SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. PORTLAND TIMBERS – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. It’s that time of season again. The Treecutters from Portland descend on our fair city for a high noon clash on Occidental Avenue. They are the Joker to our Batman or the Batman to our Joker – you know what I’m getting at here. I’m just saying we don’t celebrate our goals by slicing off pieces of a murdered tree. But I digress. It’s come time for the 18th league match between us and our bitter rivals from the Pacific Northwest. All hands to action stations. Gather up your Green Family, whether it be at Occidental Avenue, or at your local for a viewing party. We must have every bit of spirit and sound from all of us. Our numbers are legion and will converge where sky meets sea at Royal Brougham Park. Before the match, join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

Chenkam
Felix Chenkam has scored three goals in six matches for the Sounders reserves. Keep an eye on this high-flying youngster from the Cameroon.

The Good News
Last week, the Treecutters got the poutine kicked out of them in Montreal, 4:1. Portland were top of the league for the first nine weeks of the season, but now they’ve plummeted to fifth place in the table like a dying quail with no wins in their last four matches. After enduring our own crap vein of form, we rallied to defeat Salt Lake, ending our three match losing streak. We’ve only lost once at home this season. Portland have only two wins in six matches on the road. We’ve never lost to Portland at Royal Brougham Park in the eight meetings during our tenure in MLS. The park will likely be packed to the bursting with mostly Sounders supporters, hopefully singing and chanting with many voices made one. Portland will be missing Chara due to suspension for being sent off last week. So one less ringer to deal with. Dempsey has hit 8 goals against Portland in the league all-time, this can only be a good thing for us and ours.

The Bad News
Against our eight common opponents this year we have earned only seven points, whilst the Treecutters earned 11. Portland score about half a goal more per match than we do. Our defensive records are nearly identical. Adi, their Nigerian ringer, has scored a Wondolowski-like seven goals against the Sounders and has hit six goals this season so far. Valeri, one of their many Argentinian ringers, has hit six for Portland this season, and three against the Sounders all-time. Our top goal scorer is Dempsey with four. No other Sounder has more than three goals. Even without Chara in the team, Valeri, Adi, Nagbe, Ridgewell, and Powell have plenty of quality. The talent level in our side should be enough to cope with this, but the form book tends to go out the window when our two clubs meet. Dempsey and, hopefully, Alonso, will be able to hold their temper and not be goaded into a rash foul. The two sides in 17 matches of league play have accumulated 65 bookings with four sent off. It’s likely to get dicey, quickly. We struggled to defeat a reeling Salt Lake side last weekend, let’s hope we have better in the tank for this match.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Portland’s favourite choice between the sticks is Gleeson. We offered him a chance as a trialist, but Portland offered him a guaranteed contract. Go figure. The 26-year-old New Zealand international has nearly 100 professional appearances under his belt, and he always seems to play up against us. McIntosh, 23, was on the bench last week as Gleeson’s understudy.

Defence – Powell, 22, is a Jamaican international with 16 caps for the Reggae Boyz and has appeared for Portland 82 times. Ridgwell, 32, is the old man of the back four. Produced by West Ham and Aston Villa, the Englishman has played over 300 matches of Premier League football. The Bexleyheath native is also a threat to score. Andriuskevicius, 26, not only leads the league in last name syllables but also shows 26 caps for Lithuania and over 100 matches of European football. Miller, 32, has nearly 300 appearances in a career that has seen him play in Scandinavia, Costa Rica, and the United States. Miller has 57 caps for Costa Rica.

Midfield – Guzman, 27, should play in a holding role as he did last week. He is a new signing for Portland having played the rest of his career for Saprissa. Guzman has played over 200 times as a professional. The big question is who will fill-in for Chara at the other holding midfield position. Maybe Olum, 32, will deputise in that role. He’s experienced and plays as either a midfielder or defender. Olum is Kenyan-born (4 caps for Kenya) and has played nearly 140 matches of MLS football. He has played 52 times for Portland scoring seven goals. Nagbe, 26, is by all rights an established star. The Liberian-born naturalised American has 14 caps for the Yanks and has played nearly 200 times for Portland, scoring 26 goals. Valeri, 31, is in the twilight of his career. He played nearly 160 times for Lanus in his native Argentina. He has played over 100 times for Portland scoring 38 goals. Good enough for a Designated Player contract, not to mention being a persistent thorn in our collective bottoms. Blanco, 29, is – surprise, surprise, another Argentinian produced by Lanus. His career has seen him play in Argentina, Ukraine, England, and the United States. He signed a DP contract with Portland this year on the strength of his 263 appearances, 39 goals, and two Argentina caps.

Striker – Adi, 26, is the danger man up front. He is a lethal finisher. He has played nearly 200 times as a professional in a career that has seen him play matches in Slovakia, Ukraine, and Denmark. He has 83 career goals and has scored seven against the Sounders alone.

Familiar Faces
Portland goalkeeper, Jake Gleeson was offered a trial with the Sounders in 2010 but the New Zealand man (eight caps) declined in favour of a guaranteed contract offered by the former USL incarnation of the Portland Timbers as they were preparing to make their MLS debut.

Selections for Last Match
Sounders FC: Frei, Evans, Svensson, Marshall, Jones, Roldan, Alonso, Shipp, Lodeiro, Dempsey, Morris.

Bench: Miller (gk), Delem, Fisher, Tolo, Fernandez, Bruin, Adekoya.

The Treecutters: Gleeson, Powell, Miller, Ridgewell, Andriuskevicius, Chara, Guzman, Nagbe, Valeri, Blanco.

Bench: McIntosh (gk), Valentin, Olum, Mattocks, Barmby, Okugo, Asprilla.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Wingo (ankle), Bruin (dislocated elbow).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Kovar (groin), Torres (hamstring), Alonso (quadriceps).

Portland –
OUT: Arokoyo (achilles), Myers (hamstring), Attinella (hamstring).
MATCHDAY DECISION: none.

Discipline
Portland: Chara out this match (sent off).

Fun Fact
And now, yet another reason to be proud of your Sounders FC. Of the 12 highest single-match attendances, seven of those matches were Sounders FC matches at Royal Brougham Park. Four of those highest ever attendances were with Portland as the visiting side. The average attendance of those seven matches was 64,809. The most attended league match in MLS history was LA v. NY/NJ MetroStars, 69,255. I think we can do better. Don’t you?

