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

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. It’s been half a month since our triumph at Commerce City. Hopefully, the international break will not function as a momentum killer. It is founding MLS club DC United that make the cross-continental trip to the Evergreen for a showdown under the lights at Royal Brougham Park. A midweek evening fixture against a last place side will prove to be just as much of a benchmark contest as if we were playing a top five side. If all goes by the numbers, we can look forward to a Sounders victory. A win would also make the second time this season we’ve won two matches in a row and would also make us unbeaten in the last four matches. So there’s an odd element of pressure this Wednesday night, facing arguably the weakest side in the league. Gather up the Green Family where ye may, as we strap in for the most unlikely high-pressure fixture yet. Link up with the ECS at the ground, or if you haven’t the means or proximity, head to your local Sounders-friendly pub for a viewing party. They will hear our voices in The Haight. They will hear our voices in Pill Hill. They will hear our voices in Mountain View. They will hear our voices in the Brougham End. Our numbers are legion! Before the kick-off on Wednesday night, join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

leerdam
Will we see the new boy, Leerdam, in the team versus DC United?

The Good News
Sounders are in decent form, having only lost two of their last eight matches. If the result in Colorado is any indication, the Sounders’ goal scoring touch has returned. In addition, we are facing bottom-of-table DC United, arguably the weakest side in the league. Kovar has impressed of late with his scorching free kick goal in the US Open Cup loss to San Jose and continued his positive play in the friendly against Eintracht Frankfurt. Mansaray got a runout against Frankfurt as well and looked sharp and fit having been recalled from his loan at FC Cincinnati. We have yet to try out the new boy, Leerdam, who was acquired from Vitesse Arnhem only weeks ago. This is an excellent opportunity to see where Leerdam’s fitness level is and how he will adjust to MLS league football. The all-time record between the sides heavily favours our Sounders at 7-2-2. We’ve only lost once at home this season, whilst our opponents have only won two out of 10 matches outside the Nation’s capital. DC United are on crap form, having taken points in only two of their last seven matches. Sounders are scoring over half a goal more per match than the Red & Black, with United averaging under a goal per match. Bill Hamid is arguably the best goalkeeper United have, and he is currently with the Yanks in the Gold Cup. United have also lost a veteran defender, Bobby Boswell, to injury.

The Bad News
The defence for both sides have been extremely leaky this season. Should the match open up, becoming breakneck and sloppy, it could make a positive result for the Sounders more difficult to achieve. Alonso is out for certain with a knee injury. We lose a great deal of bite in the midfield, leadership, and experience when Alonso is on injury list. We have some able players to deputise for him, but I think we can all safely agree, no one in the team can truly replace him. Marshall, Adekoya, and Wingo are also nursing injuries, with their availability subject to a late fitness test. Dempsey and Morris are currently part of the Yanks’ selection playing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and are unavailable for selection. Thus we are missing two of our deadliest finishers. Fisher is part of the Jamaican selection for the Gold Cup and will be unavailable for selection.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Worra, 24, is DC United’s apprentice goalkeeper. He normally backs up first choice United and fringe United States international goalkeeper, Bill Hamid. Hamid has been selected to the Yanks for the Gold Cup, so Worra will have to do the job for United. Worra has made three appearances for United this season and has made 17 appearances for them. This constitutes the entirety of his professional experience in MLS. His previous clubs include Seacoast United Phantoms, Carolina RailHawks, and Richmond Kickers. Worra played his university football at New Hampshire (NCAA).

Defence – Odoi-Atsem, 22, is a domestic product and has played only six matches of MLS football. Birnbaum, 26, has played 84 times for United and is a mainstay in their back four. Birnbaum has scored five goals during his tenure at United and has earned 11 United States caps. Opare, 26, a Ghanian national, has played 41 times for United and was previously with Los Angeles Galaxy for a total of 53 MLS appearances. Kemp, 26, another product of domestic football, has played 97 times for United and is a regular in the first-team.

Midfield – Jeffrey, 27, comes to United by way of Club Brugge’s youth academy and FSV Mainz in Germany where he played 87 times for the reserves. He has appeared 55 times for United States youth sides and has played 60 times for United, scoring 5 goals. Harkes, 22, has appeared 17 times for United in his first professional year. He is a regular in the first team and is the son of former United States international, John Harkes. Sam, 32, is an English national who has notably played at Charlton, Leyton Orient, Sheffield Wednesday, Southend, Leeds, and Notts County and a previous tenure with New York Red Donkeys before arriving in the District of Columbia. Sam has played nearly 30 times for United and features a total of 135 matches of MLS experience. This includes 24 goals. Acosta, 23, is an Argentine national developed by Boca Juniors. He later moved to Estudiantes before making his way to the American capital. He has appeared 47 times for United appearing regularly in the first team, scoring seven goals. Nyarko, 31, is a Ghanian national produced by Kaaseman and his university football, played at Virginia Tech (NCAA). Nyarko has played 38 times for United scoring five goals. He has 234 matches of MLS experience.

Forward – Brown, 26, a Jamaican national, has played mainly domestic football in the United States with notable stays at Valerenga and Shenzhen. He’s played only four times for United but has 66 matches and 21goals of total MLS experience, most of which was acquired at Colorado Rapids. No matter where he has gone, Brown has successfully scored goals at a regular rate.

Familiar Faces
DC Forward, Lamar Neagle, was born in Tacoma, WA and played for the Sounders 116 times scoring 26 goals. Winger, Sebastien Le Toux, played 75 times for the Sounders, scoring 25 goals.

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

DC United from: Worra, Klenofsky, Kemp, Odoi-Atsem, Franklin, Opare, Birnbaum, Robinson, Korb, Sarvas, Sam, Acosta, Nyarko, Neagle, DeLeon, Durkin, Harkes, Jeffrey, Vincent, Buscher, Ortiz, Le Toux, Brown, Rolfe.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Alonso (knee).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Marshall (foot), Adekoya (ankle), Wingo (ankle).

DC United –
OUT: Mullins (knee), Boswell (groin).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Vincent (knee), DeLeon (abdominal injury).

Discipline
None suspended from either side.

Fun Fact
Seattle striker, Victor Mansaray’s loan side, FC Cincinnati, knocked Columbus Crew out of the US Open Cup. What an upset!

