by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR), Oakland, CA
Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. These are uncertain times indeed at Occidental Avenue. Sounders FC are having one of their worst patches of form in recent history, having lost four consecutive matches in all competitions. It is in the dark times of supporting a club that the fitness and mettle of the supporters meets its true test. It is more important now than perhaps at any other time in our club’s history to wear the Blue and Green with pride, eyes steely with resolve. I can say with no small amount of optimism that although we’ve lost four in a row, we were truly outclassed only in our CONCACAF Champion’s Cup match in Mexico City. The four matches we dropped in the league were all generally close affairs, with not much separating the winners from the losers. Perhaps this Saturday night is the night this new look Sounders FC side begin to realise the nature of their true identity. Perhaps now is the time we seize the night, and that our newer players and veteran stalwarts alike begin to share a true understanding and find the roles they are meant to play in the team and the squad. It is my great wish that our FCF viewing parties in the Haight, Mountain View, and Pill Hill are well attended. Our voices shall be as one, as we attempt to lend our fierce enthusiasm and in some way transmit it 800 miles away to Royal Brougham Park, our emerald theatre of dreams. Our ECS brothers and sisters in Seattle and in all of our subgroups across the vast expanse of America will raise their voices as we bear witness to the truth that will unfold on Saturday night. Montreal have no idea who they’re dealing with. Raise your glasses with me and we will toast “TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB, AND VICTORY!!!”
The Good News
MTL have 9 players in the squad over 30 years-old. Maybe they’ve lost a step. At least we’re not playing against #11 Drogba’s resumé. Thankfully Drogba is 38 years old and years removed from the goalscoring monster that dominated opponents at Stamford Bridge in the first two decades of the new century. FC Dallas beat Montreal 2:0 last week, we’ve pretty much held our own against FC Dallas, particularly in our last MLS Cup tie as Dallas were lucky to advance needing penalties to get past us. Maybe this means we have an edge in quality. If Bernier, Ciman, and Donadel fail a matchday fitness test, that’s three of Montreal’s most experienced players we don’t have to face. This would be an edge to Sounders FC, as we are breaking in several young players. Perhaps Sigi will give the new lad, Alfaro, his debut at centre-half to see if he can provide adequate cover for the injured Roman Torres. If Evans, Friberg, and Farfan are fit to play on Saturday night, our chances of winning the match and the three points increases dramatically. With Montreal striker Andrés Romero out, it subtracts another experienced goalscoring threat from the Montreal lineup.
The Bad News
If we were playing against Drogba’s resumé, we wouldn’t stand a chance. He’s won a whole heap of trophies at the highest level of football, and set several records for both club and country. Even at the ripe old age of 38 you’d have to fancy Drogba to finish a decent chance at goal. Torres is still out. As he, Chad Marshall, Osvaldo Alonso, and ‘keeper Stefan Frei, are the backbone of the Sounders defense, the absence of Torres is felt keenly. Even though the sample size of matches is extremely small at four, we’ve only won one of those four meetings. We’ve played Montreal only once at Royal Brougham Park in 2013, and lost 0:1. We have only scored three goals in the four matches we’ve played against Montreal. They’ve scored six on us. We should be mindful of #32 Ontivero. The young Montreal Midfield man is on loan from Galatasaray SK, one of the biggest and most successful clubs in Turkey, featuring prominently on the European stage as well. If Galatasaray see something in Ontivero, he’s likely a nightmare to defend. #10 Piatti may be 31 years-old, but he’s won both a league title and a Copa Libertadores with San Lorenzo, scoring nearly 70 goals in over 300 matches in his career.
Players most likely to score on us: #32 Ontivero, #10 Piatti, #7 Oduro, and #11 Drogba should he feature. We have only faced Impact de Montréal in MLS League play. We have never faced them in the MLS Cup, US Open Cup, or CONCACAF Champion’s League. Hopefully Dempsey will play despite playing midweek in Columbus, OH for the Yanks in their 4:0 demolition of Los Chapines.
#22 Eric Kronberg used to play his amateur football at Berkeley for the California Golden Bears.
Selections for Last Match
Sounders FC: Frei, Mears, Scott, Marshall, Joevin Jones, Roldan, Alonso, Morris, Ivanschitz, Dempsey, Valdez.
Bench: Miller (gk), Remick, Fisher, Alfaro, Sturgis, Kovar, Anderson.
Montreal: Bush, Camara, Cabrera, Ciman, Toia, Mallace, Alexander, Ontivero, Piatti, Shipp, Oduro.
Bench: Kronberg (gk), Lefevre, Drogba, Bekker, Jackson-Hamel, Venegas, Tissot
OUT – Torres (left ACL tear).
MATCHDAY DECISION – Evans, Friberg, Farfan.
OUT – Romero (torn ACL), Porter (hamstring).
MATCHDAY DECISION – Bernier, Crepeau, Donadel, Ciman.
None suspended from either side.
In 2012, Sounders FC traveled to Montreal for the first time in MLS league play at Saputo Stadium. We lost 4:1 with an 87’ dagger scored by then Montreal forward Lamar Neagle. Two years later, Neagle ran onto the pitch at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium in a Rave Green shirt, and hit one for Sounders FC in a 0:2 victory for our lads. I believe that Neagle is the only player that has scored for both Seattle and Montreal in the brief history between the two clubs.