Preview: Seattle host Philly in NBC Sports Network showdown
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
May 5, 2012 (WEEK 9, MLS Game #79)
1:30 p.m. PT (NBC SN)
Riding a three-game winning streak, Seattle Sounders FC continue their home run when they play host to Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC are off to a club-best start, after their 2-0 defeat of the LA Galaxy at midweek. Union saw their two-game winning streak come to an end last weekend, in a 2-1 home loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.
REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Claudio Badea; JAR (opposite): Jeff Muschik; 4th: Ismail Elfath
MLS Career: 150 games; FC/gm: 27.0; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 42; pens: 57
NBC Sports Preview: SEA vs. PHI
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC - OUT: GK Josh Ford (R knee stress fracture); GK Andrew Weber (L ankle sprain); DF Michael Tetteh (L hamstring strain); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); FW Babayele Sodade (R knee ACL tear); DOUBTFUL: MF Alvaro Fernandez (R quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Patrick Ianni (lower back pain); PROBABLE: MF Mauro Rosales (R foot contusion)
- PHILADELPHIA UNION - OUT: MF Roger Torres (L knee surgery recovery); FW Krystian Witkowski (concussion); DOUBTFUL: DF Gabriel Farfan (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Brian Carroll (R hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: PHI: Gabriel Farfan (through May 13); Peter Nowak (manager; through May 5)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Gabriel Gomez
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Sounders FC 1 win, 4 goals ... Union 2 wins, 6 goals ... Ties 1
AT SEATTLE (2 meetings): Sounders FC 1 win, 2 goals ... Union 1 win, 2 goals ... Ties 0
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/16: PHI 1, SEA 1 (Ruiz 32 - Fernandez 90)
10/8: SEA 0, PHI 2 (Adu 60; Carroll 70)
- This is the only league meeting between the clubs this season.
- Since a 2-0 win in the first game in Philadelphia Union club history, Sounders FC have not won in the series. Union have won two of the last three meetings with one draw, including a 2-0 win last Oct. 8 at CenturyLink Field.
- Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. PHI: P4 W1 L2 D1 ... Peter Nowak vs. SEA: P4 W2 L1 D1
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC made it three wins in a row, with a first-ever home win against the LA Galaxy in a 2-0 triumph Wednesday evening at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC are in third place in the Western Conference with 16 points from 7 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: Sounders break LA hex at the CLink
- Sounders FC hit for both goals on either side of halftime. In the 40th minute, Mauro Rosales sent in a cross from the right wing and Eddie Johnson found some space between a pair of defenders, striking a snap header from the penalty spot past Galaxy goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.
- The real highlight of the evening came in the 48th minute. After receiving the ball in midfield and striding forward, Fredy Montero stepped into a fierce drive from all of 35 yards out that sailed into the upper right corner.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made one change to the team that defeated the Chicago Fire 3-2 at Toyota Park. Zach Scott came back in at right back for Adam Johansson.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning (Bryan Meredith 46) - Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez - Mauro Rosales (Marc Burch 74), Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, David Estrada - Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson (Alex Caskey 81).
- Sounders FC are off to a 5-1-1 start, the best in club history. They have allowed just three goals - tied with Sporting KC for fewest in MLS this season - and have recorded shutouts in four games.
- A week after scoring his first goal for Sounders FC - and first in MLS since Sept. 15, 2007 (and first in any official competition since 2010) - Eddie Johnson hit for a second goal.
- "I think you're starting to see now what he can provide for our team with his running up front. He got a good goal off a header and I think as Mauro [Rosales] and Montero and Eddie and Flaco [Alvaro Fernandez] are eventually on the field as well, as they all get to know each other better it's going to become a more dangerous combination as we move forward," Schmid said.
- Strike partner Fredy Montero finally scored his first goal of 2012, a thunderous strike already receiving acclaim for MLS Goal of the Year recognition.
- "I was looking for this. I got in a position to score a really good goal--a really good one. I was looking for that one. I don't see one [goal] as better because they they all count, but this one is so special to me," Montero said.
- Said Schmid: "I think you could see it after he scored it. There was definitely a sense of relief that came over him, so hopefully it'll be the start of many. I think as him and Eddie [Johnson] learn even better how to combine with each other that they can really set each other up for some goals. ... . I don't think it's going to be the last time you see us play a game where both Eddie Johnson and Montero score in the same game. I think this is the first of a few that are going to go that way."
- Zach Scott returned to the side at right back, replacing Adam Johansson, who the week before had made his return to the back four for the first time since the season opener, missing four games.