COLORADO RAPIDS v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. It’s been quite a past couple weeks. We crashed out of the US Open Cup (arguably a more prestigious, and certainly an older trophy than the MLS Cup). We signed Kelvin Leerdam from Vitesse in the Netherlands. Welcome to the club Kelvin, I along with the rest of our lot hope you settle in well and enjoy your time in the Evergreen. Eventful times. Statistically, our chances of winning the league are also quickly fading, if not gone entirely. Chicago Fire lead the league and are 16 points clear of us. I don’t have to illustrate what it would require to overtake them. All that remains is MLS Cup. Can we qualify, and if we manage to do so, will we make a reasonable run at it? The Cup loss in San Jose was bitter, and there’s no skirting it. Unlike our USOC fixture against Portland, San Jose fielded a line-up featuring their first team. The results were predictable. I have faith in our boys. I have faith in our Academy system, but that just wasn’t a tenable matchup. We haven’t the depth to play our reserves against a full-strength MLS side. That’s the last I’ll say about that. Our Boys in Green are headed to Victory Way, Commerce City, Colorado. We’ll have a match at altitude, against a side we have consistently beaten over the years. The problem is that our side has nearly an entirely new composition from the teams that compiled that record. Again statistics are nearly useless for forming reasonable metrics of prediction. Again, MLS suits are happy at what they cheerfully call parity as they walk away with their money bags (MLS revenue charted at €536M) and watch our clubs get cut apart in international competition. And now we put the politics of the league aside, as we focus on the fortunes of our club which now sit on a tenuous precipice. If you have the means to make your way to Victory Way and join the away support, by all means, do so. If you’re with the rest of us lot in Seattle, the West Sound, and the rest of the country, do the Sounders FC proud by showing our colours in your local pubs as you sit to a viewing of yet another Sounders match. I haven’t lost faith, neither should ye. Join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

pint
Nobody knows…the trouble I’ve seen…

The Good News
We’ve had slightly better performance in the league than Colorado. Against common opponents we have taken more points, but not by much. The addition of Leerdam is welcome and will add skill and experience to the team. All-time we’ve kicked the crap out of Colorado in league play (13-2-5), so that’s not for nothing. All time at Colorado we’ve only lost three out of nine. We have the recent better form if you want to measure two draws against two losses. Colorado are 19th in the table to our 17th and we are two points clear of them. Both sides are having trouble scoring and defending which makes it an even wash.

The Bad News
The resemblance of our current side to those responsible for delivering a steady course of defeat to our friends on the mountain top is very pale, indeed. Although Colorado have lost three more matches than we, they only have one draw in their 17 matches. They have also won one more match than we have. They are all-risk, all-reward. A measured approach won’t suffice. Out of the last five matches in the league, Colorado have taken nine points, whilst we have only managed five. We have only won once on the road in the league in 10 matches. Colorado have won six of 10 at home. Both sides are having trouble scoring and defending which makes it an even wash.

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 triumphs over it. Nearly 400 matches in English football with Everton and Manchester United. 115 United States caps. 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 – da Fonte, 26, Is a domestic product of American universities and has seven matches of MLS experience. Miller, 24, Product of Minnesota Thunder and Creighton (NCAA). Has 70 matches of MLS experience and has started every match for Colorado this season. Castillo, 24, a Costa Rican-born footballer, developed by Saprissa and VCU (NCAA), has played only 6 matches in MLS. Williams, 26, is Colorado by way of Trinidad & Tobago, Poland, and Denmark. Has 30 matches of MLS experience, all with Colorado.

Midfield – Hairston, 23, was developed by Louisville (NCAA) and has 63 appearances in MLS, all for Colorado. Boateng, 23, has 85 matches and 16 goals with Strømgodset under his belt and has played five times for Colorado. Saeid, 26, who has 65 matches of MLS experience, may miss the match as his knee was hurt so badly he was examined by MRI. Still, the club did not list him as out on the MLS website, so we’ll see. Serna, 23, a local lad, is a product of Colorado Rapids and Akron (NCAA). He has 52 appearances for the Rapids and seven goals. Serna also has 25 USA youth caps.

Forward – Doyle, 33, is a deadly striker with 62 appearances for Colorado and 15 goals. Doyle has over 320 matches of top level English football with Reading and Wolverhampton, scoring 85 goals in the process. Doyle has 64 caps for Eire and 14 goals. Badji, 24, has 58 matches and 12 goals for Colorado. The Senegalese forward is a product of Boston University (NCAA).

Familiar Faces
Marc Burch played 49 times for the Sounders FC. Michael Azira played 25 times for the Sounders.

Squads
Colorado from: Howard, Berner, MacMath, Mizell, da Fonte, Miller, Burch, Williams, Ford, Castillo, Watts, Sjoberg, Cronin, Powers, Hamilton, Serna, Perez, Adjei-Boateng, Azira, Calvert, Hairston, Doyle, Gashi, Badji, Gordon.

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

Injury List
Colorado –
OUT: Burling (foot).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Gashi (hamstring), Gatt (groin), Powers (groin), Sjoberg (hamstring), Saeid (knee).

Seattle –
OUT: none.
MATCHDAY DECISION: Adekoya (ankle).

Discipline
Colorado: none.
Seattle: Evans (sent off).

Fun Fact
New boy, Kelvin Leerdam was a footballer at Feyenoord Rotterdam’s academy. He played a tonne of matches for both Feyenoord and Vitesse in the Dutch Eredivisie. As such, we’re lucky to have him. Leerdam is of Suriname. Suriname is a colony of The Netherlands and the Netherlands often pulls top football talent from Suriname. Typical.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC US OPEN CUP 5th ROUND – COLEMAN AVENUE, SAN JOSE, CA

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The time has come upon us again where we revisit the worst publicised tournament in United States football, the US Open Cup. Seattle Sounders travel further south from the terraces of the Morrison Street ground. Just a few days after Dempsey’s titanic stoppage time equaliser, more football on the horizon. Time to descend on the Coleman Avenue ground in San Jose. We are Fog City, and we sort it out proper. Meaning we shall make a noise that is seldom heard in the South Bay. A big, stroppy, Green noise. I remember a time where the Ultras from SJ threw rubbish at our coach on the way out of the ground. Bollocks, that is. And I feel that pain. It comes from a lack of identity. First, it was the NASL Earthquakes, then nothing, then the San Jose Clash MLS rebrand, then the team moving to Houston, and now you’re the Earthquakes? Will the real San Jose Earthquakes please stand up. Feel free to ask the advise of the real Slim Shady who was also asked to please stand up, please stand up. At the end of the day, it’s time to put another US Open Cup enemy to the sword. Join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

Portland Timbers v Seattle Sounders
If anyone deserves their picture in this week’s article, it’s Clint. Though Torres deserves credit for that awesome service. Any thoughts of moving Torres to midfield, Schmetz?

The Good News
No losses in the Cup thus far. We’re just as likely to win as lose, and in a cup tournament, that’s the way you want to be. Dempsey was straight legendary rising up for that epic header against the toss. I’d say he was bucking for a place in the team for this match, yeh? No one seemed to get nicked up in the crucible of heat that was PDX on a Sunday night. Quakes’ manager Dominic Kinnear has been sacked. So things in the Smurfy patch are not going particularly well. Quakes last league match was a narrow win against a Salt Lake side that is second from bottom.

