The Sounders welcome back in goal Michael Gspurning at Colorado Saturday; they are 1-0-3 in their past four MLS matches, second-longest unbeaten streak in the league.
MATCH: Seattle Sounders FC (8-5-7, 31 points, 4th, West Conf.) at Colorado Rapids (7-13-1, 22 points, 7th, West Conf.). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Saturday, 6 p.m., Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO. MEETING: 9th (Sounders lead 6-1-1). LAST FIVE: Sounders, L-T-T-W-T; Rapids, L-L-L-L-L. TV: ESPN. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: La Gran D 99.3 FM.
The Sounders test their undefeated run — 3-0-3 in the past six matches across all competitions, including 1-0-3 in league play — at Colorado (7-13-1, 22 points) Saturday. The Rapids, a club the Sounders have dominated, will enter having lost five in a row, including a 2-0 setback at Real Salt Lake last weekend. Colorado is 5-4-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park this season.
Seattle’s four-game unbeaten run in MLS action is the second-longest active streak in the league. On the other hand, the Sounders have now gone seven consecutive road matches without a win, although they have taken a point for each of the last three and drawn five times in the seven-game span.
“We continue to be a decent road team, although we’d like some of those ties to be wins,” said head coach Sigi Schmid.
The Sounders will have two significant changes to their starting lineup. Schmid originally announced Bryan Meredith as probable at goalkeeper, but will likely start Michael Gspurning, who has missed his last 13 games with a hip injury.
After the Sounders traded midfielder Alvaro Fernandez to the Chicago Fire Friday, they acquired German midfielder Christian Tiffert just before the close of the summer transfer window Friday. He replaces Fernandez as one of three designated players, but won’t be available until he gets his P-1 visa. Steve Zakuani is listed as probable to play and will be returning to the same stadium where he suffered his broken leg more than a year ago.
Losers of five in a row, the Rapids are 1-7-0 since the start of June. Colorado, a good offense-no defense club, ranks eighth in MLS with 1.29 goals per game, seventh in shots (266), and fourth in shots on goal (100). However, the Rapids surrender 1.43 goals per match (15th in MLS) and have been out-scored 9-3 during their five-match losing skid.
Obviously, when a team hasnt won games for a while, theres a little extra bite to their game, said Schmid. Theres a little extra effort, pressure thats being put on from the coaching staff and players themselves, so theyre going to be raring to go.
In two games this season, the Sounders have out-shot the Rapids 33-10.
Thirteen different players have collaborated for Colorado’s 27 goals. Omar Cummings and midfielder Jaime Castrillon lead with five goals apiece. In his first season in MLS, Argentine midfielder Martin Rivero is tied for seventh with six assists, while midfielder Brian Mullan is just outside the top 10 with five assists.
Forward Conor Casey, a six-year MLS veteran with 50 career goals, has two goals and two assists in 11 appearances since coming back from a torn Achilles on April 28.
Veteran goalkeeper Matt Pickens leads MLS with 108 saves this season.
SOUNDERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Defenders — Marc Burch, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Adam Johansson. Midfielders — Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Mauro Rosales, TBA. Forwards — Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero; Goalkeeper – Michael Gspurning.
INJURIES — Out: Babayele Sodade (right knee AC tear); David Estrada (foot fracture). Questionable: Michael Gspurning; Alex Caskey (hamstring); Andrew Weber (abductor strain). Probable: Steve Zakuani (leg fracture); Cordell Cato (knee sprain).
SERIES: Dates to May 23, 2009, when the Sounders and Rapids played to a 2-2 draw in Denver. Fredy Montero and Nate Jaqua provided the Seattle goals. The Sounders have dominated the series, owning a 6-1-1 advantage, including a 1-0 victory April 1 and a 2-1 win July 7. Seattle has won all four home contests against the Rapids, outscoring Colorado 10 -4. Montero leads all scorers in the series with four, plus five assists. Overall, Sounders have outscored the Rapids 15-7.
LAST MATCH (MLS): Sounders played to a 2-2 tie with the New York Red Bulls, Seattle receiving goals from Alvaro Fernandez and Fredy Montero, who collected his first MLS goal since May 19, a span of eight matches.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
SOUNDERS (MLS) LEADERS
|Starts||Montero 16, Alonso 16, Parke 16|
|Goals||Johnson 8, Estrada 5, Montero 5|
|Assists||Rosales 6, Montero 4, Caskey 3|
|Shots||Montero 76, Johnson 44, Estrada 23, Evans 17|
|Shots On Goal||Montero 27, Johnson 14, Estrada 10|
|Fouls Caused||Montero 36, Johnson 25, Alonso 21, Scott 20|
|Fouls Suffered||Montero 47, Rosales 28, Johnson 26|
|Offsides||Johnson 24, Montero 8, Estrada 6|
|Corner Kicks||Rosales 55, Fernandez 16, Caskey 12|
|Cautions||Johnson 5, Montero 4, Scott 4|
|Ejections||Hurtado 1, Fernandez 1, Montero 1|
COACHES: Sigi Schmidbecame 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.
Oscar Pareja: Rapids named Pareja, a former MLS Best XI player and experienced assistant coach, as the clubs head coach Jan. 5. Pareja joined the Rapids from FC Dallas, where he served as the clubs reserves coach and academy director. In nearly six years at Dallas, Pareja developed one of the top youth academies in the country, which contributed six players to the FC Dallas first team. The native of Medellín, Colombia, first joined the FC Dallas staff as an assistant to Steve Morrow from 2005-07, before becoming an assistant with the U.S. under-17 national team in 2007-08. After nearly a year with U.S. Soccer, Pareja returned to Dallas to become the clubs Director of Player Development.
COMING UP: After playing Colorado, the Sounders return to CenturyLink Field for an Aug. 2 date with Caledonia in a CONCACAF Champions League match. Three days later (Aug. 5) the Sounders will host the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(8-5-7, 31 points, MLS; 1-1 CCL; 4-0 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||W||1-0||3-0-0|
|6/30||^at New England||4:30||KONG||D||2-2||7-5-5|
|7/15||^at New York||1:00||ESPN||D||2-2||8-5-7|
|8/5||^vs. LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN2||—||—||—|
|8/8||&at Sport KC||6:00||TBD||—||—||—|
|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