SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC MLS CUP QUARTER-FINAL 2nd LEG – ROYAL BROUGHAM PARK, SEATTLE, WA

Pre-Match Analysis by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. It all comes down to this. One match. One side advances, the other returns home nursing their defeat for the next six months.

The event: The MLS Cup Quarter-Final 2nd Leg. The place: Royal Brougham Park, Occidental Avenue, Seattle, Washington. The time: 19.30 hours, Pacific Standard Time. At stake: Advancement to the MLS Cup Semi-Final.

Whitecaps FC, prepare yourselves for an object lesson in football, to be taught by Headmaster Brian Schmetzer, Head-Boy, Clint Dempsey, and the Seattle Sounders Football Club.

Link up the Green Family, wherever you may find them. At the ground. At the pub. At a mate’s house. Whatever you’ve got to do.
We will make a noise the likes of which has seldom been heard in the confines of the planet. We must lift up our Boys in Green in word and song. And that is precisely what we shall do, down to every last supporter in attendance and across the diaspora of the Sounders FC supporters groups dotting the nation. Our numbers are legion! We shall be heard!

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

dempsey
His suspension dutifully served, Clint Dempsey returns to the team to do the thing he does best, making the decisive play in a football match of major consequence. The type of match we shall see tonight, is the type of high-pressure situation that Dempsey was born to thrive in. Lucky us.

The Good News
The aggregate score of the tie is 0:0. The bulk of the Sounders’ squad are fit for selection. Dempsey has returned from suspension. I can’t imagine a universe where he doesn’t start this match.

Dempsey is a big match player, as are many of his teammates. It is fair to say that Dempsey’s quality will likely decide this cup tie.

Rodriguez, Marshall, and Alonso should be available for selection, as this match will determine whether we advance or face elimination.

Generally speaking, we are the better defending team with two of the best centre-halves in the league, and arguably the best goalkeeper in Stefan Frei.

When the Sounders play at home in front of the best supporters in the league, more times than not, the result is a victory. Whitecaps FC, welcome to Green Hell.

The Bad News
The aggregate score of the tie is 0:0.

Morris is listed as out due to his hamstring injury. Roldan, who has a vital defensive role to play, is carrying a booking and would miss the next match should he be booked tonight.

In order for the Sounders FC to advance, we must win this match. No draw result will see us advance unless it’s a 0:0 draw and we advance on penalties. This leaves little margin for error.

The Whitecaps have a lot of players that could hurt us, most notably Fredy Montero, whom we know so well. It is worthy of note that the Caps’ ‘keeper, Marinovic has played well enough this season to displace incumbent Ousted. which should be considered in any final analysis.

Should the match end in any draw other than 0:0, Vancouver advances. The pressure cooker intensity of this type of match sometimes generates unexpected mental mistakes. Let’s hope that it’s the Caps that are the ones that lose their nerve in tonight’s massive test.

Speculation & Musings
Last match, Vancouver favoured Nosa as a #10 over Reyna. Reyna replaced Nosa on 62’ They could flip that for this match, or start Nosa again. Bolanos was favoured over Techera at right wing. Techera replaced Bolanos on 76’. This deployment was largely favoured because Techera and Reyna aren’t yet fully fit.

Last match for the Sounders, Shipp was favoured over Neagle at right wing. Shipp was replaced by Alonso on 74’. Delem who had deputised for the ailing Alonso was replaced on 64’ by Svensson. Marshall, who had taken a knock, was replaced by Neagle on 78’.

Sounders manager Brian Schmetzer, opted to play Jones at left wing, with Nouhou sliding into Jones’ normal left-back position. It is my estimation that the Sounders are more effective when Jones starts at left-back, with a naturally attack-minded player at left-wing. As this way, Jones can sneak into the attack with overlapping runs.

With Rodriguez’ fitness in doubt and Morris unavailable, there were limited options for a left-sided midfielder on Sunday. Although Kovar certainly has the skill, he has only started 13 league matches in four years for the Sounders, which perhaps reveals that the club still feels he is a work in progress. It’s sort of the same story for Delem who just joined the club this spring. Delem started only nine matches for the Sounders this season, several of those playing in the back four. Wingo might have been able to play on the left side, but again has limited experience playing first team MLS football, and has yet to start a match in the Sounders eleven.

Dempsey’s return to the side also begs questions of the selector. Will he play at centre-forward? #10? Right-wing? Bruin is really more of a target striker than a winger, so moving him to another position to accommodate Dempsey, would likely reduce Bruin’s effectiveness as an attacker. If Dempsey is the #10, does Lodeiro move to right or left wing? If Lodeiro is deployed on the right side, it likely relegates Neagle to the bench again, thus taking potential scoring punch and experience off the pitch.

Will Marshall be fit enough to start at centre-half? If he isn’t, will Svensson be fit enough to replace him?

Will Alonso start at defensive midfield? If not, will Svensson, Shipp, or Delem take his place?

Will Rodriguez be fit enough to play? Will Morris?

Lots of questions, lots of possibilities, fewer answers.

In summation, I believe the Sounders are strongest With Frei in goal, Jones and Leerdam at full-back, Torres and Marshall at centre-half, Alonso and Roldan holding, Morris at left-wing, Dempsey, Lodeiro, and Bruin switching between the #10 position, right-wing, and centre-forward.

If the injury report is accurate at kick-off, I think the gaffer will select Nouhou or Jones with Leerdam at full-back, Torres with Marshall or Svensson at centre-half, Roldan holding with Alonso or Svensson, Jones at left-wing, and some combination of Bruin, Lodeiro, and Dempsey switching roles in the final third.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper –
Marinovic, 26, is a New Zealand international. His previous experience is in German football with the bulk of his 100+ appearances coming for SV Wehen II and SpVgg Unterhaching. He recently completed his first season with Vancouver having appeared five times with one clean sheet. He was between the pipes for the Whitecaps’ 5:0-midweek pasting of the Fauxquakes in the MLS Cup play-in round, four days ago. Marinovic has earned 20 New Zealand caps.

Defence –
Parker, 24, is a domestic product who played his NCAA football at St. Johns, he has played nearly 80 games as a professional.

Waston, 29, has 16 caps for Costa Rica and over 170 appearances as a pro.

Nerwinski, 23, is newly recruited out of UConn (NCAA). The New Jersey native played 72 matches at Storrs, scoring five times. He’s played 19 MLS matches in his first year.

de Jong, 31, developed by PSV Eindhoven is a veteran of 165 matches in Dutch football and nearly 70 matches of German football. He’s played over 30 matches of MLS football and has 55 caps for Canada.

Midfield –
Tchani, 28, is a Cameroonian-born naturalised American developed by Beach FC and Virginia (NCAA) with over 170 pro appearances. He has earned caps for both United States and Cameroon. Tchani moved to Pacific Boulevard just this year after having played 130 times for Columbus.

Ghazal, 25, is an Egyptian national who appeared 107 times for CD Nacional of Portugal before signing with Vancouver this August during the summer transfer window. He has played seven times for the Whitecaps this season.

Nosa, 26, is a Nigerian international, developed by Sharks FC. His professional career spans 13 years and six countries. He has played 310 career matches, scoring 51 goals, in the leagues of Nigeria, Norway, Israel, Spain, Turkey, arriving in Vancouver just this September moving from Rizespor. He started the last match for Vancouver as a #10 when I had expected Yordy Reyna to fill that position. Nosa has earned 15 caps for Nigeria, scoring twice for his nation. When he moved from Hapoel Tel Aviv to Real Betis it was for a transfer fee of €1.2 million. Nosa has played one match of league football for the Whitecaps, and once for them on Sunday in MLS Cup.

Bolanos, 33, Developed by Saprissa. Played 170 times in Denmark and Norway. 48 total MLS Matches and five goals for Vancouver over two seasons. Bolanos has 74 caps and six goals for Costa Rica.

Shea, 27, is a United States international developed by Texans SC and the IMG Academy residency programme. His 11-year pro career has seen him play 186 matches, 134 of them in MLS for Dallas, Orlando City, and Vancouver. Between 2013-14, Shea attempted to establish himself in the English Premier League with a £2.5 million move from FC Dallas to Stoke City FC. Shea would play only three matches for Stoke to be followed by loan spells at Barnsley and Birmingham City. In 2015 left Britain, returning to MLS with a move to Orlando City. This is Shea’s first season for the Whitecaps, playing 25 times for them in the league and scoring four goals. Shea has 34 United States caps with four international goals.

Forward –
Montero, 30, We know him all too well. Success at his Colombian teams, then in Seattle, and then in Europe and China. His transfer fee to Sporting Lisbon totalled $2.75M. His transfer fee from Sporting to Tianjin TEDA was €5M. His career goals: matches ratio is over 36%. Montero has played 26 matches for Vancouver this season, scoring 13 goals. He is the most dangerous attacker in the Vancouver side.

Familiar Faces
Backup goalkeeper, Spencer Richey: This dude is Mister Seattle. Born in Seattle. Played for Tacoma Tide, Washington Crossfire, Puget Sound Gunners, and NCAA career at UDub. Add to this eight USA U-17 caps. Rosales played 86 times for Seattle Sounders FC scoring 12 goals. Montero played 119 times for the Sounders scoring 47 Goals and helped us win three US Open Cups.

Squads
Sounders FC from: Frei, Meredith, Miller, Alfaro, Fisher, Jones, Leerdam, Nouhou, Torres, Delem, Kovar, Lodeiro, Mallace, Mathers, Neagle, Roldan, Shipp, Svensson, Wingo, Adekoya, Bruin, Dempsey.