The Bad News
Evans got himself sent off, so that’s not good. Is a sending off in the league applicable to the Cup? I’m guessing no? No way to tell, as the media virtually ignores this tournament. Road record in the league is not great. If Wondo features for SJ, that’s a bad thing for us, as he has torpedoed us at every opportunity, and is a lethal finisher. It goes without saying or producing statistics that the Sounders have always had a rough time of it in San Jose.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Their best ‘keeper is David Bingham. The reason is that he played for Cal. He’s played 90 times for the Quakes and nine times for Strømmen IF in Norway. Bersano and Tarbell are the understudies, so maybe they play, but likely not.

Defence – Cato, 24, a Trinidadian national and former Sounder has played 97 times for the Earthquakes scoring seven goals. He has 20 caps for Trinidad & Tobago. He is listed as a midfielder which leads me to believe that he will play more of an overlapping role. Bernardez, 35, is a Honduran national who’s experience is by way of Belgium and Mexico. He played 22 matches for Anderlecht and also has played nearly 140 times for the Quakes. He has 78 caps for Honduras. Imperiale, 30, used football to travel everywhere: Greece, Chile, Costa Rica, before finding a place with San Jose in 2016. He has played twice for the Quakes this season, 13 times since he signed. Lima, 22, is a Castro Valley, CA native. Played 72 times for Cal in the NCAA. He’s played nine times for the Quakes, signing with them this season.

Midfield – Hoesen, 26, is a Dutch national who once played 32 times for Ajax, scoring 7 goals. He is currently on loan from Groningen where he played 57 times scoring 11 goals. He has played 17 times for the Quakes, scoring twice. Godoy, 27, is Torres’ teammate in the Panama team. He has played 45 times for the Quakes and 24 times for Honved in Hungary. Ceren, 27, is a Salvadoran national who played for Orlando 65 times, and 12 times for the Quakes. He has 41 caps for El Salvador. Hyka, 29, is an Albanian national who played in Norway, Greece, Germany, Switzerland, and finally signed with the Quakes in 2017. He has played 13 times for the Quakes and 44 times for Albania.

Forward – Urena, 27, is a Costa Rican national. He’s played nearly 60 times for Alajuelense, and followed that up with trips to Russia, playing 31 times for Krasnodar, followed by nearly 30 appearances for Midtjylland in Denmark, then Brøndby, before signing with the Quakes this season. He has played 16 times for San Jose and has 40 Costa Rica caps. Wondolowski, 34, is a dead lethal finisher. He has put us to the sword more than once, scoring 10 goals against us in the league. he has played nearly 240 times for San Jose, scoring over 120 goals. That is a silly strike rate. Wondolowski has 35 United States caps, scoring 11 goals.

Familiar Faces
Cordell Cato played eight times for the Sounders FC.

Squads
San Jose from: Bingham, Tarbell, Bersano, Sarkodie, Bernardez, Imperiale, Colvey, Francis, Lima, Salinas, Cato, Hyka, Qazaishvili, Mfeka, Yueill, Ceren, Thompson, Godoy, Silva, Wondolowski, Hoesen, Urena, Dawkins.

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

Last Known Injured
San Jose –
OUT: Amarikwa (knee), Wynne (heart abnormality), Pelosi (knee), Cummings (leg), Jungwirth (ankle), Alashe (knee).
MATCHDAY DECISION: none.

Sounders FC –
OUT: none.
MATCHDAY DECISION: Adekoya (ankle).

Discipline
Dempsey, because he’s eternally paying for ripping up a referee’s notebook.

Fun Fact
My first Sounders match was a US Open Cup at Kezar Stadium in SF against the Quakes with Cato scoring in the 19th minute to defeat the Quakes. Thanks to the supporters that offered us whisky before we entered the stadium. Ah, good times.

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

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Everyone in the Green family had better strap in. It’s another woolly ride to the Morrison Street ground for the Sounders FC, facing off in the blistering Oregon sun against arch-rivals, Portland Treecutters. The afternoon kickoff had to be changed to 7.30 p.m. because of the insane heat. The sides are in equally crap form, and after last week’s heartbreaking 1:1 result through Orlando City’s stoppage-time equaliser, we have learnt that there seems to be nothing to learn. Both sides are dodging consistency as if it were a prostitute riddled with chlamydia. We generally throw out the form book for the Pacific Northwest derby, and I expect tonight will be no different. Be that as it may, the Sounders are in their time of need and for the supporters that means all hands to action stations. Seek out your fellow supporters and catch the coach to the match. Should that not be possible, round up your people and descend on one of our fine pubs for a viewing party. We must again help will our lads through this business, and in this oneness of mind, I ask you all join me before kickoff in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

lodeiro
Dear Nicolas, Please, we beg of you, make it your mission in life to derail that delinquent lumberjack by ensuring that he isn’t able to saw one bloody slice off that murdered tree. Love, the Fog City Faithful.

The Good News
With both sides taking less than half the points from their last five matches in the league, we can make an educated prediction that the match will take on one of two dynamics: A wild, woolly, end to end shootout, or a sharply controlled display, each side terrified to lose to the other. We haven’t yet lost to the Treecutters in either the league or the US Open Cup, so that much is clearly in our favour. All-time the Sounders FC have only lost in five out of the 18 league matches played between the clubs since they both joined MLS. The sides have similar records against common opposition (including our previous league match) with the Treecutters taking 14 points from 11 matches, and the Sounders FC taking 13 points from the same 11 matches. Our defensive records are nearly identical, so perhaps we’re in with a shout. Seattle have no injuries nor suspensions for tonight’s derby, whereas Portland are missing Blanco and Miller through suspension, and Ridgewell for sure, and possibly Myers unavailable through injury.

The Bad News
Portland enter this match 8th in the league table whilst we languish behind them in 16th position. The Treecutters have only lost once in the league this season at their Morrison Street ground. The Sounders FC have lost six of their nine away matches this season. Portland average scoring a half goal more per match than we do, though our defensive averages are nearly the same. Dempsey has no goals in the past 7 matches. Morris hasn’t scored a goal in the last 10 matches. Lodeiro hasn’t scored in the last nine matches. Given the talent in our squad, it is alarming to be 16th in the league after playing half the schedule.

Beyond The Touchline
You have to ask yourself, are the Sounders’ supporters experiencing the Five Stages of Grief?

1. Denial – With so many talented players in the squad, there’s no way we fail to have a successful season. We’ve dodged slow starts before only to win the league, win the US Open Cup, and win the MLS Cup.

2. Anger – Why aren’t we winning more matches? Why can’t we pick up some saviour in the transfer window like we did with Lodeiro last season? What are Schmetzer, Lagerwey, and ownership playing at? Why did we waive half our experience in the offseason? WHY DOES IT SEEM THAT EVERYONE IN THE SQUAD HAS FORGOTTEN HOW TO FOOTBALL?

3. Bargaining – If we can only put a successful run together, I swear I’ll never tell another lie. Not even the kind to protect Gran when her new hairdo is well out of order. Sure the Sounders can put another trophy-winning season together. Garth can sign Alex Hunter and we can somehow breathe life into his pixelated form. Right, they can figure that out at the U-Dub Physics Department? We can make a deal with another club, surely someone with top footballing credentials would want to play with us.

