by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Our close personal friends, Vancouver Whitecaps, have come down from the British Columbia for a Saturday afternoon matinee Cascadia Derby showdown at Royal Brougham Park.

Great shakes these past few weeks as we start stepping up the quality control on our football. Ruidiaz figures to make his debut in the city that will grow to love him. We’ve results from our last three matches, our best form of the season. A crack of daylight has shined in through the door.

Thanks to the largesse of a proper mate, I’ll be at the match on Sat. I will raise my voice to the sky, and I will expect you to do so as well. We know our role: Support the team with maximum heart and voice. I know I can count on you lot, as I will press my voice to the very limit to support the side. Be sharp, eyes bright, voices loud, whether ye be at the pub, a mate’s house or flat, or the ground. Gather the Green Family where ye may.

Join me before kick-off in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

“If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumber’d here While these visions did appear. And this weak and idle theme, No more yielding but a dream, Gentles, do not reprehend: if you pardon, we will mend: And, as I am an honest Puck, If we have unearned luck Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue, We will make amends ere long; Else the Puck a liar call; So, good night unto you all. Give me your hands, if we be friends, And Robin shall restore amends.” –Puck, from William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

The Good News
Results in the last three matches, a win and two draws against fierce opposition. Good news.

We’ve got nearly the entire side healthy and together for the first time in months. The Gaffer can select his best side today, and we’ll all be the better for it.

The all-time series in the league between the Sounders and Vancouver favours us with an 8-5-7 record.

Vancouver has managed only three wins on the road this season in 10 attempts.

We have only lost once in nine matches all-time at home with Vancouver as the visitor.

Vancouver are bleeding two goals conceded per match.

Ruidiaz (should he finally make his debut as expected) and Lodeiro in the team together should create all sorts of trouble for the ‘Caps defence.

The Bad News
Vancouver are nine points and five places better in the league table.

Vancouver are the more likely side to score two goals as predicted by average goals scored.

McCrary was sent off with two bookings in Atlanta and will face a one-match ban today. Alonso and Delem are one booking away from suspension.

The fact that the rest of the league knows we need points so badly to attempt an MLS Cup run means that our visiting opponents will all likely play with ten men behind the football, limiting space and opportunity. We’re going to have to take results from our competitors, and it won’t be in any way easy.

Know Thine Enemy
(Vancouver as they lined up in the First Leg of the Canadian Championship on 18 July)

Goalkeeper –
Stefan Marinovic, 26, is a New Zealand international produced by Waitakere United. Marinovic began his professional career in 2009 with SV Wehen Wiesbaden II (the club’s reserve team) playing 36 times for them. During his three seasons in Wiesbaden, he would only make two appearances in the first team. It wasn’t until 2014 that Marinovic found first-team football at SpVgg Unterhaching (3. Liga and Regionalliga) where he would appear in 70 matches over three seasons. In 2017, Marinovic moved to Vancouver where he has since played 15 times over two seasons. Marinovic has 24 caps for New Zealand.

Defence –
Brett Levis, 25 is a Canadian national produced by Saskatoon United and Saskatchewan (U SPORTS). Levis began his career at Victoria Highlanders of the PDL (14 matches/9 goals) in 2013. Levis signed with Vancouver in 2014 playing first with the Whitecaps U-23s (12/2) and later in the Whitecaps reserves (Whitecaps FC 2) (49/8) beginning in 2015. In his three seasons in Vancouver, Levis has played in five matches, four of those during the 2018 season.

Aaron Maund, 27, is a domestic footballer produced by FC Greater Boston and Notre Dame (NCAA). Maund began his career at Indiana Invaders of the PDL in 2011. In 2012, Maund signed with Toronto FC and played 15 matches. 2013 would see Maund move to Salt Lake where he would play 64 matches scoring two goals over five seasons. In 2017, Maund moved to BC Place where he has since played six matches over two seasons. Maund’s MLS career totals are 85 matches and two goals over seven seasons. Maund earned youth caps for both United States and Trinidad & Tobago.

Aly Ghazal, 26, is an Egyptian international produced by El Sekka El Hadid and Wadi Degla. Ghazal began his career in 2013 at Nacional of the Portuguese league where he appeared 107 times scoring one goal. In 2017, after a brief and unfruitful stopover in China, Ghazal signed with Vancouver. Ghazal has played 17 times for the Whitecaps over two seasons. Ghazal has five caps for Egypt.

Jakob Nerwinski, 23, is a domestic footballer produced by NJSA 04 and Connecticut (NCAA). In 2017, Nerwinski was drafted (seventh pick overall) by Vancouver, signing with them in February of that year. Nerwinski has played 32 times for the Whitecaps over two seasons.

Midfield –
Brek Shea, 28, is a United States international produced by Texans SC and the IMG Academy. Shea began his career in 2008 at FC Dallas where he played 98 times scoring 19 goals over five seasons. In 2013 Stoke City paid £2.5M for Shea’s services. Shea would only appear three times in the Stoke first team with injuries a grave factor. Loans to Barnsley (8/0) and Birmingham City (6/0) produced little better. 2015 saw Shea sign with Orlando City for a return to MLS (46/3). 2017 saw Shea join Vancouver Whitecaps on a swap deal for Giles Barnes. Since joining the BC outfit, Shea has played 43 matches scoring seven goals. Shea’s MLS totals are 187 matches scoring 29 goals over nine seasons. Shea has 34 caps and four goals for United States.

David Norman, 20, is a Canadian national produced by Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency, 1. FSV Mainz 05 of Germany, and Oregon State (NCAA). Beginning his career in 2017 with The Whitecaps reserves (Whitecaps FC 2) playing 26 matches and scoring one goal, Norman has yet to play first-team football for Vancouver in the league.

Russell Teibert, 25, is a Canadian international produced by the Toronto FC Academy. Starting in 2008 with 26 matches and three goals for Whitecaps Residency, Teibert would join the Vancouver first team in 2010 and has since played 124 times scoring two goals over eight seasons. Teibert has 20 caps and one goal for Canada.

Cristian Techera, 26, is an Uruguayan national produced by Penarol and River Plate Montevideo. Starting his pro career in 2010 with River Plate Montevideo, Techera played 74 matches scoring 18 goals over six seasons. In 2015 Techera was loaned to the Whitecaps with his contract made permanent the next year. Techera has played 92 matches for Vancouver since his loan signing scoring 21 goals over four seasons.

Forward –
Nicolas Mezquida, 26, is an Uruguayan national produced by Penarol. Starting his career with Penarol in 2008, Mezquida struggled to find first-team opportunities (3/1) and saw him lent to Brann and Lillestrom. In 2012 he would move to Fenix in Uruguay (14/1) and then lent to Rampla Juniors (24/7). A move to Boston River (Uruguay) in 2013 produced no first-team appearances. In 2014, Mezquida signed with Vancouver and has since played 90 times scoring 10 goals over five seasons for the Whitecaps.

Anthony Blondell, 24, is a Venezuelan international footballer. Beginning his career at Yaracuyanos in 2012, Blondell scored five goals in 40 appearances over two seasons. A move to Zamora in 2014 produced 32 matches and five goals. A 2017 move to Monagas saw Blondell play 39 times scoring 24 goals. In 2018, Blondell signed with Vancouver with FC Dallas receiving $50K in general allocation money for his rights. Since his move to Vancouver, Blondell has played 15 times scoring one goal. Blondell has one cap for Venezuela.

Familiar Faces
Not a one.

General notes on personnel
Courtesy of the MLS Shuffle:

Notable Vancouver players in –
Kei Kamara (Sierra Leone) (from New England/Swap for 2019 1st round and conditional 2020 2nd round draft picks)
Brian Rowe (from LA Galaxy/Swap for 2018 2nd round draft pick)
Jordon Mutch (ENG) (on loan from Crystal Palace)
Jose Aja (URU) (from Orlando City/Swap for $125K TAM and future considerations)
Felipe (BRA) (from NYRB/Swap $500K allocation money, one International Roster Spot, and Tim Parker)

Notable Vancouver players out –
Christian Bolanos (CRC) (option declined)
David Ousted (DEN) (option declined)
Mauro Rosales (ARG) (option declined)
Fredy Montero (COL) (loan ended, returned to Tianjin TEDA)
Tony Tchani (CMR) (to Chicago Fire for $150K TAM)

Comparison against common opponents
SEA 0:1 MTL / VAN 2:1 MTL
ATL 1:1 SEA / ATL 4:1 VAN
SEA 0:0 CLB / CLB 1:2 VAN
SEA 0:1 RSL – RSL 2:0 SEA / RSL 2:1 VAN – VAN 2:0 RSL
SEA 0:1 LAFC – LAFC 1:0 SEA / VAN 0:2 LAFC
SKC 2:2 SEA / SKC 6:0 VAN
SEA 3:1 MIN / MIN 1:0 VAN
DAL 3:0 SEA / DAL 2:2 VAN
NE 0:0 SEA / VAN 3:3 NE
COL 1:2 SEA / COL 1:2 VAN – VAN 0:1 COL
SEA 1:1 CHI / VAN 3:2 CHI
SEA 2:1 DCU / DCU 3:1 VAN

Sounders FC from: Frei, Meredith, Brown, Lubin, Alfaro, Francis, Kim, Leerdam, Marshall, Nouhou Tolo, Alonso, Delem, Wolff Eikrem, Lodeiro, Neagle, Rodriguez, Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan, Shipp, Svensson, Wingo, Bruin, Chenkam, Dempsey, Ruidiaz.

Vancouver from: Marinovic, Melvin, Rowe, Aja, Baldisimo, de Jong, Franklin, Henry, Levis, Maund, Nerwinski, Shea, Bustos, Colyn, Davies, Ghazal, Hurtado, Ibini, Juarez, Martins, Mezquida, Mutch, Norman, Reyna, Techera, Teibert, Bair, Bevan, Blondell, Kamara.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Morris (ACL), Bwana (foot).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Torres (ankle).

Vancouver –
OUT: none.
MATCHDAY DECISION: Waston (groin).

Sounders FC: McCrary (Sent Off for second booking last week at Atlanta United).
Vancouver: none suspended.

Seattle midfielders Alonso and Delem face a one-match ban with next booking.

Fun Fact
Centre-half Sam Rogers and goalkeeper Trey Muse were called up for a United States U-20 camp by USA U-20 manager Tab Ramos. Rogers and Muse are both Sounders FC Academy alums. Rogers currently is under contract to the Sounders FC reserves (S2). Muse is currently enrolled at Indiana University where he plays for their Men’s Football team. Well done, lads and good luck at camp! Hope you impress the gaffer, as he was one of the Kearney Boys playing for United States in the 1990 World Cup Finals and for Real Betis of La Liga in Spain. If Tab Ramos saw something in our lads, you can bet that they’re proper footballers. [sourced from a report by Joseph Mondello on]



by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The Sounders FC left Foxboro for the American southeast, specifically Atlanta, Georgia to face top of the league Atlanta United in what would appear to the uninitiated as a one-sided contest. More about that below.

Once again the call has come to us, the supporters and fans of Seattle Sounders FC, to stand tall and make our voices heard. To chant our chants and sing our songs with a glint in our eyes that is but a tiny spark in the collective firestorm we represent when we gather together. Our lads will test their skill against the current league leaders. In competitive sport, everyone wants to test their mettle against the best. Supporters of the AUFC had better strap in as the Sounders FC are not going to roll over for anyone, first in the league or twenty-third. Personally, I’d say United have their work cut out for them so…best of luck with that.

Make your voices heard at the pub, at the ground if you’ve made the trip there, at a mate’s house or flat, or at the massive watch party in Seattle Centre as I plan to do. Before kick-off, join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

Surely this is not the football for today’s match?

The Good News
The Sounders aren’t the same team today that produced some of the clunkier results of the season to date. Unfortunately this makes statistics and metrics rather useless when attempting to make predictions about this particular match.

1st against 20th in the league is the closest you can get to a certain victory, right? I wouldn’t be so sure. If you look at the numbers, they favour Atlanta United in anything from a 2:1 close shave to a complete and utter pasting. The thing is a lot of the matches that generated those numbers were when Lodiero was injured or with Uruguay and before we had signed Ruidiaz. With both those players in the team, I think it makes us far more competitive with Atlanta United than the statistics and metrics would make it seem.

The bulk of the squad are healthy. We have recovered Svensson and Torres from the World Cup Finals. New signing Raul Ruidiaz has joined the Sounders in Atlanta. My prediction: Why fly Ruidiaz out if he’s not going to be in the team?

Our win in Commerce City and our draw in Foxboro make it the third time this season we’ve had a two-match unbeaten streak. This may not seem like much of an achievement, but the restoration of form happens one match at a time.

Winning away at Colorado in a season where we have rarely won away, and getting a result at Foxboro where we rarely take any points from matches may be a sign things are on the upswing.

Both sides have had eight days to rest and train, so there will be no need to rotate out regular selections due to fixture congestion. This will make for a much more entertaining match and set a benchmark for our Sounders to measure themselves against.

Should Ruidiaz make his Sounders FC debut today, it should be known that during this season with his prior club Morelia, he scored 20 goals in 38 matches. That’s a lot of goals.

Even though we’ve played Atlanta only once, we have never lost to them, with our inaugural match last season ending in a scoreless draw.

