey and Eddie Johnson crossed paths on the U.S. National Team from 2001-on. Former Sounder Tyrone Marshall has six starts and eight appearances this season for the Rapids. Marshall was obtained by Colorado in the 2010 re-entry draft.
Sounders Academy/U23 Update
Sounders FC U23 picked up a couple of road wins over the weekend against local opponents as their hot streak continues. On Friday night, the Rave Green took down the North Sound Sea Wolves, 5-0, in a game held at Edmonds-Woodway High School. On Sunday, the Sounder U23′s took down rival Washington Crossfire, 1-0, at Redmond High School to extend their winning streak to seven games. At 27 points, Seattle sits just two points behind the first-place Kitsap Pumas. The two sides will meet Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.
Patrick Ianni’s side-winding volley against Sporting Kansas City won MLS Goal of the Week…The MLS All-Star First XI will be announced on Sunday, July 8…With the draw at New England, Seattle has earned points in 10 of 14 matches (4-5-6) immediately following an Open Cup match. The team’s record during Cup play is 20-10-17 all-time…Fredy Montero will return to MLS action after serving a one-game suspension for his red card at Portland. The match at New England marked Eddie Johnson’s third game without a yellow card caution. With the Good Behavior status, Johnson’s season total is rolled back from four to three yellow cards. Osvaldo Alonso received his fifth yellow card of the season at New England. Alonso will be unavailable for selection for the Real Salt Lake match on July 4…Only three teams have allowed fewer goals than Sounders FC (18): Columbus Crew (15), Sporting Kansas City (16) and Philadelphia Union (17).