4. Depression – It’s hopeless. I can’t see how at this rate we’re going to get from here to the promised land of trophies and honours. In the words of the immortal C-3P0: “We seem to be made to suffer.”

5. Acceptance – The season will proceed in its proper time and fashion. I can only watch and be as loud as humanly possible in support of the team. They control the Vertical. They control the Horizontal. “Sound Collision. Brace for impact…”

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Attinella, 28, was the first choice last week against Minnesota United, and also in a losing effort against the Sounders in the US Open Cup. Attinella has only four appearances in the team. Portland’s most common choice between the sticks is Gleeson, 26, who has played 13 times this year out of a possible 17 matches in the league. Sounders FC offered him a chance as a trialist, but Portland offered him a guaranteed contract. Go figure. The 26-year-old New Zealand international has nearly 100 professional appearances under his belt.

Defence – Powell, 22, is a Jamaican international with 16 caps for the Reggae Boyz and has appeared for Portland 82 times. Andriuskevicius, 26, not only leads the league in last name syllables but also shows 26 caps for Lithuania and over 100 matches of European football. With Ridgewell on injury list, and Miller suspended, the likely replacements will be Valentin and Olum. Valentin, 25, was developed by the IMG Academy and played his university football at Akron. He has 132 appearances in his career including 65 appearances for MLS sides, 25 of those for Portland. He previously played 55 times over two seasons for Bodø/Glimt of Norway. Valentin has 33 caps for United States youth sides. 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 scoring seven goals.

Midfield – Guzman, 27, should play in a holding role as he did last match. He is a new signing for Portland having played the rest of his career for Saprissa. Guzman has played over 200 times as a professional. 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. Nagbe, 26, is by all rights an established star. The Liberian-born naturalised American has 14 caps for the Yanks and has played nearly 200 times for Portland, scoring 26 goals. Valeri, 31, is in the twilight of his career. He played nearly 160 times for Lanus in his native Argentina. He has played over 100 times for Portland scoring 38 goals. Good enough for a Designated Player contract, not to mention being a persistent thorn in our collective bottoms. With Blanco suspended, his most likely replacement would be Asprilla. The 25-year-old Colombian began his pro career at Nacional but never played a match for them. He went on loan to Alianza Petrolera and played 71 times scoring 22 goals. He signed with Portland in 2015 and has played for them nearly 50 times. In 2016 Asprilla had a 16 match loan at Millionarios, another prominent Colombian club.

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

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

Squads
Portland from: Attinella, Gleeson, McIntosh, Powell, Myers, Andriuskevicius, Olum, Valentin, Okugo, Clarke, Farfan, Nagbe, Valeri, Asprilla, Zemanski, Guzman, Chara, Adi, Ebobisse, Mattocks, Arboleda.

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

Injury List
Portland –
OUT: Arakoyo (Achilles). Barmby (ankle), Ridgewell (Quad).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Myers (hamstring).

Sounders FC –
OUT: none.
MATCHDAY DECISION: Evans (calf), Adekoya (ankle)

Discipline
Portland: Blanco (Sent Off), Miller (Accumulated Bookings).

Seattle: none.

Fun Fact
The Sounders FC/Treecutters football rivalry is now swiftly approaching its 100th match in all competitions. Tonight’s will be number 98.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. ORLANDO CITY SC – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Tonight the Sounders FC prepare a Pacific Northwest welcome for our purple-clad guests, Orlando City SC. After managing to not drown in the hopelessly waterlogged pitch at Yankee Stadium in a match that should rightfully have been postponed last Saturday, our Sounders will attempt to bounce back from the 2:1 loss in the Bronx. Tonight’s match will be the 17th for the Sounders in the league and marks the halfway point of the MLS season. Gather up the members of the Green family and get yourself to the match if possible. If not round up your mates and head to a viewing party whether you’re in Seattle or in one of our many supporter’s groups around the country. Join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

bruin
Word from the Seattle Times says that Will Bruin is likely going to be in the team tonight. He and Clint Dempsey lead the Sounders FC attack with four goals each.

The Good News
Sounders have won three out of their last five in the league. Orlando have only won one out of their last five. We have never lost to Orlando City, although we have only played them twice since they joined the league in 2015. We have only lost one match at home this season, and Orlando’s woeful away form has seen them only win once in six matches away from home. Aside from Adekoya, Alfaro, and Evans, the side is injury-free. Orlando are having a difficult time scoring goals, averaging slightly over one goal per match. Orlando’s top scorer, Cyle Larin, has been suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and will not be available for selection for tonight’s match. The fact we don’t have to face Larin is good news, as the Canadian international has scored eight goals this season. The reason for his suspension is, however, no cause for celebration.

The Bad News
We’ve only won three out of our last nine matches. Orlando are 5th in the league table, we are 16th. Against common opposition, Orlando are 4-4-4 compared to our 3-2-6. Neither club’s defence is particularly sparkling, although Orlando have conceded three fewer goals than our boys in Green. We are having trouble scoring goals, averaging slightly more than a goal a match. Dempsey hasn’t scored since May 13th (last six matches without a goal) in our 4:1 loss at Bridgeview. Morris hasn’t scored since April 23rd (last nine matches without a goal) in our 0:3 victory at Avalon Boulevard. Lodeiro hasn’t scored since April 29th (last eight matches without a goal) in the infamous 3:3 comeback draw against New England. In the offseason, Orlando added Jonathan Spector (Manchester United, Charlton Athletic, West Ham United, Birmingham City), Josh Saunders (nearly 300 matches of experience in domestic football), and Giles Barnes (Derby, Fulham, West Brom, Jamaica). These players are skilful, experienced, and will strengthen their club, making them more difficult to defeat.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Bendik, 28, started for Orlando last Saturday with Saunders, 36, as his understudy. Bendik has over 120 matches of MLS experience and played nine times for Sogndal of Norway.

Defence – Sutter, 31, an English national, was developed by four English clubs and Grasshopper Zurich in Switzerland. Sutter is a veteran of over 200 appearances in the Swiss league, before joining Orlando City this season. Aja, 24, is an Uruguayan national who previously played a combined 22 matches at Nacional and Racing before joining Orlando this season. Spector, 31, is a veteran of nearly 280 matches in English football. Spector also has 36 caps for United States. Toia, 25, has over 100 matches of experience in MLS having previously played for Chivas USA and Montreal before joining Orlando this season.

Midfield – Garcia, 32, is an Argentine national who has played for clubs in Argentina, Uruguay, France, and Chile, before signing with San Jose in 2014. Garcia has played 340 matches in his career. Johnson, 30, is the alternate captain of Orlando. He has played mostly domestic football, save for 40 matches in the Netherlands between Heerenveen and De Graafschap. Johnson has 270 matches of professional experience and 43 caps for Canada. Higuita, 23, is a Colombian national developed by Deportivo Cali. He played 16 matches for Cali, before signing with Orlando in 2015, and has played 62 times for his new club. Kaka, 35, needs no introduction. The Brazilian national was developed by Sao Paulo FC and played 59 times for that club. He went on to star at Real Madrid and AC Milan joining Orlando City in 2014. Kaka has played nearly 450 times in club football, scoring nearly 150 goals. He has 92 caps and 29 goals for Brazil and is the captain of the Orlando team.