Although Leerdam and Torres may be out this match due to injury, McCrary and Kim have done a better than average job in providing cover.

The Bad News
In more instances than not, Atlanta United have gotten much better results against our opponents in common. AUFC beat the LAFC squad that shut us out twice by a resounding 5:0. AUFC beat the Montreal team that shut us out 4:1. Those are only the two most extreme examples. This also begs the question, “Are we now a better team than when we played those matches?”

Atlanta United average over two goals a match and slightly over one goal conceded. The Sounders FC still average less than one goal a match (0.88).

Atlanta features Brad Guzan in goal. Guzan is without doubt a top goalkeeper, and one of the best to ever wear the shirt for the Yanks. Guzan’s 58 caps for United States and over 140 appearances for Aston Villa demonstrate how highly he is rated. It will be difficult to score goals, more difficult than usual.

Atlanta have five Argentine players in the squad. If you look up the clubs that developed them and their accomplishments it paints a sobering tale for any side opposing Atlanta United. For example: Nagbe is out due to injury this match. If you look at the players that provide him cover, it would seem that none of them is a step down.

Striker, Jozef Martinez has played 40 times for AUFC scoring 37 goals. This approaches the realm of the absurd in the skill level and consistency department.

The Atlanta squad is full of quality and has lost only four times in the league in 20 matches. They have lost only two of their last nine matches. These are sobering details.

Although our away form is currently enjoying a relative boost, Atlanta United has only lost twice at home in 10 matches.

It’s possible that the Gaffer may choose to leave Svensson and Ruidiaz out of the team today. Svensson due to jet-lag and fatigue, Ruidiaz because he’s only trained twice with the team. The key word is ‘possibly’.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper –
Brad Guzan, 33, is a domestic footballer produced by South Carolina (NCAA). A veteran of English football, Guzan played 144 times for Aston Villa from 2008-2016. Guzan’s professional apprenticeship took place on this side of the pond however, with a stint at Chicago Fire Premier (PDL) eventually placing him at MLS side, Chivas USA where he played 79 times before making his move to the Midlands. After the 2016-17 English season, Guzan had only gotten nine chances in the team at Middlesbrough. In January of 2017, Guzan signed on a free transfer with Atlanta United effective at the end of the season at The Riverside. Guzan earned 58 caps for United States, helping the Yanks to a CONCACAF Gold Cup title in 2007.

Defence –
Mikey Ambrose, 24, is a domestic footballer produced by IMG Academy, FC Dallas Academy, and Maryland (NCAA). After a four-year apprenticeship with Austin and Orlando City, Ambrose signed with Atlanta United in 2017 and has played in 16 matches over two seasons. Ambrose’s career MLS totals are 21 matches played with zero goals.

Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, 26, is an Argentinian national produced by River Plate. In 2011 Pirez’ professional career began at River Plate where he played 38 times scoring once. During his four-season tenure at River Plate, he would spend seven matches on loan at Belgian club Gent, and 13 matches back in Argentina at Arsenal de Sarandi. 2015 saw Pirez move to Tigre (30/2), followed by another transfer to Estudiantes a year later (14/0). Pirez made his move to Georgia in 2017 for Atlanta United’s inaugural MLS season. Pirez has played a total of 50 matches for AUFC over two seasons scoring two goals.

Michael Parkhurst, 34, is a veteran domestic footballer produced by Wake Forest (NCAA). Beginning his pro journey at Bradenton Academics in 2003, Parkhurst would appear ten times scoring two goals. Two years later, he signed with New England Revolution where he would play for four seasons (115/1). During his tenure at Foxboro he was notably named MLS Rookie of the Year in 2005 and MLS Defender of the Year in 2007. In 2008, at the end of his contract with New England, Parkhurst signed with Nordsjaelland of the Danish League. Parkhurst would play 106 times for Nordsjaelland scoring three goals. In 2013 Parkhurst moved to Augsburg in Germany but found it difficult to settle in appearing only twice before electing to sign with Columbus in the MLS. Parkhurst would play 100 matches for Columbus before being moved to Atlanta United in 2017. Parkhurst has appeared 53 times over two seasons for Atlanta United, seeing his MLS totals climb to 268 matches with one goal scored. Parkhurst earned 25 caps for United States between 2007-2014.

Franco Escobar, 23, is an Argentinian national produced by Newell’s Old Boys. Escobar began his pro career in 2014 and played 34 times for Newell’s over three seasons. Escobar signed with Atlanta United in December 2017. This is Escobar’s first season with AUFC playing 13 matches of 20 so far this season in the league.

Midfield –
Jeff Larentowicz, 34, is a veteran domestic footballer produced by Brown (NCAA). Larentowicz began his career at New England playing 111 times scoring nine goals over five seasons. A 2010 move saw him move to Colorado Rapids (96/14) for three seasons. In 2013, Larentowicz transferred to Chicago Fire (94/14) and would play for three seasons in Bridgeview. In 2016, Larentowicz signed with LA Galaxy (12/1) but would move on after only one season. 2017 saw Larentowicz sign with Atlanta United where he has since played 53 times scoring one goal over two seasons. Larentowicz’ career MLS numbers are 377 matches scoring 39 goals. Larentowicz earned four United States caps.

Julian Gressel, 24, is a German national produced by Greuther Furth Academy, Quelle Furth Academy, and Providence (NCAA). Beginning his pro career in 2011 with TSV Neustadt/Aisch (25/3), Gressel would move to Eintracht Bamberg a season later (32/1). In 2013 Gressel matriculated at Providence College, enjoying success on the pitch (83/30) and in the classroom, earning his degree in 2016. After graduation, Gressel was selected 8th overall in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft by Atlanta United. Gressel has played 51 matches scoring seven goals in his two seasons with AUFC.

Ezequiel Barco, 19, is an Argentinian national produced by Jorge Griffa and Independiente. Barco began his pro journey with Independiente in 2016 playing 38 times and scoring five goals over two seasons. In 2018, Barco moved on a $15M (£11.3M/€12.8M) transfer to Atlanta United [as reported by Atlanta United Communications]. Since his move to Atlanta, Barco has played 15 matches this season scoring four goals.

Miguel Almiron, 24, is a Paraguayan international produced by Cerro Porteno. Almiron began his pro career in 2013 playing 39 times scoring six goals for Cerro Porteno of the Paraguayan league over two seasons. 2015 saw Almiron move to Lanus in Argentina (35/3). Atlanta United signed Almiron in 2017 from Lanus on a reported fee of $8M (£6.05M/€6.84M). Since joining AUFC, Almiron has played 50 matches scoring 17 goals over two seasons. Almiron has 12 caps for Paraguay.

Hector Villalba, 23, is an Argentinian national produced by San Lorenzo. Beginning his pro career in 2012 with San Lorenzo, Villalba would play 89 times scoring 15 goals over four seasons. Villalba signed with Atlanta United in 2016 and has since played 49 times for his new club scoring 16 goals over two seasons.

Forward –
Josef Martinez, 25, is a Venezuelan international produced by Caracas. Starting out with Caracas in 2010, Martinez played 36 times scoring eight goals over two seasons. In 2012, Martinez moved to Swiss outfit Young Boys (37/5) over his two seasons in Bern. In 2014 Martinez moved to Torino on a €3M ($3.51M/£2.65) fee. Martinez would play 58 times for Torino over three seasons scoring seven goals. in 2017 a loan move to Atlanta United was arranged with the Americans having the option to buy. AUFC chose to purchase Martinez’ services for an undisclosed fee. Since moving to Georgia, Martinez has played 40 times over two seasons for AUFC scoring 37 goals. That is a crazy strike rate.

Familiar Faces
AUFC midfielder, Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu played 12 times for Seattle Sounders U-23s in 2016 scoring one goal.

Comparison against common opponents
SEA 2:1 DCU / ATL 3:1 DCU
SEA 3:1 MIN / MIN 0:1 ATL
SEA 0:1 LAFC – LAFC 1:0 SEA / ATL 5:0 LAFC
SEA 0:1 MTL / ATL 4:1 MTL
SEA 1:1 CHI / CHI 1:2 ATL
SKC 2:2 SEA / ATL 0:2 SKC
NE 0:0 SEA / NE 1:1 ATL
SEA 0:0 CLB / CLB 0:2 ATL
POR 1:0 SEA – SEA 2:3 POR / ATL 1:1 POR
DAL 3:0 SEA / DAL 3:2 ATL

Atlanta from: Guzan, Hildebrandt, Kann, Ambrose, Bello, Escobar, Pirez, Hernandez, Parkhurst, Robinson, Zizzo, Almiron, Barco, Carleton, Goslin, Gressel, Kratz, Larentowicz, McCann, Shannon, Wheeler-Omiunu, Gallagher, Kunga, Martinez, Vazquez, Villalba, Williams.

Sounders FC from: Frei, Meredith, Lubin, Brown, Alfaro, Francis, Kim, Marshall, McCrary, Nouhou Tolo, Alonso, Delem, Wolff-Eikrem, Lodeiro, Neagle, Rodriguez, Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan, Shipp, Svensson, Wingo, Bruin, Chenkam, Dempsey, Ruidiaz.

Injury List
Atlanta –
OUT: Garza (shoulder), Nagbe (adductor).

Sounders FC –
OUT: Morris (ACL), Bwana (foot).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Leerdam (hamstring), Torres (ankle).

Atlanta: none suspended. Wiliams out next booking.
Sounders FC: none suspended. Alonso and Delem out next booking.

Fun Fact
Sounders FC Academy U-17s won the national championship! Well done, lads!!! CAMPEONES, CAMPEONES, OLE OLE OLE!!!


by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The Sounders FC travel to the other side of the continent for Saturday matinee in Foxboro, MA. The opponent: Original MLS side New England Revolution.

The midweek victory at Commerce City has put the glint back in our eyes and the pep back in our step. The only trouble is that this time our opponent isn’t 20th in the league and struggling, they are 8th in the league and known to dominate at home.

And that’s where we come in. We bring the support. Whether the Sounders are playing here in the Evergreen, or on the Eastern Seaboard makes no difference. We cheer, we yell, we sing, we drink, and generally, raise a harmless type of mayhem wherever we go.

Gather the Green Family where ye may. At the pub, at each other’s flats and houses, and if you have the means find them somewhere in the suburbs of Boston.

Before kick-off, join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

Clack clack clack-clack clack ding! “Dear Schmetz, could you give Ruidiaz his debut today? Pretty please with sugar on top, Love, Disk Doktor.”

The Good News
Sounders are coming off a win. This will give us the opportunity to create our first two-match winning streak of the season.

Nouhou Tolo served his one-match ban for accumulated bookings midweek which means he is once again available for selection at left-back.

Stefan Frei was recovered enough from his concussion symptoms that he was able to play at Colorado. Not just play, but excel. I don’t think any of us will soon forget Frei at full stretch denying Gashi’s rasping strike to preserve the three points.

The bulk of the team is healthy, and hopefully, we’ll witness the debut of new boy Raul Ruidiaz.

The Sounders’ record against common opponents suggests that although New England outperformed us against Dallas, New York RB, and Montreal, the results were mostly quite similar against our other common opponents. This suggests that we may have a fighting chance to get a positive result.

In the Sounders’ last five matches they are scoring at a rate of 1.60 goals per match.

The Bad News
The Revs are a lot closer to averaging two goals a match than we are this season.

All-time, we’ve only won four out of 12 against New England in the league.

The Revs’ home record this season is 6-2-2. All-time at New England our record is 1-1-4.

Even though we won on the road midweek in Colorado, it was only our second win away in eight chances.

New England are unbeaten in their last five matches (1-4-0) and are 3-5-2 in their previous 10.

Brad Freidel had an outstanding career as a goalkeeper. If he manages nearly as well as he played, we could be in for a rough night in Foxboro.

Know Thine Enemy
(As they lined up against DC United on 30 June)

Goalkeeper –
Matt Turner, 24, is a domestic footballer developed by Fairfield (NCAA). After 24 matches with Jersey Express (PDL), 2016 saw Turner sign with New England. Turner has played all 17 matches for the Revs this season earning three clean sheets. In his first two years with the club, Turner did not see a first-team appearance but played 27 matches on loan at Richmond Kickers (USL).

Defence –
Claude Dielna, 30, is a French national produced by Caen. In 2006 Dielna signed his first pro contract with Lorient but was unable to break into the team. Two years later, Dielna signed with Istres playing 62 matches scoring one goal. In 2012 Dielna signed with Olympiacos on a free transfer but again could not get first-team football. Loans to Sedan (25/2) and Ajaccio (22/0) got Dielna some playing time which he parlayed into a move to Hillsborough. Beginning in 2014, Dielna spent three seasons with Sheffield Wednesday (23/1) interrupted only by brief loan spells in Slovakia and Romania. In 2017 Dielna moved to Foxboro and has since played 24 matches over two seasons for the Revs.

Jalil Anibaba, 29, is a domestic footballer developed by Santa Clara and North Carolina (NCAA). Anibaba began his pro career in 2010 with Carolina Dynamo (12 matches/0 goals) of the PDL. 2011 saw Anibaba move to Chicago Fire (96/4) for three seasons. In 2014 Anibaba made his move to the Evergreen to play for the Sounders (16/0). In the general theme of moving on, Anibaba made stops at Kansas City (16/1), Houston (38/0) until 2018 when he signed with New England. Since his move to Foxboro, Anibaba has played all 17 matches with his new club.