Vancouver from: Marinovic, Ousted, Richey, de Jong, Harvey, Levis, Maund, Nerwinski, Parker, Seiler, Waston, Williams, Bolanos, Bustos, Davies, Ghazal, Hurtado, Ibini, Igiebor, Jacobson, Mezquida, Reyna, Rosales, Shea, Tchani, Techera, Teibert, Montero.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Evans (back), Morris (hamstring).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Alonso (quadriceps), Rodriguez (quadriceps), Marshall (hip).

Vancouver –
OUT: Edgar (PCL, MCL), Laba (ACL).
MATCHDAY DECISION: none.

Discipline
none suspended this match from either side.
Out next match with next booking –
Sounders FC: Roldan.
Vancouver: Ghazal, Nosa.

Fun Fact
I’ll be at the ground tonight in the Brougham End thanks to my long-time mate, Blake, representing the great ECS for making it possible. We’re going to make a noise so loud the earth itself is going to shake. Good times.

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VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC MLS CUP QUARTER-FINAL 1st Leg – BC Place, Vancouver, BC

Pre-Match Analysis
by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The time has come to contest the 22nd MLS Cup Finals. You know how this works. People in our communities start wearing bulky sweaters and talking about universities American football, staking out the best possible turkey option for Thanksgiving, or Tofurkey if you’re feeling benevolent.

But for our lot, there’s something else brewing on tap in addition to all that. The MLS Cup Finals. The tournament began last Wednesday and will carry on through to the Final match, to be played at the home of the highest seeded of the two finalists on 9 December.

The knockout, play-in round is over (played last Wednesday and Thursday), seeing Houston, NY Red Donkeys, Columbus, and Vancouver through to the Quarter-Finals. So the die has been cast, and we must play a two-legged cup-tie with our auld rivals, the Whitecaps FC.

If you’re making the trip up north, mind yourself and be properly loud at BC Place. If you’re headed to a viewing party at a participating local pub or hosting a home viewing with friends, be together as one Green family and drink, chant, and sing your hearts out being mindful to replace them in your chests afterwards. A good result on Pacific Boulevard would go a long way towards clinching the tie in Seattle this Thursday night in the second leg, under the lights at Royal Brougham Park.

Mark the dates and times in your books, and fasten that seatbelt. This promises, as always, to be one woolly ride. The time is nigh. Let our MLS Cup journey begin. Before kick-off, join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

CFOXhaha
Well, this is what we get for singing profanity at the perfectly nice residents of Vancouver who have welcomed Sounders supporters for all these years. With that said, it’s not very hospitable for Vancouver’s CFOX 99.3 to ban all Seattle music in Vancouver for the match weekend. BTDubs, CFOX is not even remotely as cool a radio station as KEXP. You and your cluster station can suck it, you corporate wanks. Ha ha ha ha, go back to your Smooth Jazz format [hysterical laughter].
The Good News
Although Vancouver had a reasonably good home record in the league, they weren’t invulnerable, winning only nine of 17 at BC Place. The Caps finished one place behind us in the league, 8th to our 7th, and conceded 10 more goals than us during the season.

We finished 1-1-1 against Vancouver in the league this season, soundly beating them 3:0 in our last meeting. Our recent form over the last five matches (3-0-2) is a bit better than our opponents’ (2-1-2).

We strung two strong victories in Seattle to end the year, outscoring our opponents by a combined 7:0. The lads seem prepared, and sharp. The combination of all these positives has me bullish about our chances to win the tie.

The Bad News
We have yet to play a match in the MLS Cup, whereas our rivals played a single-elimination match at Pacific Boulevard, unceremoniously thrashing unsuspecting San Jose 5:0.

Vancouver are only missing two players due to injury, and seem to be thriving without them. We, in sharp contrast, may be missing Morris (pace, scoring, and physical strength), Alonso (spiritual leader and the sharpness in the teeth of our defensive midfield), Evans (leader and talisman of campaigns past), Rodriguez (artistry, technique, and forged by the best La Liga could throw at him), and Svensson (easily the most versatile player in the squad, can play any midfield position as well as centre-half).

Evans is likely out for certain and hasn’t played in a very long time. As far as the rest of that bunch there’s no way to predict what their status is, and in the cagey tradition of cup football, Brian Schmetzer ain’t tellin’.

All things considered, we’ve done well in the last two matches, although both Rodriguez and Svensson were healthy in the 4:0 demolition of The Dallas. Neither were present in the 3:0 victory over Colorado in the league finale.

The penalty awarded to Colorado last week for Harry Shipp’s handball is the type of mental mistake that shouldn’t be happening at this time of year.

Old Man Dempsey has gone and gotten himself sent off again, and as a result will be a spectator for tonight’s match. Leaving us a short list of strikers that includes Will Bruin, Lamar Neagle, and Seyi Adekoya.

Intangibles
The unknown. This is the first meeting of the two clubs in the MLS Cup. Our most recent match against Vancouver was a 3:0 triumph. But that was in Seattle, and also was a league match.

Our last match at Vancouver was a 1:1 draw seeing Montero cancel out Lodeiro’s first-half strike on 64’.

The Sounders side that lost 2:1 in Vancouver in April bears little resemblance to the current squad, and that’s a good thing.

Score Prediction by Metric
(SGF+VGC)÷2 : (VGF+SGC)÷2 = VAN 1.31:1.49 SEA

Analysis of result:
From a sample size of 34 league matches. The result is no surprise as in most instances only a fraction of a goal, in this instance, 0.18 goals in favour of the Sounders, separates the teams in question as defined by this metric. Fractions of a goal are un-countable and un-scoreable, therefore this method would generally predict every result as a draw if taken literally.

So, although there’s very little we can take from this equation for the sake of prediction, we can infer that our Sounders seem ever so slightly to be the team more likely to score two goals over 90 minutes of football between these two specific sides relative to their overall performances scoring and defending over the entirety of the league schedule.

Sod it all. What these maths illustrate most clearly is the frustration we all feel at not being able to predict the outcome. It’s fun to compute, but next to useless, practically speaking. At least I tried. Full marks for effort.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper –
Marinovic, 26, is a New Zealand international. His previous experience is in German football with the bulk of his 100+ appearances coming for SV Wehen II and SpVgg Unterhaching. He recently completed his first season with Vancouver having appeared five times with one clean sheet. He was between the pipes for the Whitecaps’ 5:0 midweek pasting of the Fauxquakes in the MLS Cup play-in round, four days ago. Marinovic has earned 20 New Zealand caps.

Defence –
Parker, 24, is a domestic product who played his NCAA football at St. Johns, he has played nearly 80 games as a professional.

Waston, 29, has 16 caps for Costa Rica and over 170 appearances as a pro.

Nerwinski, 23, is newly recruited out of UConn (NCAA). The New Jersey native played 72 matches at Storrs, scoring five times. He’s played 19 MLS matches in his first year.

de Jong, 31, developed by PSV Eindhoven is a veteran of 165 matches in Dutch football and nearly 70 matches of German football. He’s played over 30 matches of MLS football and has 55 caps for Canada.

Midfield –
Tchani, 28, is a Cameroonian-born naturalised American developed by Beach FC and Virginia (NCAA) with over 170 pro appearances. He has earned caps for both United States and Cameroon. Tchani moved to Pacific Boulevard just this year after having played 130 times for Columbus.

Ghazal, 25, is an Egyptian national who appeared 107 times for CD Nacional of Portugal before signing with Vancouver this August during the summer transfer window. He has played seven times for the Whitecaps this season.

Reyna, 24, is a Peruvian international developed by Alianza Lima. After playing nearly 50 matches for Alianza he spent the next two years with RB Salzberg, this included loans to two other Austrian clubs and also at Leipzig in Germany. His tour in Austria and Germany saw him feature in 72 matches in all before his transfer to Vancouver this year. He has six goals in 18 matches for Vancouver this season. Reyna has six caps and two goals for Peru.

Bolanos, 33, Developed by Saprissa. Played 170 times in Denmark and Norway. 48 total MLS Matches and five goals for Vancouver over two seasons. Bolanos has 74 caps and six goals for Costa Rica.

Techera, 25, is an Uruguayan national produced by Penarol and River Plate Montevideo. He played for River Plate (the one in Uruguay, not Argentina) 74 times scoring nearly 20 goals before his loan to BC Place. His move has since been made permanent and he has appeared 80 times for the ‘Caps scoring 15 goals.

Forward –
Montero, 30, We know him all too well. Success at his Colombian teams, then in Seattle, and then in Europe and China. His transfer fee to Sporting Lisbon totalled $2.75M. His transfer fee from Sporting to Tianjin TEDA was €5M. His career goals: matches ratio is over 36%. Montero has played 26 matches for Vancouver this season, scoring 13 goals. He is the most dangerous attacker in the Vancouver side.

Familiar Faces
Backup goalkeeper, Spencer Richey: This dude is Mister Seattle. Born in Seattle. Played for Tacoma Tide, Washington Crossfire, Puget Sound Gunners, and NCAA career at UDub. Add to this eight USA U-17 caps. Rosales played 86 times for Seattle Sounders FC scoring 12 goals. Montero played 119 times for the Sounders scoring 47 Goals and helped us win three US Open Cups.

Squads
Vancouver from: Ousted, Marinovic, Richey, Adekugbe, de Jong, Harvey, Levis, Maund, Nerwinski, Parker, Seiler, Waston, Williams, Bolanos, Bustos, Davies, Flores, Ghazal, Hurtado, Ibini, Igiebor, Jacobson,McKendry, Mezquida, Reyna, Rosales, Shea, Tchani, Techera, Teibert, Greig, Montero.

Sounders FC from: Frei, Meredith, Miller, Alfaro, Fisher, Jones, Leerdam, Marshall, Nouhou, Torres, Alonso, Svensson, Rodriguez, Delem, Kovar, Lodeiro, Mallace, Mathers, Neagle, Roldan, Shipp, Wingo, Adekoya, Morris, Bruin, Neagle.

