MATCH: Colorado Rapids (7-9-1, 22 points, 5th, West. Conf.) at Seattle Sounders FC (7-5-6, 27 points, 4th, West Conf.). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Saturday, 8 p.m., CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 8th (Sounders lead 5-1-1). LAST 5: Sounders: L-T-L-T-T; Rapids: W-L-L-W-L. TV: NBCSN (Comcast Ch. 34). RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
If the Sounders are going to snap their record nine-game winless funk (0-4-5), Saturday seems like the perfect opportunity with the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field. The Sounders have dominated the series with Colorado, 5-1-1, with wins in the past four meetings. Seattle has never lost in four meetings at CenturyLink, outscoring Colorado 10-4.
We want to be a tough team to beat and I think weve gotten back to that; we lost that for a couple of games and weve gotten back to that, which is very important, said head coach Sigi Schmid, whose club played to a 1-1 draw Wednesday at Real Salt Lake. Now its a matter of the soccer catching up and us playing better and walking away with a win.
Seattle defeated the Rapids, 1-0, at home in the first meeting of the season April 14 when Zach Scott netted his first goal and Alex Caskey recorded his first assist. Seattle has scored multiple goals in four of seven games vs. Colorado and has been held scoreless just once.
Fredy Montero leads all players in the rivalry with four goals and six assists, putting 10 of his 23 shots on frame.
The Rapids (7-8-1, 22 points) have remained in the middle of the Western Conference race all season. The team is T6 in MLS with 24 goals and has scored multiple goals in eight of 16 matches (T8).
The Rapids have lost six of eight road contests this season (2-6-0) and snapped a two-game losing streak with a 3-0 home win over the Portland Timbers Saturday, but lost 1-0 to Vancouver at home Wednesday.
Midfielder Jaime Castrillon leads the Rapids with five goals, and forwards Omar Cummings and Kamani Hill have each added three and one assist. Overall, 13 different players have scored and 15 players have a goal or assist.
Colorado’s defense ranks 11th in MLS with a 1.31 goals-against average. Matt Pickens has played every minute in net, making 65 saves while allowing 21 goals and registering five shutouts.
Colorado defender Brian Mullan, suspended last season for breaking the leg of Steve Zakuani 15 months ago, returns to Seattle, where he was heavily booed earlier in the season. Mullan, 34, sat out a month with a knee injury but is healthy now. Zakuani is nearly game-ready, but Schmid has yet to commit to returning him to game action Saturday.
SOUNDERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper: Bryan Meredith. Defenders: Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez. Midfielders: Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez, Osvaldo Alonso. Forwards: Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero.
INJURIES: (Out) — Michael Gspurning (hip), David Estrada (foot fracture). Questionable — Adam Johansson (hamstring), Steve Zakuani (leg fracture). Probable — Jeff Parke (dizziness). SUSPENDED: None.
SERIES: Dates to May 23, 2009, when the sides played to a 2-2 draw in Denver. Fredy Montero and Nate Jaqua provided the Seattle goals. Seattle has scored multiple goals in four of the past six games vs. Colorado. Only once has Colorado held Seattle scoreless, and the Sounders have a six-goal aggregate advantage (13-7) in the series despite taking 17 fewer shots. Sounders won the last match between the clubs April 14, 1-0, in the 63rd minute, on a Zach Scott goal. The Sounders visit Colorado July 28.
LAST MATCH (Sounders, July 4): Sounders picked up a road point in a scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. It marked the seventh clean sheet of the season for the Sounders, and their first since May 9. Goalkeeper Bryan Meredith, in his first start since June 16, made two saves and earned his third shutout. Seattle finished with eight shots, but didn’t lack for chances. Eddie Johnson, who scored four goals in the previous four matches, was close on a few occasions and finished with a team-high four shots. In the 63rd minute, he made a hard run into the box on the left side, but his low shot rolled wide of the far post.
