While Seattle Sounders FC take a break from league play, English giants and Champions League winners Chelsea FC visit the Pacific Northwest for a friendly on Wednesday evening. A huge crowd and national TV audience will view the match on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on ESPN2.
The friendly will be the first match for Chelsea since the memorable night in Munich on May 19 when the Blues captured its first Champions League title.
Tickets for the friendly will be available through SoundersFC.com, all Ticketmaster Outlets, CenturyLink Field Box Office or by calling 877-MLS-GOAL.
When Sounders FC (8-5-7, 31 points) returns to MLS action in two weeks, the team will play six games in a 21-day stretch, beginning with a road date at Colorado on July 28 and continuing with a home match against Trinidad’s Caledonia in the CONCACAF Champions League as well as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final at Kansas City.
The summer surge has begun for Seattle as the Rave Green has gone unbeaten in the past four MLS games (1-0-3) and six overall (3-0-3). Sounders FC is in sole possession of third place in the Western Conference, and sixth overall in the full table.
Sounders FC earned a comeback road draw at New York on Sunday. Alvaro Fernandez gave Seattle the early lead and, after conceding twice, Fredy Montero brought Seattle level, 2-2, just five minutes after entering the match as a second-half substitute.
Before the cross-country trip to New York, Sounders FC secured a spot in its fourth straight U.S. Open Cup final with a 4-1 win over Chivas USA in the semifinals. Osvaldo Alonso netted a goal and assist as four different Sounders scored. Seattle will visit Kansas City in the final on August 8 as the club attempts to become the first team in the 99-year history of the tournament to win four consecutive Cup titles.
Chelsea will begin preseason preparations against Sounders FC – the first of a four-match U.S. tour. Following the friendly in Seattle, Chelsea will travel to New York to take on French side Paris Saint Germain on July 22 at Yankee Stadium and will face the MLS All-Stars at PPL Park on July 25. The tour will conclude in Miami with a friendly against AC Milan on July 28.
Coming off a dramatic win in the Champions League final, Chelsea also captured England’s FA Cup last season. The match marks the second time in four years that the Champions League winners will play Sounders FC after Barcelona visited the Emerald City in 2009.
Following the break in competitive play, Sounders FC will play its final 14 MLS matches against opponents from the West. The team will also play in the Open Cup final as well as Champions League group play.
Upcoming Competition Schedule (times are Pacific & subject to change)
Wednesday, July 18, 6:30 p.m. – Sounders FC vs. Chelsea, Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field, Seattle
Saturday, July 28, 6 p.m. – Sounders FC at Colorado Rapids, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO
Thursday, August 2, 7 p.m. – Sounders FC vs. Caledonia, Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field, Seattle
Sunday, August 5, 6 p.m. – Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy, Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field, Seattle
Wednesday, August 8, 6 p.m. – Sounders FC at Sporting Kansas City, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan.
Upcoming MLS Reserve League Schedule (times are Pacific & subject to change)
Monday, August 6, 7 p.m. – Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy, Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, WA
Sunday, August 12, 11 a.m. – Sounders FC at San Jose, Nutrilite Training Facility, San Jose, CA
Chelsea returns to the Emerald City three years to the day of their last visit, but this time the Blues come to Seattle as the English FA Cup holders and UEFA Champions League winners. The English Premier League powerhouse based in Fulham, London, have been FA Cup winners seven times, League Cup winners four times, English champions four times, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup winners twice and UEFA Champions League winners once.
In their previous visit in 2009, Daniel Sturridge and Frank Lampard scored first-half goals as Chelsea prevailed, 2-0, in front of 65,372 fans at CenturyLink Field. The match will be the seventh international friendly for Sounders FC, and the second time in four years that the Champions League winner has visited Sounders FC (Barcelona, 2009).
The friendly will mark Chelsea’s fifth visit to Seattle and third to CenturyLink Field. In 2004, the Blues defeated Scotland’s Celtic, 4-2, before a crowd of 30,504. The original North American Soccer League Sounders won a friendly, 2-0, at the Kingdome in 1977. Chelsea first toured in 1967, defeating a local amateur side, 5-0, at Memorial Stadium.
Steve Zakuani spent his school age years in London following his family’s move from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He attended Gladesmore Community School and played in both the Arsenal youth system and Independent Football Academy, both in the English capital. The Australian-born Andy Rose moved to England in his childhood and played for Bristol City Football Club as a youth. The team finished fourth in the FA Youth Premiership and lost in the fifth round of the 2008 FA Youth Cup to Manchester City. Seattle’s Eddie Johnson (Fulham) and Mauro Rosales (Ajax) both spent time playing professionally in Europe, as well as Michael Gspurning (Skoda Xanthi) and Adam Johansson (IFK Goteborg).