Forward – Barnes, 28, is an English national produced by Derby County. He played nearly 140 matches in English football before signing with Houston of MLS in 2012. Since then he has played in 137 matches of MLS football, signing with Orlando City just this season. Barnes has 19 caps and three goals for Jamaica. Rivas, 23, is a Colombian national who started his football at Once Caldas and Deportivo Cali for a combined 46 matches. He signed with Orlando City in 2015 and has played 63 times for them.

Familiar Faces
Orlando goalkeeper, Earl Edwards, played eight matches for Sounders U-23s. Orlando midfielder, Servando Carrasco, played 40 times for the Sounders FC from 2011-13.

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

Orlando City SC from:
Bendik, Edwards, Saunders, Toia, Spector, Hines, Aja, Alston, Donovan, Ramos, Redding, Giro, Sutter, Pereira, Carrasco, Laryea, Higuita, Johnson, Kaka, Nocerino, Garcia, Rocha, Da Silva, Barnes, Gil, Barry, Rivas, Sane.

Injury List
Seattle –
OUT: none.
MATCHDAY DECISION: Adekoya (ankle), Alfaro (knee), Evans (calf).

Orlando –
OUT: none.
MATCHDAY DECISION: none.

Discipline
Orlando: Larin (Substance Abuse policy violation).

Fun Fact
In January of this year, Seyi Adekoya became the ninth player to sign a homegrown player contract with the Sounders FC. Adekoya was born in Seattle, developed by Crossfire Premier and Seattle Sounders Academy playing his university football at UCLA.

NEW YORK CITY FC v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The Sounders FC travel all the way across the continent to The Bronx, NYC to face NYC FC, or as I like to call them: Manchester City junior varsity. Our boys in Green will have to fight not only the 4th place team in the league but also the more intimidating and arguably debilitating opponent that is jet lag. Sounders saw a team cobbled together out of mostly reserves and teenagers beat a Treecutters team fashioned in largely the same manner defeat said Treecutters 2:1 in what could only be described as an episode of High School Bowl. High in entertainment value, and also high in head-scratching value as both sides opted to field reserve teams in order to rest their first team regulars for a match in a league where over 50% of its 22 clubs qualify for MLS Cup. Mind boggling as winning the US Open Cup guarantees qualification for the CONCACAF Champions League. NYC FC, on the other hand, are coming off a humbling 1:0 defeat in Harrison, NJ at the hands of their rivals New York RB, the Red Donkeys, eliminating the Blues from the US Open Cup. A Sounders victory could put them in the top half of the table for the first time in recent memory.

ozzie
Who knew that today would be Ozzie’s 300th match with the team? So badass.

The Good News
Sounders are on good form with three wins in the league out of the last five matches. This is two points better than NYC’s form over the same stretch. For perhaps the first time all season, the entire side is fit and eligible for selection. We have never lost at Yankee Stadium. NYC FC fielded a strong selection in their midweek US Open Cup fixture. This may affect the composition of the team for the Blues as their manager, former Arsenal and France standout, Patrick Viera, may elect to rest some or all of those who played in the Cup this Wednesday.

The Bad News
Essentially anything to do with numbers. We are 13th in the league and NYC sit in 4th place in the table, five points ahead of us. The statistics for goal scoring and defending favour NYC by a fraction of a goal per match in either category. Against common opponents, NYC have won three of seven for 11 out of 22 possible points. Against common opponents, Sounders FC have only one win from six matches and seven points out of a possible 18. We have only one win in eight away matches this season. NYC are a fortress at home having won four out of seven and having only lost once at Yankee Stadium this season.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Johnson, 28, has played all of NYC’s league matches in goal. Newly arrived in The Bronx this season, he had previously played nearly 180 matches for Chicago Fire during his six years at Bridgeview. Johnson also holds five caps for United States.

Defence – Brilliant, 31, is a French national who is a veteran of Belgian football. Brilliant has over 260 matches of experience in the Belgian leagues and signed with NYC FC in 2016, playing 37 times for the Blues. White, 26, is an MLS veteran player with over 90 matches played, 26 with NYC FC. Callens, 25, is a Peruvian national who has played every league match this season for NYC. He played 86 times for Real Sociedad B and has 10 caps for Peru. Sweat, 25, has only 7 matches of MLS experience. He featured in the lineup in the midweek cup tie in Harrison.

Midfield – Ring, 26, is a Finnish national with over 150 matches of experience between the Finnish and German leagues. He played 76 times for Kaiserslautern. He has 43 caps for Finland. Lopez, 24, Has just over 30 matches of MLS experience. He holds 17 U-20 caps for United States. Harrison, 20, an English national, is a product of Liverpool and Manchester United and has played 36 times for NYC, scoring 16 goals since he signed in 2016.

Forward – Villa, 35, is a veteran of Spanish football. He has 97 caps and 59 goals for Spain in addition to 468 matches of football in the Spanish league, where he scored 237 goals. During his career, he played for Sporting Gijon, Zaragoza, Valencia, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid before signing for NYC in 2014. Make no mistake, he is the deadliest finisher on the pitch.

Familiar Faces
NYCFC forward, Sean Okoli, is a Federal Way, WA native and was developed by Washington Premier FC and Seattle Sounders Academy. He played 14 times for the Sounders U-23s scoring six goals and made three first team appearances for the Sounders FC. NYCFC and Costa Rica winger, Rodney Wallace, played 120 times for the Treecutters. Moralez, 30, is an Argentine national playing nearly 90 times for Racing, over 70 times for Velez Sarsfield, over 140 times for Atalanta in Italy, 34 times for Leon in the Mexican league. He signed with NYC in 2017 and has played every match this season. Maxi has scored 62 goals in his career and is the danger man in midfield. McNamara, 26, signed with NYC in 2015 and has played 61 times for the club scoring 12 goals.

Squads
NYC from: Johnson, Rawls, Johansen, Sweat, White, Chanot, Callens, Brilliant, Matarrita, Allen, Gomez, Lopez, Ring, Moralez, Harrison, Stertzer, Awuah, McNamara, Herrera, Camargo, Villa, Okoli, Lewis, Wallace.

Sounders FC from: Frei, Meredith, Miller, Evans, Tolo, Marshall, Alfaro, Torres, Jones, Fisher, Svensson, Alonso, Roldan, Fernandez, Lodeiro, Kovar, Shipp, Delem, Wingo, Mathers, Dempsey, Adekoya, Morris, Bruin. (This list presumes that the nine Sounders reserves players that were signed to short-term contracts this week have seen those contracts expire)

Injury List
NYC
OUT: Shelton (hamstring), Pirlo (knee).