Mlinar Delamea, 27, is a Slovenian international produced by four different youth programmes. Delamea’s career began with Interblock in 2008 where he played 23 times scoring one goal. A 2011 move to Olimpija Ljubljana would see Delamea play 96 matches over six seasons scoring four goals. Delamea signed with New England in 2017 and has played 37 matches over two seasons scoring one goal. Delamea has two caps for Slovenia.

Andrew Farrell, 26 is a domestic footballer produced by Louisville (NCAA). Farrell’s pro career began in 2012 with Bradenton Academics and River City Rovers of the PDL (total of nine appearances), before signing with New England in 2013. Since his move to Foxboro, Farrell has played 176 times over six seasons for the Revs scoring one goal.

Midfield –
Wilfried Zahibo, 24, is a French national produced by Ajaccio. Zahibo’s professional journey started in 2012 with Ajaccio B where he played 26 matches. Unable to find first-team opportunities he would move to Fuenlabrada a year later (19/0). 2014 Saw Zahibo move to Valencia B (68/3), but he could only manage to get two matches with the Valencia first-team. In 2016, Zahibo would move again, this time to Gimnastic (21/0) in the Spanish second-tier. In January of 2018, Zahibo made his move to Foxboro and has since played in all 17 of his club’s matches scoring three goals.

Luis Caicedo, 22, is a Colombian national produced by Sporting Lisbon. Signed to Sporting B, Caicedo made one appearance before moving to Cortulua, a Colombian second-tier club where he would play 70 times scoring twice. In March of 2018, Caicedo was loaned from Cortulua to New England. Since his move to Foxboro Caicedo has played in 15 matches.

Cristian Penilla, 27, is an Ecuadoran international produced by ESPOLI. Beginning his career at ESPOLI in 2010, Penilla would play 60 matches scoring eight goals. Two years later, a move to Deportivo Quito would see modest playing time (12/1) necessitating a move to Barcelona SC (of Ecuador) where he played a more robust 65 matches scoring 12 goals. This caught the eye of Pachuca, and so it was off to Mexico in 2015. Penilla would play 28 times for the Gophers scoring four goals. A series of loan moves followed culminating in Penilla’s arrival at Foxboro in 2018. Penilla has played all 17 matches for the Revs this season and is the second highest scorer at his club with eight goals. Penilla has two caps and one goal for Ecuador.

Diego Fagundez, 23, is an Uruguayan national who moved to Massachusetts at age five. He was trained by Leominster Youth Soccer, Greater Boston Bolts, and New England Revolution Academy. Fagundez signed a Homegrown Player contract in 2011 and has played 200 times for the Revs scoring 46 goals. At any given moment, he is one of the most dangerous players on the pitch.

Krisztian Nemeth, 29, is a Hungarian international produced by Gyor. Nemeth’s pro career began in 2005 with MTK Budapest where he played 37 matches over two seasons scoring 14 goals. 2007 saw Nemeth move to Liverpool, but he was unable to get in the team resulting in loans to Blackpool (1/0) and AEK Athens (19/3). A move to Olympiacos in 2010 produced only four matches of first-team football for Nemeth. Nemeth was loaned out to Olympiacos Volos (13/1), MTK Budapest (1/1), and RKC Waalwijk (18/4) before transferring to Roda JC in 2012 (45/10). Nemeth signed with Kansas City of MLS in 2015 playing 28 matches scoring 10 goals. 2016 saw Nemeth move to Al-Gharafa of Qatar (26/13) before bouncing back to the States with New England in 2017. Since his move to Foxboro, Nemeth has played 18 matches over two seasons scoring one goal. Total MLS numbers are 46 matches and 11 goals. Nemeth has 33 caps and four goals for Hungary.

Forward –
Teal Bunbury, 28, is a Canadian-born United States international produced by Apple Valley Juventus and Akron (NCAA). His professional career began in 2009 at Rochester Thunder of the PDL where he played 11 times scoring five goals. Drafted by Kansas City in 2010, Bunbury would sign with the club playing 88 times scoring 19 goals over four seasons. In 2014, Bunbury would sign with New England and has since played 133 times for the Revs scoring 27 goals over five seasons. Eligible to play for both the United States and Canada, Bunbury would choose the Yanks earning four caps scoring one goal.

Comparison against common opponents
COL 1:2 SEA / NE 2:1 COL
SEA 0:1 MTL / NE 4:0 MTL – MTL 4:2 NE
DAL 3:0 SEA / NE 0:1 DAL
SEA 0:0 CLB / CLB 2:2 NE – NE 0:1 CLB
SKC 2:2 SEA / NE 1:0 SKC
TOR 1:2 SEA / NE 3:2 TOR
NYRB 2:1 SEA / NE 2:1 NYRB
SEA 1:1 CHI / CHI 1:1 NE

Familiar Faces
In 2014, Revs defender, Jalil Anibaba played 16 matches for the Sounders FC.

New England from: Cropper, Knighton, Turner, Anibaba, Bye, Delamea, Dielna, Farrell, Samayoa, Segbers, Somi, Caicedo, Caldwell, Fagundez, Herivaux, Penilla, Rowe, Zahibo, Agudelo, Bunbury, Nemeth, Wright.

Sounders FC from: Frei, Meredith, Lubin, Alfaro, Francis, Kim, Marshall, McCrary, Nouhou, Torres, Alonso, Delem, Wolff-Eikrem, Lodeiro, Neagle, Rodriguez, Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan, Shipp, Wingo, Bruin, Dempsey, Ruidiaz.

Injury List
New England –
OUT: Angking (illness), Tierney (ACL), Hollinger-Janzen (elbow).

Sounders FC –
OUT: Morris (ACL), Bwana (foot).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Leerdam (hamstring), Chenkam (hamstring), Brown (concussion).

Sounders FC-
Alonso and Cristian Roldan out next booking.

Fun Fact
The Seattle Sounders FC Academy U-17s have an opportunity today to be the first Sounders Academy side to reach the USSDA national championship match. To do so, they’ll have to defeat Barcelona AZ Academy. Best of luck, lads! Do us proud. [as reported by Joseph Mondello of]


by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The Sounders FC head up to Victory Way to meet tonight’s opponent, and founding MLS team, the Colorado Rapids.

Things are going poorly, that much can’t be argued. However, there may be a crack of light just round the bend. We’ll have to see. It’s not that day yet, so we have to focus on the now.

Even though the filthy Treecutters won the double over us in the league and we haven’t won two matches in a row this season, it’s no excuse to slack off in the support department. We must re-draw the focus to this match on this night. A midweek fixture in Commerce City where we have enjoyed a certain modicum of success over the years.

With this in mind gather the Green Family as ye may at the pub or each other’s houses, or if you’re lucky enough to have the means a trip to the ground in Colorado. Assemble your beverages for liquid protection and join me before kick-off in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

Welcome to the Evergreen, Raul. All the luck to you during your time here.

The Good News
The best hope we might have this season is the news that the Sounders have signed former Monarcas Morelia and Peru striker Raul Ruidiaz for a reported fee of £5.62M (€6.36M or $7.42M) The man apparently has skills to spare and scores bags full of goals. Will Ruidiaz catapult us into contention for the MLS Cup the way Lodeiro did two years ago? No way to tell. Ruidiaz’ arrival is the best source of hope for us that I can think of on short notice.

The two clubs are very close in the league table with Colorado only three points ahead of us.

The all-time record favours the Sounders in the extreme as we’ve won 15 of 22 meetings in the league since we joined MLS in 2009. Our all-time record in the league at Colorado is quite good indeed with six victories in ten attempts.

Colorado are averaging only a bit over one goal scored per match, and conceding nearly two goals per match.

We always have a chance to win with Lodeiro in the team, and it looks like he’s fit and available for selection.

It’s been only three days since Colorado played their last match. This will squeeze their side’s muscle recovery time and the extra day of rest/training for the Sounders could be an advantage.

The Bad News
We will likely be without the services of Bwana, Torres, Leerdam, Frei, Shipp, and Svensson. Nouhou Tolo has been suspended for accumulated bookings and is banned from tonight’s match.

Alonso and Cristian Roldan have four bookings each and will miss the next match if they are booked in tonight’s fixture. This will lessen their ability to make riskier challenges.

Tim Howard is a top goalkeeper, even in his advancing years. It may be difficult to score goals, even from quality chances.

Colorado’s team is loaded with experience and some measure of quality. The lads can’t afford to sleepwalk through this one.

We are still averaging less than one goal per match (0.87).

We have yet to win two matches in a row this season. We have only had two-match unbeaten streaks twice this season.

Our away record this season is 1-1-5. Colorado have only lost four out of nine at home.

Although we signed our new top striker, Ruidiaz, I believe he is not eligible for selection until our next match on 7 July at Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Against most of our opponents in common, both sides have struggled equally. This would seem to project a draw for this match. We need the three points desperately. The problem is that Colorado, who are also struggling, will be equally motivated to attempt to take all the points.

Colorado has won the last two matches in a row, a feat we have yet to manage this season. The Rapids are unbeaten in their previous three. We have lost five of our last seven.

Know Thine Enemy
(Colorado as they appeared on Sunday, 1 July in Vancouver, BC)

Goalkeeper –
Tim Howard, 39, is a goalkeeper for all seasons. Starting his pro career in 1997, Tim played 16 matches with North Jersey Imperials. In 1998, Howard signed with MetroStars and played 88 matches. In 2003, Howard was signed by Manchester United where he played 45 times. Forced out at Old Trafford by the signing of Edwin van der Saar, Howard moved to Everton on a loan that would become a permanent contract. Howard played 354 matches with Everton, even scoring one goal! 2016 would see Howard return to his home country, signing with Colorado, where he has since played 56 matches over three seasons. His MLS numbers are 141 matches with 29 clean sheets. Howard earned 121 caps for United States.

Defence –
Edgar Castillo, 31, is a veteran of Mexican football playing over 300 matches for Santos Laguna, America, Tigres, San Luis, Puebla, Tijuana, Atlas, and Monterrey. Castillo signed with Colorado in 2018 and has since played in 14 matches scoring two goals. Castillo has three caps for Mexico and 18 caps for the United States after making his one time switch to the Yanks.

Tommy Smith, 28, is a veteran of English football. Smith played 248 times for Ipswich scoring 21 goals between 2007-2018. Smith signed with Colorado in 2018 and has since played all 16 matches with his new club scoring two goals. Smith has 36 caps and two goals for New Zealand.

Axel Sjoberg, 27, is a Swedish national produced by Helenelunds IK, Djurgardens IF, and Marquette (NCAA). Began his pro career at Sollentuna FF in Sweden playing 20 matches scoring three goals. In 2013 he moved to PDL side, Thunder Bay (29/6) before signing with Colorado in 2015. Since his move to Commerce City, Sjoberg has played 71 times for the Rapids scoring three goals.

Deklan Wynne, 23, is a South African-born New Zealand international. Started his pro career in 2013 with Wanderers SC in New Zealand (26 matches/0 goals). Wynne would move to join Vancouver Whitecaps reserves (Whitecaps FC 2) (34/2), before signing with Colorado in 2018. Since his move to Colorado, Wynne has played all 16 matches with his new club. Wynne has 15 caps for New Zealand.

Bismark Boateng, 24, is a Ghanian national produced by Right to Dream Academy and Manchester City. Boateng began his pro career in 2012 with Manchester City, but couldn’t find his way into the team. He was loaned to Stromsgodset where he would play 85 matches scoring 16 goals. Boateng moved to Colorado in 2017 and has since played 26 matches with the Rapids over two seasons.

Midfield –
Sam Nicholson, 23, is a Scottish national produced by Hearts. Nicholson began his pro career in 2013 playing for Hearts (109 matches/13 goals). In 2017, Nicholson moved to Minnesota United in MLS (20/2) before signing with Colorado in 2018. Nicholson has played eight matches for the Rapids this season. Nicholson’s MLS career totals are 28 matches and two goals.

Danny Wilson, 26, is a Scottish international produced by Rangers. Wilson began his career in 2009 with Rangers (14 matches/1 goal). 2010 saw Wilson move to Liverpool where he would only play two matches in the first-team. Loans to Blackpool and Bristol City provided little opportunity, but a subsequent move to Hearts was eventually made permanent. Wilson would play 77 times for Hearts scoring nine goals. 2015 saw Wilson move back to Rangers increasing his totals with the Glasgow club to 79 matches and five goals. 2018 saw Wilson move to Colorado where he has since played 12 times. Wilson has five caps and one goal for Scotland.

Jack Price, 25, is an English national produced by Wolverhampton. Starting in 2011, Price played 97 times for Wolves scoring two goals. Price’s spell at Wolves was only interrupted by short loans to Yeovil and Leyton Orient. In 2018, Price moved to Colorado and has since played 14 matches scoring one goal.

Joe Mason, 27, is an Irish national produced by Plymouth Argyle. Mason began at Plymouth where he played in 53 matches scoring 10 goals. A 2011 move to Cardiff City saw Mason play 97 matches scoring 22 goals. During his tenure with Cardiff, Mason was lent three times to Bolton totalling 28 matches and 10 goals. 2016 saw Mason move to Wolverhampton where he played 35 matches scoring six goals. In 2017 Mason was lent to Burton Albion and then to Colorado in 2018. Since his move to Colorado, Mason has played 11 matches scoring three goals.

