MATCH: Seattle Sounders FC (11-6-7, 40 points, 3rd, West Conf.) at Chivas USA (7-9-6, 27 points, 7th, West. Conf.). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Saturday, 7:30 p.m., The Home Depot Center, Carson, CA. MEETING: 9th (series tied 2-2-4). LAST 10: Sounders 4-2-4; Chivas 3-3-4. TV: KING 5. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
In sole possession of third place in MLS West, three points clear of Vancouver and Los Angeles and two points behind second-place Real Salt Lake, the Sounders will play five of their next six matches (all competitions) on the road, beginning with a Saturday night clash at Chivas USA. The Sounders played at Chivas May 26 and came away with a 1-1 draw.
Sounders have won four of their past six matches after having gone eight games without a victory. Fredy Montero has scored in three consecutive matches and Eddie Johnson has tallied in three of his last four. The pair has combined for 19 goals this season.
I always get a special joy when we win a game and we get a Fredy Montero and an Eddie Johnson goal, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. I think it substantiates what were trying to do with those two guys. When you start adding it up now, they are among the three or four best combinations in the league in terms of goal production.
We are not worried about who is the best striking pair in the league,” said Johnson. “Every striker, every team, every pair has their own style of play. Fredy and I have a style of play that is a lot different from other teams in the league. At the end of the day, it is about us. Fredy is competitive. I’m competitive. I think he’s trying to be the leading goal scorer. That’s one of my goals, too. So if we’re both trying to be leading goal scorers it’s going to get more goals from both of us, so it’s good for the team.
Before returning to CenturyLink Field Sept. 8 for a third match against Chivas, the Sounders will play MLS contests at Dallas and Portland and also travel to Trinidad and Honduras for CONCACAF Champions League skirmishes. After this stretch of road games, Seattle will have just two road contests remaining (at Vancouver and at LA Galaxy).
Chivas (7-9-6) has played the fewest games in MLS and stands seventh in the West, 10 points out of the fifth and the final playoff spot. The Goats earned a road draw Saturday at Colorado.
Despite scoring the fewest goals in MLS (15), Chivas has kept pace with its defense, allowing just 26 for a 1.18 goals against average (sixth in MLS). Chivas has taken the fewest shots (222) and shots on goal (65) this season, and has netted only six goals in 12 home games.
Chivas leader Juan Pablo Angel has tallied four goals and Jose Correa and Alejandra Moreno have each added two. Juan Agudelo and Casey Townsend each have a goal and assist.
The Goats recently added former New England Revolution standout Shalrie Joseph to the mix. Joseph started two games since joining the team. Defenders Danny Califf and ex-Sounder James Riley shore up the backline, and Dan Kennedy has remained strong in net, starting all 22 matches.
There’s a chance — Schmid didn’t say how great — that 23-year-old Honduran midfielder Mario Martinez, on loan to Seattle from Real Espana, could make his Sounders debut against Chivas. Martinez saw his first action with the franchise Sunday in a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS Reserve League.
SOUNDERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Michael Gspurning. Defenders — Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez. Midfielders — Mauro Rosales, Christian Tiffert, Alex Caskey, Osvaldo Alonso. Forwards — Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson.
CHIVAS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Dan Kennedy. Defenders — Jorge Villafana, John Valencia, Danny Califf, James Riley. Midfielders — Juan Agudelo, Oswaldo Minda, Shalrie Joseph, Ben Zemanski. Forwards — Alejandro Moreno, Casey Townsend.
INJURIES (Sounders): Out — FW Babayele Sodale (ACL tear), F David Estrada (foot fracture), MF Andy Rose (rib fracture).
DISCIPLINARY SITUATION (Sounders): Eddie Johnson will be suspended after his next yellow card.
LAST MATCH (Sounders, Aug. 18): Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson scored second-half goals as the Sounders (11-6-7, 40 points) defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-0 at CenturyLink Field. Michael Gspurning picked up his fifth shutout of the season in front of a crowd of 55,718 as Seattle moved into sole position of third place in the Western Conference. Montero scored his goal three minutes after subbing into the match.
LAST VS. CHIVAS (May 26): David Estradas goal in the the 61st minute saved Sounders FC from a dubious defeat against a lesser opponent, salvaging a 1-1 draw. Seattles unbeaten streak on the road grew to 10 (7-0-3), two short of the MLS record set by Dallas in 2010.
