MATCH: Seattle Sounders FC (7-4-4, 25 points, 4th, West Conf.) at Portland Timbers (3-6-4, 13 points, 8th, West Conf.). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Sunday, 2 p.m., Jeld-Wen Field, Portland. MEETING: 3rd (Sounders lead 1-0-1). LAST 5: Timbers: W-L-T-L-W; Sounders: T-L-T-L-T. TV: ESPN. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
After getting off to the best start in franchise history, the Sounders are winless in their past six matches, including a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas Wednesday at CenturyLink Field. The current drought is a club record and Seattle’s longest slog since an 0-1-5 stumble through the early part of the 2009 season.
The Sounders attempt to break out of their funk when they play a Cascadia Cup match in Portland against the Timbers.
“I thought it (Sporting Kansas City) was a very physical match, but I was pleased with our effort and our heart that we displayed and that we showed,” said coach Sigi Schmid. “I thought it was a major jump forward from the way we played in Montreal (4-1 loss). I thought our effort and our desire was very good and unfortunately it didn’t bear the ultimate fruit for us in terms of winning the game, but we did get a point and we’ve got to build upon this and move forward.”
Portland was on a four-game unbeaten run (1-0-3) before falling to the L.A. Galaxy last weekend. All three Timbers wins have come at home, but Portland is winless against the Western Conference (0-4-2).
With Seattle’s starting goalkeeper Michael Gspurning (hip strain) listed as doubtful, Schmid has two options for that position, Bryan Meredith and Andrew Weber. Weber got the start against Sporting Kansas City and as listed as the probable starter.
We just felt it was time for (Bryan) Meredith to look at it from the outside, said Schmid. (Andrew) Weber had been training well after overcoming his ankle injury, so we felt it was a good chance for him to start and I thought he was pretty good about what he did, he was pretty clean.
In addition to Gspurning, the Sounders also list defender Leo Gonzalez (quad strain) as doubtful, and defender Patrick Ianni (lower back pain), who scored the equalizing goal Wednesday against Sporting Kansas City, as probable.
The Sounders will be without Alvaro Fernandez, suspended after a red card against KC.
On the long rivalry with Portland, Schmid said, “I don’t think it matters what we say. I think they’re motivated. I know they’re going to be ready for this game. We’re ready for the game. I don’t think you can up the ante on this game.”
SOUNDERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper: Andrew Weber. Defenders: Marc Burch, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Zach Scott. Midfielders: Alex Caskey, Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans. Forwards: Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero.
SERIES: Sounders and Timbers met twice in Portland’s inaugural MLS season (2011). The sides played to a 1-1 draw May 14, and Seattle won at Portland 3-2 July 10. In the latter,Fredy Montero scored twice and Osvaldo Alonzo got the game winner with penalty kick in the 83rd minute. In all leagues, the Timbers and Sounders have met 76 times since the first match May 2, 1975, Portland’s inaugural contest in the old North American Soccer League.
LAST MATCH: Patrick Ianni scored the first-half equalizer from a Mauro Rosales free kick as the Sounders (7-4-4, 25 points) and Sporting KC (9-3-2, 29 points) played to a 1-1 draw in front of a season-high 46,932 at CenturyLink Field. After Kansas City’s Jacob Peterson scored in the eighth minute, Ianni tied with an airborne sideways kick. It was the first goal of the season and fourth career goal for Ianni, who was making his first appearance since May 5 after sitting out with lower back pain. Fredy Montero nearly scored the game-winner in the 88th minute when his low shot from the left side of the box was tipped by Nielsen at the near post, rolled across the mouth of the goal and bounced off the far post before it was cleared off the line.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
- SEASON SUMMARY: Overall 7-4-4. Last 5: T-L-T-L-T. Home: 5-3-1. Road: 2-1-3. Vs. East: 4-1-2. Vs. West: 3-3-2. Goals For: 18. Goals Against: 14.
- TEAM RANKS: Goals: 18 (T9). Goals Scored Avg.: 1.20 (T12th). Goals Allowed Per Match: 0.93 (2nd). Shots: 203 (4th). Shots On Goal: 612 (T12). Fouls Committed: 185 (8th). Fouls Suffered: 201 (4th). Yellow Card Cautions: (25 (T8).
- The Sounders have allowed the first goal in six consecutive games, and haven’t won any of them.
- Sounders players have received red cards (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado) and Alvardo Fernandez (Wednesday vs. Sporting Kansas City) in two consecutive matches after not getting a red card in the season’s first 13 matches.
- Sounders 7-0-0 when scoring first, 0-4-3 when conceding first.
- Sounders 4-0 when leading at the half, 0-3-1 when trailing at the half.
- Seattle is 2-0-3 in Cascadia Cup play since all three teams entered MLS.
- Brad Evans’ appearance against Sporting Kansas City marked his 100th MLS match. Patrick Ianni’s appearance in the same game also marked his 100th MLS match.
- Ianni’s spectacular goal against Sporting Kansas City Wednesday marked his first tally since May 28, 2011, when he scored against Real Salt Lake.
- Portland roster includes Mike Fucito, who spent 2010-11 with the Sounders. Fucito tallied two goals for the 2011 Sounders.
SOUNDERS (MLS) LEADERS
|Starts||Montero 14, Estrada 12, Alonso 12, Parke 12|
|Goals||Estrada 5, Montero 4, Johnson 4, three with 1|
|Assists||Montero 4, Caskey 3, Rosales 3, Fernandez 2|
|Shots||Montero 68, Johnson 27, Estrada 23, Evans 13|
|Shots On Goal||Montero 25, Estrada 10, Evans 6, Alonso 3|
|Fouls Caused||Montero 28, Alonso 18, Johnson 18, Scott 18|
|Fouls Suffered||Montero 42, Alonso 21, Johnson 16|
|Offsides||Johnson 17, Montero 7, Estrada 6|
|Corner Kicks||Rosales 29, Fernandez 16, Caskey 12|
|Cautions||Montero 4, Johnson 4, Scott 4|
|Ejections||Hurtado 1, Fernandez 1|
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.
John Spencer: Appointed the first head coach in the clubs MLS history Aug. 10, 2010, Spencer completed his first season as head coach of the 2011 Portland Timbers by guiding the team to the brink of the MLS Cup playoffs. A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Spencer led the Timbers to a 9-5-3 record at home, tied for third-best home mark in the league. Prior to joining the Timbers, Spencer served as an assistant coach for the Houston Dynamo under head coach Dominic Kinnear for nearly five seasons (2006-2010). During an 18-year playing career, Spencer suited up for such noted English clubs as Chelsea, Everton and Queens Park Rangers, and Scotlands Glasgow Rangers. As a striker, he amassed 43 goals with English power Chelsea from 1992-96.
COMING UP: The Sounders have a quick turnaround. They will meet the San Jose Earthquakes Tuesday night in San Francisco in a U.S. Open Cup match. Seattle’s next CenturyLink match is June 30 vs. the New England Revolution. If the Sounders can advance past San Jose in Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup, they would play either Chivas USA or the Charlotte Eagles (USL) in a semifinal at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila July 10 at 7 p.m.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(7-4-3, 24 points, MLS; 1-1 CCL; 2-0 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||—||—||—|
|6/30||^vs. New England||4:30||KING||—||—||—|
|7/15||^at New York||1:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
|8/5||^vs. LA Galaxy||6:00||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; &=U.S. Open Cup