U.S. OPEN CUP — Should the Sounders win their Open Cup semifinal match against Chivas USA at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Starfire, the final would be in Seattle against Philadelphia, or in Kansas City if Sporting Kansas City wins the other semifinal with the Union.
The bid by Seattle, three-time defending Cup champion, to host the KC-Seattle final was matched by KC, which then won a coin flip conducted by U.S. Soccer.
- SEASON SUMMARY: Overall: 7-5-6. Last 5: T-L-T-L-T. Home: 5-3-1. Road: 2-2-5. Vs. East: 4-2-3. Vs. West: 3-3-3. March: 2-1-0; April: 2-0-1; May: 3-2-2; June: 0-2-2; July: 0-0-1. Goals For: 21. Goals Against: 18.
- TEAM RANKS: Goals: 21 (T11). Goals Scored Avg.: 1.17 (12). Goals Allowed Per Match: 1.00 (T1). Shots: 236 (6). Shots On Goal: 71 (12). Fouls Committed: 230 (3). Fouls Suffered: 240 (4). Yellow Card Cautions: 32 (T4).
- Sounders 4-0-1 when leading at the half, 3-1-4 when tied at the half, 0-4-1 when trailing at the half.
- Sounders 7-0-0 when scoring first, 0-5-4 when conceding first.
- Sounders, with 59 all-time sellouts, need one more to reach 60 (since 2009).
- Seattle’s Eddie Johnson and Colorado head coach Oscar Pareja played together with the Dallas Burn from 2001-04. Pareja also played for Colombia’s Deportivo Cali, the former club of Fredy Montero and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.
- Montero and Hurtado will face fellow Colombian countrymen Jaime Castrillon and Luis Zapata. Argentine midfielders Mauro Rosales and Martin Rivero will also meet Saturday.
- Rapids forward Conor Casey attended the University of Portland from 1999-2000. Casey and Eddie Johnson crossed paths on the U.S. National Team from 2001-on.
- Former Sounder Tyrone Marshall has six starts and eight appearances this season for the Rapids. Marshall was obtained by Colorado in the 2010 re-entry draft.
SOUNDERS (MLS) LEADERS
|Starts||Montero 16, Alonso 14, Evans 14|
|Goals||Johnson 7, Estrada 5, Montero 4|
|Assists||Montero 4, Rosales 4, Caskey 3|
|Shots||Montero 72, Johnson 37, Estrada 23, Evans 16|
|Shots On Goal||Montero 26, Estrada 10, Johnson 10, Evans 7|
|Fouls Caused||Montero 35, Johnson 24, Alonso 21, Scott 20|
|Fouls Suffered||Montero 45, Alonso 24, Johnson 24|
|Offsides||Johnson 21, Montero 7, Estrada 6|
|Corner Kicks||Rosales 43, Fernandez 16, Caskey 12|
|Cautions||Montero 4, Johnson 4, Scott 4|
|Ejections||Hurtado 1, Fernandez 1, Montero 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.
Oscar Pareja: Rapids named Pareja, a former MLS Best XI player and experienced assistant coach, as the clubs head coach Jan. 5. Pareja joined the Rapids from FC Dallas, where he served as the clubs reserves coach and academy director. In nearly six years at Dallas, Pareja developed one of the top youth academies in the country, which contributed six players to the FC Dallas first team.
The native of Medellín, Colombia, first joined the FC Dallas staff as an assistant to Steve Morrow from 2005-07, before becoming an assistant with the U.S. under-17 national team in 2007-08. After nearly a year with U.S. Soccer, Pareja returned to Dallas to become the clubs Director of Player Development.
COMING UP: The Sounders play four matches in the next 11 days, including two MLS contests (vs. Colorado, at New York Red Bulls), a U.S. Open Cup contest (vs. Chivas USA) and an international friendly against Chelsea July 18.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(7-5-6, 27 points, MLS; 1-1 CCL; 3-0 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||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||—||—||—|
|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