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. REAL SALT LAKE – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Salt Lake travel down from their high perch in the Rockies to Royal Brougham Park, home of the Sounders FC, for a Saturday afternoon throwdown. Real Salt Lake indeed. As if Utah had a king. The first third of the Sounders’ league schedule is over. The bulk of it has been rather forgettable. We are in what is commonly known as a crap vein of form. But like all things in the universe, this too will pass with time. It’s true, we’ve only won two matches of our first 11, but it is in these times that we must galvanise our resolve as a supporter’s group and be even more resolute in our backing of the side. In Nick Hornby’s “Fever Pitch”, he didn’t write “Despite their best efforts, the Arsenal were crap so we all packed it in.” He wrote about how suffering was an inescapable part of loving sport. A rite of passage for stalwart supporters. Many of the matches from this season we could write off as unlucky. That we’d had the better of the possession, or the better chances from the run of play. Our midweek midwest fixture had no such silver linings. We were outdone in nearly every category. The beauty of sport is that there’s always the next match. A chance to start over, and build a better thing. We have far too much talent in the team to produce results of such low quality. This terrible stretch of form is surely an aberration and not the normal state of affairs. So I call upon you to gather your Green Family and head out to Royal Brougham Park and generate a noise the like of which has never been heard before in the history of all football. A sound which will rattle the very fabric of space. Gather your people where ye may. Go to the park if you can or meet up for a viewing party at the local if you can’t. For I will follow the Sounders FC wherever they may go. Join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

pint
Nobody knows…the trouble I’ve seen…

The Good News
Of the starters, we will only be missing Torres for certain. Possibly Alonso. In the long and short of things, that’s not so bad. Evans looks like he’s available for selection again, so that’s a positive. We’ll have Jones back from suspension, and he should help our transition through midfield quite nicely. If Demar Phillips doesn’t pass his fitness test, that’s another good thing too, as the Jamaican not only defends well but provides an extra dimension to the RSL attack. Our last five matches were marginally better than Salt Lake’s. Although Salt Lake won their most recent match against NYCFC, they dropped four in a row before that. We’ve only lost once at home this season. Salt Lake are crap on the road this time around with only one win out of six attempts. All-time we are 7-2-2 when playing Salt Lake at Royal Brougham Park. Then there’s the intangible of the best supporters in the league. Always a good thing. Salt Lake have had terrible trouble scoring goals this season, averaging less than a goal per match.

The Bad News
We’ve lost our last three matches in a row. We’ve been outscored 7:1 in the past two matches. We have won only two of our first 11 matches. Both sides are conceding nearly two goals per match. The all-time series is a dead heat at 8-4-8. Against our eight common opponents this season, we have nearly identical records. This is likely to be an ugly affair. With RSL at 19th in the table, and we at 21st tempers on both sides are likely frayed. Professionalism and discipline mitigate this somewhat, but this all-time series has seen 68 bookings and five sent off in only 20 league matches. So strap in.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Nick Rimando, 37, truly is the gift that keeps on giving for RSL. He’s played nearly 430 times as a professional. Has 22 caps for United States, and is generally a fine goalkeeper. Can’t see Van Oekel replacing him.

Defence – Wingert, 34, is the old pro of this group with over 300 matches at MLS level. Maund, 26, Has 70 games at MLS level and played at youth levels for both Trinidad & Tobago and United States. Schuler, 29, has played over 80 times for RSL. Schmidt, 23, is a local Washington product. Although he’s only played five times for RSL and was just drafted and signed this year, you’d have to imagine there’s quality there.

Midfield – Mulholland, 28, has played 93 times for RSL scoring 13 goals. The naturalised Englishman has always presented problems for us and I expect it will be no different today. Beckerman, 35, the pastafarian. Provides most of the bite in midfield for this RSL side. His resumé is impressive and includes over 400 appearances in MLS, 260 for RSL. Add to this his 58 United States caps, and 36 career goals. Rusnak, 22, is a Czech-born, Slovakian international, who did the whole bounce around Europe thing. His 61 matches for FC Groningen in Netherlands though is some testament to his quality.

Forward – Movsysian, 29, and Plata, 25, can cut a defence apart in many different ways. Movsysian has 35 caps/10 goals for Armenia, and overall has 93 goals in 260 appearances. Plata has 35 goals in 160 appearances and 4 caps/2 goals for Ecuador. Add Savarino, 20, to the mix and you get a young Venezuelan national with 32 goals in 132 appearances.

Familiar Faces
RSL defender, Schmidt was born in Washington state, played for UW, and also played for Washington Crossfire. Chad Barrett played 44 matches for Sounders FC scoring 12 goals.

Selections for Last Match
Sounders FC: Frei, Delem, Marshall, Alfaro, Fisher, Fernandez, Roldan, Svensson, Morris, Lodeiro, Bruin.

Bench: Miller (gk), Evans, Tolo, Mathers, Shipp, Adekoya, Dempsey.

Salt Lake: Rimando, Wingert, Maund, Schuler, Schmidt, Mulholland, Beckerman, Rusnak, Savarino, Movsisyan, Plata.

Bench: Van Oekel (gk), Dunk, Sunny, Hernandez, Silva, Velazco, Holness.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Torres (hamstring), Wingo (ankle).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Kovar (groin), Alonso (quad), Tolo (shoulder).

Salt Lake –
OUT: Barrett (knee), Horst (knee).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Allen (quad), Phillips (hamstring), Beltran (back).

Discipline
No players suspended for this match.

Fun Fact
Four players are missing from the RSL roster due to their selection to the USA U-20 World Cup squad. Sounders’ Victor Mansaray, currently on loan at Cincinnati United, was called up for a U-20 camp in February and was not recalled after.

Correction
Dwyer was not suspended for the midweek fixture in Kansas City. The mlssoccer.com website had not taken down the listing for his suspension from the previous match from accumulated bookings. So their error for leaving it posted compounded by mine in mistaking the suspension for Wednesday’s match. Apologies.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The Sounders prepare to finish their midwest road trip with a midweek fixture at State Avenue in Kansas City. It’s been hard going of late, and the only thing certain is that it’s not easy being Green. After having the better of possession at Haarlem avenue last Saturday, we were thanked for our trouble with a 4:1 thrashing at the hands of Chicago Fire, last year’s bottom of table squad. Perhaps a change of scenery will do the lads good. We still possess one of the most talented squads in MLS. We’re still the MLS Cup holders. We still have the best support in the league – home or away. We will do the only thing we can do. Forge ahead and keep it Green. Join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

morris
Time for Jordo to hit one, innit? Look at him, licking his chops to score a goal.

The Good News
Our starters are all healthy, save Torres who is still nursing a hamstring problem. SKC are suffering from a similar lack of recent form, taking only one point from their last two matches. The all-time series favours the Sounders 7-3-4. All time on the road at State Avenue we are 4-1-2. We are scoring better than three-tenths of a goal more per match than Kansas City. We’ve been through patches of form worse than this and come out the stronger for it at the end of the season. Prolific SKC striker, Dom Dwyer is out this match due to accumulated bookings. SKC are struggling to score goals, as they are averaging slightly less than 1.2 goals/match. The form book and the metrics say we’re going to lose big today. If the season so far is any indication, the form book and metrics are pretty much out the window. So that’s something.

The Bad News
Basically everything else. SKC are unbeaten at home this season, whilst we struggle on the road. They have only one player on injury list. SKC have dropped only two out of all 11 matches this season, so far. The way SKC re-tooled in the offseason is very similar to what Chicago did: Waive a bunch of players and add some new players including a few foreign ringers. We’ve won only one out of six away fixtures this season. They are defending with a high level of consistency, allowing less than a goal per match. Our victory against KC in MLS Cup wasn’t a particularly friendly affair, making me suspect that this match could develop into a very ugly affair. SKC are 6th in the league table, whilst we have dropped to 19th. We’ve only won two matches all season out of 10, this includes three losses in the last five matches. In addition, Jones is suspended as he was sent off last Saturday for his 2nd booking in the same match.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Melia is their starter and has played most of the matches since he was signed in 2015. Zendejas is the apprentice. Dykstra the backup, with 31 matches of MLS experience.