Injury List
Vancouver –
OUT: Edgar (PCL and MCL), Laba (ACL).
MATCHDAY DECISION: none.

Sounders FC –
OUT: Evans (back).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Alonso (quadriceps), Morris (hamstring), Svensson (hamstring), Rodriguez (quadriceps).

Discipline
Sounders FC: Dempsey (sent off).
Vancouver: none suspended.

Fun Fact
The Sounders FC and the Whitecaps have never met in the MLS Cup.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. COLORADO RAPIDS

Pre-Match Analysis by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. We’ve finally arrived at the last match of the MLS season. Match #34 sees us hosting Rocky Mountain delinquents, Colorado Rapids in a Sunday afternoon match at Royal Brougham Park, Seattle, Washington. At stake: a chance for the Sounders to avoid having to play in the one-off knockout round of the MLS Cup by earning one of the top two conference positions. It’s pretty clear that today’s match is a vital one for our Boys in Green. All the voices of the supporters must be heard, so I hope you lot have been conserving your voices for use at the ground and at the pub. One club. One voice. Before the kick-off in Seattle, join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

Jones
(Pictured above: Joevin Jones) Nouhou Tolo is a fine left-back, and a promising talent in this league which we will sorely need him to be when Joevin leaves for Germany and Darmstadt 98 at the end of the MLS Cup. Having said that, please for the love of God (and also Allah, Vishnu, Odin, Zeus, and Aslan), Gaffer, please start Jones at left-back, and let Rodriguez play left-wing today. And now a word from our sponsors…

The Good News
The Sounders find themselves in 8th place in the league table. It’s been a fine season when you look at the entirety of it. 13-11-9 record, which amounts to a result in over two-thirds of our matches. A proper and professional display.

Although our form has been a bit choppy of late, last week’s fixture saw us paste the Dallas 4:0. The same Dallas side that won the League and US Open Cup double last season. That has to be seen as a positive sign going forward.

We defeated Colorado in our only other meeting with them this season by a 1:3 scoreline in Commerce City. All-time we have only lost five times in 21 matches against Colorado in the league (14-2-5). Colorado’s away record in the league this season is 1-2-13. You read that correctly, only one win, two draws, and 13 losses. When in the friendly confines of Occidental Avenue, we have only lost twice in 11 matches (8-1-2) against Colorado. The Sounders have only lost once at home in 16 matches (10-5-1).

We average nearly a goal and a half per match whilst our opponents average less than a goal per match (0.91). Of the two sides, Colorado are far more likely to concede more than one goal (average of 1.45 goals conceded/match).

Although we have injuries to key players, our General Manager, Garth Lagerwey, has seen to it that we have the depth in the side to contend at a very high level. The additions of both Rodriguez and Leerdam will prove vital at this time of year.

The only motivation for Colorado to win is to spoil the Sounders’ chance at avoiding a one-match play-in to the MLS Cup Quarter-Finals.

The Bad News
Colorado have nothing to lose. The Rapids find themselves in 20th place in the league going into today’s match. So they also have nothing to gain, except to spoil the Sounders’ chance to avoid the MLS Cup Knockout Round, and perhaps in the doing, salvage a share of 19th Place in the league.

The Sounders are (According to MLSSoccer.com), missing Morris, Alonso, and Svensson due to injuries. All three play very important roles that are difficult to replace. Morris is a tank of a forward with pace to burn, often creating severe matchup problems for our opponents on the left flank. Alonso provides the bite in our midfield defence, and is a true, inspirational leader, often wearing the Captain’s armband. Svensson is a veteran player of over 200 matches of European football, with his versatility being of particular value to the side. Svensson has played at holding midfield, and centre-half, often doing yeoman’s work, ably deputising for first-choice players. None of these players can truly be replaced.

All factors considered, there seems to be a place setting at the table for the Sounders to feast on a three-point meal. And in a league dominated by engineered parity, that’s what worries me.

Intangibles
Toronto FC is a lock for the League Championship. On 68 points they can’t be displaced by their closest competitor, NYC FC who are 12 points adrift.

Although Colorado have nothing to gain or lose from this match, The Sounders may be able to tie for the highest point total in the Western Conference.

The reason we can’t finish in the top conference place is that Cascadia rivals Vancouver and Portland are playing each other with a Vancouver win putting first position out of reach for either the Sounders or Portland. If the sides draw Vancouver would be on 53 points which is the maximum the Sounders can earn with a win this afternoon. This would see the Sounders and the Caps even on 53 points.

Should Seattle win and Portland win we would be tied for first position in the conference with our bitter rivals on 53 points.

If Seattle win we can’t finish lower than 2nd position in the conference. The top two finishers in each conference don’t have to play in the one-match knockout in the first round.

Should we draw with Colorado we could be overtaken by both Portland and Kansas City.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper –
Tim Howard shouldn’t need an introduction. One of the world’s top keepers, even as he’s getting on in years. Continually fights a harder opponent than any football team, Tourettes, and holds his head high as he continues to triumph over it. Played nearly 400 matches in English football with Everton and Manchester United. He has earned 121 United States caps. Has a list of honours longer than your grocery list for the market. Difficult to beat, regardless of the team in front of him. If the Rapids start any of their apprentices over him, they’re more foolish than I’d imagined.

Defence –
Hairston, 23, was developed by Louisville (NCAA). He has 79 appearances and seven goals in MLS, all for Colorado.

Ford, 21, was developed by Denver (NCAA). Ford is in his rookie season in MLS as Colorado is his first pro club. Has played 19 times for his club.

Sjoberg, 26, was developed by Djurgardens IF of Sweden and Marquette (NCAA). Played 20 matches for Sollentuna FF in Sweden. Has played 63 times for Colorado since he arrived in Denver two years ago.

Miller, 24, is a product of Minnesota Thunder and Creighton (NCAA). Has 85 matches of MLS experience, 55 of those with Colorado.

Midfield –
Boateng, 23, has 85 matches and 16 goals with Strømgodset under his belt and has played 17 times for Colorado.

Saeid, 26, a Swedish national, was developed by BK Forward of Sweden and West Bromwich Albion FC of England. He has 124 matches of Swedish football between BK Forward and Orebro SK. He has 81 matches of MLS experience, 28 of those with Colorado. Moved from Minnesota United to Colorado this March.

Gatt, 26, developed by Michigan Wolves, started his professional career in Austria playing 15 matches with Rheindorf Altach. In 2011 he moved to Molde FK in Norway, playing 60 times scoring nine goals. He moved to MLS for this season with a transfer to Minnesota United and swapped to Colorado a month later. Gatt has played 19 times for Colorado this season, scoring twice. Gatt has two United States caps.

Aigner, 30, developed by 1860 Munich in Germany. The German national is a typical Euro-ringer with nearly 300 matches of experience that includes clubs such as Arminia Bielefeld, 1860 Munich, and Eintracht Frankfurt. He has twice scored over 20 goals in a German season. Moved to Denver for this season. Has played eight times in his first season with Colorado scoring twice.

Badji, 25, has 74 matches and 17 goals for Colorado over three seasons. The Senegalese forward is a product of Boston University (NCAA). Moved to Denver in 2015.

Forward –
Gordon, 36, was produced by Yavapai (NJCAA) and Oregon State (NCAA). Has played 270 MLS matches scoring 55 goals in his 13-year professional career. Moved to Denver in 2017 and has played 25 matches scoring three goals for Colorado this season. Has two United States caps.

Familiar Faces
Michael Azira played 25 times for the Sounders. Azira is listed as out this match due to an ankle injury.

Squads
Sounders FC: Frei, Miller, Meredith, Nouhou, Marshall, Alfaro, Leerdam, Torres, Jones, Fisher, Roldan, Rodriguez, Lodeiro, Kovar, Mallace, Shipp, Delem, Wingo, Mathers, Dempsey, Adekoya, Bruin, Neagle.

Colorado: Howard, MacMath, Berner, Burling, Castillo, da Fonte, Ford, Miller, Sjoberg, Watts, Boateng, Gatt, Gil, Hairston, Hamilton, Perez, Saeid, Serna, Aigner, Badji, Calvert, Gashi, Gordon.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Evans (back), Morris (hamstring), Alonso (quadriceps), Svensson (hamstring).
MATCHDAY DECISION: None.

Colorado –
OUT: Azira (ankle).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Williams (ankle).

Discipline
None suspended from either side.

Fun Fact
There will something for Sounders’ supporters to look forward to after the MLS Cup tournament ends. As a result of winning the MLS Cup in 2016, the Sounders have qualified for the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League. Well done there. The CCL format has changed and has eliminated the group stage in favour of a home and away knockout format. The tournament draw date has not been announced by CONCACAF, but the first leg of the Round of 16 will begin in February at a date to be named later. Other qualified clubs are: UANL (MEX), Chivas (MEX), Club America (MEX), Tijuana (MEX), FC Dallas (USA), New York Red Donkeys (USA), Colorado (USA), Toronto (CAN), Saprissa (CRC), Herediano (CRC), Tauro (PAN), Motagua (HON), Santa Tecla (SLV), Cibao (DOM), and the winner of the CONCACAF League tournament which contains entrants from Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, the league champion from Belize, and the runners-up, third place team, and fourth place teams from the Carribean Football Union’s Championship. That’s pretty complicated, but then what isn’t complicated in CONCACAF?

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

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The end of the league schedule is nigh with only two matches remaining including this afternoon’s warm reception for our close personal friends from the Lone Star State. That’s right, Faithful, FC Dallas have made their way to the Evergreen, soon to discover just how far out of their depth they are. Welcome to Green Hell.

