Sounders have a chance Sunday to extend their home unbeaten streak to 10 matches and to extend their unbeaten streak against Chivas USA to 10 in a row.
MATCH: Chivas USA (4-11-5, 17 points, 9th, MLS West) at Seattle Sounders FC (7-7-4, 25 points, 7th, MLS West). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Sunday, 8 p.m, CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 12th (Sounders lead 5-2-4). TV: KONG. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
A win or draw by the Sounders Sunday against Chivas USA would match the franchise record (eight) for longest home unbeaten streak — a nice enough feat, except that Seattle sits seventh in the Western Conference seven points removed from the fifth and final playoff spot. Good thing it’s Chivas coming to town instead of, say, the LA Galaxy.
Chivas, the MLS equivalent of a scratch post, is last in the West with 17 points after starting the season with three wins in its first five matches. The Sounders traditionally dominate the Goats and will be looking to extend to 10 their unbeaten streak against them. Seattle has not lost to Chivas since June 6, 2009, going 5-0-4.
Across all competitions, Seattle is 5-2-4 against Chivas with a +8 goal differential. The Sounders have scored multiple goals in five of the past eight meetings and posted four shutouts in 11 all-time meetings.
Chivas, which recently endured a 14-match winless streak, would normally serve as an easy launch into a favorable stretch of Seattle’s schedule, which continues with FC Dallas and Toronto FC.
Seattle is a combined 15-4-9 all-time against Chivas USA, Dallas and Toronto in MLS play, and has unbeaten streaks of at least four matches against all three foes. While the Sounders routinely pound Chivas, the Dallas series is similarly lopsided, Seattle going 5-1-4 overall, including an unbeaten stretch of 4-0-1 since May 25, 2011. The Sounders have not lost to Toronto since April 25, 2010, winning all four meetings.
Seattle’s points per match average against all three ranks in the top 10 in club history with 1.73 PPM against Chivas USA (8th), 1.90 against FC Dallas (6th) and 2.29 against Toronto (3rd).
Potentially compromising Seattle’s favorable slate is the injury situation, plus the absence of forward Eddie Johnson, on assignment with the U.S. Men’s National Team Sunday in Chicago. For Seattle’s last match, against Colorado, nine players were either unavailable or affected by injuries.
“We have to keep working,” said coach Sigi Schmid “We know where we’re at. We’re still trying to get our best 11 on the field at the same time and get them to work together. Hopefully at practice we can get that a little more, and as guys return from injuries we can get closer to that.”
The Sounders list numerous players as either out or questionable for Chivas (see below), including goalkeeper Michael Gspurning and midfielders Alex Caskey and Shalrie Joseph, all out. Midfielder Andy Rose and defender Djimi Traore are questionable. Traore started 16 consecutive matches before he was sidelined for the Colorado match.
Although defender Brad Evans (hip) is not officially on the injured list, he is also not in Seattle’s probable starting lineup. Schmid suggested he might not be ready until the Sounders play Dallas.
“We’ll have to see how things go,” said Schmid. “We think Djimi Traore should be able to be back this week, we think Evans should be able to be available for the starting lineup next week, so that should help us. I don’t know about our goalkeeping situation if much is going to change there, and we’ll have to see about the others.”
Forward Obafemi Martins, listed as probable, was accidentally kicked in the knee during Tuesday’s practice.
“Hopefully,” Schmid told reporters, “it won’t be anything serious.”
With so many injuries, Sounders GM and part owner Adrian Hanauer told reporters after Friday’s training session that the club hopes to make some additions before the summer transfer window closes Aug. 8. Last week’s decision to waive Sammy Ochoa freed up a roster spot and cleared salary-cap space.
“We are actively pursuing a couple of different angles,” Hanauer said. “But as you guys know by now, it’ll be done when it’s really done — signed, sealed and delivered. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that if you’re too confident in this stuff, it’ll fall apart on you. I’m hopeful that we’ll get something done, but I think ‘confident’ is a little too dangerous of an adjective.”
No current Chivas player has scored against the Sounders. Three current players – Tristan Bowen, Bobby Burling and Gabriel Farfan – have recorded one assist against Seattle.