The NASL Sounders featured a pair of former stars from Chelsea’s successful sides in the late Sixties and early Seventies. Tommy Baldwin came to Seattle for the 1975 season, a year after completing a nine-year run at Stamford Bridge. He scored 74 goals and was a member of the FA Cup winners in 1970 (and runners-up in 1967). Alan Hudson, the England international midfielder, starred for Seattle from 1979-82. He was the Sounders captain and helped lead the team to an NASL-record 25 wins in 1980 and the league final in 1982. In 102 appearances he assisted on a team record 48 goals. At Chelsea (1968-74), Hudson joined Baldwin in winning the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1971 over Real Madrid. An injury prevented Hudson from playing in the 1970 FA Cup final.
The Blues Roster
Chelsea’s roster features experienced players that have won trophies for both club and country. Englishman Frank Lampard captained Chelsea in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, and is Chelsea’s top scoring midfielder ever, while Czech goalkeeper Peter Cech holds the records for the cleanest sheets and fewest goals conceded in an English top-flight season.
Five players who made it beyond the group stage of EURO 2012 – Ashley Cole, John Terry, Florent Malouda, Raul Meireles and Fernando Torres – will join up during the course of the tour.
Chelsea’s newest signings, 21-year-old Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard and 23-year-old German winger Marko Marin will partake in the tour. Hazard was instrumental in achieving the League and Cup double with the French club Lille in the 2010-2011 season, as a result he was named Ligue 1 Player of the Year for the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons. His final season at Lille he finished with 20 goals, second-best in Ligue 1. Marin comes from Germany’s Werder Bremen, having made 87 Bundesliga appearances with the club while contributing 12 goals. He has 16 caps with the German national side, making two appearances at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Below: Chelsea’s home at Stamford Bridge has a museum with artifacts from visits to Seattle over the years.
CHELSEA FC ROSTER:
Goalkeepers: Petr Cech, Henrique Hilario, Ross Turnbull, Jamal Blackman
Defenders:Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, John Terry, David Luiz, Paulo Ferreira, Gary Cahill, Sam Hutchinson, Todd Kane, Nathaniel Chalobah
Midfielders:Michael Essien, Ramires, Flourent Malouda, Raul Meireles, Frank Lampard, John Mikel Obi, Eden Hazard, Marko Marin, Yossi Benayoun, Josh McEachran, George Saville
Forwards:Romelu Lukaku, Fernando Torres, Gael Kakuta, Kevin De Bruyne, Patrick Bamford, Lucas Piazon
Roger Davies to Receive Golden Scarf
goalWA.net Museum: 1980 Roger Davies feature
Former NASL legend Roger Davies will receive the “Golden Scarf” prior to the Sounders FC versus Chelsea match at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday, July 18.
The “Golden Scarf” ceremony was created to honor a group or individual in recognition of their impact in the soccer community and represents the Sounders FC core values of passion, courage and community outreach.
Davies was signed to play for the NASL Sounders in 1980 by then head coach Alan Hinton, a former teammate at Derby County. That season was one of the best in Sounders history ending with a 25-7 record. He scored an incredible 25 goals in 29 games and had 11 assists. Davies was selected as the league’s most valuable player as voted on by his fellow players. He also played an important role in Seattle reaching Soccer Bowl ’82.
In 1973, he became a part of Derby County lore during a third round FA Cup replay at Tottenham Hotspur. In the 80 minute mark, Tottenham held a 3-1 lead, all but assured of advancement to the next round when Davies scored twice in quick succession to tie the game. He rounded out a hat trick in extra time as Derby eliminated Tottenham, 5-3. Davies became a manager for Rolls Royce and an active member of Derby County County’s Ex-Rams team. He now provides radio commentary for Derby County games.
The Golden Scarf ceremony was launched in 2009 during the Sounders FC inaugural season and presented at each home match. Over the last two seasons, the ceremony has taken place prior to the team’s international friendlies.
Levesque to Retire, to be Honored on October 7
The Chelsea match will also mark the final time that fan favorite Roger Levesque will don the Rave Green kit. The nine-year Sounders veteran has become a quality utility man in Sigi Schmid’s arsenal as well as a staple in the Seattle community. Sounders FC will honor Levesque at the Portland Timbers game on October 7.
Levesque, 31, signed with Sounders FC on March 16, 2009 after spending nearly six seasons (2003-08) with the USL-1 Sounders. Levesque made 53 appearances (18 starts) for Seattle and scored six goals with two assists in his three and a half MLS seasons with the club. He added another three goals and eight assists in U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League play, including the game-winning goal in the 2009 Open Cup final.