Seattle
OUT: none.

Discipline
None suspended from either side.

Fun Fact
Ryan Krasnoo of SoundersFC.com reported that if Sounders FC and Cuba midfielder, Osvaldo Alonso plays in today’s match, it will mark his 300th appearance for the club in all competitions. As I can’t imagine Alonso not being in the starting eleven, well done, Ozzie!!!

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. PORTLAND TIMBERS – Pre-Match Analysis US OPEN CUP – 4th ROUND – STARFIRE SPORTS COMPLEX, TUKWILA, WA

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Somewhere in the midst of Renton, Allentown, and SeaTac Airport lies the Starfire Sports Complex, the home-away-from-home of the Sounders FC. So our boys in Green retreat to the ‘burbs for a midweek US Open Cup Fourth Round showdown against the auld enemy, the Portland Treecutters. If you can find your way to Tukwila, definitely do so. If not try and gather your mates and descend on a viewing party at your local. In the face of the total unpredictability of cup football, squad attrition from World Cup selections, and the absurd joke that is the MLS salary cap – essentially ensuring that in situations like tonight’s, we can expect a thorough exposure highlighting the lack of squad depth in our domestic football culminating in what will likely be a match between two reserve sides, and scouring the Web to research tonight’s match in the worst publicised national cup tournament in perhaps the entire globe – in the face of all of this we shall carry on supporting our boys in Green with the resolve and fortitude that we are known for throughout the country. Tonight. Eyes bright, voices loud. Before kick-off join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Portland Timbers at Seattle Sounders FC
Oh, Clint. So impulsive. Unavailable for selection tonight, but never forgotten. We love you, Deuce.

The Good News
Aside from Wingo’s pesky ankle problem, the entire Seattle team is healthy. In four US Open Cup ties against the Treecutters, we have only lost once. Treecutters’ manager, Caleb Porter has told the press he plans to field a “reserve team” in tonight’s cup fixture. I suppose this is unsurprising as the Treecutters have a fixture at altitude in Colorado on Saturday night. Who bloody well knows what any of that means? I suppose we’ll find out when the Treecutters run onto the pitch at Starfire. The Sounders are on solid form with three wins out of their last five matches in the league.

The Bad News
Dempsey is out due to suspension. Torres and Jones will be unavailable for selection as they are playing with their national teams in the World Cup. Although Morris is available, he is not expected to start the match. With a league fixture set for this Saturday in New York City, you’d have to wonder how many first team players Seattle manager Brian Schmetzer is prepared to commit to the cause of winning the second oldest sporting trophy in North America. The one loss to Portland was the Sounders’ first and last match in the 2015 US Open Cup and notably featured an irate Clint Dempsey ripping up the referee’s notebook. An act for which he is still suspended. Portland have won their last two league matches and are 2-1-2 in their last five. Goal scoring and defending margins for both sides in the USOC are so close that there is no clear advantage to either club.

Know Thine Enemy
(As Portland manager, Caleb Porter has told the press he is fielding a reserve side, many of the players listed here may not feature in tonight’s match)

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

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

Midfield – Chara,31, is a veteran of over 80 matches of top-flight Colombian football. He has played over 180 times for the Treecutters since signing with them in 2011. Olum, 32, is experienced and plays as either a midfielder or defender. Olum is Kenyan-born (4 caps for Kenya) and has played nearly 140 matches of MLS football. He has played 52 times for Portland scoring seven goals. Nagbe, 26, is by all rights an established star. The Liberian-born naturalised American has 14 caps for the Yanks and has played nearly 200 times for Portland, scoring 26 goals. Nagbe may not play as he played for the Yanks at Azteca in the World Cup only two days ago. Valeri, 31, is in the twilight of his career. He played nearly 160 times for Lanus in his native Argentina. He has played over 100 times for Portland scoring 38 goals. Good enough for a Designated Player contract, not to mention being a persistent thorn in our collective bottoms. Blanco, 29, is – surprise, surprise, another Argentinian produced by Lanus. His career has seen him play in Argentina, Ukraine, England, and the United States. He signed a DP contract with Portland this year on the strength of his 263 appearances, 39 goals, and two Argentina caps.

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

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

Squads
(Nine hours after press time, Seattle signed nine players to short term agreements. Portland signed 11 players to short term agreements. The selection lists now feature these players as of 15.58 PST)

Seattle from: Frei, Miller, Meredith, Evans, Tolo, Marshall, Alfaro, Fisher, Svensson, Alonso, Roldan, Fernandez, Lodeiro, Kovar, Shipp, Delem, Mathers, Adekoya, Morris, Bruin, Ele, Chenkam, Saari, Narbon, Nana-Sinkam, Renken, Rogers, Olsen, Parra.

Suspended: Dempsey.

National Team absences: Jones, Torres.

Portland from: Gleeson, Attinella, McIntosh, Powell, Andriuskevicius, Miller, Olum, Valentin, Okugo, Ridgewell, Clarke, Farfan, Nagbe, Valeri, Blanco, Asprilla, Zemanski, Chara, Barmby, Adi, Ebobisse, Mattocks, Arboleda, Amick, Batista, Hanson, Ornstil, Bijev, Granitto, Lewis, Lowe, Mohamed, Cicerone, Williams.

Suspended: none.

National Team absences: Guzman.

Injury List
Seattle –
OUT: Wingo (ankle)
MATCHDAY DECISION: none.

Portland –
OUT: Arokoyo, Myers.
MATCHDAY DECISION: Barmby, Mattocks, Attinella, Ridgewell, Miller.

Discipline
Seattle – Dempsey is suspended as he is still serving a suspension for ripping up the referee’s notebook in the 2015 US Open Cup match against Portland.

Fun Fact
Joseph Mondello reported, on the Sounders FC website, that three Sounders FC Academy players have been called up to their respective United States youth national teams. Goalkeeper, Trey Muse, 18, has been called up to the Yanks’ U-20s. Forward, Azriel Gonzalez, 16, has been called into the U-16s. Midfielder, Sota Kitahara, 14, has been called into the U-14s. Well done, lads!

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. HOUSTON DYNAMO – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. With Ohio and the utter fiasco midweek that took place in the Buckeye state firmly in the rear-view mirror, Sounders FC return home to the Evergreen for a Sunday night fixture under the lights at Royal Brougham Park against the Creamsicles from Houston, formerly known as the San Jose Earthquakes. Consistency seems to elude our boys in Green, much like that person you once fancied who utterly ghosted you after that fateful first date. With only four wins to our credit and the season nearly half over, that strange sensation you’re beginning to feel in the pit of your belly is the edge of panic. Before you begin the lengthy spiral into despair and begin wading your way through the five stages of grief, you have to know that it wouldn’t be the first time the Sounders have started crap only to finish strong. Something I wrote about at length at this time last June. Whether it be a blockbuster transfer signing when the Transfer Window opens in July, such as it was for Nicolas Lodeiro when we signed him from Boca Juniors last summer, or the side as it is getting it’s collective crap together, you’d have to imagine something will change. Sooner rather than later. As I’ve been saying for the past couple of months, these are the times that demand the utmost in support from the Green Family. Gather your mates up and head to Occidental Avenue if you can get hold of tickets, and if you can’t meet up with your mates for a viewing party at the local pub. It takes more than a crap patch of form to shake my faith in our boys in Green. On Sunday night, wherever you may be, join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

adekoya
Between Dempsey and Morris with the Yanks, and Bruin’s dislocated elbow, our only healthy forward, Seyi Adekoya, 21, needs all the support he can get from us.

