by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Nestled between Merriam Park East and Lexington – Hamline North lies St. Anthony Avenue. That’s where you’ll find the football ground of the Loons. Minnesota United Football Club. The Sounders trip to St. Paul marks a historic first meeting of the sides in MLS league play. We’ll be treading on ground where most lads don a pair of skates to make noise in the world. We meet our new league opponent with great respect. This includes that we will play our very best to win, and expect them to do the same. There will be handshakes at the beginning and hopefully handshakes when the full-time whistle blows. This is the way to greet a new club to the league. Try the hardest to defeat them, but at the end there is respect. Gather your Green Family where they may be. If you’re away at the St. Anthony Avenue Ground, yell your heart out. If you’re with mates in Seattle, or anywhere we have Family, in the Southland, in the Bay, or any of the many places around the nation where we keep it Green, be seen, be heard, and be kind. A new dawn awakens, as we face a new opponent in the league. Let’s experience it together and join in the pre-match auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB AND VICTORY!!!

Will new boy Victor Rodriguez make Brian Schmetzer’s matchday selection?

The Good News
We are climbing the table to 11th position, whilst our new friends from Minnesota are struggling to keep pace at 20th of 22 clubs. In recent form, the Sounders are unbeaten in six matches marking their best form of the season. Minnesota United have dropped three of the last five matches. Although we struggle to make gains on the road (2-4-6), Minnesota have scarce better than a 50% record at home (6-2-5). The Loons concede over two goals per match (2.05). Sounders have added former Sporting Gijon midfielder, Victor Rodriguez. He is a proper footballer with resumé to match, having played the better part of 300 matches of Spanish football. Ryan Krasnoo, of SoundersFC.com, reports that Minnesota United forward, Christian Ramirez is out this match with a hamstring problem. With eight goals, Ramirez is the top goal scorer in the side for the Loons.

The Bad News
We were less than convincing in Carson last week, although we managed a draw. Our away record is less than sterling as we have dropped all the points in half our away matches. In the same amount of matches, Minnesota United have only earned nine fewer points. In their last match, MUFC triumphed over the DC United 4:0. We struggled to an epic 4:3 comeback against the same side after spotting them three goals. At season’s end, we have to say goodbye to an old friend. Joevin Jones is leaving us for greener pastures in the 2 Bundesliga and will sign on a free transfer with SV Darmstadt 98.

Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will be used in this match, meaning that an off pitch official who is monitoring the match on video can potentially override an on-pitch decision.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper –
Shuttleworth, 30, is a domestic product developed by Loyola and SUNY Buffalo (NCAA). He has played nearly 150 matches at MLS level between his time with New England and now with Minnesota United.

Defence –
Thiesson, 29, is a Swiss national with over 200 matches experience in the Swiss league.

Boxall, 28, is a New Zealand national who played 19 times for Vancouver Whitecaps and then bounced from Australian league clubs to a South African side before moving to St. Paul. He has over 120 matches as a professional under his belt, and 27 caps for New Zealand.

Calvo, 25, is a Costa Rican national developed by CD Saprissa. Between matches, at Herediano and Saprissa he has totalled nearly 140 matches of Costa Rican league football. Calvo has 25 caps and three goals for Costa Rica.

Jome, 22, is a Gambian national developed by Prairie Seeds Academy and UC Santa Barbara (NCAA). Jome has less than 40 professional matches under his belt. Of those, only 10 of them are at MLS level.

Midfield –
Danladi, 21, is a Ghanian national developed by Santa Barbara Soccer Club and UCLA (NCAA). He has 16 pro matches, 15 of which are with Minnesota United.

Cronin, 30, is a domestic product, produced by Wake Forest (NCAA). He has played over 240 matches of MLS football with Toronto FC, San Jose, Colorado, and now Minnesota United. Cronin has two caps for United States.

Ibson, 33, is a Brazilian national produced by Flamengo. He’s done a bit of travelling over the years with stays at Porto, Spartak Moscow, and Bologna before moving to St. Paul. He has nearly 370 professional matches under his belt having scored 36 goals.

Nicholson, 22, is a Scottish national produced by Heart of Midlothian. He has 109 matches and 13 goals for Hearts before joining the Loons this year. He has 14 caps for Scotland youth sides.

Forward –
Molino, 27, is a Trinidadian national with nearly 60 matches of MLS experience and over 140 pro matches under his belt in general. He has scored 43 goals in his career. He has 39 caps and 18 goals for Trinidad & Tobago.

Ibarra, 27, is a domestic product produced by Ambush Soccer Club, Taft Cougars, and UC Irvine (NCAA). He has 165 pro matches of experience but only 8 with Liga MX Leon, and 20 with the Loons. He has scored 32 goals for his clubs and has three United States caps.

Familiar Faces
Minnesota United defender, Marc Burch played 49 times for the Sounders FC between 2012-13.

Minnesota United from: Shuttleworth, McLain, Thiesson, Taylor, Calvo, Demidov, Kallman, Venegas, Boxall, Ibson, Ibarra, Venegas, Martin, Molino, Cronin, Warner, Nicholson, Danladi, Jome, Kadrii.

Sounders FC from: Frei, Miller, Meredith, Evans, Tolo, Marshall, Alfaro, Leerdam, Torres, Jones, Fisher, Svensson, Roldan, Rodriguez, Lodeiro, Kovar, Shipp, Delem, Wingo, Mathers, Dempsey, Adekoya, Morris, Bruin, Mansaray.

Injury List
Minnesota –
OUT: Anor (leg), Burch (groin), DeVillardi (Achilles), Davis (foot), Greenspan (head), Ramirez (hamstring), Schuller (thigh).

Sounders FC –
OUT: Alonso (MCL).

None suspended from either club.

Fun Fact
Not only did Sounders’ new boy, Victor Rodriguez spend four years at FC Barcelona academy. He has two caps for Catalonia as well. We’re lucky to have him here with us in the Evergreen.