Prior to joining Sounders FC, the seven-year MLS veteran spent three seasons with San Jose after being selected by the Earthquakes 23rd overall in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. He made four appearances in his three seasons with San Jose, spending much of his time playing on loan for the USL-1 Sounders before signing with the club in 2006. In his six seasons with the USL side, Levesque scored 27 goals in 130 regular season matches, helping the team to the league championship in 2005 and 2007 and the Open Cup semifinals in 2007 and 2008. A graduate of Stanford University, Levesque was also named MLS Humanitarian of the Month in May of 2012.
East Over, West Next
Seattle played its final league match against an Eastern Conference opponent when the team tied New York on Sunday. The final 14 matches of the MLS regular season will feature opponents from the West; half of which will be home games. In the 10 matches against the East, Seattle has won four season series (Toronto, Houston, Chicago and Philadelphia), tied four (DC United, Kansas City, New England and New York) and lost just two (Columbus and Montreal).
Seattle will look to win more season series over the next three months. Sounders FC has already won one West series with two wins over Colorado, and leads Los Angeles and Dallas by two goals. The team is tied with Chivas and Vancouver, and down by one goal to San Jose, Salt Lake and Portland.
Fredy the Super Sub
No matter the role, Fredy Montero will play the part. On Sunday afternoon in New York, coach Sigi Schmid held Montero out of the Starting XI, hoping Seattle’s goal scoring star could come off the bench and provide a spark in the second half. Schmid’s plan worked to perfection as Montero entered the match one minute after New York’s go-ahead goal, and within five minutes the striker brought Seattle back level. It was Montero’s fourth goal in eight substitute appearances with Sounders FC.
Substitute Appearances: 8
Shots (on goal): 16 (5)
Flaco in Form
Alvaro Fernandez has scored in back-to-back games to open his 2012 account. He first headed in a Mauro Rosales cross for the opening goal against Colorado. Eight days later, he volleyed in a well-placed Adam Johansson cross at the back post, giving the Uruguayan midfielder two tallies in his past 171 minutes of action. Fernandez was second on the team with nine goals last season, and he scored goals in consecutive games just one other time in his MLS career (July 16 and July 30, 2011).
Ozzie and Eddie: Seattle All-Stars
Osvaldo Alonso and Eddie Johnson may play against Chelsea FC twice in one week as both players were selected to the MLS All-Star roster. The Cuban midfielder and U.S. striker will face Chelsea on Wednesday in Seattle, then again with the All-Stars on July 25 at PPL Park in Philadelphia (live on ESPN2, TeleFutura, and in Canada on TSN and RDS starting at 5:30 p.m. PT).
Earning his second All-Star selection in his four-year MLS career, Alonso, 26, has played 90 minutes in his 15 appearances this season. The ever-active holding midfielder has been instrumental to one of the league’s top defenses, holding opponents to just one goal per game (second in MLS) and 192 shots against (first in MLS). Alonso leads Sounders FC with 702 completed passes and a passing percentage of 81.4-percent.
Johnson, 28, is named an All-Star for the third time in his eight-year MLS career. He leads Sounders FC with eight goals (tied-eighth in MLS), including five goals in the past seven games and five of the team’s last nine goals. His 0.62 goals per 90 minutes ranks just outside the top 10 in MLS. Johnson is one of two players in the top 10 of the Golden Boot race who did not play in MLS last season.
2012 MLS All-Star Gameday Roster
Goalkeepers: Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City)
Defenders: Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes), Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), Ramiro Corrales (San Jose Earthquakes), Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Heath Pearce (New York Red Bulls), Carlos Valdes (Philadelphia Union)
Midfielders: Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC), David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Pontius (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
MLS Recap: Seattle Sounders FC 2 at New York Red Bulls 2 – July 15, 2012
Alvaro Fernandez and Fredy Montero scored as Seattle Sounders FC earned a 2-2 road draw against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. Adam Johansson recorded his first two MLS assists as Seattle extended its unbeaten streak to four games (1-0-3).
Seattle struck early with a goal from Fernandez in the 16th minute. Johansson sent a long cross from the right flank to the far post where Fernandez volleyed a low shot past Red Bulls keeper Bill Gaudette.
It was the second consecutive game with a goal for Fernandez, who had nine goals in 2011.
New York then scored twice to take a 2-1 lead. Sebastien Le Toux picked up his first goal for the Red Bulls when he converted a Kenny Cooper rebound in the 24th minute. Bryan Meredith had made a diving save on Cooper’s initial shot before Le Toux tapped in the equalizer.
Joel Lindpere put New York up 2-1 in the 61st minute when he got behind the defense on the right side on a ball from Brandon Barklage. Lindpere cut across his defender and slotted a low shot inside the near post.