The Good News
At this time last season we had only one more win that we do now, and the same amount of points from 14 matches. As we know now, it all turned out pretty well for us. Houston have only taken one more point from their last five matches than we have.  We have never lost to Houston at Royal Brougham Park since we joined MLS in 2009. All-time, we have only lost four times to Houston out of 15 matches played. We have lost only once at home this season, whereas our orange and white clad opponents have zero wins, one draw, and five losses on the road. As DaMarcus Beasley has been called into the United States team, we won’t have to face his skill and experience. According to the numbers, we defend just as well (or just as poorly if you’re a glass-half-empty person) as Houston does.

The Bad News
Houston currently sits 5th in the league table, where as we currently languish in 18th, fourth from bottom. Houston’s last match was a resounding 5:1 thumping of Salt Lake, or as we have come to know trips to Houston: The auld Dowling Street welcome. In our matches against common opponents, including each other in the season opener, we have taken only 12 points from those 10 matches. Houston have taken 18 points against the same opponents with six wins to our three. Houston are tied for the second best goalscoring total in the league with 27 goals in 14 matches. They average about a half a goal more per match than we do. In addition to missing Wingo, Bruin, and possibly Roman Torres through injury, we will be without both Dempsey and Morris, who have been recalled to the United States team for World Cup qualifying. Ah the joys of international fixture clutter, we now finally begin to understand what the other clubs of the world have been pissing and moaning about for so long. Adekoya got a runout midweek at The Fairgrounds, but the 21-year-old striker in waiting saw little success, and even less service from the midfield. With Dempsey and Morris with the Yanks, and Bruin hurt, Adekoya is our only cover at striker, save for young Victor Mansaray, currently on loan at FC Cincinnatti. Something will have to be done about this, at least in the short-term barring Bruin’s return to fitness. It was announced today that Dempsey, Morris, and Roldan were named to the United States’ 40-man squad for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. I understand Oalex Anderson is currently out of contract. What’s the international dialing code for St. Vincent and the Grenadines? The all-time numbers say Sounders for the win, and the numbers from this season (Sounders’ Recent form vs. Home Record added to Houston’s perch in the table and crap away record) suggest that the matchup is a crapshoot, too close to call.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Tyler Deric, 28, will likely be the man between the sticks. Although Willis, 28, has equivalent experience, Deric has established himself as first choice, playing every match this season. Produced by North Carolina (NCAA) and Houston, his only MLS club has been Houston where he has appeared nearly 70 times.

Defence – DeLaGarza, 29, Has over 200 matches as a professional, most of which came with the Los Angeles Galaxy. He signed with Houston this season. Machado, 32, has played nearly 300 times for clubs in Guatemala, Panama, Honduras, and Costa Rica. Machado also has 65 caps for Panama. Leonardo, 29, Has nearly 100 appearances as a pro, and was produced by Sao Paulo FC Academy. Remick, 25, was a former Sounder (see below) for four seasons. He moved to Houston this season on a free transfer. He’s played only five times for his new club in their 14 matches this season. He has nearly 60 matches of MLS experience in his career.

Midfield – Clark, 34, has played over 320 times in MLS and has enjoyed spells at Eintracht Frankfurt and Stabæk totalling 27 matches. Cabezas, 26, was a loan signing from Colombian giant Deportivo Cali in the off-season. He has played over 150 times as a professional including nearly 75 appearances for Deportivo Cali and over 130 times total in top-level Columbian football. Alex, 28, has over 200 appearances as a professional, nearly 90 matches of his experience were played in Switzerland with Wohlen and Gossau. He was produced by Gremio, of Brazil.

Forward – Elis, 21, is a recent loan signing from Monterrey of the Mexican Liga MX. He has scored five goals in 12 matches this season for Houston. The Honduran national played 62 times for Olimpia scoring 25 goals, and has 16 caps, 3 goals for Honduras. Erick Torres, 24, has played nearly 80 times in MLS scoring 32 goals. Produced by Chivas of Guadalajara, he played over 70 matches for the club that developed him and over 40 matches on loan at Chivas USA in MLS. He has represented Mexico 21 times at youth levels and has four senior caps. For Houston, this season, he has scored 10 goals in 13 matches (The same amount as Dempsey, Bruin, and Lodeiro combined). Manotas, 21, has over 70 professional appearances and was produced by Columbian side Uniautonoma. He played 25 matches for Uniautonoma before moving to Houston in 2015. He has four goals in 13 matches for Houston this season.

Familiar Faces
Former Sounders FC players Jalil Anibaba and Dylan Remick now play for Houston. Anibaba played 16 times for Sounders FC in 2014. Remick made 44 appearances for Seattle and was a substitute defender for us just last season.

Selections for Last Match
Sounders FC: Frei, Delem, Svensson, Alfaro, Fisher, Fernandez, Alonso, Roldan, Jones, Adekoya, Lodeiro.

Bench: Miller (gk), Evans, Roman Torres, Mathers, Kovar, Shipp, Tolo.

Houston: Deric, DeLaGarza, Machado, Leonardo, Remick, Clark, Cabezas, Alex, Elis, Erick Torres, Manotas.

Bench: Willis (gk), Anibaba, Garcia, Wenger, Rodriguez, Sanchez, Garcia.

Injury List
Seattle –
OUT: Wingo (ankle), Bruin (elbow).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Roman Torres (hamstring).

Houston –
OUT: Malki (ACL), Alexander (knee).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Quioto (ankle).

Discipline
None suspended from either side.

Fun Fact
Former Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist, Oscar de la Hoya (d/b/a Golden Boy Promotions) is one of the four members of Houston’s ownership group and has a 25% stake in the club. The majority of shares (50%) are still held by Anschutz Entertainment Group who own the LA Galaxy.