To add to its woes, Chivas will be missing its most important player. Eric Avila, who started four straight matches after missing three in a row June 19-29 while training in Mexico with CD Guadalajara, will miss Sunday’s match through suspension after he was sent off after just 25 minutes vs. Toronto.
“We are losing one of the most important players for Chivas,” said head coach Jose Luis Real. “To play without Avila is not easy.”
SOUNDERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Andrew Weber. Defenders — DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez. Midfielders — Servando Carrasco, Osvaldo Alonso, Marc Burch, Mauro Rosales. Forwards — Obafemi Martins, Lamar Neagle.
CHIVAS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Dan Kennedy. Defenders — Jouse Sotp. Carlos Bocanegra, Mario de Luna, Carlos Borja. Midfielders — Edgar Mejia, Jorge Villafana, Carlos Alvarez, Marky Delgado. Forwards — Erick Torres, Tristan Bowen.
INJURIES: Seattle — Out, MF Alex Caskey (right ankle impingement), GK Josh Ford (right patella fracture), GK Michael Gspurning (left forearm sprain), GK Marcus Hahnemann (right hamstring strain), MF Shalrie Joseph (right calf strain), MF Philip Lund (right plantar fasciitis), MF Steve Zakuani (sports hernia surgery). Questionable, MF Andy Rose (right hamstring strain), D Djimi Traore (left hamstring strain). Chivas — Out, D Daniel Antunez (left ACL reconstruction), GK Tim Melia (lumbar disectomy), F Caleb Calvert (right foot contusion), Bobby Burling (concussion-like symptoms). Questionable, MF Oswaldo Minda (left hamstring irritation), F Jose Correa (right quad irritation). SUSPENSIONS: Seattle — None. Chivas — Eric Avila. INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Seattle — Eddie Johnson; Chivas — None.
SERIES: Dates to April 18, 2009, when Chivas USA won 2-0 in Carson, CA. Seattle is 5-2-4 against Chivas USA in MLS play, having gone unbeaten in the last nine meetings (5-0-4). Seattle twice ousted Chivas from the Open Cup semifinals: 4-1 in 2012 and 3-1 in 2010. In the last match, June 1 in Carson, CA., the Sounders defeated Chivas 2-0 on a goal by Obafemi Martins and an own goal by Mario de Luna. Sounders and Chivas will play again Sept. 4 in the third and final meeting of the season.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
SOUNDERS MLS LEADERS
|Starts||Gspurning 17, Traore 16, Gonzalez 16|
|Goals||Martins 6, Johnson, Neagle, 4 each|
|Assists||Rosales, Neagle, Evans, all 3|
|Shots||Johnson 28, Neagle 24, Martins 21, Evans 21|
|Shots On Goal||Johnson 15, Martins 10, Neagle 10|
|Fouls Caused||Neagle 24, Alonso 23, Carrasco 22|
|Fouls Suffered||Johnson 24, Rosales 22, Alonso 21|
|Offsides||Johnson 23, Evans 6, Neagle 6|
|Corner Kicks||Rosales 50, Martinez 17|
|Cautions||Johnson 4, 4 tied with 2|
|Ejections||Neagle, Yedlin, Joseph, Martins, Hahnemann|
CHIVAS NOTES: The 14-match winless run by Chivas, which ended with a 1-0 win over Toronto, is tied for the third-longest winless streak in MLS history.
COMING UP: Sounders host FC Dallas Aug. 3 and play their following two on the road, at Toronto FC (Aug. 10) and Houston (Aug. 17).
Seattle Sounders FC 2013 Schedule / Results
(7-7-4, 25 points, MLS; 1-1-0 CCL; 0-1-0 U.S. Open Cup)
|3/6||*at Tigres||7:00||Fox Soccer||L||1-0||0-0-0|
|3/23||^at San Jose||7:30||KING 5||L||1-0||0-2-1|
|5/26||^at LA Galaxy||8:00||ESPN2||L||4-0||4-4-3|
|7/13||^at San Jose||7:30||KING||L||1-0||7-7-3|
|9/21||^at LA Galaxy||7:30||NBCSN||—||—||—|
|10/19||^at FC Dallas||1:00||NBCSN||—||—||—|
*=CONCACAF; ^=Major League Soccer; #=U.S. Open Cup