Forward –
Yannick Boli, 30, is a French national produced by Paris Saint-Germain. Boli’s professional career began with the PSG reserves in 2005 (29 matches/5 goals). Two years later, Boli would get to play in the PSG first team but only four matches and one goal over three years. A loan to Le Havre followed for Boli, where he played 13 times. Boli left PSG and moved to Nimes (23/4) in 2010. The next five years saw Boli play for Chernomorets in Bulgaria (21/8), Zorya Luhansk in Ukraine (29/14), Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia (62/26), and Dalian Yifang in China (24/16). 2018 saw Boli move to Colorado where he has played 10 times scoring one goal, appearing primarily as a substitute.

Familiar Faces
Colorado midfielder, Micheal Azira played 25 times for the Sounders FC.

Comparison against common opponents
SEA 2:2 SKC / COL 2:2 SKC – SKC 1:0 COL
DAL 3:0 SEA / DAL 1:1 COL
TOR 1:2 SEA / COL 2:0 TOR
SEA 0:1 RSL – RSL 2:0 SEA / RSL 3:0 COL
POR 1:0 SEA – SEA 2:3 POR / COL 2:3 POR
SEA 1:1 CHI / COL 2:2 CHI
SEA 3:1 MIN / COL 3:2 MIN

Colorado from: Howard, MacMath, Castillo, Colvey, Ford, Sjoberg, Smith, Wilson, Wynne, Adjei-Boateng, Azira, Blomberg, Gashi, Martinez, Nicholson, Price, Serna, Badji, Boli, Mason, McBean.

Sounders FC from: Meredith, Lubin, Alfaro, Francis, Kim, Marshall, McCrary, Nouhou, Alonso, Delem, Wolff-Eikrem, Lodeiro, Neagle, Rodriguez, Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan, Svensson, Wingo, Bruin, Dempsey.

Injury List
Colorado –
OUT: none.
MATCHDAY DECISION: Hairston (undisclosed).

Sounders FC –
OUT: Morris (ACL), Bwana (foot), Torres (ankle).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Leerdam (hamstring), Chenkam (hamstring), Frei (concussion), Brown (concussion), Shipp (ankle).

Suspended: none.
Out next booking: Wilson, Price.

Sounders FC-
Suspended: Nouhou (5 bookings).
Out next booking: Alonso, C. Roldan.

Fun Fact
Recently arrived on-loan from Phoenix Rising FC, goalkeeper Zac Lubin is in some ways not new to the Puget Sound area in the least. Lubin has played 18 times for Kitsap Pumas and nine times for the Sounders FC U-23s. So welcome back, Zac!


by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The Treecutters make the trip north from their dour environs at Morrison Street to the Evergreen for a Saturday afternoon matinee against our Sounders at Royal Brougham Park. It’s the 101st Pacific Northwest Derby with the bitterness and past wounds of the auld rivalry fresh in mind.

This meeting of the clubs will generate less fanfare than their previous milestone match this May, but will, as always not be short in the energy and excitement departments.

Support is more vital than ever as the Sounders struggle to piece together a decent season. Gather the Green Family where ye may. At the pub, in your dwellings, and if possible at the ground on Occidental Avenue this afternoon. Wherever our number are, be there, and let your voice be counted amongst the multitudes.

Before kick-off, join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

Portland Timbers v Seattle Sounders
Dempsey has scored the most goals of any Sounder against the hated Treecutters with his nine strikes. Put that in your chainsaw and try and start it Timber Joey, you tossy prat!

The Good News
History says we’re getting a result today as the Sounders FC have never lost at home in the MLS era against the Treecutters (7-3-0).

In the US Open Cup, Sounders backup goalkeeper, Bryan Meredith showed himself to be more than capable of deputising for Frei if necessary. Today it might be required.

Despite the absence of key players in the team, the Sounders should be able to field a very competitive side.

Rodriguez and Lodeiro have added some edge to the team since their return from injury. Let’s hope this continues.

Dempsey seems to have regained his scoring touch against Chicago. Let’s see if he can parlay that into a consistent run of good form. Dempsey has hit nine goals against Portland whilst playing for Seattle, the most of any player in the Sounders MLS era.

Portland are slightly more leaky at the back than we are, perhaps we can use this to our advantage.

The Bad News
The Treecutters are unbeaten in their last nine (6-3-0) and have lost only once in their previous 12 matches (6-5-1). Portland haven’t lost since 8 April, when they lost at Orlando City.

Stefan Frei had a concussion at press time and may not be fit for today’s match.

We’ve lost five of our last nine matches (2-2-5) and have been shut out eight times in our 14 matches played in the league. The Sounders still average less than a goal per match.

Sounders record when scoring two or more goals: 3-1-0. Sounders record in matches scoring one goal or less: 0-2-8.

Portland are statistically far more likely to score two goals in this match.

If Adi regains his fitness in time for the match, it’s terrible news for us. Adi has scored eight goals against the Sounders all-time in the league.

Know Thine Enemy
(as they lined up against Atlanta United on 24 June)

Goalkeeper –
Jeff Attinella, 29, has 22 appearances in the team during his two seasons in Portland. Attinella is a six-year MLS veteran, making 51 appearances for Salt Lake and Portland since 2013. Attinella has 13 career clean sheets.

Defence –
Zarek Valentin, 26, played 55 matches with Bodø/Glimt of the Norwegian league and has played 53 times for Portland since his arrival in 2016. Valentin has played 93 matches of MLS football during his five years in the league.

Julio Cascante, 24, is a Costa Rican international who signed with Portland in 2018. Cascante is a veteran of Costa Rican football (107 matches), most notably playing with Saprissa (54 matches/9 goals) in 2016-17. In his maiden voyage with the Treecutters, Cascante has appeared in six matches out of their 14 matches played. Cascante earned one cap for Costa Rica.

Lawrence Olum, 33, is a Kenyan international produced by Missouri Baptist (NAIA). Olum’s career path has been a winding one and has seen him play 259 matches of football between the PDL, USL, MLS, and briefly in the Malaysian league. It is noteworthy that Olum played for both Portland and Orlando City when they were USL clubs. Olum also played for Kansas City of MLS for five seasons putting his MLS career totals at 123 matches with six goals. Olum has completed the circle in a way, signing with the MLS iteration of Portland in 2017. Olum has played 37 times for Portland over two seasons scoring one goal. Olum has four caps for Kenya.

Larrys Mabiala, 30, is a French national produced by Paris Saint-Germain. In his three seasons contracted to PSG, Mabiala would only appear three times in the league, scoring one goal. A loan to Plymouth in 2007 produced no appearances in the league. A 2009 move to Nice saw Mabiala settle in as a rotation player (36 matches over three seasons). Mabiala moved to Turkey in 2012 signing with Karabukspor (106 matches/3 goals) then of the Turkish top division. After three seasons with Karabukspor, Mabiala signed with Kayserispor where he remained for two seasons (55/3). Mabiala made his move to Morrison Street in 2017 and has since played 27 matches scoring two goals over his two seasons in Portland. Although born in France, Mabiala has 12 caps for DR Congo.

Alvas Powell, 23, is a Jamaican international with 16 caps for the Reggae Boyz. Powell has appeared for Portland 107 times scoring 5 goals during his six-year MLS career.

Midfield –

Sebastian Blanco, 30, has nearly 200 matches of experience in the Argentine league. He’s played nearly 70 matches in Ukrainian football, and three matches at West Bromwich Albion, before moving to Portland in 2017. Blanco is on a Designated Player contract and played 33 times for the Treecutters in his first MLS season. Blanco has played 47 matches scoring 13 goals for Portland since his arrival at Morrison Street in 2017. Blanco was twice capped for Argentina scoring once.

Diego Chara, 32, a veteran of Colombian league football, has played 421 times as a professional. Chara has played 216 times for Portland scoring seven goals. Chara earned two caps for Columbia. Chara is Portland’s hard man in the midfield.

Cristhian Paredes, 20, is a Paraguayan national with 44 matches of professional experience. He was loaned to Portland this season from Club America of Mexico. Paredes has played in all 14 matches for Portland this season. Paredes has earned one cap for Paraguay.

Forward –
Samuel Armenteros, 28, is a Swedish international currently on loan from Benevento who were recently relegated from the Italian Serie A. Armenteros was a veteran of Dutch football, playing over 170 matches with Heracles Almelo, Feyenoord, and Willem II. 2018 saw the beginning of Armenteros’ loan to Portland. Since his move to Morrison Street, Armenteros has played in 13 of the Treecutter’s 14 matches scoring three goals. Armenteros has two caps and one goal for Sweden. Sounder-killer Fenendo Adi is listed as a matchday decision concerning his fitness. If Adi is fit, expect to see him in the lineup over Armenteros.

Diego Valeri, 32, is in the twilight of his career, or so we thought. He played nearly 160 times for Lanus in his native Argentina. Valeri has played 162 times for Portland scoring 64 goals. Valeri is on a Designated Player contract, and has been and continues to be a persistent thorn in our collective bottoms. This season, Valeri has started all 14 matches scoring six goals. Yeh, he’s getting long in the tooth, but he can hurt you with his goalscoring, playmaking, and set pieces. Valeri has earned three caps for Argentina.

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 tendered by the former USL incarnation of the Portland Timbers as they were preparing to make their MLS debut.

The Sounders have never been beaten at home by Portland. Portland haven’t lost since April.

Dempsey has scored nine of his league goals against Portland. In turn, Adi has scored 8 vs the Sounders for the hated Treecutters.

Sounders FC and Panama defender, Roman Torres has been injured at the World Cup. The severity of the injury is unknown. Ryan Krasnoo of reports that Torres played his last match for Panama [per the Panamanian FA’s Twitter account] in their loss against Tunisia at the World Cup.

General notes on personnel
Torres and Svensson still at the World Cup for Seattle. Guzman and Polo at the World Cup for Portland.

Sounders FC from: Meredith, Brown, Alfaro, Francis, Kim, Marshall, McCrary, Nouhou Tolo, Alonso, Delem, Wolff Eikrem, Lodeiro, Neagle, Rodriguez, Cristian Roldan, Alex Roldan, Shipp, Wingo, Bruin, Dempsey.

Portland from: Attinella, Gleeson, McIntosh, Andriuskevicius, Barmby, Cascante, Farfan, Jadama, Mabiala, Miller, Olum, Powell, Ridgewell, Tuiloma, Valentin, Arboleda, Asprilla, Blanco, Chara, Flores, Paredes, Valeri, Williamson, Adi, Armenteros, Ebobisse, Langsdorf, Melano.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Morris (ACL), Leerdam (hamstring), Bwana (foot), Chenkam (hamstring), Frei (concussion).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Neagle (groin).

Portland –
OUT: none.
MATCHDAY DECISION: Miller (Achilles), Ridgewell (quadriceps), McIntosh (thigh), Adi (thigh).

None suspended from either side. Out next match if booked: Alonso.

Fun Fact
Joseph Mondello of reports that the Sounders Academy U-15 side played three of the best teams in their league at the Summer Showcase, earning two wins and a draw. WELL DONE LADS!


by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Chicago Fire make the trip to the Evergreen tonight to face our Sounders under the lights at Royal Brougham Park in a Saturday night showdown on Occidental Avenue.

The last time our travels brought us to Bridgeview, we were on the wrong end of a 4:1 pasting. Let’s hope our boys feel the time has come to address the balance.

Gather the Green Family where ye may. At the pub. At each other’s houses. If you have the means get yourself a ticket and head to the ground. The lads will need your booming voices in support to keep it Green.

As for the rag-tag lot known as Chicago Fire: Welcome to Green Hell.

Special shoutout to Fran and our fellow supporters of the Heartland Horde. Thanks for making me feel welcome and, of course, UP THE SOUNDERS!!!

Before kick-off join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

Unfrozen Caveman General Manager: “MLS, your strange salary cap and single-entity control over all player contracts, frighten me. I’m just…a caveman.”

The Good News
Chicago hasn’t won on the road since 26 May and have won two of their last seven matches.

The all-time record between the two clubs favours the Sounders (7-3-2). Our record all-time when Chicago play us in Seattle is perfect (5-1-0).

Statistically, Chicago are the more likely team to allow two goals.

Chicago had to play midweek in the US Open Cup. They will have to field either a team on short rest and recovery or field a combination of rotation players and reserves.

The Bad News
The Sounders sit in 20th position in the league table, fourth from bottom.

The Sounders have won only once in the last five matches, twice in the previous six, and only three times in all 13 matches we’ve played in the league this season.

Leerdam is nursing a bad hamstring and may force either Delem or McCrary to deputise.

What seemed to be the lesson in Harrison last week was that although our Sounders now look to be good enough to beat the struggling sides in the league, say, DC United two weeks ago, we don’t appear to have the consistency or poise to match up well with the better sides in the league.

The 10 July opening of the MLS transfer window seems so very far away. So…very…far.

Requiem for a player retention: An MLS theatre of the absurd play in one act:
Seattle Sounders: “We’d like to use Targeted Allocation Money to give Stefan Frei a raise.”