Time to galvanise our support. At the ground and in the pubs where the employees grin when we turn up in droves wearing our colours. We will gather in Seattle, in Tacoma in Washington. We will gather in the Haight-Ashbury, Pill Hill, and Mountain View in California. We’ll turn up by the scores with hearts and eyes brightened by the prospect of victory. We gather the Green Family once again, fortifying the side and each other as we work together towards victory.

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

 

 

““O God!” I screamed, and “O God!” again and again; for there before my eyes—pale and shaken, and half fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death—there stood Henry Jekyll!” – Robert Louis Stevenson

dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde
Are we the Sounders team that began the season 2-4-4? Are we the second-half Sounders that went 13 matches unbeaten? Are we the Sounders team that lost two of the last three matches with the MLS Cup tournament nearly upon us?

The Good News
We’re 9th best in the league. If we win, we clinch an MLS Cup berth. Dallas are mid-table at 12th, barely holding on to the last Western Conference MLS Cup berth, only one point clear of Salt Lake and San Jose. We have not lost to Dallas this season, earning a draw in our trip to Frisco, TX in mid-September.

All-time we are 7-1-1 when Dallas visits the Evergreen. All-time our overall record against Dallas is 9-6-6. Dallas have only won three away matches out of 16 played this season. Even with Alonso and Morris out we still have Dempsey, Lodeiro, Rodriguez, Frei, Marshall, Torres, Leerdam, Jones, and Roldan to carry the load. In the end, quality usually prevails. We have plenty of quality in the squad.

Sounders FC have only lost once at home this season, carrying a record of 9-5-1 in front of the Brougham Faithful.

The Bad News
The performance of the two clubs when compared favours us by extremely narrow margins, +0.07 goals/match and -0.12 goals conceded/match. The Dallas are desperate, having managed only one victory in their last 13 matches, during which they’ve been defeated six times.

Should Dallas fail to secure victory, Salt Lake and/or San Jose could leapfrog them, jouncing the Texans out of the last MLS Cup playoff spot. Dallas are desperate for points and results. Desperate opponents tend to show their teeth with their backs to the wall. Not good news for Seattle who are struggling to find the form that saw them unbeaten in 13 matches a mere month ago.

Are the Sounders the side that beat Vancouver 3:0, or the side that got shut out 2:0 in Utah and Pennsylvania? The extreme highs and lows of the last three matches are asking questions relative to the Sounders consistency. Can the Sounders find the combination necessary to achieving success in the Cup? Will Morris and Alonso return to fitness in time to bolster the side?

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper
Jesse Gonzalez, 22, a domestic footballer developed by FC Dallas, has played over 30 matches with the Dallas first team. He has also been capped at youth levels by Mexico 8 times.

Defence
Figueroa, 34, is a Honduran international who once played 148 matches for Wigan in England. He has 135 caps for Honduras.

Hedges, 27, is a domestic footballer developed by Butler and North Carolina (NCAA). He has played over 160 times for FC Dallas and has five caps for the United States.

Zimmerman, 24, is a domestic product developed by Furman (NCAA). He has played nearly 90 times for his club. He has 14 caps for United States youth sides, and one cap with the senior team.

Grana, 32, is an Argentine national on loan from All Boys. He has played nearly 30 times for the Dallas and had previously played 7 times for the Columbus Crew. He has experience in Argentine football in excess of 100 matches.

Midfield
Gruezo, 22, is an Ecuadorian international who played 18 matches at VfB Stuttgart before moving to Dallas in 2016. He has played nearly 60 matches for his current club. He has 17 caps for Ecuador.

Acosta, 22, is a United States international developed by FC Dallas and the IMG Academy. He has played over 100 times for his club. He has been capped 15 times for the Yanks.

Hollingshead, 26, is a domestic footballer produced by UCLA (NCAA). He has played 90 times for his club.

Diaz, 26, is an Argentine national developed by River Plate. After playing 69 times for River Plate, he moved on loan to Union Espanola for 41 matches. He moved to Dallas on a Designated Player contract in 2013 and has played nearly 100 times for them scoring 20 goals.

Barrios, 26, is a Colombian national. He played 140 times for Unlautonoma scoring 35 goals before moving to Dallas in 2015. He has played 90 times for Dallas scoring 18 times.

Forward
Urruti, 26, is an Argentine national developed by Newell’s Old Boys. Played 65 times for the Treecutters. Has played 60 matches for the Dallas scoring 21 goals. He is the danger man going forward.

Familiar Faces
Not a one.

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

Dallas from: Jesse Gonzalez, Seitz, Cannon, Chala, Figueroa, Grana, Guillen, Harris, Hedges, Hume, Zimmerman, Acosta, Barrios, Cermeno, Craft, Diaz, Luis Gonzalez, Gruezo, Hayes, Hollingshead, Lamah, Morales, Pomykal, Ulloa, Akindele, Colman, Ferreira, Reid, Urruti.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Alonso (quad), Evans (back), Morris (hamstring).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Bruin (AC joint), Roldan (broken arm).

Dallas –
OUT: None.
MATCHDAY DECISION: None.

Discipline
None suspended for either side. Should he be booked within this match or the next, FC Dallas’ Grana will face a one match ban and a $500 fine.

Fun Fact
Former Sounders Academy player and Ballard High School alum, Handwalla Bwana, has played nine matches with UDub this season, scoring six goals and adding five assists. A midfielder, Bwana is enjoying his sophomore campaign after having completed a freshman season that saw him named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year hitting four goals and assisting on seven.

PHILADELPHIA UNION v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The Sounders FC descend on the land of cheesesteaks, the Liberty Bell, American Democracy, the Mafia, Rocky Balboa, a definitively higher standard for pizza, and unmitigated spite for a Sunday morning fixture in the Keystone State. Philadelphia Union are the paragon of hospitality, serving up a 10 a.m. Pacific Time made-for-jet-lag kick-off in Chester, PA. A true Philadelphia welcome from the City of Brotherly Love. Gather your green family where ye may and assemble at a viewing party near you. At the pub, at a mate’s house, you know the drill. We keep it loud, and we keep it Evergreen. Join me before kick-off in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

tactics
Looks like switching up the tactics produced excellent results last Wednesday in Seattle. Are we now in full Sounders-for-the-Cup mode, or was it a one-off?

The Good News
The Sounders sit 9th in the league table and are on the verge of clinching an MLS Cup berth. In sharp relief, Philadelphia are in 18th place in the league and are struggling to produce results.

Although the form of both clubs is nearly identical in the last five matches, Philadelphia has only one win in their last eight matches. Seattle have lost only one match in their last 15 (7-7-1).

The Sounders are scoring goals again, having hit three against Vancouver in Wednesday’s midweek fixture. Adjustments to the lineup and swapping some of the roles in our formation produced an outpouring of goals. We did quite well with Roldan in the #10 role, and hopefully, success will continue.

The all-time record favours the Sounders at 4-2-3.

Philadelphia made no signings in the summer Transfer Window, whereas Seattle were reinforced by Leerdam and other significant signings.

Earlier this month, Philadelphia managed only a 1:1 draw at Minnesota United, a club we defeated twice by a combined score of 6:1.

The Bad News
The Sounders have never won a league match in Philadelphia in the MLS era (0-2-2).

Seattle are facing significant attrition as Evans and Morris are injured, Alonso and Torres are battling injuries and may or may not play today, and Rodriquez is unavailable as he has family issues to take care of in Catalonia.

Two matches ago, Philadelphia defeated Chicago by a score of 3:1 The same Chicago side that walloped us 4:1 back in May.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper –
Blake, 26, was developed by Connecticut (NCAA). Philadelphia is his first club and he has played for the Union over 60 times since he signed in 2014. Blake has 22 caps for Jamaica since 2014. Jamaica’s run in the 2017 Gold Cup where they made it all the way to the final, was in part due to Blake’s outstanding play during the tournament.

Defence –
Fabinho, 32, is a Brazilian national who played youth football with a number of notable South American clubs such as Gremio, Botafogo, Flamengo, and Newell’s Old Boys. His career began in 2005 where he played at seven smaller Brazillian clubs until moving to Austrailia in 2011 to play with Melbourne Victory and then Sydney FC. He signed with Philadelphia in 2013 and has played over 100 matches for them.

Onyewu, 35, developed by IMG Academy and Clemson (NCAA), is most well-known for his time at Belgian club Standard Liege (139 matches, 11 goals), and then for a number of short loans to other British and European sides, and signing with AC Milan on a three-years deal but never playing in a league match. Onyewu’s notoriety also stems from having earned 69 caps and scoring six goals for United States. “Gooch” signed with Philadelphia just this season and has played over 20 times for his new club.

Elliott, 22, is an English national produced by West Virginia (NCAA), where he played nearly 70 times. He has played over 25 times for Philadelphia in this, his first season with the club. He is a regular selection for his club despite his limited experience.

Rosenberry, 23, was produced by the Philadelphia Union youth system and Georgetown (NCAA). The Pennsylvania native has played nearly 50 matches with Philadelphia since he signed in 2016. He has only played in 14 matches this season.

Midfield –
Medunjanin, 32, is a Bosnian national developed by AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands. He has had extensive experience in European football at such clubs as AZ, Real Valladolid, Maccabi Tel Aviv, and Deportivo La Coruna. The Sarajevo native has 54 caps for Bosnia and Herzegovina, scoring eight goals in the process. He signed with Philadelphia just before this season began, and has played 31 times for his new club, scoring two goals.

Creavalle, 27, is a product of Furman and Central Florida of the NCAA. Philadelphia is his third MLS club in a domestic professional career that has seen him play over 120 matches. He has appeared 45 times for Philadelphia since he signed with them in 2015. Creaville has two caps for Guyana.