Defence – Zusi is a regular selection for the Yanks and is more of a winger who scores goals. This suggests that at times SKC play three at the back. Opara was once a 3rd overall pick in the draft for San Jose and has played 90 times in MLS. Besler was a regular selection for the Yanks, and may well be again. Loads of experience (200 matches). Sinovic is a solid domestic veteran with over 150 matches of MLS experience. An aging backline, but a capable one, as their defensive record indicates.

Midfield – Feilhaber has played over 300 times as a professional with 36 goals to show for it. 170 of those matches were in MLS. Also played stints at Hamburg and Derby. 43 caps for the Yanks. Plenty of skill and experience. At 32, getting a bit long in the tooth. Sanchez is a recent transfer in from 1860 Munich. He left on a free but played over 100 times for Barcelona reserves as they are the club that developed him. Espinoza has played over 160 times for SKC. His career includes nearly 40 matches at Wigan Athletic and over 40 caps for Honduras.

Forward – Fernandes is a recent transfer in from Belenenses and has over 150 games of Portuguese football under his belt. He signed this January on a three-years Designated Player contract. Blessing is a young Ghanian national, short on experience (4 matches with SKC), but perhaps long on talent. Medranda is a young Colombian national with 60 matches of professional experience. Listed as a midfielder, he was originally on loan from Deportivo Pereira, then the loan was made permanent. He’s played 41 times for SKC.

Familiar Faces
Not a one.

Selections for Last Match
KC: Melia, Zusi, Opara, Besler, Sinovic, Feilhaber, Sanchez, Espinoza, Fernandes, Blessing, Medranda.

Bench: Zendejas (gk), Ellis, Abdul-Salaam, Mustivar, Saad, Porter, Salloi.

Sounders FC: Frei, Roldan, Marshall, Alfaro, Jones, Shipp, Alonso, Svensson, Dempsey, Morris, Lodeiro.

Bench: Meredith (gk), Fisher, Evans, Fernandez, Bruin, Mathers, Adekoya.

Injury List
Kansas City –
OUT: Rubio (ACL).
MATCHDAY DECISION: none.

Sounders FC –
OUT: Tolo (shoulder), Torres (hamstring), Wingo (ankle).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Kovar (groin).

Discipline
Kansas City: Dwyer – Out this match (accumulated bookings).

Sounders FC: Jones – Out this match (sent off).

Fun Fact
The 14 league matches between these two clubs have produced 42 bookings, with five sent off. As long as everyone likes each other. That’s the important thing.

CHICAGO FIRE v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Gird yourselves as the Sounders FC travel to Harlem Avenue, in the heart of Bridgeview, Illinois for a Saturday night throwdown with Chicago Fire. It just keeps getting better. With slightly over a quarter of the league schedule played both we and Chicago have struggled to find a rich vein of form. The difference with tonight’s match, though, is that if either team drops points, they could find themselves near rock bottom in the league table, just as Chicago found themselves at the end of last season. Both sides are trying to find some sort of rhythm as they attempt to incorporate all of the new faces in their respective squads, but not so fast, MLS is a harsh master. The seemingly impenetrable salary cap, twistingly draconian transfer protocols and the single-entity business model have allowed little latitude for error. It’s a street fight of epic proportions with the relative safety of mid-table obscurity potentially at stake. I feel our boys in Green can win the day, but we’ll just have to see. We’ll just have to will the lads through. “When it’s us/versus them/you can always count on me…” Join me Saturday night in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY.

Photo on 5-13-17 at 07.16 AM
What does it all mean?

The Good News
Despite our teetering inconsistency, there are actually a few bright spots within the analysis. We and the delinquent fire brigade that are Chicago have had six opponents in common. Six! For those of you who work with statistics, you realise immediately that this sample size is incredibly tiny and no scientist sound of mind would attempt to draw conclusions from a data pool that thin, yet I’m going to make an auld-fashioned educated guess anyway. In my defence, we have not yet played an opponent who has played six of the same opponents we have this season. So this tiny sample is actually quite robust considering what we’ve had to work with for previous matches. I digress. Our opponents in common this season are as follows: Atlanta United, NY Red Donkeys, Montreal, New England, Toronto, and Los Angeles. Finally the good news bit. We have taken 9 points from these games out of 18. Chicago have only taken five. In other news, we lead the all-time series between the sides to the tune of 7-3-1 (That’s W-D-L, the only way to fly). We are scoring roughly a tenth of a goal more per match, and conceding two-tenths of a goal less than our red-shirted opposition. These are narrow margins, but narrow margins in our favour none the less. The last three matches have been rocky for Chicago as they’ve dropped seven points out of nine, a stark contrast to the two clean-sheet wins that preceded them. We have injuries still, but other than Tolo, who is nursing a dislocated shoulder, any of our wounded might pass a late fitness test to play.

The Bad News
Neither of these sides has managed to win three in a row. As for our boys, they haven’t managed to even win two in a row, which Chicago did at the beginning of last month. Chicago is unbeaten at home (3-1-0). All-time away at Chicago our record is 2-2-1. This season we’ve only one once in five tries on the road (1-2-2).  Chicago has two more points than we do from the nine matches we’ve each played. With both teams on such spiky form, the result may come down to intangibles…

Intangibles
If either team drops points, they risk being overtaken by any number of teams currently beneath them in the table. Management and supporters have some patience with the team’s results, and with our Sounders, we’ve come to expect flat starts and epic late-season surges, but I’d say patience is beginning to wear thin in both boardrooms with a bit more than 25% of the season played. I expect a scrappy match with high potential for at least one ugly display. Sounders football is winning 1:0. Chicago is coached by a Serbian national who played for Hungary. Eastern European football is a notoriously stingy brand of football. With this in mind, I don’t exactly expect a tonne of high-press football. If the metrics and intangibles are any indications, this will likely be a match with numbers forward only on the counter with clear-cut chances few and far between. With that said, the sample sizes are so small, and the metrics haven’t really been accurate at all. For example, the metrics painted a gloomy picture for us a few weeks ago at Avalon Boulevard. At the end of the day, we had a 0:3 win against our chronic tormentors, LA Galaxy. By the numbers, Sounders FC escape Bridgeview with a draw or narrow win. Unless you go by Chicago’s home record, in which case we haven’t a chance. In the world of right here, right now, that today’s match will be played in, you’d have to say it could go either way. Both sides are struggling to find consistency. It’s a crapshoot. Synergy may be a factor as well, as it seems there are some players in the Chicago squad that played at North Carolina (NCAA), Videoton in Hungary, and FC Groningen in Netherlands.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – By all rights, you’d expect Jorge Bava to be starting. At 35 years, he has 250 matches of professional football under his belt. Over 100 of those playing for Nacional of Uruguay. The starter in last week’s draw at Dominguez Hills, Lampson, has only 35 appearances as a professional, 28 of those at MLS level.

