Humiliated in Mexico by Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, the Sounders return home to start the MLS season against Toronto Saturday.
MATCH: Toronto FC at Seattle Sounders FC (1-0 overall, 0-0 MLS, 1-0. TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m., CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 6th (Sounders lead 4-1-1). TV: KONG. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH RADIO: La Gran D 99.3 FM
Sounders FC and Toronto FC, are coming off CONCACAF Champions League competition Tuesday with markedly different results. Toronto FC scored a notable — even shocking — road victory over the L.A. Galaxy in one quarterfinal while the Sounders were getting hosed in another quarterfinal by Santos Laguna, 6-1 and 7-3 in aggregate goals for the two matches.
This marks the fourth consecutive year that Seattle has opened its MLS schedule at home and each was a shutout. In their inaugural year, 2009, the Sounders defeated the New York Red Bulls 3-0. In 2010, they blanked Philadelphia 2-0. Last year, the Sounders opened with a 1-0 loss to the L.A. Galaxy.
The Rave Green enjoyed considerable success against the Reds (4-1-1 in six all-time matches). Toronto FC struggled on the road, ending 2011 with just one road win (1-9-7).
The 2011 Seattle-Toronto series featured mostly late scoring. The Sounders scored three of their four goals against the Reds in the final 45 minutes. Of the four goals Toronto has scored in six matches against Seattle, three have come in the second half.
Danny Koevermans, Toronto’s leading scorer with eight goals a year ago, leads coach Aron Winter’s 4-3-3 attack along with Ryan Johnson, Joao Plata, and Nick Soolsma (three goals apiece in 2011). Silva, the fourth selection in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, will join Torsten Frings and Julian de Guzman in the midfield.
The Reds also added some depth to the back line, acquiring Jeremy Hall in a trade with Dallas and signing Chilean international Miguel Aceval. Toronto is manned in goal by keeper Stefan Frei, a Swiss international who started 81 games for the Reds since 2009, notching 19 shutouts.
SERIES: Dates to April 4, 2009, when the Sounders won 2-0 at Toronto in a match that featured goals by Freddie Ljungberg and Steve Zakuani. Seattle has outscored Toronto by an aggregate of 9-4. Seattle dominated the 2011 series, winning 3-0 in Seattle and stealing a 1-nil victory in Toronto thanks to a late Fredy Montero free kick. Saturday’s match will be the only meeting between Seattle and Toronto.
LAST MATCH (Sounders, March 14): National team player Herculez Gomez scored twice to spark Mexico’s Santos Laguna’s rout of the Sounders. Santos won the series on aggregate goals 7-3. In the second match, Santos took a 2-0 early lead and blitzed Seattle with four more goals after intermission. Alvaro Fernandez scored Seattle’s only goal, in the 37th minute, assisted by Fredy Montero.
LAST MATCH (Toronto FC, March 14): Nick Soolsma scored in the 67th minute and also added an assist and Toronto beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 in Carson, CA., to advance to the semifinals. Ryan Johnson scored on a header and set up Soolsmas goal as Toronto overcame an own goal to escape with a 4-3 victory in the total-goals series. The teams tied 2-2 last week in Toronto after the Galaxy overcame a 2-0 deficit by scoring a late equalizer.
SOUNDERS STATS/NOTES: The Sunders have picked up at least one point in 37 of 47 games at home . . .The Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC announced this week that new video boards have been installed in the end zones of CenturyLink Field. A Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision screen has been installed at the north end and a Mitsubishi Surface Mounted Device (SMD) display has been installed in the south end. “Fans will see enhanced clarity and color,” said Seahawks and Sounders FC president Peter McLoughlin. “The upgrade in technology reinforces our commitment to provide the best possible game day experience and amenities for our fans” . . . Trinidad and Tobago Mens Olympic Team has called in forward Cordell Cato for the CONCACAF Qualifying U-20 Tournament in Carson, CA. through April 2.
TORONTO FC STATS/NOTES: Toronto FC signed defender Logan Emory, 24, who most recently played for Puerto Rico Islanders of USSF Division 2 Professional League. He began his professional career with the Islanders in 2010 and left the club at the conclusion of the 2011 season. Emory played for the University of Portland before turning pro.
FIRST KICK HIGHLIGHTS: Sounders FC fans are encouraged to arrive early for the match. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Other match day activities include:
Schmid later earned a M.A. in business administration from the Southern California. A certified public accountant, Schmid coached the Los Angeles Galaxy from 1999 through 2004, winning four major competitions: 2002 MLS Cup, 2002 MLS Supporters Shield, 2001 U.S. Open Cup and the 2001 CONCACAF Champions Cup. He coached the Columbus Crew from 2006-08, winning the MLS Cup in his final season.
In 2009, under Schmid’s direction, the Sounders became the first expansion team to reach the MLS playoffs since the 1998 Chicago Fire. The Sounders also won the U.S. Open Cup in Schmid’s first season. They added their second and third U.S. Open Cup titles in 2010 and 2011.
Aron Winter: After serving as an assistant for three years with the Ajax first academy team, Winter signed a three-year contract with Toronto FC Jan. 6, 2011. After losing his first game to expansion Vancouver, Winter won his second by beating Portland 2-0. Winter won his first trophy with Toronto last July with a 32 win on aggregate goals over Vancouver, helping Toronto win its third consecutive Canadian Championship, which gave Toronto a berth in the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League. Winter was a member of the Dutch national team that won the 1988 European Football Championship. In the 1994 FIFA World Cup, he scored a goal against Brazil in the quarterfinals.
COMING UP: The Sounders have two more home matches in March, Houston March 23 and San Jose March 31.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule
(1-1 overall, 0-0 MLS, 1-1 CCL)
|4/7||^at DC United||4:30||KING||—||—||—|
|5/9||^at FC Dallas||5:30||KING||—||—||—|
|6/30||^vs. New England||4:30||KING||—||—||—|
|7/15||^at New York||1:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
|8/5||^vs. LA Galaxy||7:00||ESPN2||—||—||—|
|8/11||^at San Jose||7:30||KING||—||—||—|
|9/2||^at FC Dallas||4:00||KING||—||—||—|
|10/21||^vs. FC Dallas||6:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
|10/28||^at LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
*=CONCACAF; ^=Major League Soccer