BY SPNW Staff 06:30AM 03/30/2013

Winless Sounders Finally Back At Full Strength

The Sounders, who have one goal in three league matches, will have leading scorer Eddie Johnson back when they play at Real Salt Lake Saturday.

The Sounders scored one of the biggest wins in franchise history in November at Rio Tinto Stadium when Mario Martinez’s goal in the 81st minute gave Seattle a 1-0 victory and sent the club to the Western Conference finals. / Wiki Commons

MATCH: Seattle Sounders FC (0-2-1, 1 point, T8, MLS West) at Real Salt Lake (1-2-1, 4 points, 6th, MLS West). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Saturday, 6 p.m., Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, UT. MEETING: 14th (RSL leads 5-4-4, all competitions ). TV: KONG. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.

National team players Eddie Johnson (USA), Mario Martinez (Honduras) and Obafemi Martins (Nigeria) have rejoined the Sounders following World Cup qualifiers, and injured midfielders Brad Evans and Shalrie Joseph are also expected to be available Saturday when Seattle faces Real Salt Lake.

The return couldn’t come soon enough. The Sounders, who have trotted out five lineups in five matches (all competitions), have scored one point in their three league matches, tied for the fewest after three games in franchise history. The 2011 Sounders also had a single point after three matches.

A 1-0 loser at San Jose last week (third 1-0 loss in five matches across all competitions), the Sounders have not lost back-to-back league matches since March 2011, the longest stretch (736 days) in league history.

“It’s not the start we want,” said goalie Michael Gspurning, “but we know there are positives to take from what we’ve done so far. We have to find a way to fix the problem of conceding the late goals. The only way to solve this problem is to battle through and train hard.”

Besides the returning international players, head coach Sigi Schmid could usevother alternatives Saturday. Joseph, obtained in the offseason from Chivas USA, has overcome a calf injury and returned to full training. Brad Evans is also training after missing the past two matches.

“It’s important that we are healthy and that we’re playing well as we move forward with the season,” said Schmid. “To try and rush someone back because we’re panicking because we haven’t gotten a win yet, and have them suffer an injury that puts them out for a long period of time, makes no sense.”

RSL is led by forward Alvaro Saborio,  second in MLS with three goals, including a pair in the opener at San Jose. The Costa Rican has 43 career MLS goals since entering the league in 2010, including a career-high 17 in 2012 (third in MLS).

Kyle Beckerman anchors the RSL midfield and has made 150 starts since joining the club in 2007. Midfielder Luis Gil is one of four players to have started all four matches this season. He had an assist in a 1-1 draw vs. Colorado.

As the Sounders discovered last year, RSL’s main stud is goalkeeper Nick Rimando. In five matches against Rimando last year, the Sounders tallied just one goal. In 14 MLS easons, Rimando ranks third all-time in career starts in goal (322) and saves (1,152), and second in shutouts (100) and wins (138).

This season, Rimando has a 0.67 goals-against average in 270 minutes. He has one win, one shutout and 12 saves.

SOUNDERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Michael Gspurning. Defenders – Leo Gonzalez, Djimi Traore, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, DeAndre Yedlin. Midfielders — Andy Rose, Mauro Rosales, Steve Zakuani, Osvaldo Alonso. Forwards — Sammy Ochoa, Eddie Johnson

REAL SALT LAKE PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Nick Rimando. Defenders — Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Abdoulie Mansally. Midfielders — Ned Grabavoy, Luis Gil, Sebastian Velasquez, Kyle Beckerman. Forwards — Alvaro Saborio, Robbie Findley.

INJURIES (Sounders & RSL): Seattle — none; RSL — none.

SERIES: Dates to March 28, 2009, when the Sounders won 2-0 at home on goals by Nate Jaqua and Fredy Montero. Sides met five times last year with Real Salt Lake winning 1-0 May 2, followed by three scoreless draws. In the last meeting, in the MLS Cup playoffs Nov. 8, 2012, the Sounders won 1-0 on a Mario Martinez goal in the 81st minute. Sounders ended Real Salt Lake’s 28-game home unbeaten streak in 2o11.

SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES

  • REGULAR-SEASON SUMMARY (MLS): Overall: 0-2-1. Last 5: L-D-L. Home: 0-1-1. Road: 0-1-0. Vs. East: 0-1-0. Vs. West: 0-1-1. March: 0-2-1; April: 0-0-0; May: 0-0-0; June: 0-0-0; July: 0-0-0; August: 0-0-0; September: 0-0-0; October: 0-0-0. Goals For: 1. Goals Against: 3. Differential: -2.
  • MLS TEAM RANKS: Goals: 1 (T17). Goals Scored Avg.: 0.33 (T17). Goals Allowed Per Match: 1.00 (T5). Shots: 38 (14th). Shots On Goal: 10 (17th). Fouls Committed: 39 (T16). Fouls Suffered: 37 (T16). Yellow Card Cautions: 4 (T10).
  • Sounders 0-0-1 when leading at the half, 0-0-0 when tied at the half, 0-2-0 when trailing at the half.
  • Sounders 0-0-1 when scoring first, 0-2-0 when conceding first.
  • Both of Eddie Johnson’s goals (all competitions) have come on assists from Steve Zakuani.
  • Osvaldo Alonso has made 111 career starts for the Sounders, two more than Fredy Montero’s club record of 109.
  • When right back DeAndre Yedlin and center back Djimi Traore scored against Tigres in the second leg of their Champions League match, it marked the first time in Sounders history that two defenders tallied in the same game.
  • When Yedlin, Seattle’s first homegrown player, scored against Tigres, he became the youngest to score for the club at 19 years, 8 months, 3 days.
  • The Sounders will host Mexico’s Santos Laguna in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals Tuesday at 7 p.m. at CenturyLink Field. Tickets are  available by phone at 800-745-3000 or www.SoundersFC.com. The Sounders will visit Santos Laguna in the second leg April 9. In a similar scheduling setup last year, the Sounders won the first leg at home 2-1, lost the second leg at Santos Laguna 6-1, and the series on aggregate 7-3.
  • Sounders have been nominated for the 2013 Sports Team of the Year by SportsBusiness Journal/Daily. Other nominees include the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Nationals. The Sounders previously won the award in 2010.

SOUNDERS MLS LEADERS

Category Skinny
Starts 5 players tied with 3 starts each
Goals Johnson 1
Assists Zakuani 1
Shots Johnson 9, Alonso 6, Martinez 4, Rosales 4
Shots On Goal Johnson 3, Estrada 2, Martinez 2
Fouls Caused Alonso 7, Evans 4, Zakuani 4, Gonzalez 3
Fouls Suffered Alonso 8, Johnson 6, Martinez 4
Offsides Johnson 4, Zakuani 1, Evans 1, Martinez 1
Corner Kicks Rosales 16, Martinez 5
Cautions Evans, Johnson, Alonso, Hurtado 1
Ejections None

RSL NOTES: Saborio leads all active players in the RSL-Seattle series with two goals . . . RSL has a -1 goal differential (three goals/four allowed). RSL’s lone victory came in a 2-0  result at San Jose in the season opener, The club has played  one home match, a 1-1 draw with Colorado . . . Since 2009, RSL has amassed 210 points (59-30-33), third in MLS behind only the LA and Seattle . . . RSL has made the MLS Cup playoffs five consecutive seasons and won the MLS Cup in 2009 . . .Yordany Alvarez is suspended through Saturday.

COMING UP: The Sounders return to CenturyLink Field Tuesday to play the first leg of a two-leg series against Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals. The second leg is April 9 in Mexico. The Sounders resume MLS play April 13 against the New England Revolution.

Seattle Sounders FC 2013 Schedule / Results

(0-2-1, 1 point, MLS; 1-0-0 CCL; 0-0-0 U.S. Open Cup)

Date Opponent Time TV W/L Score Rec.
3/2 vs. Montreal 7:00 KING L 1-0 0-1-0
3/6 *at Tigres 7:00 Fox Soccer L 1-0 0-0-0
3/12 *Tigres 7:00 NBCSN W 3-1 1-0
3/16 ^Portland 5:00 NBCSN D 1-1 0-1-1
3/23 ^at San Jose 7:30 KING 5 L 1-0 0-1-2
3/30 ^RSL 6:00 KONG
4/2 *Santos TBD NBCSN
4/9 *at Santos TBD NBCSN
4/13 ^N. England 1:00 KING/KONG
4/20 ^at Colorado 3:00 KING/KONG
5/4 ^at Phila. 4:30 KING/KONG
5/8 ^at KC 5:30 KING/KONG
5/11 ^San Jose 1:00 KING/KONG
5/18 ^FC Dallas 7:00 KING/KONG
5/26 ^at LA Galaxy 8:00 ESPN2
6/1 ^at Chivas 7:30 KING/KONG
6/8 ^Vancouver 7:30 NBCSN
6/22 ^at RSL 6:30 KING/KONG
7/3 ^DC United 7:00 KING/KONG
7/6 ^at Vancouver 8:00 NBCSN
7/13 ^at San Jose 7:30 KING/KONG
7/20 ^Colorado 1:00 KONG
7/28 ^Chivas 6:00 KING/KONG
8/3 ^FC Dallas 7:00 KING/KONG
8/10 ^at Toronto TBA KING/KONG
8/17 ^at Houston 6:00 KING/KONG
8/25 ^Portland 7:00 ESPN2
8/31 ^at Columbus 4:30 KING/KONG
9/4 ^Chivas 7:00 KONG
9/7 ^Chicago 7:00 NBCSN
9/13 ^RSL 7:00 NBCSN
9/21 ^at LA Galaxy 7:30 NBCSN
9/29 ^New York 6:00 ESPN
10/5 ^at Colorado 7:00 NBCSN
10/9 ^ Vancouver 7:00 KING/KONG
10/13 ^at Portland 6:00 ESPN
10/19 ^at FC Dallas 1:00 NBCSN
10/27 ^LA Galaxy 6:00 ESPN

*=CONCACAF; ^=Major League Soccer


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