COLUMBUS CREW SC v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – Pre-Match analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. After a cosy two matches at home, the Sounders are sporting their first two match win streak of the season! However, the side must leave behind Occidental Avenue and our top of the league support to travel to The Fairgrounds in Ohio for a showdown under the lights against MLS founding club, Columbus Crew SC. We play the teams from the other regional conference but once a year. But I have some news for you fellow supporters in Green. And the news, she be good. A win tonight would have us on 19 points, and likely back in the top half of the table. So we find ourselves at a bit of a crossroads. A win would demonstrate consistency and the galvanising of the side, whereas a loss now would suggest continued unpredictability in the overall trend. We have it in us to make a thundering statement tonight and in the confines of someone else’s park. Our band of seasoned veterans sprinkled with academy graduates vs. their seasoned veterans and a trio of goalkeepers just out of diapers. At 13 matches played already, we’ve played nearly half the season. So what’s it to be? Frankly, I like our chances. Join up with your mates at viewing parties in Seattle and throughout the country. If you have the means and inclination, join up with our Green Family in Ohio and test the supportership of the Crew SC in a battle of raw sound and will. Before the kick-off, join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

dempsey
You have to feel Dempsey is sort of stealthily searching out weakness the same way a cat does in a game of cat and mouse. It doesn’t usually end well for the mouse. Dempsey, to score then?

The Good News
We’ve escaped the depths of second from bottom in the league (21st) and find ourselves in the midtable cusp area of 17th place. Don’t let that get you down. Our opponent Columbus are in 9th place and are 10 points adrift of top boys, Toronto FC. Although we are eight places below them in the table, we are only 3 points adrift of Columbus. We’ve just won two matches in a row for the first time this season and the momentum seems to be in our favour. All-time we’ve only lost three times out of 11 to Columbus. Even better, when playing them in Ohio, we’ve only lost once. Still better than that, in five matches played away at Columbus, we’ve only conceded four goals. Columbus has lost their last two matches in a row, including a 5:0 pasting on the shores of Lake Ontario last Friday at league-leading Toronto FC.

The Bad News
Both sides have only two wins from their last five matches. Columbus has only lost twice at home this season in eight matches, whereas the Sounders have only one win on the road and have lost four of seven. We are taking roughly the same percentage of points from our common opponents, so there’s no clear advantage shown either way. Our goals for and against margins are extremely close, with Columbus scoring 0.12 goal/match more than we are, and Columbus conceding 0.26 goals/match more than us. Based on the sample size of the current season, these numbers demonstrate no clear edge to either side. With Columbus’ Sauro out recovering from surgery, this temporarily removes a player, who played in some pretty tough leagues, out of the equation for tonight’s match. Bruin and Wingo are still out, and Torres wasn’t on the bench last week, so even though he’s listed as a matchday decision I don’t expect to see him. This is mitigated, of course, by Svensson’s versatility switching between midfield and centre-half. Kovar was on the bench last week, which makes me wonder if he’s closer to finding his way back into the team. Alonso is listed as a matchday decision with stiffness of the quadriceps, and such as the gaffer, Brian Schmetzer, may decide to rest him. This could be mitigated by having a number of players that can deputise in a holding midfield role, but deputising is not the same as a healthy Alonso in the team. The worst news of all is that when you look at the numbers, there’s almost nothing separating these two teams.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper – Steffen, 22, is the likely man to start between the sticks for our yellow-clad rivals. He isn’t to be too underestimated as he played 14 times for SC Freiburg Reserves. He was produced by Philadelphia Union, Freiburg, and the NCAA’s Maryland – one of the better university football programmes, and he’s played 30 times for USA at youth levels. Still, he’s young, and young goalkeepers make mistakes. His understudies are Ketterer, 23, recently drafted and hasn’t played a stitch of professional football, and Stuver, 26, with over 30 appearances, but nearly all of them in the PDL. Three goalkeepers just out of diapers. Heavy edge to Frei and the Sounders.

Defence – Afful, 30, part of Colombus’ Ghanian connection, was produced by Feyenoord, playing nearly 150 times for their Academy side. Every club he’s played for has played him a lot, and that’s saying something. He’s played 53 times for Columbus, over 450 times as a pro, and 65 caps for Ghana. Næss, 24, has played 121 times as a pro and built his foundation in Norwegian football where he played nearly 100 matches. Has played 26 times for Columbus. Mensah, 26, who wears “Jonathan” on the back of his shirt, has played in two African countries, and four European ones. Add to this 57 caps for Ghana. He is a 2017 signing for Columbus and has played nine times for them. Francis, 26, has 172 appearances as a pro. He was produced by Saprissa and has five caps for Costa Rica. Before signing with Columbus, he had played 68 times for Herediano and has played 77 times for the Crew.

Midfield – Trapp, 24, has played 107 times as a pro, and all of them for only Columbus. He played 24 times for USA youth sides. Hansen, 22, as mentioned before started out with Sounders U-23s. He has only 20 appearances as a pro but has played 11 times for Columbus, which suggests they see something grand in him. Hansen is eligible to play for either United States or Denmark. Higuain, 32, the old pro, 361 appearances, with 97 goals. Produced by River Plate. Has played at Independiente, Club America, Besiktas, and Colon. On a DP contract with Columbus. Wears the #10 shirt, and is the deadliest midfield striker in the side. He’s played 136 times for the Crew scoring 43 goals. So we may not like him, but we’d better respect his quality. Meram, 28, has 168 appearances and 31 goals for Columbus. Add to this the Michigan-born man’s 22 caps and two goals for Iraq. Worked his way up to professional level from Yavapai Community College in the NJCAA. Respect. Manneh, 22, is an old face we remember from his four-year tenure with Vancouver Whitecaps. 129 appearances and 49 goals as a pro. He’s just moved to Columbus this year and has played four times in the first team.

Forward – Ola Kamara, 27, is the lone striker in Columbus’ setup. 229 appearances and 83 goals. Born in Oslo and with seven caps for Norway, Kamara has been successful at scoring, but it seemed only with Norwegian clubs. Produced by Frigg and Stabæk. Moved to Columbus in 2016 where he’s played in 39 matches scoring 23 goals. Columbus is the first club outside Norway where he has produced consistent scoring form. So played tonnes of Euro football, and has re-honed his fine scoring edge. Dangerous.

Familiar Faces
Columbus forward, Adam Jahn, began his career with Washington Crossfire (5 matches/3 goals).  Columbus forward, Niko Hansen, began his career with the Sounders U-23s (9 matches/2 goals).

Selections for Last Match
Columbus: Steffen, Afful, Næss, Mensah, Francis, Trapp, Hansen, Higuain, Meram, Manneh, Kamara.

Bench: Stuver (gk), Raitala, Williams, Crognale, Jahn, Artur, Finlay.

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

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

Injury List
Columbus –
OUT: Sauro (surgery), Swanson (surgery).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Finlay (knee).

Seattle –
OUT: Wingo (ankle), Bruin (elbow).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Kovar (groin), Torres (hamstring), Alonso (quad).

Discipline
None suspended from either side.

Fun Fact
On 27th August 2011, Columbus Crew visited Royal Brougham Park and got a 6:2 pasting for their trouble. However, Columbus defender/midfielder Josh Gardner, who played for the Sounders from 2007-08, performed a rather unusual feat. He scored for both teams, scoring for the Crew in the 73rd minute to make it 5:2, and then scoring against his own side just a minute later. I doubt our hosts will be so even-handed this time around. Gardner was waived by Sporting KC in March of 2014. This ended his 56 match MLS career.

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

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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