Eddie Johnson, Adam Johansson and Mario Martinez return to the Sounders from World Cup qualifying duty against Dallas, which is pursuing the fifth and final West playoff spot.
MATCH: FC Dallas (9-12-11, 32 points, 6th, MLS West) at Seattle Sounders FC (14-7-11, 53 points, 3rd, MLS West). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Sunday, 6 p.m. CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 9th (Sounders lead 3-1-4). LAST 10: Sounders 4-2-4; Dallas 4-2-4. TV: ESPN. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
The Sounders enter their final regular-season home match of the season Sunday night against F.C. Dallas sporting a 330-minute shutout streak, five minutes shy of the longest such streak of the season, 335 minutes from March 31-April 28.
“These shutouts aren’t coming from nothing,” said goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. “We know we have to keep working.”
Gspurning, who had a season-high tying five saves in the 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake Wednesday, leads MLS with with a 0.70 goals-against average. He also leads in winning percentage at .711.
“For me, Michael has been everything we’ve hoped for and everything we expected of him,” said coach Sigi Schmid, who is suspended for the match for criticizing referee Ricardo Salazar after Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with Salt Lake City. Assistant Brian Schmetzer will run the club in Schmid’s absence.
“For me, he’s the goalkeeper of the year in this league,” Schmid said. “I think he’s the goalkeeper that’s been the most consistent. We had one bad stretch this season, and that was the stretch where he was injured. When you look at our record when he’s played, I don’t believe there’s a goalkeeper that can match that record.”
This will be the first meeting this season between the teams and first at CenturyLink Field.
FC Dallas is four points behind Vancouver for the fifth and final playoff spot. Dallas has found its form recently, losing just once (4-1-4) in its last nine matches. The club ranks 13th in MLS with 1.22 goals per game and 11th with 1.31 goals allowed.
Seventeen players have scored for Dallas this season, but only one has scored more than five. Forward Blas Perez leads with eight goals, including three in his last two games. Fabian Castillo has five goals, but hasn’t scored since Aug. 18. Midfielders David Ferreira and Jackson lead with seven assists.
Goalkeeper Keven Hartman, the league’s all-time leader in games played (414), wins (180) and saves (1,467), has six shutouts and is sixth in the league with 91 saves.
The Sounders will return defender Adam Johansson and forward Eddie Johnson to the starting lineup after the pair missed the Real Salt Lake draw due to national team commitments. Defender Zach Scott will be unavailable due to his ejection Wednesday. Reserve Mario Martinez is also available after World Cup duty with Honduras.
SOUNDERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Michael Gspurning. Defenders – Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch. Midfielders — Mauro Rosales, Christian Tiffert, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso. Forwards — Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson.
FC DALLAS LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Kevin Hartman. Defenders — Jair Benitez, Matt, Hedges, Herman Perutz, Zach Lloyd. Midfielders — Ricardo Villar, Daniel Hernandez, Andrew Jacobsen, David Ferreira. Forwards — Fabian Castillo, Blas Perez.
INJURIES (Sounders): Out — FW Babayele Sodale (ACL tear), DF Andrew Duran (ACL surgery). Doubtful — DF Leo Gonzalez (hamstring strain), Patrick Ianni (calf).
DISCIPLINARY SITUATION (Sounders): Suspended — Zach Scott; Montero and Alonso will be suspended after their next yellow cards.
LAST MLS MATCH (Sounders, Oct. 17): After playing for an hour with a man down, goalkeeper Michael Gspurning made two saves in the final minute, enabling the Sounders to complete a 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake. The Sounders lost defender Zach Scott in the 30th minute when he received the second of two yellow cards for a hard tackle on Javier Morales. Seattle remained three points (56-53) behind Real Salt Lake in MLS West.
LAST VS. FC DALLAS (Sept. 2): Mauro Rosales, with an assist from Steve Zakuani, playing for the first time in more than a year, scored Seattle’s goal in a 1-1 draw. Seattle’s lead lasted only 12 minutes as Brazilian forward Jackson put in the equalizer. Zuakani played 65 minutes in his first substantial game action since suffering a broken leg at Colorado in 2011.
SERIES: Dates to May 16, 2009, when the Sounders and FC Dallas drew at 1-1, Seattle receiving its goal from Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. The Sounders have won three of the past four matches between the clubs across all competitions. In the last eight MLS meetings, Seattle has recorded 10 goals, FC Dallas seven.
VOTE FOR THE GM: Sounders season ticket members will have the option to vote to keep or fire general manager Adrian Hanauer in person Sunday. Sounders FC season ticket members need their primary email address, which is registered with the team, and their account ID, which is on their ticket or membership card. The vote, which needs a minimum of 10,000 for validation, began Oct. 7 and will conclude Dec. 7.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
SOUNDERS (MLS) LEADERS
|Starts||Alonso 28, Evans 27, Parke 27|
|Goals||Johnson 14, Montero 13, Estrada 5|
|Assists||Rosales 13, Montero 6, Caskey 4, Evans 4|
|Shots||Montero 115, Johnson 69, Alonso 35|
|Shots On Goal||Montero 43, Johnson 24, Evans 11|
|Fouls Caused||Montero 60, Johnson 39, Alonso 33|
|Fouls Suffered||Montero 62, Alonso 50, Johnson 44|
|Offsides||Johnson 34, Montero 19, Estrada 6|
|Corner Kicks||Rosales 69, Tiffert 27, Fernandez 16|
|Cautions||Alonso 7, Johnson 6, Montero 5|
|Ejections||Hurtado, Fernandez, Montero, Scott, 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.
Schelles Hyndman: Hyndman is in his fifth season as head coach of FC Dallas. Hyndman is one of the most successful college soccer coaches in American sports history, compiling a 466-122-49 record as the head coach at Southern Methodist University. He also coached at Murray State (1974-75) and Eastern Illinois (1977-83). He was the 1981 NSCAA Coach of the Year.
COMING UP: Starting with FC Dallas, the Sounders will play three matches in the next week. The Sounders meet CD Marathon in CONCACAF Champions League play Wednesday and then end the regular season sSaturday against the L.A. Galaxy in Carson, CA.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(14-7-11, 53 points, MLS; 2-0 CCL; 4-1 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||W||4-0||10-5-7|
|8/8||&at Sport KC||6:00||GolTV||L||2-1||4-1|
|8/11||^at San Jose||7:30||KONG||L||2-1||10-6-7|
|9/2||^at FC Dallas||4:00||KING||D||1-1||12-6-8|
|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