by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)
Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Tonight the Sounders FC prepare a Pacific Northwest welcome for our purple-clad guests, Orlando City SC. After managing to not drown in the hopelessly waterlogged pitch at Yankee Stadium in a match that should rightfully have been postponed last Saturday, our Sounders will attempt to bounce back from the 2:1 loss in the Bronx. Tonight’s match will be the 17th for the Sounders in the league and marks the halfway point of the MLS season. Gather up the members of the Green family and get yourself to the match if possible. If not round up your mates and head to a viewing party whether you’re in Seattle or in one of our many supporter’s groups around the country. Join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!
The Good News
Sounders have won three out of their last five in the league. Orlando have only won one out of their last five. We have never lost to Orlando City, although we have only played them twice since they joined the league in 2015. We have only lost one match at home this season, and Orlando’s woeful away form has seen them only win once in six matches away from home. Aside from Adekoya, Alfaro, and Evans, the side is injury-free. Orlando are having a difficult time scoring goals, averaging slightly over one goal per match. Orlando’s top scorer, Cyle Larin, has been suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and will not be available for selection for tonight’s match. The fact we don’t have to face Larin is good news, as the Canadian international has scored eight goals this season. The reason for his suspension is, however, no cause for celebration.
The Bad News
We’ve only won three out of our last nine matches. Orlando are 5th in the league table, we are 16th. Against common opposition, Orlando are 4-4-4 compared to our 3-2-6. Neither club’s defence is particularly sparkling, although Orlando have conceded three fewer goals than our boys in Green. We are having trouble scoring goals, averaging slightly more than a goal a match. Dempsey hasn’t scored since May 13th (last six matches without a goal) in our 4:1 loss at Bridgeview. Morris hasn’t scored since April 23rd (last nine matches without a goal) in our 0:3 victory at Avalon Boulevard. Lodeiro hasn’t scored since April 29th (last eight matches without a goal) in the infamous 3:3 comeback draw against New England. In the offseason, Orlando added Jonathan Spector (Manchester United, Charlton Athletic, West Ham United, Birmingham City), Josh Saunders (nearly 300 matches of experience in domestic football), and Giles Barnes (Derby, Fulham, West Brom, Jamaica). These players are skilful, experienced, and will strengthen their club, making them more difficult to defeat.
Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Bendik, 28, started for Orlando last Saturday with Saunders, 36, as his understudy. Bendik has over 120 matches of MLS experience and played nine times for Sogndal of Norway.
Defence – Sutter, 31, an English national, was developed by four English clubs and Grasshopper Zurich in Switzerland. Sutter is a veteran of over 200 appearances in the Swiss league, before joining Orlando City this season. Aja, 24, is an Uruguayan national who previously played a combined 22 matches at Nacional and Racing before joining Orlando this season. Spector, 31, is a veteran of nearly 280 matches in English football. Spector also has 36 caps for United States. Toia, 25, has over 100 matches of experience in MLS having previously played for Chivas USA and Montreal before joining Orlando this season.
Midfield – Garcia, 32, is an Argentine national who has played for clubs in Argentina, Uruguay, France, and Chile, before signing with San Jose in 2014. Garcia has played 340 matches in his career. Johnson, 30, is the alternate captain of Orlando. He has played mostly domestic football, save for 40 matches in the Netherlands between Heerenveen and De Graafschap. Johnson has 270 matches of professional experience and 43 caps for Canada. Higuita, 23, is a Colombian national developed by Deportivo Cali. He played 16 matches for Cali, before signing with Orlando in 2015, and has played 62 times for his new club. Kaka, 35, needs no introduction. The Brazilian national was developed by Sao Paulo FC and played 59 times for that club. He went on to star at Real Madrid and AC Milan joining Orlando City in 2014. Kaka has played nearly 450 times in club football, scoring nearly 150 goals. He has 92 caps and 29 goals for Brazil and is the captain of the Orlando team.
Forward – Barnes, 28, is an English national produced by Derby County. He played nearly 140 matches in English football before signing with Houston of MLS in 2012. Since then he has played in 137 matches of MLS football, signing with Orlando City just this season. Barnes has 19 caps and three goals for Jamaica. Rivas, 23, is a Colombian national who started his football at Once Caldas and Deportivo Cali for a combined 46 matches. He signed with Orlando City in 2015 and has played 63 times for them.
Orlando goalkeeper, Earl Edwards, played eight matches for Sounders U-23s. Orlando midfielder, Servando Carrasco, played 40 times for the Sounders FC from 2011-13.
Sounders FC from:
Miller, Frei, Meredith, Evans, Tolo, Marshall, Alfaro, Torres, Jones, Fisher, Svensson, Alonso, Roldan, Fernandez, Lodeiro, Kovar, Shipp, Delem, Wingo, Mathers, Dempsey, Adekoya, Morris, Bruin.
Orlando City SC from:
Bendik, Edwards, Saunders, Toia, Spector, Hines, Aja, Alston, Donovan, Ramos, Redding, Giro, Sutter, Pereira, Carrasco, Laryea, Higuita, Johnson, Kaka, Nocerino, Garcia, Rocha, Da Silva, Barnes, Gil, Barry, Rivas, Sane.
MATCHDAY DECISION: Adekoya (ankle), Alfaro (knee), Evans (calf).
MATCHDAY DECISION: none.
Orlando: Larin (Substance Abuse policy violation).
In January of this year, Seyi Adekoya became the ninth player to sign a homegrown player contract with the Sounders FC. Adekoya was born in Seattle, developed by Crossfire Premier and Seattle Sounders Academy playing his university football at UCLA.