Bedoya, 30, was developed by Fairleigh Dickinson and Boston College of the NCAA. The New Jersey native has seen his football career take him to Sweden (Orebro and Helsingborgs), Scotland (Rangers), and France (Nantes) before arriving at Philadelphia in 2016. He has played 35 matches for Philadelphia this season. Bedoya has 64 caps for United States scoring two goals.

Forward –
Picault, 26, is a product of the Cagliari youth system. At the beginning of his career, he played in the NASL with Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale. After this, he moved to Sparta Prague where he did not make a single appearance. A move followed to FC St. Pauli in Germany where he played 22 times scoring four goals. He signed with Philadelphia just before this season began, and has played 25 times for his new club. Picault has one United States cap. Though listed as a midfielder, he lined up at left-wing in his midweek match against Atlanta United.

Sapong, 28, is a product of DC United and James Madison (NCAA). His eight-year domestic career has seen him play for MLS sides Kansas City and Orlando City before moving to Philadelphia in 2015. He has played nearly 90 times for Philadelphia, scoring 30 goals. His MLS experience is at nearly 200 matches and 50 goals. He has two United States caps. He is the most likely player in the side to score a goal.

Pontius, 30, is a product of UC Santa Barbara (NCAA). Before moving to Philadelphia in 2016 he had already played six years for DC United amassing over 150 appearances and 31 goals. He has played over 60 matches for Philadelphia, scoring 14 goals, since he signed with them in 2016. His total MLS experience encompasses over 210 matches and has seen him score 45 goals. Pontius has five United States caps. Though highly rated by the United States FA, his international opportunities have been limited by injuries. Pontius is listed as a midfielder but lined up at right-wing for his midweek match against Atlanta United.

Familiar Faces
Not a one.

Squads
Philadelphia from: Blake, McCarthy, McGuire, Elliott, Onyewu, Rosenberry, Yaro, Marquez, Aaron Jones, Trusty, Gaddis, Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Creavalle, Medunjanin, Carroll, Edu, Alberg, Bedoya, Pontius, Epps, Derrick Jones, Picault, Najem, Ilsinho, Mbu, Davies, Herbers, Sapong, Simpson.

Sounders FC from?: Frei, Meredith, Miller, Nouhou, Marshall, Alfaro, Leerdam, Torres, Joevin Jones, Fisher, Svensson, Alonso, Roldan, Lodeiro, Kovar, Shipp, Delem, Wingo, Mathers, Dempsey, Adekoya, Bruin, Neagle.

Injury List
Philadelphia –
OUT: Tribbett (Achilles).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Edu (ankle & leg), Herbers (hernia), Ilsinho (Achilles), Aaron Jones (abdominal strain), Yaro (knee).

Sounders FC –
OUT: Evans (back), Morris (hamstring), Mallace (quadriceps).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Alonso (quadriceps), Torres (undisclosed).
UNAVAILABLE: Rodriguez (personal).

Discipline
None suspended from either side. Gaddis of Philadelphia is one booking away from a one-match ban.

Fun Fact
Seattle Sounders Academy U-17s currently have an unbeaten 4-0-0 record in the US Soccer Development Academy league. WELL DONE LADS!!!

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

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. We grow closer to the end of the MLS season. After this match, there will only be three left. Our auld rivals Vancouver Whitecaps FC are visiting the south for a rare midweek fixture. Support is crucial at this junction of the year. We have seen a great resurgence of our club. It has waned in recent fixtures. That is no call to give up hope. I will never give up hope. Our lads represent so many different things. The Pacific Northwest. The city of Seattle. The MLS. The United States FA. And us lot. Things have been not as well as we’d like. But we will not give over. We will persevere with our boys in Green. We shall stand tall in the Brougham End and greet the visitors with our cry. Our voices will be heard. One club. One voice. Perhaps the difference will be goals rather than strikes off the bar or the post. I will never lose confidence in the lads. Regardless of the numbers, I believe we will be victorious over the Whitecaps FC this night. Join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB AND VICTORY!!!

schmetz
What’s just gone wrong in the team, Gaffer?

The Good News
The side outside of a few players including Morris is healthy. We have man for man, arguably the most talented and accomplished side in the league. The Sounders have only lost one match this season at Royal Brougham Park. This should brand us as favourites to win.

Vancouver have a kind of take it or leave it away form (5-2-6), this should be encouraging. It’s also the type of statistic that should make our number realise how important they may factor into this match. I’d say supporters take note, but it’s clear you already know the level of support that must be achieved. We must needs keep it Green.

The Bad News
Where to start? Our resurgence has hurtled back to earth like a catapult shot. Vancouver sit 5th in the league, four places above us and four points clear. We have no wins in our last five matches. Vancouver have been unbeaten in their last five matches, winning four of them. In their last 10 matches, Vancouver have only lost once.

The all-time season series is even at 7-5-7. This season, we have yet to defeat the Whitecaps, as we have one draw and have lost once to them.

The maths are right out, as they have been unable to predict the last several results. Therefore, something must be wrong in the team. I have no idea what this is. Chemistry? Tactics? Effort? Fatigue? Fitness? I pray that there’s nothing wrong in the dressing room.

The raw maths say that Vancouver is more likely to score two goals in the match. Given our recent form, there’s nothing to dissuade me from thinking that will indeed be the case. Statistically, the likely result is a draw. But the numbers that favour us, haven’t been a proper indicator of results of late. So I feel the numbers indicate a dead heat. I literally have no idea what’s going to occur.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper –
Ousted, 32, is a veteran ‘keeper and has over 200 matches in Danish football. Over 100 of those with Randers FC, which competed twice in the Europa League during his time there.

Defence –
Nerwinski, 22, is newly recruited out of UConn (NCAA). The New Jersey native played 72 matches at Storrs, scoring five times. He’s played only 15 MLS matches in his first year. It is my assessment that Nerwinski is cover for the injured Edgar.

Waston, 29, has 16 caps for Costa Rica and over 170 appearances as a pro.

Parker, 24, is a domestic product who played his NCAA football at St. Johns, he has played just over 70 games as a professional.

de Jong, 30, developed by PSV Eindhoven is a veteran of 165 matches in Dutch football and nearly 70 matches of German football. He’s played 30 matches of MLS football and has 55 caps for Canada.

Midfield –
Jacobsen, 31, developed by California (NCAA), has over 200 matches of MLS experience. He had loan spells at both Lorient and Stabæk. He’s played nearly 50 times for Vancouver since his move there in 2016.

Tchani, 28, is a Cameroonian-born naturalised American developed by Beach FC and Virginia (NCAA) with over 170 pro appearances. He has earned caps for both United States and Cameroon. Tchani moved to Pacific Boulevard just this year after having played 130 times for Columbus.

Bolanos, 33, Developed by Saprissa. Played 170 times in Denmark and Norway. ? total MLS Matches for Vancouver. Bolanos has 74 caps and six goals for Costa Rica.

Reyna, 23, is a Peruvian international developed by Alianza Lima. After playing nearly 50 matches for Alianza he spent the next two years with RB Salzberg, this included loans to two other Austrian clubs and also at Leipzig in Germany. His tour in Austria and Germany saw him feature in 72 matches in all before his transfer to Vancouver this year. Reyna has six caps and two goals for Peru.

Techera, 25, is an Uruguayan national produced by Penarol and River Plate Montevideo. He played for River Plate (the one in Uruguay, not Argentine) 74 times scoring nearly 20 goals before his loan to BC Place. His move has since been made permanent and he has appeared 55 times for the ‘Caps scoring 14 goals.

Forward –
Montero, 30, We know him all too well. Success at his Colombian teams, then in Seattle, and then in Europe and China. His transfer fee to Sporting Lisbon totalled $2.75M. His transfer fee from Sporting to Tianjin TEDA was €5M. His career goals: matches ratio is over 36%. He is the most dangerous attacker in the Vancouver side.

Familiar Faces
Backup goalkeeper, Richey: This dude is Mister Seattle. Born in Seattle. Played for Tacoma Tide, Washington Crossfire, Puget Sound Gunners, and NCAA career at UDub. Add to this eight USA U-17 caps. Rosales played 86 times for Seattle Sounders FC scoring 12 goals. Montero played 119 times for the Sounders scoring 47 Goals and helped us win three US Open Cups.

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

Vancouver from: Ousted, Marinovic, Richey, Harvey, Waston, Seiler, Maund, Williams, Parker, Nerwinski, Levis, Bolanos, Jacobsen, Mezquida, Techera, Tchani, de Jong, Shea, Reyna, Teibert, Bustos, Igiebor, Ghazal, Davies, Rosales, Montero, Hurtado, Ibini-Isei.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Evans (back), Morris (hamstring), Mallace (quadriceps).
MATCHDAY DECISION: None.

Vancouver –
OUT: Edgar (PCL, MCL), Laba (ACL).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Bolanos (knee).

Discipline
None suspended this match. Tchani is out next match if booked tonight.

Fun Fact
Cristian Roldan could have chosen to represent Guatemala, but rather than play for Los Chapines, he chose to wait for his Yanks callup. Well done, Roldie!

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

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The Sounders travel to the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains to face conference rivals Real Salt Lake under the lights in Sandy, Utah.

Although the lads have had a bit of a rough go over the last four matches, I have full confidence that the side will right the ship and return to winning ways.

As supporters, it’s our job to generate the faith and will to help propel our boys in Green right over the top. Gather your Green family where you can and head to viewing parties, like the one the ECS is holding at the Atlantic Crossing pub in Seattle. For those of you at the ground, we know that you will give it your all and we’ll listen for your voices raised in song, as we follow along on the tele. Before kick-off, join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

stefan
The Sounders’ Minister of Defence, Stefan Frei.

The Good News
The Sounders continue their 13-match unbeaten run with their 0:0 draw at Dallas last week. The bulk of the squad is healthy and there is plenty of depth in the team to cover for recent injuries.

