Sounders were the MLS’s best road team in 2011, and will enter their match with United with a five-match winning streak away from home.
MATCH: Seattle Sounders FC (2-1-0, 6 points, 5th, Western Conf.) at D.C. United (1-1-1, 4 points, 6th Eastern Conf.) TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Saturday, 4:30 p.m., RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.. MEETING: 8th (Sounders lead 4-2-1). TV: KONG 6/16; KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114, Spanish). RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH RADIO: La Gran D 99.3 FM.
If the Sounders (2-1-0, 6 points) are going to bounce back from their first loss of the season (to San Jose), they will have to do it on the road, which is not necessarily a bad thing in Seattle’s case. The Sounders have won their past five regular-season road contests dating to Aug. 6. Seattle also posted the best road mark in MLS last season, scoring a league-high 24 away goals en route to a 9-3-5 record.
The Sounders are fifth in the Western Conference, but have played one fewer game than opponents due to CONCACAF play. The Sounders have won won both meetings this season vs. the East, outscoring Toronto and Houston a combined 5-1.
D.C. United (1-2-1, 4 points) is coming off its first win, 4-1 over FC Dallas. Maicon Santos netted a brace and an assist as the Red and Black broke out of a scoring slump to capture three points. United has yet to defeat a Western Conference foe this season.
Dwayne De Rosario, the reigning MLS Most Valuable Player, heads the D.C. attack. De Rosario netted 16 goals with 12 assists in 2011 despite playing for three clubs. The Canadian international has settled into United’s midfield but has yet to score a goal (he had two assists against FC Dallas).
De Rosario is joined in the attack by Santos, a forward who tallied twice with an assist last week. Goalkeeper Joe Willis has started the past three games as Bill Hamid was unavailable due to international duty and injury.
Willis has 11 saves and allowed four goals. D.C.’s backline has stayed consistent with the likes of Brandon McDonald, Daniel Woolard and former Salt Lake player Robbie Russell.
The Sounders will again be without the services of Mauro Rosales, out with a knee sprain. He could return for the April 14 match with Colorado. Also questionable are Adam Johasson (hamstring), Eddie Johnson (hip) and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (pelvis). Midfielder Brad Evans should return after a hamstring injury.
SERIES: Dates to June 17, 2009, when the Sounders and D.C. United played to a 3-3 draw in Seattle, receiving goals from Osvaldo Alonso (38), Nate Jaqua (45) and Fredy Montero (57). Sounders FC leads the series at 4-2-1 (all competitions), with three wins at RFK Stadium. One of the most memorable nights in club history came in nation’s capitol Sept. 9, 2009, when the Sounders defeated D.C. to win the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, 2-1. Sounders FC outscored D.C. United 12-9, and the Rave Green scored at least one goal in all six MLS meetings. This will be the only league meeting between the teams this season. Sigi Schmid is 16-10-4 all-time vs. D.C.
LAST MATCH (Sounders, March 31): A Chris Wondolowski penalty kick proved the difference as the San Jose Earthquakes took a 1-0 victory from the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field. Quakes forward Steven Lenhart drew the penalty, victimizing Marc Burch, that set up the games only goal, Wondolowski’s fourth of the season. San Jose’s penalty kick was the first ceded by Seattle in 2012. The Sounders had an 18-12 advantage in shots on goal in the foul-plagued affair: San Jose received 15, Seattle 12.
LAST MATCH (D.C. United, March 30): Maicon Santos gave United its first lead of the season with a thunderous strike in the 28th minute and D.C. went on to post its first MLS triumph of the year, 4-1 over FC Dallas, at RFK Stadium. FC Dallas fought back, and Blas Perez scored a controversial equalizer in the last minutes of the first half. The second half was all Black-and-Red with Nick DeLeon, Danny Cruz and Santos tallying.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
D.C. UNITED STATS / NOTES
COACHES: Sigi Schmid became first head coach of Seattle Sounders FC Dec. 16, 2008, and is in his fourth year. Born in Tübingen, Germany, Schmid relocated with his family to the U.S. in 1956, and to Torrance, CA., in 1962. He was a four-year starter at UCLA (1972-75) and graduated with a B.S. degree in economics in 1976.
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.
Ben Olsen: Olsens coaching career began prior to the 2010 MLS campaign as an assistant under Curt Onalfo. Midway through that season, Olsen stepped into the breach to replace Onalfo, making his debut as interim head coach on Aug. 7 at New England. Olsen won his first match Feb. 22 against Philadelphia in a 2-0 triumph. Following improved play under the former United captain, Olsen was hired permanently as head coach Nov. 29, 2010 . At 33, he is the youngest coach in MLS, having retired as a player from the Black-and-Red Nov. 24, 2009. As a player, Olsen was among the clubs all-time leaders in several key categories second in games played (221), minutes played (17,098) and game-winning goals (13), third in assists (49) and shots on goal (155), and seventh in goals (29).
COMING UP: The Sounders, in a slow April, have a 1 p.m. home match April 14 vs. the Colorado Rapids. the Sounders hit the road again for a date with the Chicago Fire April 28.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule
(2-1-0, 6 points, 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; #=International friendly