Weekly Notes: RSL visits Sounders Friday night

Weekly Notes: RSL visits Sounders Friday night

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Sounders FC Hosts Real Salt Lake Friday Night

Atop the league standings, Seattle Sounders FC returns home to host Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake in a nationally televised match Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.

Friday’s match will be televised on NBC Sports Network, and can be heard on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller on the call. The match can also be heard in Spanish on ESPN Deportes 1490AM.

Sounders FC (16-7-3, 51 points) earned its third straight victory with last Wednesday’s 4-2 road win over Chivas USA. Obafemi Martins and Andy Rose each scored first-half braces, as Martins now leads the team with 12 goals and nine assists.

Seattle now returns to CenturyLink Field, where it is unbeaten in the past three (2-0-1) outings. With just four home matches remaining, Sounders FC will look to earn at least two more wins to match the club record for most home wins (11) in a single season.

Friday’s match will feature perennial power and 2013 MLS Cup runners-up Real Salt Lake (12-5-10, 46 points), who currently sit third in the Western Conference. RSL earned a late 2-1 home victory over FC Dallas on Saturday, benefitting from an Alvaro Saborio game-winner in the Costa Rican forward’s first game back from injury.

The meeting will mark the third match between the two sides this season, with Seattle winning 4-0 at home before dropping a 2-1 road result last month. Following the match, Sounders FC will have seven regular season games remaining.

With a three-game road trip on the horizon, Sounders FC will travel to Philadelphia to face the Union in the U.S. Open Cup Final onSeptember 16. The team will remain on the road for regular season matches at New York (September 20) and Dallas (September 24). Seattle will then return home to conclude the month against Chivas USA on September 27.

Tickets for Sounders FC home matches are available now at www.SoundersFC.com and 1-877-MLS-GOAL.

 

Competition Schedule (All times Pacific; subject to change)

Sept. 12, 7:30 p.m. – Sounders FC vs. Real Salt Lake, CenturyLink Field

Sept. 16, 4:30 p.m. – Sounders FC at Philadelphia Union, PPL Park (USOC Final)

Sept. 20, 4:30 p.m. – Sounders FC at New York Red Bulls, Red Bull Arena

Sept. 24, 6 p.m. – Sounders FC at FC Dallas, Toyota Stadium

Sept. 27, 1 p.m. – Sounders FC vs. Chivas USA, CenturyLink Field

 

Top of the Table

Sounders FC continues to lead the way this season, sitting first in the full table for 18 of 26 weeks while boasting one of the league’s most potent attacks. Seattle enters Friday’s match with a two point lead over the LA Galaxy in the Supporters’ Shield race, has amassed two more wins than any other MLS side, and has scored the second-most goals this season.

 

Club Record Pace

After becoming the first team in MLS to hit the 50-point mark this season, Sounders FC is on pace to set several club records. Seattle’s average of 1.96 points per game is the highest in club history, besting the 2011 average of 1.85. Sounders FC will need to earn 12 points from the final eight games to match the club record point total of 63. The team has already surpassed the win total from four of the previous five seasons, and is two wins from matching the club record. Seattle is also on pace to score the most goals in club history, averaging 1.85 goals per games, eight goals from matching the 56-goal output from the 2011 season.

 

Regular Season Records

Year Wins Points PPG Goals GPG
2014 16 51 1.96 48 1.85
2011 18 63 1.85 56 1.65
2012 15 56 1.65 52 1.53
2013 15 52 1.53 42 1.24
2010 14 48 1.60 39 1.30
2009 12 47 1.57 38 1.27

 

Three Straight Wins

Sounders FC has returned to form, winning three straight games for the third time this season. After dropping four of six results from July 5 through August 16, Seattle has gone unbeaten in the past four (3-0-1) contests, including three consecutive wins by a combined score of 9-4. Sounders FC previously posted five straight wins from April 12-May 7, and three straight wins from May 31-June 28. Seattle’s current three-game winning streak is the third-longest active streak behind the LA Galaxy (five straight wins) and New England Revolution (four).

 

Sounders FC Winning Streaks – 2014

Wins Start Date End Date
5 April 12 May 7
3 May 31 June 28
3 August 24 present

 

Sounders at CenturyLink

Unbeaten in its past three home outings, Sounders FC returns to CenturyLink Field to host Real Salt Lake in the second home meeting of the season. Seattle leads the league with nine wins and just 11 goals allowed at home, and the team ranks fourth in MLS with 28 home points (9-3-1). Salt Lake has held strong on the road this season, going 4-4-5 for the fifth-highest road point total. After its six-game (3-0-3) road unbeaten streak to start the season was snapped in Seattle on May 31, RSL has gone 1-4-2 in its past seven away outings, including a 1-1 draw at San Jose in its last road trip on August 30.

 

Friday Night Lights

The upcoming match against Real Salt Lake marks the first Friday game of the season for Sounders FC. The team will also host Vancouver on Friday, October 10. Since 2009, Seattle has played six Friday games in regular season and postseason play, going 4-0-2. Sounders FC has twice hosted RSL in Friday games, including a scoreless draw in the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs and a 2-0 win on September 13, 2013.