Defence – Conner, 23, though listed as a midfield player on the roster, was listed in last week’s matchday lineup as a defender. He signed a Homegrown contract with Chicago two years ago and has played only five times in the first team. Kappelhof, 26, has over 160 appearances as a professional in his career, over 120 of those for FC Groningen. Meira, 30, is a prototypical Euro-ringer, playing nearly 170 matches in Portuguese football before moving to Bridgeview. Vincent, 23, has played 32 times for Chicago, and once earned a single United States cap.

Midfield – Juninho, 28, if he’s fit, was produced by Sao Paulo. Currently, on loan from Tijuana, he’s played nearly 230 times as a pro and played nearly 200 times for our auld nemesis, Los Angeles Galaxy. McCarty, 30, the Ginger Ninja, over 300 appearances as a professional, and earned six United States caps. Can cut you apart on set pieces. Solignac, 26, the striker no one wanted. 129 times played as a pro, but could never stick more than 41 matches at any of the eight clubs he’s played for. Greatest claim to fame was once scoring 20 goals in a season for a Finnish team in 2015. Schweinsteiger, 32, once the beating heart of Bayern Munich and the German national team. Impeccable resumé. High skill level. So only questions of age and fitness cast a shadow of doubt over Chicago’s most visible Designated Player signing. Accam, 26, once scored 30 goals in 62 matches for Helsingborg in Sweden, the Ghanian is now a designated player in Chicago’s renovated frontline.

Forward – Nemanja Nikolic, 29, all you need to know is that he’s scored 178 goals in 296 professional matches. Once scored 41 in 56 matches at Legia Warsaw. Wherever he goes, he scores a tonne of goals and leads the Fire with six this season to prove it. Hopefully, Torres and Svensson or Marshall are up to to the task of trying to mark him.

Familiar Faces
Chicago defender, Jonathan Campbell, played 12 times for Sounders U-23s in 2015. Midfielder, Brandt Bronico, played nine times for Sounders U-23s in 2015.

Selections for Last Match
Chicago: Lampson, Conner, Kappelhof, Meira, Vincent, Juninho, McCarty, Solignac, Schweinsteiger, Accam, Nikolic.

Bench: Bava (gk), Harrington, Campbell, Alvarez, de Leeuw, Johnson, Mihailovic.

Sounders FC: Frei, Delem, Torres, Svensson, Jones, Alonso, Roldan, Lodeiro, Dempsey, Morris, Bruin.

Bench: Miller (gk), Shipp, Alfaro, Fernandez, Mathers, Adekoya, Evans.

Injury List
Chicago –
OUT: Goossens (ankle surgery).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Juninho (ankle), Polster (hip).

Seattle –
OUT: Tolo (shoulder).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Fisher (hamstring), Marshall (back), Kovar (groin).

Discipline
No players suspended from either side.

Fun Fact
Karma or not Karma? Chicago midfielder, Danny Goossens, is out recovering from ankle surgery. Twelve years ago in the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Then Netherlands U-17 midfielder, Goossens, clattered into USA defender Corey Ashe, breaking his leg. Goossens was punished with only a booking, Ashe was carried off on a stretcher to hospital. The Netherlands would finish third in the tournament. Ashe had only rehab to look forward to.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. TORONTO FC – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Toronto FC make the trip down to Seattle for a Saturday afternoon rematch of the 2016 MLS Cup Final. You think TFC are still sore about that? Sore about getting defeated on penalties after allowing the Sounders FC zero shots on goal for the entire two hours of regular and extra time in freezing weather that felt like 10ºF? I guess we’re gonna find out. Buckle up it’s gonna be a wooly one! Link up with the Green Family at the park or at a viewing party in your area. Join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY.

MLS: MLS Cup
You down with MVP / Yeah you know me / Who’s down with MVP…

The Good News
We’ve only lost one match in the last seven. We are unbeaten at home. Outside of Fisher and Marshall, our first team is healthy. Coming back from three goals down last Saturday, against New England showed how much heart and resilience the Sounders have in the team. The all-time series between the sides favours Seattle (7-2-2). When hosting TFC our record is 4-1-1. Toronto has managed only one win on the road this season. Toronto looks set to be missing first-team goalkeeper Clint Irwin if he continues to suffer from his hamstring injury. The weather for this match is likely to be far warmer than last December’s cup final in Toronto, surely a godsend for us all.

The Bad News
Toronto is 5th in the league table, 10 places above the Sounders who currently reside at 15th. Although we’ve only lost once in the last seven, only two of those matches were wins. Going down 0:3 in the first half against New England, and our form in general, seem to be evidence of a disturbing trend of inconsistency in the Sounders team. Toronto are on a three-match winning streak, having lost only once in all nine matches so far this season. This season Toronto have taken 18 points from a possible 27. We have taken 10 points from a possible 24. Although Toronto beat Vancouver and Houston, we lost to both those sides. Although we managed a 0:0 draw against Atlanta United, Toronto’s draw against them was 2:2. The goal scoring metrics only slightly favour us by about 0.2 goals/match. The glaring difference is that Toronto is defending so much better than we are. They are conceding less than a goal per match (0.89), whilst we are conceding 1.38 goals/match. I would anticipate a tonne of extra motivation in Toronto wanting revenge for our upset victory in the MLS Cup Final last December. Seattle will be without three starters from the Cup Final, (Valdez, Friberg, and Mears who were all waived over the winter) four if Torres isn’t fit. Toronto will be missing Drew Moor from the Toronto cup final lineup, currently disabled with a heart irregularity and possibly Clint Irwin, who suffers from a hamstring problem.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Toronto has only one true starting goalkeeper, Clint Irwin. He’s played over 140 times as a pro, but may not be fit for today’s match with a hamstring injury. The apprentices prepared to deputise for him are: Bono, who played in their 2:0 win over Houston last Friday, has played in less than 30 MLS matches. The other choice is Pais who has played 33 times as a pro, but not one match at the MLS level. Edge to the Sounders and Frei.

Defence – Zavaleta, Hagglund, and Morrow were the starting defenders last Friday. No reason to think they won’t reprise their roles today. Zavaleta has played over 60 times at the MLS level and was highly rated enough to play 23 times for USA U-17s. Hagglund has also played over 60 times at MLS level. Morrow has played nearly 170 times at MLS level and has scored 24 goals in his career. In short, a capable group, not hindered by age. Edge to Seattle defence on sheer experience and skill level.

Midfield – Beitashour, 30, has played nearly 180 times in MLS and has been selected six times to play for Iran. Delgado, 21, has played over 80 times at MLS level adding 10 USA youth caps. Bradley, 29, is a mainstay for the United States team, often captaining the Yanks. His resumé is well known as is the $10M fee it cost Toronto to pry him from AS Roma. With well over 300 matches as a pro, many of them in Netherlands, Italy, and Germany, it’s safe to say Bradley is a seasoned pro of great quality. Vazquez, 30, is a winter acquisition from Cruz Azul of the Mexican League. Vazquez was developed by FC Barcelona and played nearly 150 times for Barcelona reserves. Plenty of skill and experience there (nearly 300 pro appearances). Edwards, 21, has only played seven times in the first team for Toronto. Toronto may opt for a more experienced player as they descend into Green Hell this afternoon. Edge to Seattle on experience and skill. Bradley and Vasquez alone do not a midfield make.

