Seattle Sounders FC Visit City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia Union in Mid-Week Match
The Captain and the Enemy
The Captain and the Enemy

Last week was my worst week as a Sounders fan. The Rave Green faithful had to endure two losses–both to teams that bring their best game to bear against us– on Tuesday vs. the hated Portland Timbers FC, in a controversial 1-3 loss in the 4th round of the US Open Cup, and then a letdown loss to San Jose 0-2 on Saturday afternoon. It sucked; but, it will get better!

In the next 6 matches, the Sounders will only play 2 playoff teams, based on the current standings. Unfortunately, one is the Timbers on Sunday, the other DC United, on Friday July 3, which will come to town at the end of a short week before Fourth of July weekend.

Then things will get worse in August; the Sounders play 6 straight vs. playoff eligible sides, and probably will play at least 2 of 4 required CONCACAF group play matches. So even though the Sounders are undermanned, the next 6 weeks are going to be the best time to make hay and continue to generate results.

Who are the Union?

The Philadelphia Union are lead by a young coach, Jim Curtin, who is a very engaging person to interview. Check out his interview from a few weeks ago on MLS Extra Time Radio here.

The Union have a nickname of “The U” perhaps the University of Washington and University of Utah, and University of Miami, FL should look at some copyright infringement? This franchise entered MLS one year before Sounders FC, starting with the 2008 season. They play on PPL Park’s grass pitch; a location that should have warm fuzzies for Rave Green fans since this park was the location of our victory in the US Open Cup last year.

Also, check out this piece from SoundersFC.com previewing the Union.

Lets Go Tread on Them!
Lets Go Tread on Them!

Emptying the brain. My thoughts on last week (Credit to David Locke on the idea)

Injuries and Suspensions– Sounder Casualties Abound

Out for the Game

  • Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso is still recovering, and is at least another week away
    • He will not make the trip to Philadelphia.
  • Forward Clint Dempsey is out for Wednesday’s match with Union, and Sunday’s Match in Portland vs. Timbers.
    • Then presumably he will head off to US National Team duty for Gold Cup for (hopefully) the full month of July.
    • Duece wont come back until August 1st or so.
  • Forward Chad Barrett is out for the match since he was spotted working out with S2 and did not make the flight to Philadelphia .
    • Probable for Sunday vs. Timbers.
  • Forward Obafemi Martins is out 3-6 weeks.
    • This puts his return at mid July- begining of August. But be warned, Dylan Remick and Oniel Fisher missed 8-10 weeks with similar injuries last year.
    • It is a dicey injury to recover from.

The Doubtfuls

  • Center Back and Captain Brad Evans left Earthquake match with groin tightness.
    • I doubt he plays tonight. He couldn’t clear the ball long and was pulled at halftime.
  • Midfielder Andy Rose played 120 minutes vs. Timbers on Tuesday, then full 90 vs.San Jose, he has a tight hamstring. He is the only outfield player to appear in all Sounders FC matches this year (16 MLS, 1 US Open Cup)
    • Unlikely to start.
    • Rose is more of a box to box player not a traditional #10 (center attacking midfielder), where he was on Saturday.
    • Perhaps he will switch with Thomás, and go back to the wing? Hard to see Rose going back Philly and playing 90 there and then coming back to Portland on Sunday and playing 90.
    • The guy’s gotta get some rest sometime.
  • Center Back Chad Marshall, usually doesn’t make the long cross-country trips if they are immediately followed by a long trip back (unless the Sounders used one of their 3-4 annual charter flights that MLS limits it franchises too each year)  .
    • Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t even make the 18 man roster for the match vs. the Union.
    • However, PPL Park does have a grass field, and Marshall might play.
  • Left Back Leo Gonzales was injured too.
    • Was on bench but not really available.

The Probables

  • Midfielder Marco Pappa played two matches forGuatamala’s National Team in World Cup Qualifying, then was sick and played full 90 vs.San Jose.
    • He probably will start. Look for him to sub out, but he is the Sounders most proven playmaker at this point.
  • Midfielder Micheal Azira played 113 minutes vs. Timbers and full 90 vs.San Jose.
    • He is young and played well Saturday, but fatigue has to set in at some point. He was either the best player or second best player for Sounders FC on Saturday afternoon.
    • He is key if Sounders play 4-2-3-1 (4-5-1) formation.
    • Azira was man of match per Sounders FC. He and Roldan lead the way with a high pass completion percentage of 87%. He seems to be developing well. Also his red card was bogus. Just sayin’.
  • Forward/Midfielder Lamar Neagle only had 25 touches all day. Way too few.

This article cites Sounders FC starters not on team flight to Phily.

Gold Cup Schedule–Presuming USA goes deep….

  • July 3rd Friendly
  • July 7th vs. Honduras @ Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
  • July 10th Vs. Haiti @ Gillette Stadium Foxborough, MA
  • July 13 vs. Panama @ Sporting Park, Kansas City, Missouri? Kansas?
  • July 18th @ M&T Bank Stadium Baltimore, MD
  • July 19th (unlikely would have to finish 3rd place) @ East Rutherford, NJ Metlife Stadium

My notes on Sigi’ comments

Sigi thought that Roldan and Azira played well; quite high praise from him for any youngsters. Brad Evans didn’t get better and was not able to kick long balls out of danger, that is why he was subbed out.

The team has no distractions and good focus (not really buying it with 4 of 6 best players out).

…The three central midfielders were good…Sounders didn’t have a second forward so that is why Neagle was up top alone (what does that mean for Darwin Jones and Victor Mansary?

….Papa was tired and sick but wanted to play…thomas, rose papa more offensive roles, just need to hang back less, and attack more, and get into space more

….Last week’s first goal was hard one to give up….disapointed with no shots on target in the second half…thinks that the team was suffering from plain old fatigue

…Shots on goal can be misleading stat, because Sounders had lots of chances in dangerous places, just couldn’t connect on final pass….they had good opportunities, but were not finishing well…haveing a good offense can help become part of defense and win games.

Random Notes

The top 3 clubs in Western Conference standings are the Cascadia trio. Seattle and Vancouver tied with 29 points and Portland with 25. Impressive for a bunch of “new” teams.

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Richard Michelson is an avid sports fan and the Managing Soccer Editor here at Seattle Sports Union!

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