- "Look at us. We're two-deep at every position. Any given day somebody can start," Scott said. "I'm not the starting right back but I don't think teams take offense to that. Whoever's out there for us, we're going to go out there and win. We don't care what other teams do."
- Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, who had been limited in training because of a hip injury, reaggravated the ailment during the first half and was forced off, replaced by Bryan Meredith, who made his MLS debut. Gspurning's availability is in question for the Philadelphia match.
- "It's tremendous for Bryan Meredith to come in and keep a clean sheet for 45 minutes. I think he showed what I said last week in that I think there are a lot of teams in this league he can be starting for. He's a quality goalkeeper and we have a lot of faith in him," said Schmid.
- Mauro Rosales also started in back-to-back games for the first time this season, playing 74 minutes.
- "He's very important to the team. He's got a lot of experience. He's played in Europe, he's played for Ajax," said Johnson. "One of our strengths and our style is possessing the ball, and Mauro is a player that can beat you with a one-two, he can beat you on the dribble, or he can pick out that perfect cross in the box."
Montero, Johnson take Not Goal of the Week honors
Philadelphia Union saw their two-game winning streak come to an end, the San Jose Earthquakes getting a stunning goal in stoppage time for a 2-1 victory at PPL Park on Saturday evening. Union are in a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 7 points from 7 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: Quakes get the win at the death in Philly
- The Quakes brought a sluggish game to life with their 76th-minute opener. Steven Lenhart, who had come on in the 61st minute, met a Marvin Chavez cross with a diving header at the back post.
- The lead didn't last long, though, as Union's Gabriel Gomez evened the game in the 83rd minute. Union striker Danny Mwanga dug a ball out of a scrum in front of the San Jose net and coolly dished it back to Gomez, who buried a shot from inside the box.
- But there were late heroics once again to come from San Jose. Chavez shook Freddy Adu and Jack McInerney on the right touchline with twists and turns before flighting a pinpoint cross that Lenhart met at the far post with a downward header and the match-winner.
- Union boss Peter Nowak made three changes to the team that posted a 1-0 win against Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center. Danny Califf, Amobi Okugo and Kai Herdling came into the team, in place of Brian Carroll and the suspended Gabriel Farfan and Keon Daniel.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-1-4-1): Zac MacMath - Raymond Gaddis (Cristhian Hernandez 82), Carlos Valdes, Danny Califf, Sheanon Williams - Amobi Okugo - Freddy Adu, Gabriel Gomez, Michael Farfan, Kai Herdling (Jack McInerney 63) - Lionard Pajoy (Danny Mwanga 75).
- Union extended their shutout streak to 408 minutes - third-longest in MLS this season, and the longest in club history - before the Quakes scored the opening goal.
- "The first goal was tough," said Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath. "(Chavez) cut back and [Steven] Lenhart got in and had a free header. It's hard to miss that one. The second one, he cuts it back to his left foot and cuts it across to a crowded six-yard box. Afterward maybe I thought I should have come for it. But Lenhart had a free header and put it away."
- Of the eight goals Union have allowed this season, seven have come in the second half.
- "I think we showed that we're a team that's good as any in this league, especially in the second half. We made some adjustments and I thought we had the game. Before they scored the first goal I thought it was our game to get the three points out of," Hackworth said. "It changed after their first goal. We did a great job to get an equalizer but then you think you just have to manage those final 10 minutes."
- "It was a really tough loss to lose a game like that in injury time after fighting so hard to come back and equalizing," said Union coach John Hackworth, who filled in for a suspended Peter Nowak. " ... We really feel like we deserved at least a point out of that game, in every way possible. Tough for us. Very disappointing. But we have to learn from it, come back, and be stronger."
- Just two days after arriving from Germany, Kai Herdling was inserted into the starting lineup and played 63 minutes in the midfield.
- Danny Califf returned to the heart of the back four after missing two games with a hamstring injury, while Raymon Gaddis maintained his place at fullback for a second consecutive week, with Sheanon Williams shifting from right back to left.
- "We'll try to maneuver a little bit," Nowak said. "The back line has been very solid, but there are guys who we may ask to play a position that isn't natural, but they know the responsibilities.
- In his two games at PPL Park, San Jose striker Steven Lenhart has scored four goals - in 93 minutes of work. He scored two goals, also after coming on as a substitute, for Columbus in 2010 in Chester.
- "That guy's a Union killer isn't he?" said Hackworth. "Every time he comes here he scores goals. I don't mean to make light of that but we need to defend those and we didn't. He showed why he's so dangerous."
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