SERIES: Dates to April 18, 2009, when Chivas USA defeated the Sounders 2-0 in Carson, CA. Seattle is 2-2-4 against Chivas USA in MLS play, having gone unbeaten in the last six meetings (2-0-4). The two sides are level with six goals apiece, and three matches have ended in a scoreless draw. Sounders FC is 1-2-2 against the Goats at The Home Depot Center. Seattle twice ousted Chivas from the U.S. Open Cup semifinals: 4-1 in 2012 and 3-1 in 2010. The third and final meeting is Sept. 8, Seattle’s next home match.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
- SEASON SUMMARY: Overall: 11-6-7. Last 5: T-W-W-L-W. Home: 8-3-1. Road: 3-3-6. Vs. East: 4-1-4. Vs. West: 7-5-3. March: 2-1-0; April: 2-0-1; May: 3-2-2; June: 0-2-2; July: 2-0-2; August: 2-1-0. Goals For: 34. Goals Against: 24. Differential: +10.
- MLS TEAM RANKS: Goals: 34 (8th). Goals Scored Avg.: 1.42 (T7th). Goals Allowed Per Match: 1.00 (2nd). Shots: 308 (11th). Shots On Goal: 100 (14). Fouls Committed: 306 (10th). Fouls Suffered: 314 (5th). Yellow Card Cautions: 38 (T12).
- Sounders are 5-3-5 against teams in playoff position and have four games remaining against such teams in the West (San Jose, Vancouver, Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy). The will also play sixth-place FC Dallas and seventh-place Chivas USA twice.
- Seattle (1.67) ranks fifth in points per game behind San Jose (1.88), Kansas City (1.84), New York (1.76) and Chicago (1.71). Sounders are second with a plus-10 goal differential.
- Sounders 5-0-1 when leading at the half, 0-4-1 when trailing at the half.
- Sounders 11-0-1 when scoring first, 0-6-4 when conceding first.
- Johnson (11) and Montero (8) have combined for 19 goals, already the second-best output by a forward pairing in club history (21 goals from Montero and Nate Jaqua in 2009).
- Johnson is one goal away from tying Montero’s single-season high of 12 goals (2009).
- Rosales is three assists away from tying his club record of 13 he set in 2011. He has recorded four assists in his past four MLS outings, and is ahead of last year’s record-setting pace, reaching the 10-assist mark in three fewer games.
- Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning is 8-2-1 in his MLS career and sports a league-best winning percentage of .773. Gspurning leads MLS with a 0.57 goals against average, and is second in save percentage at 79.3.
- Sounders have had two of the league’s longest road undefeated streaks this season: five games from April 7-May 26 and four games from June 30-July 28. Seattle ranks third in road goal scoring with an average of 1.33 goals per game.
- 177,702 fans have entered the gates at CenturyLink Field for the past four matches, including MLS meetings with LA Galaxy and Vancouver as well as the friendly against Chelsea FC and the Champions League match against Caledonia AIA.
- Seattle’s sellout streak has reached 62 consecutive MLS matches. Seattle’s average attendance for an MLS match is 42,666 – nearly 19,000 more than No. 2 Montreal and nearly 4,000 more than Seattle’s record-setting 2011 average.
- The entire stadium will be opened one more time for the final Cascadia Cup match against the Portland Timbers Oct. 7.
- Former Sounders FC defender James Riley joined Chivas USA in the offseason. The Montreal Impact selected Riley in the expansion draft and immediately dealt him to Chivas for Justin Braun and Gerson Mayen. Riley has played every minute for the Goats this season. In his three seasons with Seattle, Riley made 82 appearances.
- Rookie defender Andrew Duran underwent surgery this week on his left knee to repair a torn ACL.
SOUNDERS (MLS) LEADERS
|Starts||Alonso 20, Parke 20, Evans 19|
|Goals||Johnson 11, Montero 8, Estrada 5|
|Assists||Rosales 10, Montero 4, Caskey 4|
|Shots||Montero 86, Johnson 56, Estrada 23, Alonso 23|
|Shots On Goal||Montero 31, Johnson 19, Estrada 10|
|Fouls Caused||Montero 41, Johnson 29, Alonso 25, Scott 22|
|Fouls Suffered||Montero 49, Rosales 35, Johnson 35|
|Offsides||Johnson 26, Montero 13, Estrada 6|
|Corner Kicks||Rosales 61, Fernandez 16, Caskey 12|
|Cautions||Johnson 5, Alonso 5, Montero 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.
Robin Fraser: Chivas USA named Fraser its sixth head coach Jan. 4, 2011. He took the role after a distinguished 10-year MLS playing career and four successful seasons as an assistant coach with Real Salt Lake. Fraser was a standout for several MLS clubs and a veteran of the United States National Team.
COMING UP: Sounders will return to Seattle for two days before heading to Trinidad to play Caledonia AIA in Champions League play Thursday. The Sounders will stay on the road before visiting FC Dallas Sept. 2.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(11-6-7, 40 points, MLS; 2-1 CCL; 4-1 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||D||2-2||8-5-7|
|8/5||^vs. LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN2||W||4-0||10-5-7|
|8/8||&at Sport KC||6:00||GolTV||L||2-1||4-1|
|8/11||^at San Jose||7:30||KONG||L||2-1||10-6-7|
|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