by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR), Oakland, CA
Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. As we prepare to face New England, one of the league’s founding teams, in Foxboro, there is heartache in the Emerald City. Our lads have dropped three of the last five matches. Sounders FC have slipped to 16th in the MLS table. We’ve scored only 10 goals in 11 matches, second-worst in the league. We have the fourth best defense (13 goals conceded), though that is cold comfort when the side is struggling for points. But that’s the thing though. Football is like life itself. People don’t just turn up to back each other when things are hunky-dory. We endure hard patches where little is going right, and everything seems pear-shaped. This isn’t a cause for hand-wringing. It is a call to galvanise our resolve as supporters. We support the Sounders with no apology, and as loud as humanly possible, whether the performance is poor, indifferent, good, or brilliant. Suit up in your Rave Green. This is a hard patch of form, and we’re going to gut it out with our boys. Our boys in Green. I implore all of our number, from the most distant corners of our membership, to turn up at viewing parties across the American expanse. To salute our side, eyes flashing, heads high, in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!
The Good News
The bulk of the team is healthy with only Torres and Anderson out for sure, including Marshall if he passes his fitness test and is eligible for selection. The Revs are leaking goals at the back having conceded 24 in 13 matches. New England are one of the few teams that are struggling as much or worse than we are, sitting just below us at 17th in the table. Under current manager Jay Heaps, the Revolution have won only 34% of their matches. Overall, our numbers against New England are even with a 4-2-4 record in 10 matches, scoring 14 goals, conceding 15. New England’s goalkeepers have some experience as professionals (Knighton 88 appearances, Shuttleworth 142), but have yet to win a major trophy at the professional level.
The Bad News
Should Marshall be ineligible for selection through injury, we have no one in the squad capable of playing at his level in the centre of defence. The Revs have scored seven more goals than we have in the same amount of matches this season. Adjustment in the post Oba era has been slow, and no one has yet managed to replace his role in the side. We have been shut out the last two matches. The Revs have a very balanced attack in that you don’t know where the goals are coming from. Maybe it will be Agudelo, maybe Nguyen, Fagundez, or Rowe, which could make the Revs difficult to defend. Fagundez has scored the most of any current or former Revs player against the Sounders, with four goals. The numbers paint a dismal picture of our away form at Foxboro. The sample size is small, five matches, but we’ve dropped three, drawn once, and won only one time. At Foxboro we have scored six goals, conceding 13 in five league matches.
Former United States defender Jay Heaps is the manager of New England. He has accumulated a 39-32-44 record (w-d-l) in 115 matches in charge.
Revs midfielder, Kelyn Rowe is a native son of Federal Way, WA. He also played for Crossfire Premier from 2009-10. He has 11 caps and three goals for United States youth teams.
Selections for Last Match
New England: Shuttleworth, Watson, Sambinha, Farrell, Tierney, Koffie, Caldwell, Agudelo, Nguyen, Rowe, Kei Kamara.
Bench: Knighton (gk), Barnes, Kobayashi, Woodberry, Fagundez, Hollinger-Janzen, Bunbury.
Sounders FC: Frei, Mears, Evans, Scott, Joevin Jones, Friberg, Alonso, Kovar, Dempsey, Ivanschitz, Morris.
Bench: Miller (gk), Fisher, Alfaro, Gómez, Roldan, Anderson, Remick.
OUT: Davies (right abductor).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Donnie Smith (hamstring), Gonçalves (chest), Neumann (knee).
OUT: Torres (ACL), Anderson (hamstring).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Marshall (hamstring).
No players suspended.
Sounders FC have never faced New England in a cup tournament.