 

Road Trip Ahead

Following Friday’s Western Conference meeting with Real Salt Lake, Sounders FC will hit the road for a three-game, 12-day trip. Seattle will travel to Philadelphia on Sunday for Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup Final against the Union, and will bus to New Jersey on Wednesday. After playing the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, Sounders FC will conclude its road trip with a visit to FC Dallas on Wednesday, September 24. Seattle will travel an estimated 5,500 miles during the trip.

 

Sounders FC has played three consecutive games on the road on two occasions this season, though the team returned to Seattle in between games. From April 5 through April 19, Seattle tied the Portland Timbers, 4-4, before downing FC Dallas, 3-2, and Chivas USA, 2-1. From June 7 through July 5, Seattle beat Chicago, 3-2, and D.C. United, 1-0, and lost at Vancouver, 1-0.

 

Among the Leaders

Sounders FC remains among the league leaders in several statistical categories. The team has scored the second-most goals (48; 1.85 GPG) this season and has recorded the second-most assists (48). The 144 shots on goal ranks second, and Seattle leads the league with a 39.0 shots on goal percentage. Sounders FC ranks second in multi-goal games (14) and third in three-goal games (7). Seattle has also suffered the third-most fouls (404) in MLS this season.

 

Several Sounders FC players are among the league’s elite as well. Obafemi Martins is tied-6th with 12 goals and nine assists, and is 10th with a 0.39 assists per game average. Clint Dempsey is tied-9th with 11 goals, tied-2nd with four game-winners and tied-6th with three multi-goal games. His average of 0.61 goals per game ranks sixth in MLS, and he has recorded the fourth-most shots (83) and fifth-most shots on goal (34). Dempsey has also recorded a goal or assist in his past three outings. Forward Chad Barrett ranks second with an average of 0.84 goals per 90 minutes and third with a 28.0 scoring percentage. Gonzalo Pineda is tied-2nd with four game-winning assists and Lamar Neagle ranks fifth with a 52.5 shots on goal percentage. Stefan Frei has played the second-most games (26) in goal, and leads the league with eight shutouts. He ranks fifth with 81 saves and eighth with a 69.2 saves percentage.

 

Pappa Scores Twice for Guatemala National Team

Sounders FC midfielder Marco Pappa kicked off Guatemala’s run in the Copa Centroamericana with two goals against El Salvador on September 3. Pappa struck first in the 26th minute, followed by the game-winner in the 64th minute. In the second round, Guatemala earned a 2-1 victory over Belize, as Pappa started and played 77 minutes. Guatemala’s final match of the group stage is September 10against Honduras at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

 

Guatemala Competition Schedule

Date Opponent Location Round/Result
September 3 El Salvador RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C. W, 2-1
September 7 Belize Cotton Bowl, Dallas W, 2-1
September 10 Honduras BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston Group B – rd. 3
September 13 TBD LA Coliseum, Los Angeles Knockout Stage

 

Series Notes

*Sounders FC is 4-6-4 all-time against Real Salt Lake in regular season play, but leads 3-2-2 at CenturyLink Field.

*The Rave Green holds a plus-two (15-13) goal advantage, despite being out-shot 164-142.

*Of the 28 total goals scored in the series, 18 came in the second half of games.

*Robbie Findley leads the series with three goals in eight all-time appearances against Seattle, while Nick Rimando has shut out Sounders FC five times.

*Seattle holds a 2-1-1 record in the postseason, including a 1-0 road win in the 2012 Western Conference Semifinals.

About Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake is third in the Western Conference with 46 points (12-5-10), including just one loss (5-1-3) in their past nine outings. RSL has earned a result in nine of its 13 road matches this season (4-4-5), but fell to Seattle, 4-0, back in May at CenturyLink Field. The Claret-and-Cobalt rank sixth in MLS with 42 goals and 37 assists, and third league-wide with a 1.19 goals against average. Since Sounders FC entered the league in 2009, RSL’s record of 86-53-50 is third in MLS. Seattle and Salt Lake are two of three teams (LA Galaxy) to make the playoffs every season, and boast two of the top-three records over that span.

 

RSL Notables

Ecuadorian international Joao Plata leads the Salt Lake attack with 11 goals this season, including the opening score in a 2-1 win over Seattle on August 16. The diminutive forward is also second on the team with five assists, giving him a career-high 27 points on the season. Midfielder Javier Morales leads the team with 10 assists, marking his fifth season with at least nine assists since joining the league in 2007. The Argentine has also added seven goals in 2014-one short of his career high-giving him 35 goals and 63 assists in 179 career appearances in MLS.

RSL welcomed back two of their star strikers in style as Robbie Findley opened his 2014 goal scoring account with a much needed goal against Dallas on Saturday, and Costa Rican international Alvaro Saborio returned after a leg injury which kept him sidelined for 118 days. Saborio made up for lost time quickly, scoring a 77th minute game-winner in the 2-1 win against FC Dallas.

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