MLS: “That won’t be possible.”

Seattle Sounders: “Great, we’ll draw up the pap– Wait. What?”


Know Thine Enemy
(based on the team Chicago fielded three days ago in the US Open Cup against Atlanta United)

Goalkeeper –
Richard Sanchez, 24, is a domestic footballer produced by Texas FC, Atletico Madrid, and FC Dallas Academy. Released by his Mexican club, Tigres UANL, Sanchez signed with Chicago in summer 2017. Since his move to Bridgeview, Sanchez has played 16 matches including 13 starts this season.

Defence –
Jorge Corrales, 27, is a Cuban international who began his professional career with Pinar del Rio (80 matches/6 goals) in 2009. Corrales was named MVP of Pinar three times in his six years at the club. A loan to Sancti Spiritus (18/1) in 2015 marked the last club Corrales would play for in Cuba. Later that year, Corrales got permission to visit the United States where he would make a move to Fortuna SC in Miami. While stateside, Corrales jumped through the necessary hoops to get his US work permit. 2016 saw Corrales play for NASL clubs Miami FC (1/0) and Fort Lauderdale Strikers (17/0). 2017 saw Corrales move to Tulsa Roughnecks (25/1) and Chicago Fire. Other than a brief loan to Tulsa, Corrales has played seven matches over two seasons for Chicago. Corrales earned 34 caps for Cuba scoring one goal.

Jonathan Campbell, 24, is a domestic footballer produced by Greensboro Day School, North Carolina Fusion, and North Carolina (NCAA). Campbell started his football journey at Carolina Dynamo (20 matches/1 goal) and Seattle Sounders FC U-23s (12/1) of the PDL. Campbell signed with Chicago in 2016 and has since played in 62 matches scoring once.

Johan Kappelhof, 27, is a Dutch national produced by Amstelland and Ajax. Through the years 2011-2016, Kappelhof played for FC Groningen of the Dutch Eredivisie, playing in 123 matches, scoring three goals. Kapelhof moved to Bridgeview in 2016 and has since played 82 times for Chicago.

Diego Campos, 22, is a Costa Rican national produced by Montverde Academy and Clemson (NCAA). Campos began his professional career with SIMA Aguilas of the PDL (8 matches/6 goals). Campos signed with Chicago in 2018 and has played in 13 of the club’s 16 matches this season scoring once. Campos is listed as a forward but lined up at full-back for Chicago’s midweek US Open Cup match.

Midfield –
Brandt Bronico, 23, is a domestic footballer produced by North Carolina Fusion and UNC Charlotte (NCAA). After a season at Carolina Dynamo (23 matches/6 goals), Bronico would move to the Sounders FC U-23s (9/4). 2016 would see Bronico return to Carolina Dynamo for a second stint (9/2) before signing with Chicago the following year. Since his move to Bridgeview, Bronico has played 11 matches over two seasons for Chicago, interrupted only by a brief loan spell at Tulsa (8/0).

Michael Dax McCarty, 31, is a domestic footballer produced by the US Football Residency Programme, Edison Football Academy, and North Carolina (NCAA). In 2004, McCarty’s first year of professional football was spent with Ajax Orlando Prospects of the PDL (21 matches/3 goals). 2006 would see McCarty move to Frisco, Texas where he would play five seasons with FC Dallas (93/5). 2011 saw McCarty move to DC United (13/0) and then to Harrison, New Jersey to join New York RB where he would play the bulk of his professional football (169/14). McCarty signed with Chicago in 2017 and has since played 40 times for the Fire. Known as “The Ginger Ninja”, McCarty’s career has seen him earn 13 United States caps and 315 MLS club appearances.

Luis Solignac, 27, is an Argentine footballer produced by Club Atletico Platense. Six years at Platense produced only 14 appearances and six goals. Solignac was loaned four times during his tenure at Platense, to Braga of the Portuguese league for two years and then to Banfield in the Argentinian league for a year. Neither of these two loan spells produced any first team football for the Buenos Aires native. A 2013 loan to Djurgardens IF in Sweden (14/1), and a subsequent move to IFK Mariehamn (41/20) in the Finnish league produced more opportunity and success for Solignac. After his loan at Mariehamn ended in 2015, Solignac signed with Nueva Chicago (10/2) in his native country. That same year, Solignac left Argentina to sign with Colorado Rapids (33/3), followed by a 2016 move to Chicago. Since his move to Bridgeview, Solignac has played 52 times for the Fire scoring nine goals.

Bastian Schweinsteiger, 33, is a German international produced by FV Oberaudorf, TSV 1860 Rosenheim, and Bayern Munich. Schweinsteiger is the most recognisable footballer in the Chicago squad. Schweinsteiger’s professional career began at Bayern Munich where he played 34 matches in the reserves scoring two goals followed by his emergence into the first team. Between 2002 and 2015 Schweinsteiger would play 342 times for Bayern Munich scoring 45 goals. It was during this time that Schweinsteiger attained his fame and notoriety. In 2015, Schweinsteiger would leave Bavaria to sign with Manchester United (18/1). Schweinsteiger’s time at Old Trafford would be turbulent, seeing him banned for three matches by The FA for striking a player in the throat and with the arrival of incoming manager Jose Mourinho, demoted to train with the U-23s. In 2017 United released the standout midfielder allowing him to sign with Chicago Fire. Since his move to Bridgeview, Schweinsteiger has played 38 times scoring five goals. During Schweinsteiger’s 12-year international career, he was capped 121 times for Germany scoring 24 goals.

Aleksandar Katai is a Serbian international produced by Vojvodina. Katai would play two seasons with the club that trained him playing in 29 matches scoring six goals interrupted by a brief loan spell at Palic (10/3). 2011 would see Katai move to Greek club Olympiacos. Katai would never play a single match of first-team football in Piraeus as his new manager didn’t rate him as a complete footballer. Katai’s four-year tenure at Olympiacos consisted of four loan spells seeing him move to OFI Crete (2/0), back to Serbia with Vojvodina (31/6), back to Greece with Platanias (24/8) in the Greek second tier, then back to Serbia with Red Star Belgrade (20/2). The loan move to Red Star was made permanent in 2015 seeing Katai play an additional 37 matches scoring 23 more goals. The terms of signing a permanent contract with Red Star required Katai to allow the Serbian club to not pay him the €300,000 in salary that he was owed. 2016 saw Katai move to Alaves (23/3) in Spain. In 2018 Katai would sign with Chicago and has played 15 matches this season scoring five goals. Katai has six caps for Serbia.

Forward –
Nikolic, 30, is a Yugoslavian-born, Hungarian footballer produced by FK Senta. Nikolic is a veteran of Hungarian football playing for Barcs (19 matches/3 goals), Kaposvolgye (14/11), Kaposvar (49/30), and Videoton (149/87). 2015 saw Nikolic move to Legia Warsaw (56/40) in the Polish league. In 2016, Nikolic signed with Chicago and has since played 49 times for the Fire scoring 30 goals. Nikolic has 27 caps and six goals for Hungary.

Comparison against common opponents
(league only)
SKC 2:2 SEA / CHI 3:4 SKC
SEA 3:1 MIN / MIN 2:1 CHI
POR 1:0 SEA / CHI 2:2 POR
SEA 0:0 CLB / CHI 1:0 CLB – CLB 3:0 CHI
TOR 1:2 SEA / TOR 2:2 CHI
SEA 0:1 MTL / CHI 1:0 MTL

Familiar Faces
Chicago defender, Jonathan Campbell, played 12 times for Sounders FC U-23s in 2015 scoring one goal. Chicago midfielder Brandt Bronico played for the Sounders FC U-23s in 2015 playing nine matches and scoring four goals.

Sounders FC from: Frei, Meredith, Brown, Alfaro, Francis, Kim, Marshall, McCrary, Nouhou Tolo, Alonso, Delem, Wolff Eikrem, Lodeiro, Rodriguez, Cristian Roldan, Alex Roldan, Shipp, Wingo, Bruin, Chenkam, Dempsey.

Chicago from: Cleveland, Sanchez, Campbell, Corrales, Dean, Ellis, Kappelhof, Lillard, Ramos, Vincent, Adams, Bronico, Johnson, Katai, McCarty, Schweinsteiger, Tchani, Bakero, Campos, Collier, Gordon, Nikolic, Solignac.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Morris (ACL), Leerdam (hamstring), Neagle (groin), Bwana (foot).

Chicago –
OUT: Mihailovic (ACL), de Leeuw (ACL), Polster (MCL), McLain (hamstring), Conner (calf).

None suspended from either side. Out next match with next booking: S- Alonso. C- Kappelhof, Ellis.

Fun Fact
Joseph Mondello reports that Seattle Sounders FC U-15s finished the season as the second-ranked team in the USSDA Northwest Division despite having one of the youngest U-15 squads in the country. Well done, lads! [per]


by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. With the Sounders FC back in the saddle, it’s time for a trip to Harrison, New Jersey, to face our close personal friends, and yours, the Red Donkeys of New York. Time to find out if our success last Sat was an aberration or part of a more sustainable upward trend.

Congratulations to the Sounders FC players and staff on a well-earned victory at home last weekend. The Gaffer was finally able to select almost all of our best players. Could a return to form be in the offing?

If you’re a member of the Green Family and are in the NYC Metro area tonight, keep it loud, and keep it Green. If you’re out here in the West or other environs, link up with your mates at houses or at the pub to root on the Sounders FC…to victory.

Join me before kick-off in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

I don’t think it can be overstated how glad we are to have you back, Nico.

The Good News
Minus the injured Morris, we had our entire first team at kick-off. Most assuredly, this is good news.

Lodeiro made an emphatic demonstration of why La Celeste made a grave error in failing to retain our star midfielder. That scorcher from outside the box was a dominant display and a firm “I told you so”. Left foot volley, sweet as a nut. Let’s hope Nico’s top form lifts the entire side as it did against DC United last Sat.

That header from Wolff Eikram was also inspiring. What a brave time it is that we can see such fiery performances from our team. The sudden and stylish turnaround was inspirational.

Aside from our goal-scorers, you would have to concede that the entire side seemed to play well. The return to connectivity and trust between teammates is a welcome one. Keep at it, lads.

Our first victory since early May has done much to shore up frayed nerves and frustrations for players, staff, and supporters alike. It’s a beginning and a cracking good one at that.

Our all-time record against the Red Donkeys is slightly in our favour at 5-3-4.

I haven’t any data to back it up, but I’m feeling bullish about the Sounders’ chances tonight.

The Bad News
With the return of Rodriguez and Lodeiro, we managed to get the result against a struggling side on Sat. Our trip to Harrison will see us play a New York side that has lost only once in their last seven matches (4-2-1). Instead of facing mid-table DC United, we will face an NYRB side that is 7th in the league table. As we are just attempting to find a rich vein of form, tonight’s opponent are just hitting their stride.

Our all-time record in matches at Harrison is a grim 1-2-3. Sounders FC away record is 1-1-4 this season.

Conversely, the Red Donkeys have no such troubles at home where their record is an impressive 4-1-1.

Although we were not able to defeat Portland and Montreal this year, the Red Donkeys had little trouble in dispatching those opponents.

I find myself worried that the Gaffer will choose to rest many who played in the 2:1 victory on Sat. If he does so, the Red Donkeys will likely cut us apart. As there is no match this weekend, now is the time to see if we can get some extra mileage out of some of our players. Although to be fair, I would say that’s also true of the US Open Cup Match last midweek, but I digress.

Although our two-goal effort last Sat was much-needed, it remains to be seen if we can consistently score goals. Tonight will be an excellent benchmark to test our goal-scoring resolve.

Bradley Wright-Phillips is a proper goal-scorer. Our centre-halves will have to be sharp to stop him.

NYRB is averaging over two goals per match whilst we, up ’til last Sat were struggling to score one. NYRB has scored 28 goals this season. We have only scored nine.

General notes on personnel
In the offseason, NYRB had 15 players out and 15 players in. Gone are Zizzo, Grella, Duka, Veron, Perrinelle, Kljestan, and Felipe. Transfers in are a bunch of guys I’ve never heard of in my travels. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t know how to play football.

Know Thine Enemy
(NYRB team that lined up in Columbus last Sat)

Goalkeeper –
Robles, 34, is domestic footballer produced by Tucson Football Academy and Portland (NCAA). Robles began his professional career at Kaiserslautern in 2007. In his three seasons in the Rhineland, he would only appear 15 times for the reserve team and 21 times in the first team. Seeing only limited time in the team at Kaiserslautern, Robles opted to move to Karlsruhe where he would play 28 matches over two seasons. With opportunity limited in his second season, Karlsruhe released Robles at the end of the 2009-10 season. In 2012, Robles signed with New York RB who had requested him through the allocation process. Since his signing, Robles has played 184 times for the Harrison, NJ-based outfit earning 52 clean sheets. It’s noteworthy that he has played every league match for his club since 2013. All of his appearances for his club have been as a first-team selection. Robles has earned three United States caps.

Defence –
Lawrence, 25, is a Jamaican international produced by Rae Town and Harbour View. Lawrence began his professional career at Harbour View in 2011. Lawrence appeared 62 times for the Easters scoring twice. In 2015 Lawrence had a successful trial in Harrison and signed a professional contract with NYRB. Lawrence has appeared 78 times for NYRB over his four MLS seasons scoring twice. Lawrence has 45 caps and three goals for Jamaica.

