Non-winners in their last seven games, he Sounders will have to solve San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski (13 goals) if they are advance to the next round of the U.S. Open Cup.
MATCH: Seattle Sounders FC (7-5-4, 25 points, 4th, West Conf.) at San Jose Earthquakes (10-3-3, 33 points, 1st, West Conf.). TYPE: Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. WHEN: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., Kezar Stadium, San Francisco. MEETING: 9th (Sounders lead 4-3-1). LAST 5: Earthquakes: T-W-L-W-W; Sounders: L-T-L-T-L. TV: None. WEBCAST: SJEarthquakes.com RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
If the Sounders are to capture a record fourth consecutive Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, they will have to shake off a franchise-worst seven-match nosedive (0-4-3), and do it against Major League Soccer’s best side, by record, the San Jose Earthquakes (10-3-3, 33 points), who have already doused Seattle once this season.
The Sounders and Earthquakes meet Tuesday night at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, two days after Seattle conceded the opening goal for the seventh consecutive match and lost to the Portland Timbers 2-1, a result that befuddled head coach Sigi Schmid.
“I think the team in the locker room has to decide which team is the Seattle Sounders: The Sounders that played the first seven games, or the Sounders that have played the last seven,” said Schmid. “They’re at the crossroads where they need to make a decision and decide which team they are.”
In its first nine games, Seattle won seven and outscored opponents 13-3. In the past seven matches, Seattle has no wins and has allowed 13 goals, scoring just six times. After securing 22 points through the first nine games, the club has just three points to show for the past seven, setting the mark for the poorest seven-game stretch in club history. The previous six-game winless streak was in 2009 and had five draws.
One of Seattle’s problems has been allowing the first goal. In 2011, the Sounders conceded the opening goal 17 times, but worked through it to post a 7-7-3 record in those matches. But Seattle hasn’t had any luck this year when the opponent scores first.
“If we could put a finger on it, then obviously it would have been figured out five or six games ago,” Brad Evans said after the Portland loss.
“In the last few games we’ve put ourselves in a hole and tried to dig ourselves out at the last minute,” said forward Eddie Johnson. In this league, you can’t do that.”
Seattle’s biggest obstacle in advancing past the quarterfinals of the Open Cup will likely come from San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski, whose scored 13 goals, including the one that beat the Sounders 1-0 March 31. Wondolowski’s 13 goals lead MLS. His 54 shots rank third and his 23 shots on goal rank fifth.
The Sounders catch one break Tuesday. Fredy Montero will not have to sit out the match as a result of receiving a red card for a two-handed shove. Instead of being idled Tuesday, Montero will sit out Seattle’s next MLS match.
SERIES: Dates to April 25, 2009, when the Sounders scored a 2-0 home win at on goals by Steve Zakuani and Brad Evans. The Sounders were unbeaten (2-0-1) in their past three with San Jose entering the 2012 season, but dropped a 1-0 decision March 31. San Jose holds an aggregate 10-9 goals advantage in the rivalry. Sounders FC will host the Quakes again Sept. 23, with a trip to the Bay Area slated for Aug. 11.
LAST MATCH (June 24): Portland tallied a pair of first-half goals and Eddie Johnson got one back for the Sounders, who were never able to get an equalizer in falling to 7-5-4. We put ourselves in a hole. In the last seven games weve played out of the hole every time. When youre constantly playing from behind it makes it difficult, Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. Its just not good enough. Seattle’s loss was its first in a Cascadia Cup match.
SOUNDERS U.S. OPEN CUP RESULTS
|28-Apr-09||Real Salt Lake||W||4-1||3,890||1-0-0|
|02-Sept.-09||at D.C. United||W||2-1||17,329||6-0-0|
The title run included Roger Levesque’s first-minute goal at Portland followed by late goals from Nate Jaqua and Stephen King to advance past Houston in extra time, and win in the final at D.C. United 2-1.
|30-Jun-10||at Portland||D||1-1 PK||15,422||6-0-1|
Nate Jaqua netted five goals in four games to earn Player of the Tournament honors, and Sanna Nyassi finished off the championship run with a brace in the final against the Columbus Crew, giving Seattle a 2-1 victory.
Fredy Montero, who stole the show, netting three game-winners in the final three matches, and Osvaldo Alonso delivered a well-crafted goal in stoppage time in the final against Chicago.
Sammy Ochoa’s two goals eliminated the Atlanta Silverbacks in a third round match May 30 at Starfire in Tukwila. Freddy Montero and Osvaldo Alonso each scored twice in the Sounders’ 5-0 win over Cal FC in the fourth round.
SOUNDERS U.S. OPEN CUP HISTORY
Seattle has won 15 games with one draw, outscoring opponents 38-10.
A Seattle team has advanced to the Open Cup semifinals in each of the past five years. In addition to the Sounders’ victories from 2009-11, the USL-1 Sounders reached that stage in 2007 (against FC Dallas) and 2008 (Charleston).
Prior to the victory over D.C. United in 2009, the only Seattle club to qualify for an Open Cup final was the amateur Mitre Eagles in 1987. The Eagles fell to Club Espana of Washington, D.C., on penalties following a 0-0 draw.
While the NASL Sounders did not participate in the Open Cup, the A-League Sounders competed on an annual basis, beginning in 1995. They lost to El Paso in the semifinals that season, and also advanced to the final four in 1996.
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 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.
Frank Yallop: Yallop is in his eighth year as head coach of the Earthquakes, and last took the team to the playoffs in 2010. Under Yallops guidance, the Quakes made a successful return to MLS in 2008 as the top expansion team of the last decade. The Quakes had more wins (8) and points (33), scored more goals (32), and allowed fewer goals (38) than any expansion team since 1998. The team also posted a nine-game unbeaten streak from July 12-Sept. 27, which was the longest in the league in 2008 and the second-longest ever by an expansion team. Yallops tenure as head coach of the Earthquakes is his second stint. He also coached the Quakes from 2001-03 before serving as the head coach of the Canadian mens national team from 2004-06 and the Los Angeles Galaxy from 2006-07.
COMING UP: The Sounders resume MLS play Saturday when they head east to face the New England Revolution. Following a July 4 match at Real Salt Lake, the Sounders return to CenturyLink Field July 7 to host the Colorado Rapids.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(7-5-4, 25 points, MLS; 1-1 CCL; 2-0 U.S. Open Cup)
|4/7||^at DC United||4:30||KING||D||0-0||2-1-1|
|5/9||^at FC Dallas||5:30||KONG||W||2-0||7-1-1|
|6/26||&at San Jose||7:30||Webcast||—||—||—|
|6/30||^vs. New England||4:30||KING||—||—||—|
|7/15||^at New York||1:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
|8/5||^vs. LA Galaxy||6:00||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; &=U.S. Open Cup