by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)
Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. As the sands run through the hourglass, so are the days of our football. Sunday night brings us fixture number 21 on the league list. Making the voyage all the way from the Bay Area are our auld rivals San Jose Earthquakes. They must face us in the Evergreen at Royal Brougham Park, where opposition football dreams come to die. Green Hell, I believe, the supporters call it. These lads in black and blue, with the horrible identity crisis (San Jose Clash, Earthquakes v. 1.0, Earthquakes v. 2.0???) generally give us the worst time home or away and in fact lead the all-time series in the MLS era with 10 wins to our seven. Worries though? Nah. You’ll have to pry the points out of our cold, dead hands. HAAA! Link up with the Green Family at the known places. Preferably at the park, but if that’s not manageable find the right pub and the right company and join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!
The Good News
The Sounders are in an unprecedented vein of good form that has seen our boys in Green mark their longest unbeaten streak of the season at four matches, and tying their best winning streak at two matches in a row. Sounders are coming off a guts-for-glory comeback victory that saw them erase a 0:3 deficit to the DC United and then a Roldan stunner through the goalkeeper’s legs for a 4:3 victory at Occidental Avenue last Wednesday night. This constitutes the largest comeback for the Sounders in MLS history. We are climbing the league table, albeit slowly, with the Sounders currently finding themselves in 13th position. San Jose has not beaten us in the league this season. Seattle have only lost once at home this season in nine matches. In stark relief, San Jose have only managed two wins out of 10 matches on the road. Against common opponents, the Sounders have taken 24 out of 48 points, where as San Jose have taken only 19 of 51 points. San Jose have not only lost their last two matches but have had an extremely leaky defence in doing so giving up nine goals. As Urena played with Los Ticos in a losing effort against the Yanks tonight, he will be unavailable for selection in the Quakes’ eleven. Leerdam looked smart in his league debut, let’s hope more consistency follows.
The Bad News
Although we’re unbeaten in four matches, the fact that that’s our season best to date is a cause for concern. Equally troubling are the three goals we spotted the DC United before assembling our resolute and epic comeback. It’s never a good sign when you spot three straight goals to the club that is bottom of the league. Kasey Keller commented during the match though that the parity of MLS is such that the differences between the bottom of table club and those above them are mostly cosmetic in nature. A sobering thought on many levels. I took this to heart as I very much respect Keller’s analysis, and remember the days when he made the leagues of Europe mark his top ability as a goalkeeper at such clubs as Millwall, Leicester, Rayo Vallecano, Spurs, Southampton, Borussia Monchengladbach, and Fulham. Before dropping the last two matches in such awful style, San Jose were unbeaten in three. The Fauxquakes were good enough to knock us out of the US Open Cup, even though we were dense enough to think we could field a lineup of teenagers against their first team and somehow get a result. We score ever so slightly more than the Quakes, but who ever won a match by three-tenths of a goal? The defences of both sides have conceded exactly 31 goals in 20 matches each. Wondolowski is the x-factor in most of the meetings we’ve had. He’s a good enough striker that he is often the difference between defeat and victory for San Jose. Wondo has scored 11 goals against Seattle alone in the league. It’s a problem – one that Torres and Marshall will have to attempt to sort out. The Sounders are again without Dempsey, Morris, and Fisher as they still have Gold Cup obligations to the Yanks and Jamaica. We are also without Lodeiro as he lost his head and kicked out at a DC United player who had pushed him in the back. Although DC United suffered nothing other than a simple foul for this, Lodeiro was sent off and is out this match due to suspension. Ultimately we are without our two top strikers and best midfield player. Bad enough to be down Dempsey and Morris, but losing Lodeiro, even for a match, is a serious liability. Can you think of anyone else in the team capable of doing the job he does?
Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – David Bingham is a proper goalkeeper. He played for the University of California, a fine programme featuring stylish football. He now has nearly 100 pro appearances and three caps for the USA. His understudy Tarbell is extremely green with only 14 appearances as a professional.
Defence – Castro Valley born Lima played 72 times for Cal. Grimes wouldn’t have played him if he didn’t see something in him. Jungwirth has things to prove, and a fair chip on his shoulder as the German national team has ignored him since 2009 after capping him at youth levels 48 times. Jungwirth also played nearly 90 times for Dinamo Dresden. So fair experience acknowledged. Imperiale, an Argentinian national played a lot of football for some very good clubs in South and Central America. Cato has played nearly 100 matches for San Jose scoring seven goals and has 20 caps for Trinidad & Tobago. Bernardez is a 35-year-old Honduran national and the Vice-Captain of the San Jose side. He has played 153 times for San Jose by way of Motagua and Anderlecht. He has 78 caps for Honduras.
Midfield – Thompson is a mere 21 years old but has 62 matches under his belt at pro level and also 21 matches for USA youth sides. Alashe is a 23-year-old domestic product that has played as a pro 76 times. Godoy has played 45 times for San Jose and has 55 caps for Panama. He has over 180 matches of experience as a professional. Hyka is a 29-year-old Albanian national who earned the bulk of his experience in the Swiss league playing over 160 times for Luzern. He has played 20 times for San Jose and 44 times for Albania.
Forward – Chris Wondolowski needs no introduction. He has a strike rate for San Jose in excess of 50%. He has over 260 matches of experience in MLS. He scores goals, period. Hoesen is a 26-year-old Dutch national who played with both Ajax and Groningen before making his way to California. He has appeared nearly 20 times for San Jose and has 13 Dutch youth caps.
San Jose midfielder, Cordell Cato played eight times for Sounders FC.
Sounders FC from: Frei, Miller, Meredith, Torres, Marshall, Alfaro, Evans, Tolo, Leerdam, Jones, Svensson, Roldan, Kovar, Shipp, Delem, Wingo, Mathers, Adekoya, Bruin, Mansaray.
San Jose from: Bingham, Tarbell, Wynne, Bernardez, Imperiale, Lima, Affolter, Salinas, Cato, Hyka, Qazaishvili, Yuell, Ceren, Thompson, Jungwirth, Alashe, Godoy, Silva, Wondolowski, Hoesen, Amarikwa, Dawkins.
Sounders FC –
OUT: Alonso (knee).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Frei (hip), Wingo (ankle).
San Jose –
OUT: Sarkodie (calf), Pelosi (knee), Cummings (leg surgery), Colvey (knee).
MATCHDAY DECISION: none.
Sounders FC: Lodeiro (sent off).
Did you know that Sounders’ centre-half, Roman Torres has 103 caps and 9 Goals for Panama?