The raw maths suggest that Seattle is the side more likely to score two goals. We defeated Salt Lake in Seattle earlier in the season by a score of 1:0. That victory broke what was, at the time, a three-match losing streak.

Man for man, the Sounders have one of the most talented and accomplished sides in the league. Although Salt Lake’s form is in currently in a fine vein, they have been known to bleed goals at inopportune times. Both their losses within the last five matches saw them concede three goals, to Montreal and Vancouver. Salt Lake has conceded three or more goals in nine of their 30 matches this season.

Although Morris is out, the combination of Dempsey and Bruin should be enough to dispatch our opponent, with Jones ably covering at left wing for the injured Morris. Should Marshall be unfit to play tonight, Svensson and Alfaro have proven more than capable as cover in the centre-half position.

The markers point to victory, but the Sounders will have to produce a more convincing effort than they did last week in the Dallas if they plan on taking home all three points.

The Bad News
Seattle’s string of draws has seen them slip to 9th in the league table. In the last five matches, Salt Lake have scored 13 goals, conceding eight. In the Sounders’ last five matches they have scored five goals, conceding four.

Seattle was unable to score in their last match in Dallas. In fact, the Sounders only managed two on-target shots in the entire match.

Morris remains out with a hamstring problem. Marshall hasn’t been ruled out but is also nursing a hamstring issue.

Sandy, Utah is where dreams go to die, as the Sounders have only managed one win in eight matches there all-time.

The form book suggests, that Salt Lake is more likely to score multiple goals, with the Sounders struggling to score at all. In their last 11 matches, Salt Lake have only lost twice. The State Street ground sits at an elevation of over 4400’. Hopefully, thin air won’t be a problem.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper –
Rimando, 38, has played in nearly 450 MLS matches in his 18-year career, playing in 24 matches this season. The veteran goalkeeper has 22 caps for the United States. Needless to say, it’s tough to knock one past old man Rimando.

Defence –
Beltran, 29, has played his entire 10-year career with Salt Lake, amassing a total of over 240 appearances. The veteran right-back has been capped three times by United States.

Marcelo Silva, 28, lined up at right centre-half last match for Salt Lake. His football career of nine years has seen him play over 160 matches featuring for such clubs as Penarol in Uruguay, and Valladolid and Zaragoza in Spain. The Uruguayan national signed with Salt Lake just this July in the summer transfer window. He has appeared for his new club six times.

Glad, 20, played at left centre-half last match. This is his fourth year of MLS football. Tonight’s appearance will be the 50th of his career, all spent with Salt Lake. Glad was selected to the United States U-20 side that competed in the U-20 World Cup Finals, playing in four matches, and scored a goal against New Zealand in the round of 16.

Acosta, 19, supposedly lined up at left-back last match. He is listed as a midfielder on RSL’s website. Go figure. This is Acosta’s second year with Salt Lake. He has appeared 13 times for the club this season. This is also the sum total of his professional experience. He has eight caps and one goal for United States U-20s.
Midfield –

Midfield –
Mulholland, 29, lined up in a holding midfield role on the right side last time out. The Preston, England native once played 30 matches in a season with Reading United, scoring 8 goals. Mulholland went on to play over 80 matches of lower level US football with Wilmington, Minnesota Stars (later became Minnesota United), and Tampa Bay, before signing with Salt Lake in 2014. In his four years at Salt Lake, he has played over 115 times. Although he lines up in a defending role, Mulholland has proven to be a capable goal scorer. He is known as an uncompromising defender and provides a bit of hardness in the RSL midfield.

Beckerman, 35, lined up as a holding midfielder on the left side last match. Old man Beckerman’s 18-year career has seen him play nearly 430 MLS matches. He wears the Captain’s armband for his club. Although he has scored as many as seven goals in a season, he is more well-known for being a physical defender and his ball-winning abilities. Beckerman and Mulholland form a very imposing presence in defence. Beckerman has earned 58 caps with United States.

Savarino, 20, lined up as a left wing last match and is listed as a forward. The Venezuelan national is on a Designated Player contract. He is currently on loan at Salt Lake from his Venezuelan club, Zulia. At Zulia, Savarino has played 132 times scoring 32 goals. He has played 17 times for Salt Lake this year scoring five goals. He has one cap for Venezuela.

Rusnak, 23, lined up at central attacking midfield last match. The Slovakian international is on a Designated Player contract at Salt Lake and was a winter signing just before the start of the 2017 season. The Manchester City Academy product never played a match in the Premier League. He instead was loaned to Oldham, Birmingham City, and SC Cambuur in the Netherlands. These short loan spells were followed by his transfer to FC Groningen where he would play 61 times scoring nine goals over two seasons. Rusnak has five caps for Slovakia.

Plata, 25, lined up at left-wing last match and is listed as a forward. The Ecuadorian national is the product of LDU Quito’s youth system. He played seven times for Quito before transferring to Toronto FC. He transferred to Salt Lake in 2013 and has played a total of 165 matches of MLS football. He has seven goals this season but has scored as many as 13 in a season. Plata has four caps and two goals for Ecuador.

Forward –
Luis Silva, 28, lined up as the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation last match, though he is listed as a midfielder. His MLS career spans seven years and has seen him play a total of 135 matches combined with Toronto FC, DC United, and Real Salt Lake. He has six goals for Salt Lake this year. he has played 27 times for Salt Lake this season. After signing with Salt Lake in 2015, he then moved to Tigres UANL of the Mexican league. He played no matches in the first team for Tigres and transferred back to Salt Lake for the 2017 season.

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

Squads
Salt Lake from: Rimando, Van Oekel, Sparrow, Beltran, Dunk, Horst, Schmidt, Glad, Wingert, Acosta, Schuler, Marcelo Silva, Beckerman, Savarino, Sunny, Rusnak, Mulholland, Hernandez, Besler, Plata, Movsisyan, Saucedo, Lennon.

Sounders FC from: Frei, Miller, Meredith, Nouhou, Alfaro, Leerdam, Torres, Jones, Fisher, Svensson, Alonso, Roldan, Rodriguez, Lodeiro, Kovar, Shipp, Delem, Wingo, Mathers, Dempsey, Adekoya, Bruin, Neagle.

Injury List
Salt Lake –
OUT: Barrett (knee), Allen (knee), Holness (knee), Velazco (ankle).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Phillips (hamstring), Luis Silva (groin).

Sounders FC –
OUT: Evans (back), Morris (hamstring), Mallace (quadriceps).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Marshall (hamstring).

Discipline
None suspended from either side. For RSL, Schuler and Sunny are one booking away from a one-match ban.

Fun Fact
Sounders Academy U-15s won the Youdan Trophy this August. Other youth teams in the tournament represented Everton, Manchester United, FC Basel and Newcastle United. WELL DONE, LADS!!!

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

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. What do you feel when you watch the football? I know what I feel. I feel like the 11 lads in our colours represent me and mine. It’s real. A real thing. They’re willing to sacrifice a tonne to maybe once represent us wearing the Blue and the Green. How many drills in training have they spent? They run and fight. Tackle and lunge. Pass and move. You look up and pass the football and then you make a run, hoping to get a return pass. Breath is short. You hope to make a pass that lets a goal be scored, or run into a position that will allow you to have a crack at goal. There are no guarantees. You try and make your way the best you can. You look for teammates to pass to and run like hell when there’s no support. A good result by the team will see me exultant. A crap result will see me nearly in tears. This is the way of the football supporter. It’s a sickness like. What would you not give for your team? Even at home on the settee, it’s the same. I sing the same songs you do. I chant the same chants you do. We are one. One voice. One club. BRIAN SCHMETZER’S RAVE GREEN ARMY!!!

Time for a trip into Frisco, Texas for a Saturday standoff with our auld rivals the Dallas. This is a team we beat in the MLS Cup tournament despite the fact that the Dallas had won the League and the US Open Cup. This should bolster the hearts of our supporters, both at home and away. Yeah, they can score goals, but so can we. They can defend well, but so can we. Can we triumph over them…of course we can! What we need is every voice in the Green Family at full volume to make it happen. We have the lineup to see us to victory. Green belief is the key! Find your Green Family where ye may, and gather at the match or at a local pub to watch the proceedings. Join me in the pre-match toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB AND VICTORY!!!

lodeiro
Be the maestro, Nico. Manufacture the badass win we need.

The Good News
We are 7th in the league, six points clear of the Dallas. We are on a league-best 12 match unbeaten streak. The all-time record favours our boys in Green with nine wins and five draws in 20 matches. The Dallas haven’t won in their last eight matches. We haven’t lost a match since 17th June against NYCFC. We have form in our favour, and also the transfer window additions of Victor Rodriguez and Kelvin Leerdam, who are bolstering us up in the best possible way.

The Bad News
So here’s where it gets wonky. Away at the Dallas, we have only won twice in 11 attempts. On the road this season, the Sounders have only won three times in 14 matches. The compared margins of both sides scoring and defending are quite thin. The metrics don’t show a clear winner.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper
Jesse Gonzalez, 22, a domestic footballer developed by FC Dallas, has played 32 matches with the Dallas first team. He has also been capped at youth levels by Mexico 8 times.

Defence
Figueroa, 34, is a Honduran international who once played 148 matches for Wigan in England. He has 135 caps for Honduras.

Hedges, 27, is a domestic footballer developed by Butler and North Carolina (NCAA). He has played 162 times for FC Dallas and has five caps for the United States.

Zimmerman, 24, is a domestic product developed by Furman (NCAA). He has played 77 times for his club. He has 14 caps for United States youth sides, and one cap with the senior team.

Grana, 32, is an Argentine national on loan from All Boys. He has played 23 times for the Dallas and had previously played 7 times for the Columbus Crew. He has experience in Argentine football in excess of 100 matches.