Striker – Giovinco, 30, has an impeccable resumé. A product of Juventus and the Italian national team, he played nearly 200 matches of top-flight Italian league football. He has 86 goals in 263 appearances as a professional. He is deadly dribbling at the defence, and deadly on the ball for set pieces. Altidore, 27, has 86 goals in 251 appearances. He’s played in England, Turkey, Spain, and the Netherlands. He is notorious for having the highest fee ever paid to MLS for a transfer, $10M (€7.4M) to Villarreal CF. No one pays that much money unless you have a tonne of skill. These two are, predictably, the most dangerous strikers on the pitch for Toronto, and have seen ample success not just in MLS, but also in the crucible that is European football. Against Dempsey, Lodeiro, and Morris: Edge – even.

Familiar Faces
Toronto defender, Eriq Zavaleta, was originally drafted by Seattle Sounders in 2013. He was traded two years later to TFC for a 2nd round draft pick.

Selections for Last Match
Sounders FC: Frei, Delem, Svensson, Alfaro, Jones, Alonso, Roldan, Lodeiro, Dempsey, Morris.

Bench: Meredith (gk), Torres, Wingo, Fernández, Mathers, Shipp, Adekoya.

Toronto: Bono, Zavaleta, Hagglund, Morrow, Beitashour, Delgado, Bradley, Vázquez, Edwards, Altidore, Giovinco.

Bench: Pais (gk), Cheyrou, Cooper, Chapman, Osorio, Ricketts, Endoh.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Fisher (hamstring), Marshall (back), Tolo (dislocated shoulder).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Evans (calf), Kovar (groin surgery).

Toronto –
OUT: Moor (cardiac arrhythmia), Mavinga (quad), Irwin (hamstring), Morgan (broken foot), Hernandez (calf).
MATCHDAY DECISION: none.

Discipline
None suspended from either side.

Fun Fact
After we defeated Toronto FC in the 2016 MLS Cup Final, Graham Parker, a journalist for the UK newspaper, The Guardian, wrote: “For years, Seattle have built a reputation for attacking flair that wilts in the play-offs, but their gutsy charge through the second half of a difficult season has been built as much on defense as attack, and this final was an extreme example of that. Having beaten Sporting KC 1-0 in the play-in game with their only shot on goal, Seattle went one “better” in the final – becoming the only team in MLS history to not have a shot on target for the two hours of regular play.” The Guardian also wrote a sub-heading after the historic match: “The Sounders have won their first MLS championship after a 5-4 victory on penalties following a dreary 0-0 stalemate.”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. New England Revolution make the trip across the continent from Foxboro, Massachusetts to face our Sounders under the lights on Saturday Night at Royal Brougham Park, Occidental Avenue, King County, Seattle, Washington. Link up with your Green Family and make your way to the park if you can. If not, try to settle in at a viewing party whether you’re in town or someplace far away. Wherever you are, join me in raising your glasses in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

dempsey
The Midnight Riders must have cried big, salty tears into Boston Harbor when Dempsey moved to Fulham on £2M in 2007.

The Good News
Andrew Wiebe of MLS.com reports that New England striker, Kei Kamara, will not be available for selection tonight as he has remained behind to be with his wife who is expecting child. As Kamara is one of the deadliest finishers in the New England side, we can be thankful for the timing, and wish the Kamaras well on the new family addition. We may see the return to fitness of Evans, Torres, and Kovar provided they can pass late fitness tests before the match. Seattle are on a decent run of form, dropping only one result in the last five (2-2-1). We were the clear victors in Los Angeles last week 0:3, with the Galaxy looking a shadow of their former selves. We went expecting a stern challenge and walked away with a clean sheet and the three points. We have only been defeated once in five matches all-time when New England is the visiting side. Our boys in Green have not lost once at home this season (1-1-0), whereas New England have found their away results turning pear-shaped more often than not (0-1-3). Although Marshall is out with injury, we can be confident in the abilities of Svensson, who has deputised well as a fill-in centre-half. Although Fisher is out, Delem seemed to settle in just fine at the left-back position last Sunday at Avalon Boulevard. If Torres can’t make it back, this may be another opportunity for Alfaro to impress at centre-half. I firmly believe that although there is fine talent in the New England midfield (Nguyen, Fagundez, and Rowe) I don’t believe any of them are the equal of Lodeiro in overall quality. In a similar vein, I believe Frei more than equal to their goalkeepers. It’s also a good sign for Seattle that the Revs struggled at home to earn a 2:2 draw with 16th placed DC United.

The Bad News
Our top centre-half, Marshall, and top left-back, Fisher are out with injury. They are joined on injury list by Nouhou Tolo who has dislocated his shoulder. The goal scoring and defending metrics are in Seattle’s favour, but only by the slight margin of two-tenths of a goal either way. We are ahead of New England, but only by one place in the table, 12th to their 13th on goal difference. Our only common opponent this season is Houston. We lost at Dowling Street 2:1, whilst our Bostonian guests defeated the Creamsicles in Foxboro 2:0. Although we waived four first team players over the winter and had a laundry list of transfers in, New England is relatively unchanged from the side they were last year. I believe this is mitigated by the Sounders’ recent return to form. But we’ll have to see. New England have only dropped one of their last four matches, and two of their last five. So over the form limit of the last five matches, we’ve only earned eight points to their seven.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – The likely choices are Knighton and Cropper. Knighton has the edge in experience with roughly 60 matches played in MLS. Cropper, who started against DC United last Saturday, has the pedigree of Ipswich Town FC Academy, his experience with Southampton reserves, and his time at Milton Keynes Dons. You’d have to concede the edge to Frei here.

Defence – I feel like the Revs play three at the back, as Kelyn Rowe is more of a winger than a defender. This leaves Joshua Smith, Mlinar, and Farrell as the back three. Joshua Smith is raw and newly drafted, yet New England gaffer, Jay Heaps, has seen enough in him to play him four times in the first team this season. Mlinar is your basic Euro-ringer. Most of his experience comes from playing over 100 matches in Slovenian football. Farrell is a domestic player that has spent nearly his entire pro career with New England and has nearly 130 appearances for the Revs to show for it. Slight edge to the Sounders against this group.

Midfield – This is the part of their side that has a decent amount of quality. Nguyen and Fagundez are the danger men as finishers. Nguyen has scored over 40 goals for the Revs and early on in his career was trying to break into the first team at PSV Eindhoven. Fagundez is a Uruguayan-born player who has played over 150 times for the Revs, scoring over 30 goals. Rowe is also an attacking threat, having played nearly 160 times for the Revs, and scoring nearly 30 goals. You know Rowe is quality as he was produced by Crossfire Premier, right here in Washington State. Despite all that quality, the edge clearly belongs to the Sounders midfield of Roldan and Alonso holding for Dempsey, Morris, and Lodeiro.

Forward – With Kamara attending to his paternal duties, You would expect to see Agudelo and Bunbury. Each as deadly in front of goal as the other. Agudelo would be at Stoke City FC today if he had been granted his UK work permit – either of the two times he applied for it. Although there is no mistaking the quality of these two strikers, and either of them is surely the equal of Will Bruin, You’d have to again give the edge to withdrawn centre-forward, Dempsey, and his wingers, Lodeiro and Morris.

Familiar Faces
Kelyn Rowe, the 25-year-old midfield star for New England, is a Washington native. Developed by Crossfire Premier, he was chosen 3rd overall by New England in his draft year of 2012. If only we had been able to designate him as a Home Grown Player. Alas.

Selections for Last Match
Sounders FC: Frei, Delem, Svensson, Alfaro, Jones, Alonso, Roldan, Lodeiro, Dempsey, Morris, Bruin.

Bench: Meredith (gk), Tolo, Fernández, Mathers, Shipp, Wingo, Adekoya.

New England: Cropper, Farrell, Joshua Smith, Mlinar, Rowe, Kouassi, Caldwell, Fagundez, Nguyen, Agudelo, Kamara.

Bench: Knighton (gk), Kobayashi, Angoua, Woodberry, Tierney, Bunbury, Hollinger-Janzen.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Fisher (hamstring), Marshall (back), Tolo (dislocated shoulder).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Evans (calf), Torres (hamstring), Kovar (groin surgery).

New England –
OUT: none.
MATCHDAY DECISION: Tierney (hip).

Discipline
No suspensions for either side.

Fun Fact
Clint Dempsey is closing in on the Sounders FC record for league goals. Fredy Montero scored 47 goals in the league for Seattle. Dempsey has scored 38, just nine goals behind.

LOS ANGELES GALAXY v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Do you know that feeling of repeatedly hitting your head against a brick wall, only to bloody one’s head? We duel with LA time and time again, often with no points to show for it. Another season. Another trip to Avalon Boulevard. Do we have the stones to walk into Los Angeles and claim the three points? Fasten that seat belt, Grandpa. It’s going to be a wooly one in the Southland.

marshall
Chad Marshall is one of the top centre-halves in MLS. We are lucky to have him.

The Good News
We’ve had marginally better recent form than LA. We are defending marginally better than LA. Gerrard, Keane, Larentowicz, and DeLaGarza have all left LA. This can only be a plus for us. The last time we faced them in LA, we hosed them 4:2, with Morris scoring two. Vancouver scored 4 on LA but could only manage to score two on us. LA have only won once at home in three tries this season. With so many new players in the side, each match we play is hopefully leading to a better understanding on the pitch. Galaxy are minus Rogers, Lletget, and possibly Diop if he fails his matchday fitness test. Onalfo is a young manager for LA. Attempting to replace Bruce Arena has got to be supremely difficult.

The Bad News
Torres out, due to a hamstring problem. The metrics paint a mostly even chance for both sides in this match. Historically we don’t play up when we travel to LA. LA have limited us to two wins away in 10 tries. They thumped us out of the US Open Cup last season. They have three times knocked us out of MLS Cup. In 21 matches in the league against LA, we’ve only won five times. Both of us are near the bottom of the league table at 18th for LA and 19th for us.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Looks like Brian Rowe will start if Diop fails his fitness test. Rowe has 66 pro appearances and was developed by UCLA.

Defence – Smith has only 25 pro appearances. Steres is an old hand and has played nearly 130 pro matches. Van Damme is a seasoned professional with over 200 matches in Belgian football for Anderlecht and Standard Liège. Add to that 31 caps for Belgium. The venerable Ashley Cole needs no introduction. 107 England caps and over 400 matches of English football well establishes his credentials as a professional.

Midfield – Alessandrini is the most dangerous of the bunch, and the most likely of any in the team to score a goal. He has over 100 matches of French football under his belt and would have featured for Les Bleus if not for injury.  Alessandrini has a career strike rate of 27%. Pedro was developed by Portuguese club Vitoria and has over 140 matches of Portuguese football under his belt at the tender age of 24. Jermaine Jones is a fierce competitor who’s resumé is well known. He has played over 300 times as a professional. Much of that experience was hard-earned in the German Bundesliga. He has nearly 70 United States caps. He is a known commodity as a holding midfielder, and can occasionally score goals. He is as well known for his skill as he is for his volatile temperament. I met him once at a pub in SF. He seemed utterly cheerless.

Forward – Boateng has 40 matches in Swedish football. The Ghanian national has played nearly 30 times for LA and has nearly 70 professional matches under his belt. dos Santos is well known to us. The Mexican national and Barcelona product has played nearly 240 times as a pro. Was twice sold for €6M to Spurs and then to Villarreal. Has a tonne of experience in Spanish football. Zardes is a mainstay of the United States team. The LA native has 31 caps and six goals for the Yanks. He has played over 100 times for LA with a 30% strike rate. He is one of the most dangerous men on the pitch.

Familiar Faces
LA defender Daniel Steres was with the Sounders in 2012 but never played for the first team.

Selections for Last Match
LA: Diop, Smith, Steres, Van Damme, Cole, Alessandrini, Pedro, Jermaine Jones, Boateng, dos Santos, Zardes.

Bench: Rowe (gk), Romney, Husidic, Jamieson IV, Mendiola, McBean, Garcia.

Sounders FC: Frei, Fisher, Svensson, Marshall, Joevin Jones, Alonso, Roldan, Lodeiro, Dempsey, Shipp, Morris.

Bench: Meredith (gk), Wingo, Alfaro, Fernández, Bruin, Delem, Adekoya.

Injury List
LA –
OUT: Rogers (ankle), Lletget (foot surgery).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Diop (hip).

Seattle –
OUT: Evans (calf), Kovar (groin surgery), Torres (hamstring).
MATCHDAY DECISION: None.

Discipline
LA: Villarreal (USL suspension).

Fun Fact
Sounders Centre-Half, Chad Marshall, really sticks with a club when he signs. He’s played nearly 100 times for us since he moved from Silver Drive in 2014. He played over 250 times for Columbus before he moved to Occidental Avenue. In a footnote: Marshall nearly made the United States 2010 World Cup Finals squad but was cut by USA manager, Bob Bradley on May 26th, 2010.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Time for a trip to the Great White North. Seattle Sounders Football Club travel to the BC Place for a Friday night showdown, under the lights in Vancouver, BC against our auld rivals of 43 years, Vancouver Whitecaps. This time, our friends to the north piled on the weird factor by signing former Sounders, Mauro Rosales and Fredy Montero over the winter. Sauce for the goose. Unless of course, you’re vegetarian…or vegan…never mind, you know what I mean.

montero
Vancouver’s new signing used to be our best weapon against Vancouver. Oh Fredy, what’s become of ye?

The Good News
Sounders are unbeaten in the last four matches, outscoring opponents by a ratio of 6:4. The metrics favour us in this matchup as we are allowing less than two goals a match, and the ‘Caps are conceding two goals per. In addition, Seattle are scoring slightly more goals per match. Vancouver have lost 3 of their last four (1-0-3), and we drew San Jose, whilst the ‘Caps were beaten by them. The Sounders lead the all-time series against the ‘Caps, 7-4-6. All things being equal, this should add up to a win, and a desperately needed three point meal for the Sounders. Reyna, Edgar, and Shea are out for the ‘Caps due to injury. All play for their national teams.

The Bad News
Although unbeaten in our last four, three of those results were draws. We are having trouble scoring goals. I believe this is largely due to a failure to pass well in combination. Many of the Sounders’ scoring ills would likely go away if the side can return to an old skool pass-and-move style. Wondolowski’s 90’ strike torpedoed our hopes of a win away at Coleman Avenue. That’s got to be demoralising. Being on the road is rarely a good thing, and then there’s the weird factor as our old striker, Fredy Montero faces off against us in the shirt of the other team. Then there’s the sobering fact that the top Seattle career goalscorer against the Whitecaps all-time is Fredy Montero…who now plays for the Whitecaps.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Ousted, 32,  is a veteran ‘keeper and has over 200 matches in Danish football. Over 100 of those with Randers FC, which competed twice in the Europa League during his time there. His backup is Tornaghi, 28 a product of the Inter Milan system. He played only 12 matches in Italian football and has only 24 matches of MLS experience. Tornaghi was capped six times for Italy youth teams.

Defence – Parker, 24, is a domestic product who played his NCAA football at St. Johns, he has played just over 60 games as a professional. Waston, 29, has 16 caps for Costa Rica and over 170 appearances as a pro. Dean, 24, is a product of the University of California, he has 21 professional appearances, only 9 of which are at MLS level. Nerwinski, 22, is newly recruited out of UConn. On the bench last week was Williams, who at 27 has nearly 180 matches of MLS experience.

Midfield – Tchani, 28, Has over 170 pro appearances and has earned caps for both United States and Cameroon. Laba, 25, of Argentina, Has 179 matches under his belt. 62 of those were at his first club, Argentinos Juniors. Teibert, 24, has 17 caps for Canada. A Whitecaps man through and through, Teibert has 134 appearances, 105 in the first team. de Jong, 30, has 50 caps for Canada. He played 170 matches in the Dutch league and 67 matches with Augsburg in Germany. He’s played in 260 matches as a professional. Mezquida, 25, plays in a midfield-striker role.  The Peñarol product has 17 Caps and 11 Goals for Uruguay. and also played some Norwegian football. He has 109 appearances as a pro. He never really settled in Uruguay or Scandinavia, and 63 of his appearances are with Vancouver.

Forward – We know Fredy Montero, 29, all too well. Success at his Colombian teams, then in Seattle, and then in Europe and China. His transfer fee to Sporting Lisbon totalled $2.75M. His transfer fee from Sporting to Tianjin TEDA was €5M. His career strike rate is over 36%. He is the most dangerous attacker in the Vancouver side.

Familiar Faces
Richey: This dude is Mister Seattle. Born in Seattle. Played for Tacoma Tide, Washington Crossfire, and Puget Sound Gunners. NCAA career at UDub, add to this eight USA U-17 caps. Why did we not sign him? Rosales played 86 times for Seattle Sounders FC scoring 12 goals. Montero played 119 times for the Sounders scoring 47 Goals and helped us win three US Open Cups.

Selections for Last Match
Vancouver: Ousted, Parker, Waston, Dean, Nerwinski, Tchani, Laba, Teibert, de Jong, Montero, Mezquida.

Bench: Tornaghi (gk), Williams, Techera, Rosales, Jacobsen, Bustos, Greig.

Sounders FC: Frei, Fisher, Torres, Marshall, Jones, Alonso, Roldan, Lodeiro, Dempsey, Shipp, Morris.

Bench: Meredith (gk), Svensson, Fernández, Alfaro, Delem, Bruin, Wingo.

Injury List
Vancouver –
OUT: Levis (ACL), Reyna (foot surgery), Edgar (PCL, MCL tear), Hurtado (bruised foot), Shea (knee)
MATCHDAY DECISION: None.

Sounders FC –
OUT: Evans (calf), Kovar (groin surgery)
MATCHDAY DECISION: Torres (hamstring)

Discipline
No suspensions.

Fun Fact
Sounders’ goalkeeper, Bryan Meredith’s initial trial with the Sounders was in 2011 after being drafted. He was beaten to the third goalkeeper’s place in the squad by Josh Ford. Then Meredith signed with Kitsap Pumas and was signed again by Seattle in 2011 to replace the injured Terry Boss. In winter of 2012, Seattle declined the option to re-sign him. Then Sweden, the Cosmos, and then San Jose in 2014. San Jose declined his option and Seattle selected him in the 2016 re-entry draft. What a crazy business, yeh?

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Another trip to the Coleman Avenue ground. Another face to face with San Jose. Why is it so difficult to win there? The chill of the Bay Area night? Can’t be the distance of the trip. What makes it so difficult to win there? We generally have good support. My advice for this night. Be louder. Find your mates at the pre-funks. Join forces with your mates coming down from the Evergreen. Make your voices as one. We have a great deal of talent in this team now. We sacrifice nothing. Be as one. One voice. One club. FCF, ECS, and any of our other many sub-groups who may find themselves there shall be heard at a volume and density that few things are heard. I have faith in my brothers and sisters in Green. I have faith in those that gather at Danny Coyle’s in the Haight, with Brian and Shivers watching over them. I have faith in those gathering in the South Bay at other venues as well. We are the Faithful. And in the name of the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

svensson
The new boy Svensson has served well in the back. Credit due. Show him your voices in praise. He deserves it.

The Good News
San Jose have lost their last two matches. The San Jose output for goal scoring this season is the same as ours. We have a slightly better defensive record this season. We have shored up the side considerably and that’s one of the reasons we drew our last trip down to Coleman Avenue. The lads are well rested, and we’ve only Evans and Kovar out. The metrics favour us, but on short data and small sample size.

The Bad News
As it turns out there’s a tonne of this. We have one win in our last five. Before the Quakes two-match losing streak they were flush with three wins in a row. Overall we have only seven wins out of 21 matches all-time against San Jose. They defeated Montreal at Coleman Avenue 1:0. We could only manage an away draw in Montreal 2:2. We have only won one time in nine attempts at San Jose. San Jose are 8th in the league table. We are 13th. Wondolowski is the bane of Seattle having scored the most of any player from any club against us with 10 goals against us all-time. Dempsey has scored two against the Quakes. Lodeiro and Morris one each.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – David Bingham is a proper goalkeeper. He played for the University of California. 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 – Bernardez is suspended as he was sent off last week. This is a major blow to the Quakes’ defence. However, their eligible defenders and their cover seem more than adequate to do the job. 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. The German national team has ignored him since 2009 when he earned the last of his 48 youth caps. Jungwirth also played nearly 90 times for Dinamo Dresden. So, fair experience acknowledged. Francis is an old hand as well with 73 MLS matches under his belt in addition to 7 caps for Jamaica. Who will fill in for vice-captain, Bernardez is the question. Experience says that it will be Imperiale as the Argentinian national played a lot of football for some very good clubs in South and Central America.  The other option is Sarkodie, a USA youth teams product with 100 matches in MLS.

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. Cerén is a veteran of Salvadoran football who joined MLS in 2016 and has 55 matches playing in our league.

Forward – Dawkins, an England-born Spurs product who never made it at White Hart Lane. Played 53 matches with San Jose only to later move to England again for a 50 match run at Derby. He has since returned to the Bay Area and has since played nearly 30 matches for the Quakes with 5 goals since 2016. 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.

Familiar Faces
Cato played eight times for Sounders FC.

Selections for Last Match
San Jose: Bingham, Lima, Bernárdez, Jungwirth, Francis, Thompson, Alashe, Cerén, Dawkins, Wondolowski.

Bench: Tarbell (gk), Imperiale, Sarkodie, Hyka, Salinas, Godoy, Hoesen.

Sounders FC: Frei, Delem, Svensson, Alfaro, Jones, Alonso, Roldan, Fernández, Lodeiro, Shipp, Morris.

Bench: Miller (gk), Torres, Wingo, Fisher, Tolo, Dempsey, Bruin.

Injury List
San Jose –
OUT: Amarikwa (knee surgery), Wynne (heart abnormality), Pelosi (knee), Cummings (leg surgery).
MATCHDAY DECISION: None.

Sounders FC –
OUT: Evans (calf), Kovar (groin surgery).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Fisher (hamstring).

Discipline
San Jose: Bernárdez (sent off).
Sounders FC: None.

Fun Fact
You want to know how Seattle legit Henry Wingo is? He played twice for Puget Sound Gunners in the PDL and played three seasons at U-Dub. All this and he’s still a baby bairn at 21 years of age. Pinch his wee cheeks as he’s just on solid food.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. ATLANTA UNITED FC – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. High flying new boys, Atlanta United make the transcontinental sojourn to the Pacific Northwest to face Seattle Sounders FC in a Friday night showdown. That’s right – FRIDAY! FRIDAY! FRIDAY! – IF YOU’VE GOT TO WORK! – QUIT YOUR JOB! – IF YOU’RE IN JAIL! – BREAK OUUUUUUT! It’s been a crazy old FIFA break featuring hats for Dempsey in the Yanks’ historic victory over Los Catrachos, as his teammate Torres helps to grind out a draw against those very same Yanks for Los Canaleros only four days later utilising the magical powers of gamesmanship and exploiting slack marking on a throw-in. It’s a crazy world for this matchup where fatigue from World Cup qualifiers may generate squad attrition in addition to injuries. Newly minted expansion side, Atlanta United have never played Seattle in a league match, so statistics and metrics are impossible to build as there is almost no data with which to make educated guesses from.

dempsey
Will Dempsey light up the Seattle skyline with his scorching form, or will he be too knackered to play after his Panamanian field trip with the Yanks?

The Good News
Although you never wish anyone injury, the Sounders can be thankful that Atlanta United and Venezuela striker Josef Martinez (leads AUFC with five goals of his team’s 11 total goals) will miss this match with a quadriceps injury. Dempsey is in outstanding form as mentioned above. If it carries over into the match, Atlanta United’s defence will be quite busy, indeed. Sounders are unbeaten in their last two matches. We generally play very well within the friendly confines of Royal Brougham Park. We are conceding a bit under two goals a match, and scoring goals at an average of two goals a match. Sounders were able to beat a New York RB team that defeated Atlanta United in the first week of league fixtures. Kenwyne Jones, Carmona, and Almirón may also miss the match as tonight’s MLS league fixture takes place only three (or in the cases of Carmona and Almirón two) nights after they had all played for their countries in the World Cup. Some of the Sounders reserves looked good against a competitive Necaxa side in their friendly last Saturday. Hopefully, this is an indication that the Sounders didn’t squander as much depth as we may have thought they had over the winter.

The Bad News
Atlanta United currently sit 5th in the league table, finding themselves in excellent form having won four of their last five matches (including pre-season). United lead the league in goal scoring average averaging roughly 3.7 goals a match, with their defence only conceding one goal per match. That is a metric that would generally produce a winning result. It’s possible that the Sounders will be without the services of Dempsey, Joevin Jones, Torres, and Lodeiro as they all played for their national teams in the World Cup this week. Dempsey and Torres flying back from Panama three nights ago, Jones Flying back from Trinidad three nights ago, and Lodeiro returning from Uruguay two nights ago. Atlanta United are well equipped to go without some of their stars as they have a lot of young talent that have been battle-tested in very tough leagues before making their move to Georgia. This gives credence to the argument that perhaps Atlanta United’s substitutes and reserves are just as dangerous as their first team regulars.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Kann played for AUFC in their last match, a 4:0 trouncing of Chicago at Grant Field. His backup is Tabakis, who was produced by Panathinaikos. Together they combine for less than 80 matches of experience. Seattle have a definite edge with Frei here.

Defence – Mears, and Parkhurst have over 600 matches of experience between them. Much of this experience was accrued in Europe. The only mark against them is that they are getting a bit long in the tooth at 34 and 33 respectively. The other half of the back four are two 25-year-olds, with less that 200 matches between them, but Garza with nearly 70 matches for Tijuana and Pirez with nearly 40 for River Plate are more than capable and beginning to reach the peak years of their respective careers. With Torres and Joevin Jones in for the Sounders, I’d rate this even. With them both out, and Fisher and Evans ailing, I’d give a slight edge to AUFC here.

Midfield – Here’s where it gets a bit sticky for AUFC. If Carmona and Almirón are rested after their South American World Cup matches, the Atlantian midfield will be short two starters. You take a look at the players that might replace them though and it’s a list of both age and experience and youth and skill. Sounders minus Lodeiro equals slight edge to AUFC. Look for old man Larentowicz to be holding in the middle, and then look for some kid in his early teens or twenties (this describes at least six midfield players in the AU side) that you never heard of to make a stamp on the match.

Forward – With Martinez surely injured this week in Peru, and Kenwyne Jones likely resting from his match in Trinidad, there is still plenty of skill. Argentinians, Villalba, and Asad were both produced by big clubs from the Argentinian league. Honduran national Róchez can score plenty, and teenaged Vasquez is currently auditioning for a place in the USA U-20 squad. Peterson becomes the old man of the bunch at 31 with over 200 matches in MLS. Other than Peterson the options are all youthful with high levels of technical skill. With Dempsey likely to be rested and Morris nursing a day to day knock on his ankle I’d give a slight edge to the AUFC forward line.

Familiar Faces
AUFC defender, Tyrone Mears played 65 times for Sounders FC and started at right back in the MLS Cup Final that eventful December night in Ontario.

Selections For Last Match (in the league)
Sounders FC: Frei, Fisher, Svensson, Marshall, Joevin Jones, Alonso, Roldan, Lodeiro, Dempsey, Shipp, Morris.

Bench: Miller (gk), Fernández, Alfaro, Mathers, Wingo, Bruin, Adekoya.

Atlanta United FC: Kann, Mears, Parkhurst, Pirez, Garza, Carmona, Gressel, Villalba, Almirón, Asad.

Bench: Tabakis (gk), Bloom, Robinson, McCann, Larentowicz, Peterson, Kenwyne Jones.

Injury List
Seattle –
OUT: Evans (calf), Kovar (surgical recovery).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Fisher (hamstring), Morris (ankle).

Atlanta –
OUT: Loyd (groin), Martinez (quad).
MATCHDAY DECISION: none.

Discipline
None suspended.

Fun Fact
The Current Sounders squad features four Seattle Sounders Academy graduates. Morris, Adekoya, Wingo, and Kovar. Good to see that the club’s investment in player development is paying such rich dividends.