Ndam, 19, is a Cameroonian national who signed with NYRB in 2017. Ndam has featured in the first team only twice for his new club over two seasons. Ndam has appeared for the NYRB reserves 36 times scoring once.

Long, 25, is a domestic footballer produced by Serrano HS and UC Riverside (NCAA). Previously signed by MLS clubs Portland and Seattle, Long wouldn’t make his MLS first-team debut until a year after his signing with NYRB. Over the past two seasons in Harrison, Long has featured 44 times for the New Jersey-based club scoring twice.

Lade, 28, is a domestic footballer produced by Morristown HS, St. John’s (NCAA), and NYRB Academy. In 2011, Lade was signed by NYRB to a Homegrown Player contract. In 2012, Lade made his debut in the first team and has played 101 times for NYRB scoring once.

Midfield –
Bezecourt, 25, is a French national produced by Jeunesse Villenavaise, St. Francis (NCAA), and Brooklyn Italians (NPSL, USA4). Bezecourt signed with NYRB in 2016, making his debut in the first team in 2017. Bezecourt has played 12 times for NYRB over two seasons.

Davis, 25, is a domestic footballer produced by Holmdel Bulldogs, NJSA 04 Academy, Match Fit Academy, Duke (NCAA), and NYRB Academy. In winter 2014, Davis signed with NYRB as a Homegrown Player. Making his first team league debut in 2015, Davis has played a total of 73 times for NYRB scoring four goals.

Royer, 28, is an Austrian international produced by Schladming and Sturm Graz. Beginning his career with Austrian club Pasching (25 matches/6 goals) in the 2009-10 season would be the first step in what would be a whistle-stop tour of Northern European football with destination stops at SV Ried (41/4), Hannover 96 (3/0), Koln (26/3), Austria Wien (63/11), and FC Midtjylland (23/2) before signing with NYRB in 2016. Since his move to Harrison, Royer has played 43 matches scoring 16 goals over three seasons. Royer has six caps for Austria.

Valot, 25, is a French national developed by Paris Saint-Germain, AS Monaco, and Rider (NCAA). Valot began his professional career in 2010 playing 27 matches scoring one goal for the AS Monaco reserves over his three seasons in the Principality. Valot then earned an athletic scholarship to Rider where he would study and play football for two years. In summer of 2016, Valot capped off a successful trial with NYRB by signing with NYRB reserves (NYRB II). Valot made his first-team debut for NYRB in 2018 and has appeared in 11 matches scoring three goals.

Muyl, 22, is a domestic footballer developed by Manhattan Kickers, Blau-Weiss Gottschee, New York Cosmos Academy, New York RB Academy, United States National Team Residency Programme (Bradenton, FL), and Georgetown (NCAA). In winter 2015, Muyl signed with NYRB on a Homegrown Player contract. Muyl made his first-team debut in 2016 and has played 66 matches scoring seven goals over his three seasons in Harrison.

Forward –
Wright-Phillips, 33, is an English national developed by Manchester City. Wright-Phillips is a veteran of English football with his professional career beginning at Manchester City (32 matches/2 goals) over his two seasons at Rowsley Street. After the 2005-06 season ended, Wright-Phillips moved to Southampton (111/22) on half a million pounds. At the end of his third season, Wright-Phillips would be released ending his time at St. Mary’s, likely due to his knee injury. In 2009, Wright-Phillips recovered from injury and signed with Plymouth (32/17) playing two seasons there during which he re-injured his knee. Wright-Phillip then proceeded on to Charlton (82/31) in 2011. Released from his contract in 2013 in a season that ended with a loan to Brentford (15/5). In winter 2013, Wright-Phillips signed with NYRB and has since played 152 times for the club scoring 95 goals.

Familiar Faces
NYRB defender, Aaron Long played 27 times with the Sounders FC reserves (S2) in 2015 scoring once.

Comparison against common opponents
POR 1:0 SEA / NYRB 4:0 POR
SEA 0:1 RSL – RSL 2:0 SEA / RSL 1:0 NYRB
SEA 3:1 MIN / NYRB 3:0 MIN
SEA 0:1 MTL / NYRB 3:1 MTL
SEA 0:0 CLB / CLB 1:1 NYRB

NYRB from: Robles, Meara, Louro, Collin, Kutler, Lade, Lawrence, Long, Ndam, Parker, Politz, Redding, Adams, Bezecourt, Casseres, Davis, Etienne, Mines, Muyl, Royer, Rzatkowski, Valot, Abang, Bonomo, Rivas, Wright-Phillips.

Sounders FC from: Frei, Meredith, Brown, Alfaro, Francis, Kim, Leerdam, Marshall, McCrary, Nouhou Tolo, Alonso, Bwana, Delem, Wolff Eikrem, Lodeiro, Neagle, Rodriguez, Cristian Roldan, Alex Roldan, Shipp, Wingo, Bruin, Chenkam, Dempsey.

Injury List
OUT: Duncan (ACL).

Sounders FC –
OUT: Morris (ACL).

None suspended from either side. Alonso will receive a one-match ban with next booking.

Fun Fact
The RB brand and logo, coming soon to a major sports franchise near you. Thanks for that Dietrich Mateschitz. Thanks a lot [sarcasm].


by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The Sounders FC have returned to the Evergreen to face MLS founding club DC United under the lights at Royal Brougham Park.

Things are grim. Can’t be denied, don’t want to deny it. It looks as if our club is in the process of being rightfully judged for a cock-up of massive scale. Will it affect how I attempt to support the team tonight? No, it will not. Anyone with the stones to put on the shirt and represent Seattle has my full backing and support, regardless of how hard old blokes in suits and neckties attempt to complicate things and turn them pear-shaped. In my heart, we always have the chance to win, even though I might be shoutin’ the odds.

Gather your Green Family where ye may. We’ve got some heavy lifting to do if we’re to raise the spirits of the lads. Make your way to the pub, a mate’s house or flat, or in a best-case scenario get a ticket and head to the ground. Eyes bright, voices loud. Sing it as you mean it, I’M SOUNDERS ’TIL I DIE!

Before kick-off, join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

Star light, star bright. First star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might. Have this wish I wish tonight. C’MON SEATTLE!!! FIGHT…AND WIN!!!

The Good News
Nico Lodeiro should be available for selection as he was expected to return to Seattle on Friday. So the questions are, has Lodeiro regained fitness from his broken toe? If he has will Schmetzer select him for tonight’s match?

There have been stirrings that Sounders FC management is attempting to sign Morelia and Peru striker, Raul Ruidiaz. On the positive side, he scores a ton of goals, regularly better than 20 goals a season since he returned to Universitario in 2015. On the other hand, he doesn’t have the body shape to be a target striker, which is a problem for the Sounders who can’t seem to possess the football for more than a few seconds at a time. Also on the minus side, Peru is going to the World Cup Finals this month, and Ruidiaz wouldn’t be available until after the tournament. [Per Sounder At Heart]

The Bad News
We are still averaging less than a goal scored per match (0.64 goals/match).

Sounders FC record at home: 1-1-3.

Supporters of the Sounders FC and DC United, prepare yourselves for CLASH OF THE DYSFUNCTIONAL TITANS! When the Sounders FC met Salt Lake recently, they too were struggling. DC United have only won once in eight away matches, but I wonder if that’s even relevant with the Sounders in their current state. The questions are, “Will the Sounders also serve as a willing victim to improve DC United’s for-crap season?” and “Which side will manage to out-crap the other?”

Several players may not feature for Sounders FC due to playing in the cup midweek. Maybe there were lasting injuries, perhaps those players are fit now, who knows? No one tells me fuck-all. Prepare for the possibility that Bruin and Rodriguez aren’t as fit as advertised, and that Neagle and Chenkam also sustained injuries severe enough that Schmetzer referred to them in an interview as “playing on one leg”. Bwana is listed as a matchday decision, but if you can confirm that you’re a better journalist than I. Shipp, Wingo, Francis, Delem, Alfaro, and Alex Roldan were also in the midweek fixture, so will they be held out? Maybe Preki, Schmetz, and Gonzo could all sign one-day contracts and suit up.

With the US Open Cup defeat in Sacramento, we can x out three of the possible four trophies we were competing for. USOC, x. CONCACAF Champions League, x. I find it highly doubtful we are going to win the league (MLS Supporter’s Shield), so again, x. The only thing now is to attempt a redux of 2016 adding talent and making an improbable run to the MLS Cup Final and then finding a way to get a result against an opponent that would likely be far better than that possible future iteration of the Sounders FC.

In USL league play, the Sounders Reserves (S2) had lost both their matches to SRFC. It’s mental to think you could add five first-team rotation players (six if you count backup goalkeeper Bryan Meredith, who was magnificent by the way) to our reserve side and get a different result. Isn’t expecting different results from the same situation a form of insanity? I write this not to criticise how the Sounders players played in the USOC match; it’s anger over reserve team players being put in the position of trying to win a cup match in the oldest and most prestigious tournament in America. Only the ESPN advertising sales department would attempt to convince you that the MLS Cup is the ultimate prize.

Comparison against common opponents
SEA 0:0 CLB / CLB 3:1 DCU – DCU 1:0 CLB
SKC 2:2 SEA / SKC 1:0 DCU
SEA 0:1 RSL – RSL 2:0 SEA / RSL 3:2 DCU
SEA 0:1 LAFC – LAFC 1:0 SEA / LAFC 1:1 DCU

Know Thine Enemy
(Based on the DC United line-up fielded against North Carolina FC in the US Open Cup on Tuesday, 5 June)

Goalkeeper –
David Ousted, 33, is a Danish national and was previously a veteran (216 matches) of Danish football playing predominantly for SonderjyskE and Randers. Ousted would sign with Vancouver Whitecaps in 2013 and would play 142 times at BC Place before moving to DC United this season. Ousted has started seven of DC United’s 10 matches this season. In his six-year MLS career, Ousted has 42 clean sheets.

Defence –
Joseph Mora, 25, is a Costa Rican national produced by Alajuelense. Mora is a veteran of Costa Rican football, having played 141 matches scoring two goals, most of his experience was with Saprissa (73 matches). Newly signed by DC United for this season, Mora has played in seven of DC United’s 10 matches, starting six times.

Steve Birnbaum, 27, is a domestic footballer produced by Patedores and California (NCAA). Signing with DC United in 2014, Birnbaum has played in 105 matches scoring six goals. Birnbaum has started all 10 of DC United’s matches this season. Birnbaum has earned 11 caps for United States scoring once.

Jalen Robinson, 24, is a domestic footballer produced by Bethesda SC, DC United Academy, and Wake Forest (NCAA). His five-year MLS career has seen him appear 11 times for DC United. Robinson has yet to appear for DC United this season in the league. Since signing with DC United in 2014, he has played 38 matches on loan with USL clubs Richmond Kickers and Arizona United.

Oniel Fisher, 26, is a Jamaican international produced by St. George’s SC of Jamaica, Tyler JC (NJCAA), and New Mexico (NCAA). After three years of seasoning in the PDL with Jersey Express and New York RB U-23s, Fisher moved to the Sounders FC where he would play 27 times for the Sounders FC and 23 times for the Sounders FC Reserves (S2). He signed with DC United on a free transfer just this year and has played in seven of his club’s 10 league matches. Fisher has 34 matches of career MLS experience. Fisher has earned nine caps for Jamaica.

Midfield –
Christopher Durkin, 18, is a domestic footballer produced by Richmond Kickers and DC United Academy. Durkin has played in all of his club’s 10 matches in the league this season coming on six times as a substitute. This is the first year since Durkin signed with DC United in 2016 that he has been able to break into the first team. Although he has yet to earn his first senior cap for United States, Durkin has 14 USA U-17 appearances scoring twice.

Yamil Asad, 23, is an Argentinian national developed by Velez Sarsfield. Asad is Currently on loan with DC United from Velez. Asad played 55 matches for Velez scoring four goals, before moving on loan to Atlanta United (32 matches/7 goals) in 2017 and the following loan move this season to DC United (10 matches/3 goals). Asad’s career MLS numbers are 42 matches played, 10 goals, and 15 assists.

Paul Arriola, 23, is a domestic footballer developed by IMG Academy, Arsenal FC (US Football Development Academy club based in California), and LA Galaxy Academy. Arriola began his professional career in 2013 and would play 83 times scoring four goals at Tijuana of the Mexican Liga MX. 2017 would see Arriola move to DC United where he has since appeared in 20 matches scoring two goals. Arriola has earned 16 United States caps, scoring twice.

Ian Harkes, 23, is a domestic footballer developed by DC United Academy and Wake Forest. Since his signing with DC United in 2017, Harkes has played 28 matches scoring two goals. Harkes has featured in only three of DC United’s league matches this season. Ian is the son of former United States international, John Harkes.

Bruno Miranda, 20, is a Bolivian international produced by Callejas and U de Chile. Miranda is currently on loan to DC United from U de Chile. Since arriving at DC United in 2017, Miranda has appeared eight times in the first team. Miranda has appeared in three of DC United’s 10 matches this season. Miranda has three caps for Bolivia.