Midfield
Gruezo, 22, is an Ecuadorian international who played 18 matches at VfB Stuttgart before moving to Dallas in 2016. He has played over 49 matches for his current club. He has 17 caps for Ecuador.

Acosta, 22, is a United States international developed by FC Dallas and the IMG Academy. He has played 100 times for his club. He has been capped 15 times for the Yanks.

Hollingshead, 26, is a domestic footballer produced by UCLA (NCAA). He has played 73 times for his club.

Diaz, 26, is an Argentine national developed by River Plate. After playing 69 times for River Plate, he moved on loan to Union Espanola for 41 matches. He moved to Dallas on a Designated Player contract in 2013 and has played 78 times for them scoring 19 goals.

Barrios, 26, is an Colombian national. He played 140 times for Unlautonoma scoring 35 goals before moving to Dallas in 2015. He has played 83 times for Dallas scoring 18 times.

Forward
Urruti, 26, is an Argentine national developed by Newell’s Old Boys. Played 65 times for the Treecutters. Has played 52 matches for the Dallas scoring 21 goals. He is the danger man in the offence.

Familiar Faces
Not a one.

Squads
Dallas from: Jesse Gonzalez, Seitz, Cannon, Chala, Figueroa, Grana, Guillen, Harris, Hedges, Hume, Zimmerman, Acosta, Barrios, Cermeno, Craft, Diaz, Luis Gonzalez, Gruezo, Hayes, Hollingshead, Lamah, Morales, Pomykal, Ulloa, Akindele, Colman, Ferreira, Reid, Reynolds, Urruti.

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

Injury List
Dallas –
OUT: none.
MATCHDAY DECISION: none.

Sounders FC –
OUT: Evans (back), Morris (hamstring), Mallace (quad).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Marshall (hamstring).

Discipline
No suspensions on either side.
Hedges and Gruezo of Dallas out next booking.

Fun Fact
Before goalkeeper Stefan Frei played for us in Seattle, he played 82 times for Toronto FC and 47 times for California Golden Bears. What a trip.

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

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Los Angeles Galaxy make the trip north to meet our Sounders at Royal Brougham Park in the Evergreen at 6:00 p.m. PDT. At stake, three points in the league and a chance for the Sounders to go unbeaten in the season series, as our boys in Green have already amassed a win and a draw in two previous meetings.

There are only seven matches left in the league schedule for Seattle. As it’s unlikely that Toronto FC (17 points clear of us at the top) will drop its last six matches, and maybe unlikely that our Sounders will win out in their last seven, winning the league is not a very likely prospect. As we crashed out of the US Open Cup in the 5th round, it’s not possible for us to win that trophy either. The MLS Cup though is very much in range should our form hold and our players stay healthy.

Intangibles for this match include the first return of former manager Sigi Schmid to Royal Brougham Park since his sacking last summer, and which of our international players may be too fatigued to play a major role.

Roldie
Who else fancies good old Roldie to put a bulge in the auld onion bag tonight?

The Good News
The Sounders are still riding high at 6th position in the league table. Our opponents from the Southland remain struggling in 20th position, two places from bottom. The Sounders are still riding their 11-match unbeaten streak, and have not lost in the league since mid-June. Los Angeles, in comparison, have won only once and drawn once in their last 11 contests, including the 0:0 draw they held us to at Avalon Boulevard near the end of July.

The Sounders are unbeaten against the Galaxy and have only lost one match at home this season. Again in stark relief, Los Angeles have only won five matches on the road this season in 12 attempts (5-1-6). The Galaxy have only managed four wins all-time at Royal Brougham Park in the 11 matches they’ve played here.

Against common opponents, we have earned 41 points in the league, compared to LA’s 25.

Los Angeles have had trouble keeping the football out of their net, and concede nearly two goals a match. The Sounders are only conceding at a rate closer to 1.3 goals/match. Although no one wins matches in real football by fractions of goals, the metrics point to Seattle being far more likely to score two goals, than their opponents from Southern California.

With the entire Sounders’ squad, save for Evans and possibly Shipp, healthy, we should be in good shape to send Los Angeles packing in what will seem like the longest flight to LAX ever, providing far too much time for suffering and self-reflection.

The Bad News
Although our form places us in rarified company in the league, we haven’t managed a victory since August 20th against Minnesota United. In contrast, Los Angeles won their last match, shutting out Colorado 3:0.

Sounders left back, Nouhou Tolo, got himself sent off last week against the Treecutters and will be out this match. Normally this wouldn’t be a factor, as Joevin Jones would simply start at left back as he normally would like ye do. This pulls Joevin’s recent situation into a rather harsh light. Joevin left the club without permission to join Trinidad & Tobago. This shortly after the club announcing that Jones elected to move to German side Darmstadt 98 on a free transfer at the end of this season when his contract ends with Seattle, rather than renewing with the Sounders. During the FIFA window for World Cup qualifiers that just ended recently, he played the bulk of both qualifiers for the Soca Warriors. This means he is likely fatigued, and even if he weren’t, it’s entirely possible that Sounders’ Manager, Brian Schmetzer would pass him over for selection, as such lapses in discipline tend to leave a player out of favour. These events beg the question, who will start at left back for the Sounders tonight? Fisher? Alfaro? This is exactly the type of uncertainty we didn’t need at a stage in the season where consistency is a key factor in the run-up to the MLS Cup tournament.

Both Dempsey and Morris went the full 90 minutes in the Yanks’ lacklustre draw in San Pedro Sula. Roman Torres also played 80 minutes in Trinidad for his Panamanian side. These three men are key players in the Sounders’ team. Will any of them have the constitution to play a role in tonight’s match? You would expect to see Neagle play in Morris’ spot on the wing (perhaps even Rodriguez or Kovar), with Bruin starting in place of Dempsey up top. Both are capable and experienced, so we are probably in safe hands. You would imagine Torres place in the team will see Svensson deputise for him at centre-half. Svensson has played in this position several times this season, often with fine results. There’s probably nothing to worry about. However then, why am I kind of worried?

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Kempin, 24, was between the pipes for LA eight days ago. The result was a 3:0 shutout of Colorado. It would be a hard manager, indeed, who would leave out a ‘keeper after a clean sheet. Kempin is light on experience with 56 matches as a professional. Only 11 of those were MLS contests. Rowe, 28, is the experienced alternative.

Defence
Diallo, 27, is a French national developed by Olympique Marseille. He never played for Marseille and amassed only 25 matches of first team football in Europe at Oldham in England, and RWS Bruxelles in Belgium. After five years of scraping for first team football, he moved to Avalon Boulevard in 2014 playing nearly 50 times for LA Galaxy II, and playing 14 matches with the first team this season.

Steres, 26, is a domestic player, developed by San Diego State (NCAA). He’s played 106 matches as a professional. 51 matches with the Galaxy’s first team since moving to LA in 2014.

Romney, 24, is a domestic footballer, developed by University of San Fransisco (NCAA). He has played 36 times for the first team in LA. He has 60 matches of experience as a professional.

Cole, 36, needs no introduction. Cole played nearly 400 matches of top-flight English football, mostly with Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC. He moved to Avalon Boulevard in 2016 and has played nearly 50 times for the Galaxy. Cole was capped 107 times for England before his retirement from international football in 2014.

Midfield
Jermaine Jones, 35, is a German-born United States international. He was developed by Eintracht Frankfurt. He played over 264 matches in German football, 129 times for Schalke 04. This was followed by short spells at Blackburn and Besiktas. Jones moved to New England Revolution playing 28 times there. Then a move to Colorado where he played nine matches, before his most recent move to the Southland for the 2017 season. He’s played 14 times for LA since his move from the Rockies. Jones has 69 caps and four goals for the Yanks.

Joao Pedro, 24, is a Portuguese national produced by Vitoria Guimaraes. Pedro played 118 times for the Vitoria reserves over a four year period. He would later play 21 times in the Vitoria senior team before moving to Los Angeles in 2017. He has played 25 times in his maiden season for the Galaxy.

Alessandrini, 28, is a French national developed by Marseille and Gueugnon. The Galaxy’s new winger moved to LA this year after a nine-year career in French football that exceeded 200 matches. Alessandrini was once worth €5 million to Marseille, who purchased him for that sum from Rennes in 2014. He has played 23 times in the LA first team this season.

Jonathon dos Santos, 27, is a Mexican national developed by FC Barcelona. dos Santos has played 81 times for Barcelona reserves, 14 times for the Barca first team, and 87 times for Villarreal. The sum total of his matches in first-team Spanish football is 101. dos Santos moved to LA in the summer transfer window to play with older brother, Giovani. Jonathon has played four times for the Galaxy since his summer move. dos Santos has played 27 times for Mexico since 2009. Although Bradford Jamieson IV played in the withdrawn centre-forward slot last match, I would imagine Jonathon or his brother will replace him for a high-visibility match in Seattle.

Boateng, 23, is a Ghanian national developed by Right to Dream Academy, Cate School, and UC Santa Barbara (NCAA). A notable career highlight is the 37 matches he played for Helsingborgs IF in Sweden from 2013-16. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2016, Boateng has played 52 times for the Galaxy.

Forward
Giovani dos Santos, 28, is a Mexican national produced by Barcelona. Giovani played 27 times for Barca reserves and 28 times for the first team. He then moved to Spurs which was the start of several short spells at Ipswich, Galatasaray and Racing Santander. In 2012, Gio moved to Mallorca and found 29 matches of first team football there. This was followed by a move to Villareal where he played 58 times and scored 12 goals. He then moved to LA in 2015 and has since played 54 times for the Galaxy. Gio has 100 caps and 19 goals for Mexico. Although Zardes started as the lone forward last match. I believe that LA manager Sigi Schmid will play Gio along with his brother Jonathan where they may interchange between the striker and withdrawn centre-forward roles. It is also possible Zardes will play in favour of Boateng and will move Gio to the withdrawn centre-forward role, and move his brother to the wing.

