MATCH: Seattle Sounders FC (3-1-1, 10 points, 4th, West Conf.) at Chicago Fire (2-1-2, 8 points, 4th East Conf). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Saturday, 5:30 p.m., Toyota Park. MEETING: 7th (Sounders lead 3-0-3). TV: KONG 6/16. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH RADIO: La Gran D 99.3 FM.
Idle for two weeks, the Seattle Sounders are back Saturday against the Chicago Fire in a Windy City match will mark the 100th regular-season game in franchise history.
With 10 points through five matches, the Sounders are off to the best start in club history (previously nine points in 2009).
Last year, which became Seattle’s best regular season, the Sounders averaged 1.85 points per game, finishing second overall in the MLS standings. The club is well ahead of that pace, reaching the 10-point mark in three fewer games.
Only three other MLS teams have averaged more points per match than Seattle this season: Sporting Kansas City (3.0), San Jose Earthquakes (2.16) and Real Salt Lake (2.14).
While the Sounders haven’t scored much — just six goals — the club has posted three shutouts, allowing just two goals this season (Ryan Johnson’s MLS Goal of the Week in week two and Chris Wondolowski’s penalty kick in Seattle’s third game).
The Sounders rank second in MLS with a 0.40 goals against average. Last season, it took 12 games for Seattle to record three shutouts.
SERIES: Dates to May 2, 2009, when Seattle and Chicago played to a 1-1 draw. Tyrone Marshall scored the Sounders’ goal. The Sounders have a 4-0-3 record against Chicago in all competitions. The teams last met Oct. 4, Seattle recording a 2-0 victory (goals by Fredy Montero and Osvaldo Alonso) to claim its third consecutive U.S. Open Cup title.
LAST MATCH (Sounders, April 14): Rave Green had its second straight shutout in a 1-0 home win over the Colorado Rapids in front of a sellout crowd of 38,360. Defender Zach Scott scored his first career goal on a brilliant glancing header from Alex Caskey’s corner kick in the second half. Scott’s header to the far post marked Scott’s first career goal in more than 2,000 minutes of league action (3,642 minutes over all competitions), and first competitive goal since June 24, 2008 in a 6-0 Open Cup win.
LAST MATCH (Fire, April 21): The Fire made Patrick Nyarkos 58th minute tally stand up as the game-winner despite a furious second half rally from host Toronto FC. The Fire also received goals from Dominic Oduro and Gonzalo Segares. Chicago won despite Toronto’s 28-17 edge in shots.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
- The Sounders have not allowed a goal in the past 248 minutes.
- Since 2009, Seattle has played 16 regular-season games in April and earned points in all but four (7-4-5), including just one loss in the past 11 April outings (5-1-5).
- Seattle parlayed April to success in 2011, going undefeated (3-0-2) in five matches. The club has extended its April unbeaten streak to seven matches this season with a draw against DC United and a win over Colorado. The last April loss for Sounders FC occurred April 25, 2010 at Toronto FC.
- Michael Gspurning is one of two MLS keepers to allow two or fewer goals. Gspurning ranks second with a 0.40 GAA, and is tied for second with three shutouts. His 248-minute shutout streak is currently the second-longest in MLS (Sporting Kansas City/Jimmy Nielsen – 337), and his saves percentage (86.7) ranks third.
- The Sounders have allowed 47 shots on goal, fourth fewest in the league, and 15 on frame, third fewest.
- Patrick Ianni is the only Seattle defender to play every minute this season. Seattle is 25-14-12 when Ianni starts (32-15-17 overall). Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning and midfielder Osvaldo Alonso are the only other Sounders to have played every minute this season.
- Fredy Montero is still looking for his first goal and first assist. He has taken 24 shots through five matches, including seven on goal.
- The Sounders will play eight matches in the month of May, including five over a 15-day span.
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 Klopas: Klopas is in his first season with the Fire, but has had associations with the franchise dating to 2000, when the Fire hired him as the team’s strength and conditioning trainer. After the 2000 MLS season, Klopas resigned due to personal reasons. On June 2, 2004, Klopas was named the head coach and general manager of MISL’s expansion franchise Chicago Storm.
He led the team to a playoff berth in its second season, but resigned July 24, 2006. In January 2008, became the first technical director for the Fire. On May 30, the Fire parted ways with head coach Carlos De Los Cobos, and Klopas took over as interim head coach.
Klopas earned his first win as head coach June 12, 2011, 1-0 over the Columbus Crew. The Fire finished the season 8-5-10 under Klopas, just missing the playoffs. The Fire announced Nov. 3 Klopas would become the head coach for 2012.
COMING UP: The Sounders return to CenturyLink Field for a pair of matches in a three-day span. The Sounders host the L.A. Galaxy May 2 and the Philadelphia Union May 5.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(3-1-1, 10 points, MLS; 1-1 CCL)
|4/7||^at DC United||4:30||KING||D||0-0||2-1-1|
|5/9||^at FC Dallas||5:30||KING||—||—||—|
|6/30||^vs. New England||4:30||KING||—||—||—|
|7/15||^at New York||1:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
|8/5||^vs. LA Galaxy||7:00||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