Montero entered as a 62nd minute substitute and pulled Seattle level just five minutes later. Johansson fed Brad Evans up the right side, who sent a low cross to Montero in the box. Montero struck the ball first time with his right foot, putting it past Gaudette to the far post.
Montero now has four goals and two assists in eight career appearances as a substitute.
The two assists marked Johansson’s first points for Seattle in league play. He also cleared a dangerous Dax McCarty header off the line in the 75th minute.
Eddie Johnson was dangerous in the first half. In the 11th minute, he fed Evans with a through-ball into the box for a one-on-one with the keeper, but Gaudette charged out to make the save. In the 32nd minute, Johnson got the ball in the box on a run and put a strong shot on frame from the left side, but Gaudette dove to make the stop.
Seattle is now unbeaten in the past six games (3-0-3) across all competitions and holds a 3-2-2 advantage all-time against New York.
USOC Recap: Seattle Sounders FC 4 vs. Chivas USA 1 – July 11, 2012
Seattle Sounders FC advanced to its fourth straight U.S. Open Cup final with a 4-1 win over Chivas USA on Wednesday night at Starfire Stadium. Osvaldo Alonso scored a goal and assist, and Eddie Johnson, Brad Evans and Sammy Ochoa added goals.
Seattle will travel to Sporting Kansas City for the Open Cup final on August 8 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. Kansas City defeated Philadelphia Union, 2-0, on Wednesday night in Chester, Penn.
Sounders FC is vying to become the first team in the 99-year history of the Open Cup to win four consecutive championships.
Johnson opened the scoring for Sounders FC in the 31st minute when Alonso played him behind the defense on a well-placed pass. Johnson beat Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy from outside the 18-yard box for his first Open Cup goal with Sounders FC.
Seattle doubled its lead in the 48th minute when Alonso converted a penalty kick following a foul by Rauwshan McKenzie on Fredy Montero in the box. Alonso stepped up to the spot and beat Kennedy down the middle.
It was the second penalty goal of the tournament for Alonso, who leads Sounders FC with four goals and two assists in this year’s competition.
Chivas pulled a goal back in the 74th minute when Cesar Romero knocked in a rebound from his own shot, cutting Seattle’s lead to 2-1.
It was the first goal allowed by Seattle in Open Cup play in 291 minutes.
Sounders FC added two more tallies in the final 10 minutes of the match to secure the victory.
In the 83rd minute, Fredy Montero made a run up the middle of the field and fed a streaking Evans in the box, who beat Kennedy with a right-footed shot for his first Open Cup goal with Seattle
Ochoa added the fourth goal in the 88th minute – two minutes after entering the match – when he picked up a loose ball in the box and blasted into the net for his third goal of this year’s tournament.
Seattle outshot Chivas, 18-4 (9-4 on goal), and held a 6-1 advantage on corner kicks.
The semifinal win extended the club’s unbeaten streak to 18 games (17-0-1) in Open Cup play. Seattle is now unbeaten in the past five games (3-0-2) across all competitions.
Seattle has outscored opponents, 15-2, in the 2012 tournament.
Sounders FC U23 onto PDL Western Conference Championships
Sounders FC U23 beat the Washington Crossfire, 3-1, in the divisional playoffs on Saturday night to advance the Western Conference Championships. Sounders FC U23 will face FC Tucson on Saturday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. PT at Ventura College in Ventura, Calif. The other conference semifinal matchup features Portland Timbers U23 at Ventura County Fusion. The Conference Championship is Sunday, July 22 at 5 p.m. PT. The Conference Champions will meet in the national semifinals on the weekend of July 27-29 at a yet to be determined location. The PDL Championship will be played on Saturday, August 4.
Roger Levesque will meet fans at the Broadway QFC in Capital Hill on Thursday, July 19 from 5-6 p.m. Brad Evans will meet fans at the Issaquah Fred Meyer on Friday, July 20 from 5:30-6:30 p.m….Three Sounders will celebrate their birthdays this month: Alex Caskey turns 24 on July 22 and Fredy Montero (25) and Babayele Sodade (22) will celebrate their birthdays on July 26…Seventeen of Seattle’s 25 goals have been scored in the second half (26 of 38 in all competitions)…Ricardo Salazar will be the referee on Wednesday…Seattle has started a different lineup in their 20 MLS matches…Fredy Montero has one more Good Behavior game until receiving a rollback on his four-card total…On July 21, 2009, Sounders FC earned a place for the first time in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Houston in extra time…On July 20, 2011, the capacity crowd of 67,052 for the friendly against Manchester United broke the attendance record for any soccer match played in the Pacific Northwest.