Familiar Faces
LA defender Steres was selected by the Sounders in the 2012 MLS Waiver Draft. He never played for the Sounders’ first team.

Squads
Sounders FC from: Frei, Miller, Meredith, Marshall, Alfaro, Leerdam, Torres, Joevin Jones, Fisher, Svensson, Alonso, Roldan, Rodriguez, Lodeiro, Kovar, Mallace, Shipp, Delem, Wingo, Mathers, Dempsey, Adekoya, Morris, Bruin, Neagle.

Los Angeles from: Rowe, Diop, Kempin, Cole, Romney, Steres, Smith, Diallo, Arellano, Ciani, Alessandrini, Jonathan dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, Jaime Villarreal, Garcia, Mendiola, Joao Pedro, Giovani dos Santos, Zardes, Lassiter, McInerney, Boateng, McBean, Jose Villarreal, Jamieson IV.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Evans (back).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Shipp (ankle).

Los Angeles –
OUT: Rogers (ankle), Lletget (foot), Husidic (broken leg), van Anholt (ACL).
MATCHDAY DECISION: none.

Discipline
Sounders FC: Nouhou (Sent Off).
Los Angeles: none suspended. One booking away from suspension: Alessandrini, Jermaine Jones.

Fun Fact
Wondering why Los Angeles defender, Jelle Van Damme, 32, isn’t in the team for Los Angeles? As it turns out, Los Angeles sold him in the transfer window to Royal Antwerp FC of Belgium for a smidge over £178,000 ($235,000 or a bit over €195,000). Who says MLS players have no resale value?

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

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The hated Treecutters have made their way north to the Evergreen from their dingy lumber camp on Morrison Street in Portland to clash with their bitter rivals. Us. When not busy hefting sawed discs of murdered trees lopped off by bloody Timber Joey, Portscum – as we affectionately know them, have been amassing actual football results. Which shouldn’t actually surprise anyone, as it would be a pretty crap rivalry if the Treecutters were a completely crap side. The Sounders seem well prepared for this chapter against our auld rivals from the 1970s as we find ourselves in the best form we’ve ever seen since the beginning of the MLS-era. Undoubtedly for the sole purpose of being difficult, the Treecutters have only lost one in their last six. Sauce for the goose. Rather reminds me of when we played Kansas City when both of us were on a run, and they’d lost only one in their last 10. This is that kind of match, with the difference being that our momentum has been more sustained and consistent than that of our friends from Oregon. All of that having been said, the Treecutter’s Wikipedia page for this season was last updated on 27 May, thus generating an extra two hours of research for me. Therefore I am extra displeased with everything Portland tonight. Please be sure to take it out on their supporters for me from the terraces of Royal Brougham Park. Make up a chant or summat. Something like: “YOU LOT CAN’T COUNT” clap clap clap-clap-clap. I digress. Every voice in our number that can be mustered must be heard at the park tonight. Everyone that can’t make it to the match, do your best to gather your Green family and head for a viewing party at your local. Join me in the pre-match toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

PNW Derby Oldskool
The more things change, the more they remain the same.

The Good News
The Sounders are riding their best form of the season, boasting a 10-match unbeaten streak – a club record. In the entirety of the MLS history between the two clubs, the Sounders have never lost to the Treecutters at Royal Brougham Park where we’ve won seven times and drawn twice in nine matches. Throw in Portland’s crap away form with only three wins in 13 matches, and our home dominance with only one loss in 12 matches, and prospects look very bright indeed for this derby match.

Newboy Victor Rodriguez looked extremely able in his midweek debut in British Colombia. Rodriguez drew a penalty, looked composed both on and off the ball, and was able to deliver consistent passes of very good quality to his teammates.

The Sounders are generally quite healthy seeing only veteran defender, Brad Evans, out with a nagging back issue. Although Neagle and Shipp are nursing ankle problems, either may play tonight if they’re fit enough for the substitute’s bench.

Portland are currently experiencing significant attrition, as top defensive midfielder Guzman is suspended for accumulated bookings and is out this match. Defenders, Meyer and Arokoyo are out this match with severe injuries. Usual first choice ‘keeper, Gleeson, top all-time vs. Seattle scorer, Adi, veteran defender, Ridgewell and reserve, Farfan are all listed as matchday decisions and may or may not take part in this evening’s high-profile derby.

The Bad News
Of our top five all-time goalscorers against Portland, three have left the club. Of Portland’s top four goalscorers against us all time, three of them are still there.

Between Valeri, Nagbe, Blanco, and Mattocks, the Treecutters can create a heap of trouble for us if they’re all on the same page. Should Adi, Gleeson, and Ridgewell find themselves fit enough to be in the team it will present an even more difficult challenge.

The metrics for this match are pretty even, though the history is lopsided. We defend a bit better than Portland does. Portland scores at a slightly higher rate than we do. We’ve played ever so slightly better against common opponents than they have this season. The edges seem all slightly in our favour. This rather reminds me of the pre-match analysis before our trip to Vancouver, which of course troubles me.

We looked all sorts of good against the Whitecaps, generally dominating both in possession and chance creation, yet we still dropped two points despite being up 0:1 on Lodeiro’s penalty kick and with the ‘Caps seeing Tchani sent-off on the hour mark. Once again we were torpedoed by former Sounders’ standout, Fredy Montero. Also in the vein of troubling factors in that match, 16-year-old Canada and Whitecaps starlet, Alphonso Davies set about cutting apart our veteran defence with jinking runs and penetrating passes. Scary.

Jones’ unauthorised and early departure to play for his national team is a troublesome development and makes me hope it’s not having an effect on club morale.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper-
Attinella, 28, Attinella has only six appearances in the team but has been playing regularly of late. Don’t be too surprised though if regular first choice ‘keeper, Gleeson, 26, recovers from his hamstring problem and finds his way into the team.

Defence-
Valentin, 26, played over 50 matches with Bodø/Glimt of the Norwegian league and has played over 40 times for Portland, and roughly 80 matches of MLS football. Valentin has played a lot at right back recently, but don’t be too surprised if Portland Manager, Caleb Porter, opts for the pace and versatility of Alvas Powell instead.

Mabiala, 29, an experienced French centre-half that has played seemingly every match since his signing in late June. Has played over 160 matches of Turkish league football, 36 times for Nice in France, and three times for Paris Saint-Germain. He has 12 caps for DR Congo.

Miller, 32, has played 21 times for the Treecutters this season. In addition to his 145 matches of MLS experience, Miller has also played nearly 50 times for CD Saprissa, over 50 times for Bodø/Glimt in Norway, 17 times for Rosenborg, as part of his European experience that totals 83 matches. He has played for Costa Rica nearly 60 times.

Andriuskevicius, 26, leads the league in last name syllables in addition to his 26 caps for Lithuania and over 100 matches of European football.

Midfield-
Olum, 32, is an experienced hand and plays as either a midfielder or defender. Olum is Kenyan-born (4 caps for Kenya) and has played nearly 140 matches of MLS football. He has played over 50 times for Portland. I believe he moves to a holding midfield role with the suspension of Guzman.

Chara, 31, has played nearly 400 times as a professional, with over 180 of those in a Portland shirt. The Colombian national has two caps for his country and also played for Deportivo Cali, his hometown club.

Blanco, 29, 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 this season. He is on a Designated Player contract and has played 26 times for the Treecutters in his first MLS season. He was twice capped for Argentina.

Valeri, 31, is in the twilight of his career, or so we thought. He played nearly 160 times for Lanus in his native Argentina. He has played over 100 times for Portland scoring 38 goals. Good enough for a Designated Player contract, not to mention being a persistent thorn in our collective bottoms. Currently is the 3rd best goalscorer in the league and has scored a goal in his last five matches.

Nagbe, 26, is by all rights an established star. The Liberian-born naturalised American has 14 caps for the Yanks and has played nearly 200 times for Portland, scoring 26 goals.

Forward-
Mattocks, 26, has over 120 matches of MLS experience. Likely signed last year as cover for Adi, the Jamaican international has represented his country 39 times scoring 14 goals. Don’t be too surprised if Adi, one of the Treecutter’s deadliest strikers, convinces his manager that his hamstring problems are behind him in order to get a chance to face his club’s bitter rival.

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

Squads
Sounders FC from: Frei, Miller, Meredith, Nouhou, Marshall, Alfaro, Leerdam, Torres, Fisher, Svensson, Alonso, Roldan, Rodriguez, Lodeiro, Kovar, Mallace, Shipp, Delem, Wingo, Mathers, Dempsey, Adekoya, Morris, Bruin, Neagle.

Portland from: Attinella, McIntosh, Gleeson, Powell, Andriuskevicius, Miller, Olum, Valentin, Okugo, Ridgewell, Clarke, Farfan, Nagbe, Valeri, Blanco, Asprilla, Zemanski, Chara, Barmby, Adi, Ebobisse, Mattocks, Arboleda.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Evans (back).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Neagle (ankle), Shipp (ankle).

Portland –
OUT: Arokoyo (Achilles), Myers (hamstring).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Farfan (ankle), Ridgewell (quadriceps), Adi (hamstring), Gleeson (hamstring).

Discipline
Sounders FC: None suspended.
Portland: Guzman (accumulated bookings).
Portland midfielder, Chara, suspended with next booking.

Fun Fact
Sounders FC Reserves have won their last two matches, facing Portland Timbers Reserves and Vancouver Whitecaps Reserves, by a combined score of 5:1, with Parra, Mathers, Chenkam, Rogers, and Wingo scoring goals for us. Well done, lads. Keep it up.