MATCH: Chivas USA (7-11-7, 28 points, 7th, West. Conf.) at Seattle Sounders FC (12-6-8, 44 points, 3rd, West Conf.). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Saturday, 1 p.m., CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 10th (Sounders lead 3-2-4). LAST 10: Sounders 5-1-4; Chivas USA 2-4-4. TV: KONG. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
The Sounders, who endured a nine-match winless streak earlier this season, are unbeaten in their last 10 (5-1-4) and seem likely to make it 11 with goal-generous Chivas USA due in at CenturyLink Field Saturday. The last time the Sounders saw Chivas (Aug. 25), they won in a rout, 6-2. The time before that (July 11), the Sounders breezed, 4-1.
Although Steve Zakuani is not listed among Seattle’s probable starters, he will be available. Last week, in Champions League play against Trinidad, Zakuani made his first start in 500 days and demonstrated that he can become a significant contributor as the Sounders approach the MLS playoffs.
“Steve shows that he still has that explosion, the ability to beat people,” coach Sigi Schmid said of his midfielder, who spent more than a year rehabilitating a broken leg. “As he gains confidence, hopefully those kind of opportunities will occur more often in the game. He’s showing that he can still do it. It’s a tremendous assist. Now it’s just a matter of game fitness and the ability to do that on a repetitive level.”
“I’m just going to have to keep training and training to get my sharpness back again,” said Zakuani.
The Sounders, who have won their last three MLS home matches by a combined score of 8-1, have scored multiple goals in six of their past eight matches and look to feast on Chivas, which has practically been giving away goals lately.
Chivas USA sits seventh in the West with 28 points through 25 games (fewest games played in the league) and has suffered a tough stretch, going winless in its past five outings (0-3-2). In those five, Chivas has allowed 20 goals, including three games of four or more. Chivas is 4-3-5 on the road with a minus-six goal differential.
Chivas has started a handful of forwards. Team leader Juan Pablo Angel has tallied four goals and midfielder Miller Bolanos three. Forwards Jose Correa and Alejandra Moreno have each scored twice. Juan Agudelo has two goals and three assists, including strikes in both games against Seattle this season. Defenders Danny Califf and former Sounder James Riley shore up the Chivas defense, and Dan Kennedy has started all 25 matches.
SOUNDERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Michael Gspurning. Defenders — Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez. Midfielders — Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Christian Tiffert, Brad Evans. Forwards — Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson.
CHIVAS USA PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Dan Kennedy. Defenders — Jorge Villafana, Danny Califf, Rauwshan McKenzie, James Riley. Midfielders — Miller Bolanos, Ben Zemanski, Shaine Joseph, Tristan Bowen. Forwards — Juan Agudelo, Casey Townsend.
INJURIES (Sounders): Out — FW Babayele Sodale (ACL tear), F David Estrada (foot fracture; cleared to practice); Questionable — GK Andrew Weber (abductor strain); Probable — MF Osvaldo Alonso (head injury); MF Andy Rose (rib fracture).
DISCIPLINARY SITUATION (Sounders): Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero will be suspended after their next yellow card.
LAST MATCH (Sounders, Sept. 2): Mauro Rosales and Jackson each scored goals as Sounders FC and FC Dallas played to a 1-1 draw Sunday in Texas. Zakuani recorded an assist in his first start since suffering a broken leg April 22, 2011. In the 20th minute, Zakuani burst past a defender on the left side and sent a low cross that found Rosales at the far post for a tap-in. It was the second goal of the season for Rosales, who leads the league with 13 assists. Just 12 minutes later, Dallas equalized when Jackson knocked in a cross from Blas Perez.
LAST VS. CHIVAS (Aug. 25): Sounders struck for a franchise record six goals, including Fredy Montero’s first career hat trick, in a 6-2 victory. Montero scored in the 27th, 34th and 67th minutes in the 100th match of his Seattle career. Montero became the fourth Sounder to score a hat trick.
SERIES: Dates to April 18, 2009, when Chivas USA defeated the Sounders 2-0 in Carson, CA. Seattle is 3-2-4 against Chivas USA in MLS play, having gone unbeaten in the last seven meetings (3-0-4). Seattle twice ousted Chivas from the U.S. Open Cup semifinals: 4-1 in 2012 and 3-1 in 2010.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
- SEASON SUMMARY: Overall: 12-6-8. Last 5: W-L-W-W-D Home: 8-3-1. Road: 4-3-7. Vs. East: 4-1-4. Vs. West: 8-5-5. March: 2-1-0; April: 2-0-1; May: 3-2-2; June: 0-2-2; July: 2-0-2; August: 3-1-0. Goals For: 41. Goals Against: 27. Differential: +14.
- MLS TEAM RANKS: Goals: 41 (6th). Goals Scored Avg.: 1.58 (5th). Goals Allowed Per Match: 1.04 (2nd). Shots: 331 (15th). Shots On Goal: 111 (15th). Fouls Committed: 343 (8th). Fouls Suffered: 345 (6th). Yellow Card Cautions: 42 (11th).
- Sounders are 6-0-1 when leading at the half, 6-2-6 when tied at the half and 0-4-1 when trailing at the half.
- Sounders 12-0-2 when scoring first and 0-6-4 when conceding first.
- Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning leads MLS with a 0.72 goals against average.
- Mauro Rosales leads MLS with 13 assists and five game-winning assists.
- Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero are tied for fourth in the Budweiser Golden Boot Race with 11 goals.
- Montero scored six goals in four league matches in August, and scored eight goals with one assist in seven games across all competitions.
- Sounders rank fifth in scoring with an average of 1.58 goals per game, and second in road scoring with 23 away goals.
- Sounders are 5-3-3 all-time September, outscoring opponents 17-10.
- Sounders have won their past three home MLS matches, and are unbeaten in their past four (3-0-1).
- Sounders have three more two-game weeks remaining in the final seven weeks of the season (two are Wednesday/Sunday matchups).
- Seattle’s average attendance of 42,666 is on track to set the league record. It is almost 20,000 more than second-highest Montreal.
- Largest attendance for an MLS match this season was 60,908 when Sounders FC hosted the LA Galaxy Aug. 5.
- Coach Sigi Schmid has used 25 starting lineups in the team’s 26 MLS matches.
- With 44 points through 26 games, the Sounders are just one point off of their 2011 pace when they had 45 points.
SOUNDERS (MLS) LEADERS
|Starts||Alonso 22, Parke 22, Evans 21|
|Goals||Johnson 11, Montero 11, Estrada 5|
|Assists||Rosales 13, Montero 5, Caskey 4|
|Shots||Montero 95, Johnson 57, Alonso 25|
|Shots On Goal||Montero 35, Johnson 19, Evans 11|
|Fouls Caused||Montero 56, Johnson 30, Alonso 30|
|Fouls Suffered||Montero 51, Johnson 39, Rosales 39|
|Offsides||Johnson 29, Montero 16, Estrada 6|
|Corner Kicks||Rosales 63, Fernandez 16, Caskey 12|
|Cautions||Alonso 6, Johnson 5, Montero 5, 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 U.S. National Team.
COMING UP: Sounders play a Cascadia Cup match at Portland Sept. 15 that will be televised nationally by NBC. Seattle will stay on the road to visit CD Marathon in Champions League play Sept. 19 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, before returning home for a meeting with the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes Sept. 22.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(12-6-8, 44 points, MLS; 2-0 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||D||1-1||12-6-8|
|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