Forward –
Dane Kelly, 27, is a Jamaican international who signed with DC United in March 2018. Kelly began his professional career at Tivoli Gardens in Jamaica (15 matches/3 goals) followed by first a loan and then permanent transfer to Charleston Battery (93 matches/39 goals) of the USL. Future moves would see Kelly to Swope Park Rangers and Reno 1868 (total of 51 matches/26 goals) before his move to Capitol Street. Kelly has appeared in only one league match this season for DC United playing just three minutes. Kelly has two caps for Jamaica.

Familiar Faces
DC United defender Oniel Fisher played 27 times for the Sounders FC and 23 times for the Sounders FC Reserves (S2).

Speculation And Such
For potential transfer targets, why not Terrence Boyd (target striker) who is out of contract with Darmstadt or Josh Harrop (wing/maybe an MLS #10) of Preston North End? Who would choose to be a little fish at Deepdale when they could be a star in Seattle? Though to be fair, Harrop is still under contract on a four-year deal, and it would probably be pricey to attempt to free him up. Maybe neither of them would be as expensive as Ruidiaz. Just trying to think outside the box.

At this stage, it seems only fair that benefit of the doubt may have expired relative to all workings of Seattle Sounders FC. Tactics, Management, Ownership, Training, Team Selection, Player Deployment, Player Development, etc. I believe that as a group, we who support the Sounders overlooked a lot of flaws in our club because in 2016 we managed to somehow win an MLS Cup title without registering a single shot on goal. The uneven quality of that victory should have been indicative of deeper problems existing in the firmament of the club. We were triumphant and overlooked these problems. And now here we are, hovering just above bottom of the table in the league, and having fielded primarily Reserve Team lineups in our past three US Open Cup matches, which could be considered a soft way to concede our way out of a major tournament that is the oldest and most prestigious football trophy in the United States.

We love you, Schmetz. We love that you’re a local boy made good and that you played for the NASL Sounders in the Before-Time. But your team selection is utterly baffling and makes no sense. Your deployment of players into roles they are ill-suited for is equal parts baffling and grossly ineffective. For the love of us and the club, select the best players that are fit enough to play and put them somewhere on the pitch where they can do the most good and play to their strengths.

Sounders FC from: Frei, Meredith, Brown, Alfaro, Francis, Kim, Leerdam, Marshall, McCrary, Nouhou, Bwana, Delem, Wolff Eikrem, Lodeiro, Rodriguez, Cristian Roldan, Alex Roldan, Shipp, Wingo, Bruin, Chenkam, Dempsey, Neagle.

DC United from: Ousted, Clark, Worra, Birnbaum, Brillant, Fisher, Mora, Opare, Robinson, Acosta, Arriola, Asad, Durkin, Harkes, Jeffrey, Moreno, Stieber, Kelly, Mattocks, Miranda, Mullins.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Morris (ACL), Alonso (quadriceps).

DC United –
OUT: Kemp (groin), Canouse (knee), Odoi-Atsem (calf), Segura (knee).
MATCHDAY DECISION: DeLeon (undisclosed).

None suspended from either side.

Fun Fact
Help is on the way?


Exposition Boulevard, Sacramento, California

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. It’s hard going for the Sounders these days sitting second from bottom in the MLS table. But it’s these hard times that show the mettle of our support. Who will stand with our boys in Green in their moment of need? We will. That’s who. Often imitated, never replicated, we represent the best support in the league – bar none. It’s going to take more than an ugly patch of form to keep us down. You can see it in the eyes of the players in video interviews, no one has given up, and the lads are desperate to balance the scales with a victory. Better must come, and come it will with any luck at Exposition Boulevard in the US Open Cup fourth round.

Fog City Faithful operate out of Northern California, so I’m hoping that many of our number can make it to the match and lend our ECS brothers and sisters a hand with loud and able voices. If you can’t make it to the match try and round up as much Green Family as you can at house parties or whatever pubs are willing to stream a match from the most prestigious and yet under-promoted football tournament in American history.

I can imagine quite a bit about the club’s current hard times, but I refuse to give up hope, and I believe we all feel the same about that in our hearts. So together we will forge hope, and grow stronger in the making.

Join me before kick-off in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

Exposition Boulevard is a small ground. Not much bigger than the Fauxquakes’ Garden Shed in Santa Clara. Tonight…it will seem like a fortress. To our supporters attending I have two words – “Be Louder.”

The Good News
Lodeiro may be available again, though perhaps not soon enough for tonight’s cup tie. It appears Uruguay have left him out of the squad. I’m guessing it only remains to see if he will be kept on as an alternate or returned to us.

Having lost three in a row in the league is generating a certain energy within the squad and staff of the club. If that energy can become urgency and will, we have a chance to break out of this dire run of results. If that energy becomes desperation…I just don’t know. I won’t give up hope, ever, but to not acknowledge what we see before us is not on.

With any luck, the downward trend will force the hands of ownership and the General Manager into making a purchase when the transfer window opens in July. The investment that was never made to address the loss of Obafemi Martins when he moved to Shanghai in 2016.

The Bad News
Seattle sit 22nd in the league table second from bottom.

We’ve lost three matches in a row and won only one of our last six in the league.

We’ve only won once in six away matches in the league. Sacramento have lost just once in six matches at home.

We are averaging 0.64 goals/match.

We twice failed to beat a team in Salt Lake that were conceding better than two goals per match. We not only failed to win either match but also were unable to score any goals and had zero shots on goal in the reverse fixture last Sat. When we are failing to exploit the weaknesses of weak opponents for me it is indicative that there are vital concerns within the club that need to be addressed, so the grim reality is that these concerns need to be addressed and we have no idea when that might happen. Hopefully, that will be sooner rather than later.

I feel like Bruin wasn’t fit for selection, last Sat. I feel like he was limping even at the outset before suffering any tackles and such. I find it incomprehensible that Schmetzer has failed to select Chenkam with Bruin not at 100% and with no other target strikers available. I would hope we would select a fit team if perhaps not the most skilled or experienced. I believe in the Gaffer, but I find that from time to time his team selection is indefensible. Time to get back to basics and select the best fit players for the team.

The Sounders’ first team aren’t alone in their misery. The Sounders’ Reserves (S2) are also struggling third from bottom in USL’s Western Conference (2-2-7), losing both matches in the league so far to Sacramento.

The message from management and players seems to be that our string of bad results comes from a combination of injuries, a continually shifting lineup, perhaps a confidence problem, and an inability or unwillingness to take risks in the final third. What I can agree with is that there doesn’t seem to be the trust between teammates to make off-the-ball runs directly after a pass. Too often the player with the football doesn’t seem to have support. Our passing accuracy is below the professional standard it should be at, and our possession numbers are suffering accordingly. I think these things are fixable in training.

I am afraid we won’t field the most competitive team tonight in the name of buying time for muscle recovery for many of those that played on Sat in Utah.

If you take a close look at the SRFC lineup, there are a ton of guys that were passed over by bigger clubs. These players actually have a certain amount of skill, a lot of heart, and are motivated by a rightfully earned massive chip on their shoulders. They will make this match difficult, and if we bollux the job even one bit, we’re going to hear it from the better part of 12,000 voices in the stands at Exposition Boulevard.

Sacramento are tied with Phoenix Rising for the second most points in the league.

Although we defeated SRFC in a pre-season friendly 1:3, the now injured Jordan Morris scored two of those goals.

Know Thine Enemy
(based on SRFC’s line up from their last league match)

Goalkeeper –
Josh Cohen, 25, is a domestic footballer produced by UC San Diego (NCAA2), Santa Clara SC, and apparently, Gremio (per Wikipedia). Cohen has played 13 times for Republic FC. Cohen’s USL career spans 57 league matches combining his time at Orange County, Phoenix, and Sacramento. Cohen has started every match that he’s appeared in at the USL level. Cohen was a trialist with MLS side Philadelphia in winter of 2014.

Defence –
Josh Turnley, 24, is a domestic footballer produced by Georgetown (NCAA). Turnley is a veteran of MLS reserve team football having played 13 times for DC United U-23s (PDL) and 37 times for LA Galaxy 2 (USL). Turnley has two appearances for Sacramento in the league this season.

Mitchell Taintor, 23, is a domestic footballer produced by Rutgers (NCAA). Taintor has 26 appearances in PDL football, played 47 matches over two seasons for Toronto FC reserves scoring three goals, and has played 12 times over two seasons for Sacramento scoring once.

Carlos Rodriguez, 21, is a Mexican national produced by CESIFUT Academy and Pachuca. Rodriguez has played 24 times for Sacramento scoring once.

Shannon Gomez, 21, is a Trinidad and Tobago international, developed by four different youth systems the last of which was San Juan Jabloeth. Gomez began his career at W Connection playing two matches over two seasons in his home nation. Gomez then moved on loan to NYCFC of MLS. In his two years in the Bronx, Gomez was unable to break into the first team. During the 2017 season, Gomez was loaned by NYCFC to Pittsburgh of the USL where he played 10 matches. 2018 saw Gomez move to Sacramento where he has featured in all 13 of their league matches this season. Gomez has two caps for Trinidad and Tobago since 2015 and has represented his country 16 times at youth levels.

Midfield –
Jaime Villarreal, 22, is a domestic footballer produced by LA Galaxy Academy. Villarreal played 60 times for LA Galaxy Reserves scoring three times. In 2017 Villarreal played seven times in the LA Galaxy first team. In 2018, Villarreal moved to Exposition Boulevard and has played all 13 league matches in his first season at Sacramento.

Jeremy Hall, 29, is a domestic footballer produced by IMG Academy and Maryland (NCAA). His pro career began with New York Red Donkeys where he played 37 times over two seasons. Following this Hall moved to Portland and Dallas producing 21 appearances. 2012 saw Hall move to Toronto where he played 57 times scoring two goals over three seasons at the Princes’ Boulevard. The whirlwind continued for Hall with a loan to Wilmington (USL) followed by a transfer to New England of MLS where he played 12 times. Then Hall moved back to the USL with Tampa Bay where wouldn’t play a match. 2016 saw Hall move to Sacramento where he has played 58 times scoring three goals. Hall has played in every league match for Sacramento this season, coming on only once as a substitute. Hall’s professional career spans nine years and 191 matches with five goals. Hall represented United States 35 times at youth levels and has four senior caps for Puerto Rico.

Villyan Bijev, 25, is a Bulgarian-born domestic footballer produced by California Odyssey and Liverpool. Originally committed to UDub, Bijev spent three seasons contracted to Liverpool but never played for the Merseyside giants. Starting in the first year of his Liverpool contract, Bijev was loaned to Fortuna Dusseldorf where he primarily played in the reserve team (16 matches/4 goals). The same season saw Bijev loaned again to IK Start in Norway where he would play only once. This was followed by moves to Bulgarian teams Slavia Sofia and Cherno More where he would play a total of 33 matches scoring four goals over two seasons. 2016 saw Bijev move to Portland where he would play 52 matches for the reserves scoring 16 goals over two seasons. A 2017 loan to Sacramento was made permanent in 2018. Since his move to Exposition Boulevard, Bijev has played 24 times scoring four goals. Bijev has started all 13 league matches for Sacramento this season. Bijev has represented both United States and Bulgaria at youth levels.

Jure Matjasic, 25, is a Slovenian international produced by Drava Ptuj. Matjasic began his career at Drava in 2010 playing 14 times and scoring once. 2011 would see Matjasic move to Zavrc (Slovenia 6th Div.) where he would play 134 times scoring 16 goals over five seasons. Matjasic’s success at Zavrc earned him a move back to top division football at Domzale where he would play 26 matches scoring two goals over two seasons. Matjasic moved from Domzale to Sacramento this year playing eight matches and scoring once. Matjasic has one cap for Slovenia.

Wilson Kneeshaw, 24, is an English national developed by Middlesbrough. After nine years in Middlesbrough’s academy system, Kneeshaw moved to Timisoara in the Romanian 2nd division where he would play eight times. 2015 saw Kneeshaw return to England at Darlington (English 6th division) where he would play four times scoring once. During the 2015-16 season, Kneeshaw would move to Blyth Spartans (England 6th) where he would play out the season, scoring eight goals in 20 matches. At season’s end, Kneeshaw moved to Sacramento where he has since played 41 matches in three seasons scoring nine goals.

Forward –
Cameron Iwasa, 24, is a domestic footballer produced by UC Irvine (NCAA). Iwasa began his footballing career with OC Pateadores Blues in the PDL where he scored two goals in nine matches. Iwasa then moved to Sacramento. With SRFC, Iwasa would play 48 times scoring 13 goals over two seasons. His success at SRFC earned him a move to Sporting Kansas City of MLS. Iwasa’s time at State Avenue would see him unable to break into the SKC first team. Instead, Iwasa found himself playing 22 matches and scoring twice on loan at Swope Park Rangers, SKC’s USL affiliate. This precipitated a return move to Sacramento for this season, where Iwasa has played in all 13 of the Republic FC’s league matches scoring five goals.

Familiar Faces
SRFC midfield striker, Villyan Bijev, was once committed to UDub but decided to accept a contract with Liverpool instead.

Sacramento from: Cohen, Diaz, Martinez, Garibay, Gomez, Turnley, Taintor, Schmidt, Carlos Rodriguez, Seiler, Hord, Partain, Aleman, Espino, Moffat, Bijev, Hall, Matjasic, Villarreal, Hategan, McEntosh, Zepeda, Kneeshaw, Eissele, Iwasa, Butler.

Sounders FC from: Frei, Meredith, Brown, Alfaro, Francis, Kim, Leerdam, Marshall, McCrary, Nouhou Tolo, Delem, Wolff Eikrem, Victor Rodriguez, Cristian Roldan, Alex Roldan, Shipp, Wingo, Bruin, Chenkam, Dempsey, Neagle

NATIONAL CALL-UP: Torres (PAN), Svensson (SWE), Lodeiro (URU).

Injury List
Sacramento –
There was no injury information for SRFC at press time.

Sounders FC –
OUT: Morris (ACL), Alonso (quadriceps), Bwana (foot).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Bruin (heel), Victor Rodriguez (knee).

Aleman and Gomez are carrying bookings into tonight’s USOC tie for Sacramento. As this is the Sounders’ first match in the cup, our disciplinary slate is clean. For God’s (Allah’s, Vishnu’s, Buddha’s, Odin’s, The Force’s, whatever you got, you get the idea) sake Clint, hold your temper tonight.

Fun Fact
Papa Murphy’s pizza purchased the naming rights to SRFC’s new stadium. What sort of pizza company makes you take home cold food that you must then cook yourself? What even is that? [shakes head]. Also, I hate stadium naming rights.


by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Rarely in football do you get the chance to quickly rebut against the side that defeated you a week ago. We have been given just such an opportunity, as the Sounders FC travel to State Street, Sandy, Utah and will attempt to address the balance of our defeat in Seattle one week ago.

No matter how crap the start, the Sounders always manage to bring it around in the second half of the season. I expect no deviation from that as this particular campaign weathers on. We have good players, a fine manager and coaching staff, and ownership that cares about the fans and the brand. We will persevere and grow stronger, fueled by the raw sound of our support.

For our away supporters making the trip west, go safely and brightly express what is in all our hearts. For those of us that can’t make the journey, gather the Green Family where ye may. At someone’s house, the pub, whatever arrangement you can cobble together. We will all be of one heart and one voice tonight.

Before kick-off, join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

Oh oracle of football. What will the result of Salt Lake v. Sounders be? Hello? …hello?

The Good News
Since 22 April (the last six matches) the Sounders FC have not once allowed more than one goal. The Sounders defence concedes only 1.2 goals per match.

Even though we lost last week, the Sounders performed better against common opponents than our adversaries from Utah.

The Salt Lake defence bleeds two goals per match. Although this didn’t aid us last week in Seattle, this may suggest a lucky Salt Lake defence rather than a skilful one.

All in all the Sounders were producing chances of some quality last week and were unfortunate to have Neagle’s header hit the bar rather than become the goal we so desperately needed. We outshot RSL 10:6, we had more corners (6:2), far fewer clearances (7:29), but couldn’t manage to get a result. Our passing accuracy was 77%, that’s low even for MLS. Salt Lake’s passing accuracy was 82%.

Bruin, Rodriguez, and Bwana are listed as matchday decisions. I don’t understand how this is possible. If it’s true, and they are available for selection, it will definitely be a boost for the Sounders who currently have a depleted squad.

It’s my personal belief that the lineup we will see in Sandy will be more like the one we saw in Seattle than the one trotted out against Houston earlier this week. Having played midweek, there will be only slightly better than two days muscle recovery for the RSL players. With Mulholland, Plata, and Rusnak expected to be out of the picture for today’s match, perhaps this could be read as a (very) narrow ray of sunlight for a Sounders FC side that is starved for points and wins.

Credit to the Gaffer, we haven’t been truly well and hosed since the 3:0 debacle at Dallas. We always seem to be in the match and fall just short of what it takes to win. I’ll guess we will line up in a 5-4-1, looking to earn a point on the road. Frei in goal, Marshall, Kim, and McCrary as centre-halves, Nouhou Tolo and Francis at the full-backs, Wolff Eikrem and Neagle on the wings, with Roldan and Dempsey in the centre of midfield, Chenkam making his debut at forward. With hard lessons learnt this season, I expect that the lineup and shape of the team tonight will be anything other than what I just attempted to predict.

The Bad News
Sounders can’t seem to get out of jail when it comes to scoring goals lately.

After a bit of research, the prevailing wisdom suggests that Bwana’s foot sprain may require a month’s recovery. So I fail to see how he could be in the team for tonight.

How do Bruin and Rodriguez magically recover from Plantar Fasciitis (if surgically treated at least a 3 month recovery time) and Knee Surgery (May 1 surgery +1-6 week recovery time)? This falls under the ‘WTF’ category. The only way these two guys play is if Bruin’s injury weren’t that serious in the first place, and Rodriguez’ surgery was only exploratory or to remove bits of loose cartilage. If Schmetz and the medical staff get this wrong, Bruin may require surgery, and Rodriguez could re-injure his knee.

I have to say, I was slackjawed when I saw the composition and shape of the team last Sat. I thought that the Gaffer would have Chenkam make his debut at striker and that Dempsey would play the #10 role out of the midfield. I also expected us to line up in a 4-2-3-1 as is our usual wont with Cristian Roldan and Delem holding, or perhaps the new formation that earned a win in Toronto (5-4-1) not that long ago, and that we used more recently in our loss at the Treecutters. Instead, we lined up in a 4-1-4-1, which we’d never played this season, with the Roldan brothers in some sort of shared #10 arrangement with Delem holding by himself as a lone stopper centre-half.

So I find myself wondering, what will the Gaffer have in store for us today? Will we field a young, inexperienced side so we can select our best team for the US Open Cup next week?

Last season, the Sounders FC rather spectacularly crashed out of the US Open Cup in San Jose. In and of itself that isn’t particularly remarkable. What is remarkable about that particular loss is that we fielded a team of predominantly teenagers against San Jose’s first team. Our youngsters acquitted themselves well on the day, but it wasn’t enough against the experienced team fielded by the Fauxquakes, and we were defeated 2:1.

So what I’m wondering is, with the side depleted by injuries and national call-ups, are we going to eliminate ourselves from the US Open Cup again by purposely fielding less than our strongest team?

After playing in Sandy tonight, we have a midweek US Open Cup Fourth Round fixture at Sacramento Republic FC. I can guarantee when the Sounders arrive at Exposition Boulevard, they will walk out of the tunnel onto the pitch with the best footballers the Quails have available for selection. Let’s hope that the Sounders FC side the Gaffer selects that day is up to the challenge.

Know Thine Enemy
(Based on how Salt Lake lined up in Sandy, UT on 30 May)

Goalkeeper –
Rimando, 38, that’s right – 38 years-old and still denying the goalscoring efforts of the best in the domestic game. Since Rimando signed with Salt Lake in 2007, he has played 320 matches in goal (104 clean sheets), never starting fewer than 24 matches in a season. In his 19-year MLS career, Rimando has played 465 matches (140 clean sheets), starting in every one. Rimando has earned 22 caps for United States. Rimando holds the current MLS records for career clean sheets, wins, and appearances. So, yeah, he’s got chops.

Defence –
Lennon, 20, is a product of Real Salt Lake and Liverpool youth systems. Lennon spent a year at Liverpool Academy, earning the opportunity to do so after three years of Academy football for Salt Lake in his native Arizona. Lennon was unable to break into the first team at Anfield and rejoined Salt Lake in December 2017. Lennon has played 37 times over his two seasons in Utah scoring three goals. Lennon was rated so highly by Yanks U-20s Manager, Tab Ramos that he became a fixture in the starting lineup at the U-20 World Cup in 2017. Lennon has 24 youth caps for United States, scoring 14 goals. He was called up to a camp for the senior team in January but has yet to earn his senior team debut.

Marcelo Silva, 29, is an Uruguayan centre-half. This is his second season with Salt Lake. Since he signed with Salt Lake in 2017, he has played 15 matches. His professional career began back in 2009 with Danubio in his home country. The rest of his overseas career was played in Spain with Almeria, Las Palmas, Valladolid, Zaragoza, only briefly broken by a loan spell at Penarol. Silva never played less than 23 times for his four Spanish clubs.

Glad, 21, is a product of Salt Lake’s Academy system. This is Glad’s fifth season at Sandy and has seen him play 66 matches for his club scoring two goals. The Pasadena native played in the most recent U-20 World Cup squad for United States. Although called into the squad for the Yanks this January, Glad has yet to earn his first senior cap.

Acosta, 20 is a Honduran-born, American defender produced by Real Salt Lake’s Arizona Academy. Acosta has featured 21 times with Salt Lake since his signing in 2016. Acosta has earned 16 caps for USA U-20s, scoring once. It’s difficult to get in USA U-20’s manager, Tab Ramos’ good books. If Ramos rates him, he’s probably a very good footballer.

Midfield –
Besler, 25, is a domestic footballer produced by Notre Dame (NCAA). This is Besler’s fourth season of professional football. Besler was with Portland for two seasons (2015-16), but didn’t feature even once in his two years at Morrison Street. In 2017, Besler signed with Salt Lake and did not manage any appearances in the first team in the 2017 season. He had played 80 matches of reserve team football with Portland Timbers 2 and Real Monarchs. This season, however, Besler has played in seven of his team’s 13 matches.

Kreilach, 29, is a Croatian national who played professionally in his home nation and in Germany before moving to Sandy in 2018. Kreilach has played in all of Salt Lake’s previous 13 matches, starting every one. He has scored twice and set up four goals this season. His six seasons with Rijeka (128 matches/19 goals), and five seasons with Union Berlin (149/33) prove that the man knows how to score goals. Kreilach played eight times for Croatian youth sides but never earned a senior cap for the Blazers.

“Sunny” Stephen, 29, is a Nigerian international who signed with Salt Lake in 2016 after playing with Alanyaspor of the Turkish League. Stephen’s resume reads like a whistle-stop tour of European football having seen him play at such clubs as Valencia, Osasuna, Betis, and Numancia in Spain, and CSKA Sofia in Bulgaria, before his move to Turkey. When totalled up, Stephen had played in 210 matches of European football in Spain (1st and 2nd divisions), Israel, Bulgaria, and Turkey, scoring four goals between 2005-2016. Stephen earned one cap for Nigeria and 10 youth caps for Spain. Since his move to Sandy, Stephen has played 41 times for Salt Lake scoring once.

Forward –
Saucedo, 21, is a domestic footballer produced by Real Salt Lake Arizona Academy. Since he signed in 2014, Saucedo has played 38 matches over three seasons for Salt Lake, scoring once. He was loaned to Veracruz of the Mexican Liga MX for four matches in 2016. Saucedo has 19 United States youth caps with seven goals and has one youth cap for Mexico. Again, USA U-20 manager Tab Ramos rates him.

Luis Silva, 29, is a Mexican-born, American footballer developed by Chivas USA and UC Santa Barbara (NCAA). Silva’s MLS career spans six years and saw him play with Toronto, DC United, and finally with Salt Lake. Silva has played 49 times for Salt Lake in his three seasons in Utah, scoring nine times. Silva’s MLS career totals are 147 matches played scoring 29 goals. An attempt to catch on at Tigres UANL in the Mexican league produced no appearances.

Savarino, 21, is a Venezuelan international produced by Zulia. Savarino’s professional career began in 2013 playing 132 times for Zulia, scoring 32 goals. He then moved on loan to Salt Lake in 2017. I believe that he spends the MLS offseason back at Zulia, rejoining Salt Lake in March. Or is it the other way around? His Salt Lake career has seen him score eight goals in 35 matches. Savarino has one cap for Venezuela. Do you remember this guy? You should, he scored on us the last time the Sounders made the trip to State Street. Whether it be Francis or Nouhou on the left, they’re going to have to eyeball where Savarino is before they attempt to venture forward.

Familiar Faces
Salt Lake defender, Taylor Peay played three seasons at Washington (NCAA) and played seven times for Sounders FC U-23s.

Salt Lake from: Rimando, Sparrow, Acosta, Glad, Henley, Herrera, Horst, Peay, M. Silva, Beckerman, Besler, Hernandez, Kreilach, “Sunny” Stephen, Ruiz, Rusnak, Saucedo, Baird, Lennon, Lopez-Espin, Ortuno, Savarino, L. Silva, Plata.

Sounders FC from: Frei, Meredith, Brown, Alfaro, Francis, Kim, Leerdam, Marshall, McCrary, Nouhou Tolo, Delem, Wolff Eikrem, C. Roldan, A. Roldan, Shipp, Wingo, Rodriguez, Bruin, Bwana, Chenkam, Dempsey, Neagle.

Injury List
Salt Lake –
OUT: Beltran (knee surgery), Allen (knee), Horwath (Achilles surgery), Barry (knee), Phillips (ankle), Mulholland (back).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Plata (quadriceps).

Sounders FC –
OUT: Morris (ACL), Alonso (quadriceps).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Rodriguez (knee surgery), Bruin (plantar fasciitis), Bwana (foot).

none suspended from either side.

Fun Fact
The Norwegian government divested itself from the shares of Salt Lake sponsor Rio Tinto, banning further investment due to environmental concerns. You can read more about what a swell bunch of guys they have at Rio Tinto right here: