News, results and highlights from the MLS's best expansion team of the 2000's
Created by StevePro on Feb 8, 2010
Last updated: 06/22/10 at 01:26 AM
Tags: Seattle Sounders MLS Soccer Freddie Ljungberg Montero Jaqua
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Paraguay leads their group, Kiwis stay alive against defending champs, and Brazil punch their ticket. Happy Father's Day on this 10th day of the World Cup.
Last night we witnessed our last match of the World Cup. We traveled to Pretoria and caught Denmark-Cameroon. I hope that you got to see it because it might have been the most exciting match that we've attended. I should say that it was the best match that we've seen outside the USA matches because we hold those at a different level. We've been to a total of six matches and now we are heading to London for a couple days before we travel home on Tuesday. I wish that we were in London for England's last fixture (they play Wednesday) because I would love to be watching with a bunch of nervous English as they try to get through with Slovenia on their docket.In Pretoria last night the action was non-stop. What the Danish were doing in their own end early on and giving up the ball and handing Samuel Eto a chance that close to the net, I'll never know. But the Danes came back thanks to Bendter and Romadahl and came away with three huge points.We had watched Denmark as they were overpowered by the Netherlands in their first match and this seemed like a different team playing with a much different confidence level.At Soccer City they were never ontrack against the Orange but they played strong vs. Cameroon, I was very excited to see Eto play for the first time and as I like to say, "he is better." Everytime he touched the ball he did something special. Even if it was trapping the ball from an awkward angle then taking off like a jet he was just very fun to watch.Last night we met some great people at the stadium.We were surprised to see police from Denmark on the grounds. They were very nice, almost on vacation themselves. They let us know that they were working with the local authorities and helping them locate and identify any hooligans that made the trip down from Denmark. I asked them if they really had hooligans and they both kind of chuckled and said NO. This guy below (or friends of his) have been at every match trying to collect tickets for "his collection." This is after all the games but we do see these signs everywhere.And the random picture of the day is that, yes mullets are still alive and well. This nice man has a TON of hair! At the end of the match a dejected Eto cannot believe that Cameroon's world cup has come to and end while the Danes waved to their fans. I just came upstairs after we watched the Italians and the shock tie to New Zealand. Now New Zealand, who tied Slovakia in their first match, are sitting on two points and have a chance of moving forward if they could get a result over Paraguay. I love the 2nd games of the tournament. They are so important, so pressure packed that you can't really take you eyes off the field of screen.I'm lucky enough to be on vacation so we have caught all three games everyday; either one in person and two on TV or all on the tube. We are well into the day when the first match starts (1:30 Local) and don't have to get up early in the morning as my friends in Seattle have been trying to do.Well, it's time to head to the airport as my time in South Africa is done...Kind of bummed out about it but I'm getting more and more excited to be home.I'll check in from London,Matt
The Oranje, Samurai Blue, Black Stars, Socceroos and the Indomitable Danish? Our World Cup bloggers have nicknames too. See how they saw Saturday's World Cup action.
Klose so far away, C is for Crazy and that may be good enough for USA, England or Algeria - but not all three. Thank goodness it's Friday on Day 8 of the World Cup.
Higuain's hat does the trick; Greece gets a bailout; and Mexico parties like it's the 5th of May! We are a week into our month-long World Cup celebration.
We are back in Johannesburg after spending 2.5 days in the Cape Town area. Our hotel was around a mountain from Cape Town in the city of Simons Town. Though it was a bit chilly for the locals (it's almost winter here) the weather seemed to fit us quite well.Our friend that we had met earlier in the week had helped us book this amazing place on the water. Simons Town is about 45 minutes from Cape Town so World Cup prices really didn't apply. Because it is winter here we had a pretty inexpensive rate and we were all thrilled with the location. We were right on the water with a little deck and great spot for people watching.It was very relaxing and we had plenty to do right around the hotel. Bertha's (on the main floor and pictured here) was a great little restaurant where we would meet Steve in the morning. We are not sure how this poor dog got his scarf but we believe that after a late night on Tuesday Steve, from Liverpool, had something to do with it.Ten minutes down the street from our hotel was a very large penguin sanctuary. It was very interesting watching these penguins going about their day to day business. So many tourists walk through area everyday that the little animals don't pay much notice to all the humans walking around their living room. After hanging out with the penguins long enough we all jumped in Steve's friends car and headed to Cape Town for a night out...we first stopped at a great little pub where we watched the Ivory Coast-Portugal match. It was a very friendly place and we were just starting out for what ended up being a great night. On the way from the pub heading into Cape Town we pulled over as there were so many pictures to take from high above the water. It was cold but it was pretty clear so we tried to take advantage of the sights.As we drove into town I realized the national pride that South Africa has for hosting the World Cup. Most cars either had flags flying from them or their country was represented with a small flag that could be pulled around their side mirrors.That night, it was off to dinner where a couple locals sent us in the direction of a great steak house...the food was amazing, wine was tasty, and our waiter was a crack up as he had us dying while taking our picture.Oh, I have to stop right here and ask, WHAT IS WITH ALL THE KFC'S in South Africa...they are everywhere. No really, I couldn't believe how many we've ran into. From dinner we headed into the heart of Cape Town to watch Brazil-North Korea. The Koreans gave everything they had but Brazil showed their class and overpowered them in the 2nd half.We had a great time Tuesday night and planned for more "touristy" things for Wednesday. I have to include a picture of our cab driver. With no trains, subways, and a limited bus system your best bet is to meet a nice cab driver that will take care of you no matter where or when you want to go. We met Alfred and hit it off right away. Maybe because we tipped pretty well but Alfred took us back and forth from Cape Town to Simons Town a number of times (45 minute drive minimum). He even picked us up at 4:30 this morning to take us to the airport after he had to work until 1 am. GREAT GUY! After gathering everyone Wednesday morning we decided to go back to Cape Town to see if the weather permitted us to make it to the top of Cape Town's iconic Table Mountain. You get to the top by taking a gondola straight up the side of the mountain. The car ends up docking 1086 meters above sea level. I really didn't let anyone know that heights aren't my favorite. I'm not sure where this started but lately I'd much rather be on the ground. A lot less happens there than in a cable car carrying 5100 kilograms. Ok, that's enough. The views were amazing. Basically, you are sitting right above the entire city. The picture that I thought I would throw in is of the beautiful stadium in the heart of the city. We were right across the street from it later in the evening and it is an amazing structure.I had enough of these views after only 20 minutes...something to do with breathing correctly at high altitudes. So I headed down by myself to peak in a couple World Cup shops while my friends, who were surprised I even attempted to go up in the first place, stayed up for another hour.Here is a picture of my sweaty hand while we descended. I hated the whole thing! We ended the evening in packed sports bar to watch South Africa-Uruguay. All the locals were very quiet as their keeper was sent off and the squad went down to defeat. It did make for a much quiet ride back because we did not have to listen to all those wonderful horns. The three of us flew back to Johannesburg very early this morning, checked into our hotel and headed right out to Soccer City to take in Argentina-South Korea. I was very excited for the match. Not only were we going to see Messi play but one of my favorites in the world is Carlos Tevez. They did not dissapoint as they took care of South Korea 4-1. Below is a picture of South Korea (right) setting up their wall before Messi touches it to Tevez who smashed the ball just over the bar.Soon after, Argentina was celebrating their first of four right below us.After a couple days off we are back to going to games...today was Argentina, tomorrow we are headed to USA-Slovenia, and Saturday we'll wrap it up with Cameroon-Denmark. I love going to the matches but checking out Cape Town was thrilling. I'll check back in tomorrow because we are going to head to Pretoria early and run into some Americans that we have met along the way.Talk to you soon,Matt
Group Health to provide scholarships to area youth.
Well, I hope you’ve all been madly following the first round drama (or non-drama), as the 2010 South Africa World Cup is revving up and charging along. Can you believe it? Tomorrow, one-third of the group stage games will be done and in the books. But so far, more than a few of the groups are still looking undecided and up for grabs.
In case you didn’t already know, I’ve joined the USA World Cup Team Blog for the remainder of this month (and hopefully longer, fingers crossed). I have been focusing my commitment over there since I am desperately rooting for the Nats this time. I really think we could get a result with this team. But, yes, I realize though most of you are also likely supporting Team USA, international football is like politics at the family Christmas dinner table. It’s bound to cause rifts and debate, so I’ll leave it out. But, I’ll sneak in that now I’m a little more OK with it if you are rooting for England.
Despite whatever international allegiances you may hold dear, one point of interest is that the final group will be playing their opening matches tomorrow: that of Spain, Switzerland, Chile, and Honduras of Group H. And as we all know, a certain Sounder-to-be (Sounder-elect? What do you call a future team player?) will likely be starting for his country of Switzerland.
Like I was saying above, a lot of the groups have not been opening play in the way people had hoped for scoring-wise. Even Brazil were held to two goals by a defensive North Korea. So it’s not surprising to hear fans and supporters of La Furia Roja forecasting an offensive demolition against Switzerland to open up in style. Spain is easily the most star-studded team in the entire tournament, with the likes of Fernando Torres, David Villa, Cesc Fabregas, and freshly-OK’d Andres Iniesta.
Yet, the ones Seattle Sounders fans will be watching is the lone man starting opposite the tournament favorites, Blaise Nkufo. Unlike the favorites, the Swiss are not at full capacity. And with Spain looking to show the world how to open a World Cup in style, the Swiss will also likely field a defensive team, leaving Blaise as the lone offensive weapon. As such, it will definitely be interesting to watch him operate up top to see if he can try and create some attacking opportunities. This preview from Soccernet also highlights him as a potential threat for the Spanish backline to deal with. In the preview, they’ve included a neat EA FIFA 10 simulation, which shows Blaise getting some close chances and hitting the post. Let’s hope he does better tomorrow.
The game will be at 7AM PST on ESPN for those of you at home, but if you’re looking for a place to view the game, don’t forget to check out my Guide for Viewing the World Cup in Seattle, with plenty of places open bright and early for the match.
In the meantime and after the game, I’ll be writing here and there, but mostly over at the USA blog. Stop by if you’re supporting your Yanks. We’ve still got a whole lot of cup left to watch. Enjoy it!
Next Monday, June 21, tickets will go on sale for the first leg of the Sounders FC’s CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round. Seattle will host Metapan of El Salvador on Wednesday, July 28 in a 7 pm kickoff at Qwest Field.On August 3, the Sounders FC will travel to El Salvador to play Metapan for the second leg of the aggregate-goal series. The winner will advance to the Group Stage or the regional club tournament. The Sounders FC reached the CONCACAF Champions League with their Lamar Hunt US Open Cup championship last season. They join MLS Cup champions Real Salt Lake, the runner-up LA Galaxy and Supporters’ Shield winning Columbus Crew in the tournament, as well as Canadian entry Toronto FC. Seattle and LA both enter in the preliminary round while RSL and Columbus enter in the Group Stage.Seattle’s preliminary round opponent enters the tournament after winning the Clausura 2010 season in the Primera Division in El Salvador. They finished fourth on the table at 6-2-10, but won the championship with a 4-3 upset of top-seeded Luis Angel Firpo and a 3-1 victory over Aguila. The victory gave them their fourth championship in the past seven seasons. This will be their third consecutive appearance in Champions League after being knocked out in the preliminary round in 2008 and the Group Stage in 2009.Since 2001, when they returned to the Primera Division, they have been one of the most consistent clubs in El Salvador. In 2007, they won their first championship when they bested Luis Angel Firpo to take the Clausura crown.Among their top players are defender Alexander Escobar, midfielder Oscar Jimenez and forwards Lester Blanco and Anel Canales. Additionally, 39-year-old goalkeeper Misael Alfaro is surprisingly efficient on the offensive end, with 31 career goals to his credit.The stadiums that will host the two legs appear to be in stark contrast to one another. Qwest Field has hosted 24 consecutive MLS sellouts and the Sounders current average attendance is 36,146. Metapan play their home matches at Estadio Jorge Calero Suarez, an 8,000-seat multi-purpose stadium.Tickets for the home leg will be available at www.SoundersFC.com, by calling 800-745-3000, all Ticketmaster outlets and the Qwest Field Box office.
Here are a couple of fun Sounders FC stories.First, Sigi Schmid was on New Day Northwest last week to talk about the World Cup and give some analysis of some of the top players and teams. Watch that video here.Also, Freddie Ljungberg is featured in a nice Q&A in New York Times Magazine. For that story, read here.And if you want a good laugh, here is a recap of the US-England match in LegoLand.
Within a few moments of arriving in London, I couldn't help but notice the amount of people wearing England shirts. In the airport, and on the hour drive to my brother's home, I would say 1 in 3 people had some kind of England gear on. World Cup fever had definitely hit the nation.I had planned on watching the England/USA game in a pub with some friends because the atmosphere is great in there whenever England play, especially if it's a World Cup game. However, I definitely underestimated the power of jet lag. As soon as I laid down on the couch a couple of hours before kickoff, I knew I would not be moving for a good few hours and so I ended up watching the game with my brother, a good friend of ours and his son.The three of them had England jersey's on. I have to confess that when England scored the early goal (there were some wild celebrations in the room, except me of course!), I was convinced they would go on to win by 2 or 3. But the US fought back and defended well, and even though their goal was extremely fortunate, I think they had some good chances either side of the goal to warrant a draw from the game. When Clint Dempsey shot the ball, I actually looked away from the screen thinking that the goalkeeper was going to easily scoop it up. It was only when I heard my friend scream that I knew something went wrong. It was definitely a bad goal for England to concede.The media and fan reaction on this side of the Atlantic has been very negative. Before the game, everyone was upbeat, but now there are doubts about the team's credentials. In my view, England are still very good, and as a footballer myself, I understand that it is not easy to win any game no matter how much you are expected to.In and around my weird sleeping pattern, I've been able to watch small portions of the following games: Ghana vs. Serbia, Holland vs. Denmark, and Cameroon vs. Japan. I haven't seen anything to change my mind in thinking that both England and the US will emerge from their group and that Argentina will win the whole thing. Obviously, along with the rest of the world, I am still waiting to see Italy, Spain, and Brazil play... maybe one of those teams will change my mind about Argentina.Speak soon! Steve #11
Good Evening from Sandton, Johannesburg. We have returned from Soccer City, in Johannesburg, where we watched the Netherlands take down Denmark 2-0. The Dutch are loaded for this tournament and are currently playing without injured Arjen Robben but they didn't have too much trouble with the Danes. Nicklas Bendtner impressed a couple of times but Denmark never seemed to have The Orange on their heals. Oddly, there were many patches of empty seats and suits throughout the entire stadium. Don't people know that these guys are a dark horse to win?! Speaking of the Orange, we were walking to our new hotel last night looking like complete tourists (backpacks and all) We were behind 5-6 orange clad men as we headed towards the Hilton. We were right on their heals as they were walking quite slow when the man nearest us ask me, "Can I help you with anything?"...."Nope, just headed to our room." I didn't realize that in front of us were Robben and Van Bronckhorst taking a walk witih thier physio...they had 3 pieces of security with them as they walked through town and the security men didn't like us walking so close. I told them that I would not sign any autographs tonight but they really did not appreciate my sarcasm. Oh well. Ends up that we are staying in the team hotel with the Dutch squad. Later in the evening we shared an elevator with Inter's midfielder Wesley Sneijder...he was not very talkative as he had a very important text to write.Staying at the Hilton in Sandton is quite a change from Arthur's place in Kempton Park. The guy below is a great man named Daddy who works at the Hilton ... No really, his name is Daddy. He is fantastic!Yesterday we watched all three matches on tv. 2 were pretty dull (Serbia-Ghana and Algeria-Slovenia) but the 3rd had plenty of goals as Germany destroyed Australia 4-0.After the final match we went to the most bizarre disco in all of South Africa. Again, the people watching was amazing as folks tried to out dance others, almost out of Saturday Night Fever. We just finished up watching Japan beat Cameroon 1-0 and now it's off to Cape Town. The weather has been beautiful and we are really looking forward to checking out Cape Town. Talk to you soon, Matt
The Danish and the Dutch differentiate themselves once and for all. Honda makes more than cars out of Cameroon, and the defending World champs escape Paraguay with a point.
Tickets to go on sale on June 21, 2010
It’s official, the games have begun! The World Cup 2010 in South Africa is under way, and for those of us who aren’t going to actually be in Rainbow Nation to soak it all in, we’re just as privileged here in Seattle with so many unique soccer experiences to enjoy. Everyone has their one or two favorite places, whether its the George and Dragon or Fuel Sports Bar, but did you know about all of these other interesting places and events around Seattle?
I’m a bit of a fledgling foodie geek, and I squeal like a piggy when I think about combining the three most fantastic things in my world: food, beer, and soccer. Below is a small summary of the places that do one or all of these things well, and that I think will be worth checking out during the World Cup to make your viewing pleasure that much better. Whether it’s rowdy crowds, delicious breakfast or pubfare, or just overflowing beer everywhere, there’s something for everyone to make this World Cup that much better.
Atlantic Crossing – Ravenna
In addition to being an official MLS pub (a title only a few bars in the USA share), it’s usually home base to the Emerald City Supporters and American Outlaws. With exception to the Neumo’s veiwing party for USA-England (which you should all know about if you don’t already), most World Cup matches will be available here as replays, starting at 11am. Just in time for their delicious lunch and beer menu.
Fado – Pioneer Square
A classic Seattle soccer bar, this place is always great for an early morning match. Opening at the ungodly hour of 4:30AM, almost every match will be showing live. As an Irish pub, availability of fantastic beer and food is what draws fans from all over into the Pioneer Square fixture, not to mention their special World Cup menu to keep you warm and happy around breakfast time. Sure to be packed and riotous for all major games.
Other places to check out: Celtic Bayou in Redmond, Azurri Italian Soccer Bar in Fremont, Prost! – Greenwood and West Seattle
Food and Beer
The Dray – Ballard
Many recommendations for this cozy football and food experience. Located in Ballard, they will be showing all matches live, starting at 4:30AM, and replays of each game from 4PM, 6, and 8. But more importantly, they will be serving coffee, beer, and delicious foods. I quote an item from their menu, “four little pigs: chopped bacon and thyme-blended cheddar cheese with diced onion, apples and jalapeno on brioche rolls with curry mayo.” Sound delicious? Will likely be crowded for big games, so go at an odd hour.
Brouwer’s Cafe – Fremont
This bar is run by association with Bottleworks, the everything beer store in Wallingford, so it’s not surprising that their beer selection is top-notch. In addition to showing all 11:30 games live, with most replays throughout the day, they have a simply scrumptious menu to enjoy. Definitely a place to check out, after you’ve stumbled from your games at Azzurri and the George and Dragon.
Other places to check out: Taphouse Grill in Bellevue, The Ram in University Village
Family Friendly and Outdoor Showings
Nord Alley – Pioneer Square
A big group of sponsors will be showing all 11:30 games live in Pioneer Square, in an family friendly and open environment. They will have staff to assist with parking and seating, with room for 50-60 seating and many more standing. Best part, the showings are free! Definitely go for a match when the weather is nice. Check out their facebook page for more info. Should be fun!
Phinney Neighborhood Association – Phinney
A great event for the entire family, the PNA will be transforming the Phinney Neighborhood Center with projectors and audio from Magnolia Audio/Video, food vendors, and activities and face painting for children. Admission is by suggested donation, but anyone is welcome to enjoy the set up. Most games will be shown live, starting at 6:30AM.
Other places to check out: All Nations Soccer Restaurant on Aurora
Personal Picks – Where I’ll be trying to go for a game!
Cafe Presse – Capitol Hill
Jim and Joane of Le Pichet fame opened the smaller Cafe Presse with soccer in mind. It’s a cozy breakfast and bar that will be showing all the World Cup games live, starting at 7AM. Enjoy a yogurt with honey and walnuts or chocolate on a baguette with your early morning coffee. Online TV schedule here.
Musicquarium Lounge at the Triple Door
The Triple Door lounge will be showing all 11:30 games everyday in the swanky new Musicquarium, with a huge projector, lunch, and beer specials all day. Their dinner and happy hour menu is enough of a reason to go, but this is definitely an exciting step up from your local dive. Check out their facebook page.
My other places I’m checking out: Summit Public House, St. Andrews Pub on Aurora, the Baltic Room on Capitol Hill, and many more!
Check out my full list here, available in a convenient Google map. It’s keyed according to the the categories above, with a short description for most of the places I’ve picked out. If you have any suggestions, feel free to add your favorite place below as a comment!
See the full Seattle Guide to the World Cup!
Early = Open Early(time listed)
* = Official MLS Bar
= Family Friendly
:X = Go for the Beer
View Seattle Guide to the World Cup in a larger map
Well, it was all worth it...alll of it. The 8 hour flight to London where I was sat next to an adorable 1 year old girl named Ola who cried most of the way. The 7 hour layover at Heathrow, and the brutal 11.5 hour flight from London to Johannesburg where the gentleman next to me switched from either snoring or drooling during at least 8 of the 11.5 hours. But this evening I was reminded why I keep making these treks to the World Cup. Doug, Adam, and myself were fortunate enough to have great seats for today's opening match between South Africa and Mexico. The atmosphere was amazing, the action was of high quality, and the people watching was spectacular.I don't really want to analyze the matches that I witness but I'd much rather try to put into words what I witnessed. Mexico had plenty of chances, up to four or five quality chances in the first half. But when they didn't get, as my friend Alan Hinton would say, "a lump of sugar" and rewarded for any of these chances South Africa took advantage and struck for the 1st goal of the match early into the 2nd half. It wasn't just a goal though...it was a cannon of a left foot to the opposite side of the net by Siphiwe Tshabalala. Have I ever seen him play before? No. Have I ever even heard his name? Nope! He plays for the Kaizer Chiefs who I believe play in the South African league. But it was the goal itself that brought the majority of the 85 thousand fans to their feet. It was hope for a country, the host country. It was a statement that let the world know that they belong on this stage. The crowd went NUTZ, absolutley bezerk. More chances came for the home squad before Marquez equalized late. But then another post was hit as the South Africans never let up their pressure and stayed true to their confidence.And this is why I go...I had goose bumps on a number of occasions today. Having not slept in two days I fell asleep in the cab on the way out to the stadium but I have been filled with adrenaline ever since the match started.We are now, there are about 15 of us in a log cabin, watching the France-Uruguay match sharing our experiences from day 1...There are three from LA, a couple from Argentina, and another couple from Germany. Everyone sharing this one common thread. Tomorrow we head to Rustenburg for USA's big opener against England. I will be able to sleep because I'm exhausted but once I wake up my body will fill with excitement as this will be the first time I will witness the English national team.I'll talk to you tomorrow from Rustenburg, South Africa.
The first day of the 2010 World Cup kicked off in South Africa with two draws. The host nation tied 1-1 with Mexico while Uruguay and France battled to a clean sheet final. But what was the REAL story?
I have been talking with some of the players and coaches over the last few days about what they have planned for the next eight days while the Sounders FC are on a break for the World Cup. Many are headed to their respective homes - whether that be in Los Angeles or Colombia or London, England.Goalkeeper coach Tom Dutra, however, asked me last week about what I am doing on Saturday when the US faces England in each team's first Group Stage match. Dutra will be in his hometown of Olympia watching the game with some of his friends, but also preparing for a game of his own.Every year for the last few years, he has played in an alumni soccer game between North Thurston High School and Dutra's Timberline High School. It's the Melee in Lacey. And this year they are doing it with a special cause in mind.For the past year, three-year-old Mia Deligeannis has been battling Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). All proceeds from Saturday afternoon's match and the party that follows go to Friends of Mia, which was set up to assist the child's family through a trying time.Click the links for more information about Friends of Mia, the Melee in Lacey or the event to follow.
Seattle were served by a Chris Pontius hat-trick that left Seattle with a 3-2 loss at home. Despite a dominating attacking performance, Seattle’s defense let in one two many, and by the time Seattle staged a brave 90th minute comeback with James Riley and Fredy Montero grabbing desperation goals, it wasn’t enough.
The Sounders had 20 shots to DC’s 6, but a poor performance from Kasey Keller gifted DC with the most goals they’ve scored this season. Keller’s mistakes led to all of the goals allowed.
I really want to say more, but for now I’ll leave it and say that we could all use the MLS break. Right now, your thoughts are the same as mine.
I will be in contact with Sounders FC forward Blaise Nkufo as he embarks on his first World Cup with the Swiss National Team in South Africa. Switzerland is in Group H with Spain, Honduras and Chile and opens play Wednesday, June 16 against Spain. Their other matches are Monday, June 21 against Chile and Friday, June 25 against Honduras.Q: How do you feel about your group and your chances of getting through?Nkufo: All teams which participate in the World Cup have qualities and they deserve to be in this tournament. We have a good group and Spain is the best team and one the favorite squad for winning the World Cup. I expect that they will be first. With Switzerland, Chile and Honduras, we are competing for this second place. We do have real chance of getting through. It has to be our goal and ambition. Q: What do you most look forward to about playing in your first World Cup?Nkufo: For the team if we go through, it will be a big achievement. Personally it is a big challenge playing versus the best teams in the World. I am challenging with myself, I am curious to see if I can raise my level and being a leader. I would like to help the team to win games. And another side getting experience of such competition for the future.Q: What has the experience in South Africa been like? What does it mean to you to have the World Cup in Africa?Nkufo: It doesn’t mean anything for me to have the World Cup in Africa. I mean, it is like I ask to a American what meant for him the last Winter Olympics Game in Canada? It is good for this country but at the end of day nothing changes for me. Of course generally I have different feeling or sensitivity about this continent regarding sociocultural problems.Stay tuned to SoundersFC.com for more coverage throughout the World Cup.
Get out and watch the world's game with the Sounders FC Gowalla Trip
Traded from the Sounders earlier this season, midfielder Stephen King is thriving in his new role with DC United.
Vote here for Leo and Steve!
Captain Curt Onalfo leads last-placed DC United into Qwest Field Thursday evening for the last match before the World Cup breaks out.
When: 7:00PM kickoff
Where: Qwest Field
How: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Preview at Goal.com
I have a special thing for Onalfo, as for some reason I seem to follow him around. My first ever Sounders game at Qwest was an US Open Cup penalties win over Onalfo’s then MLS Wizards. And it seems I’ve been to every game since where Onalfo has visited. Onalfo’s current record against Seattle is 1-3, with two losses in Open Cup play. Notably, DC United’s loss in the Open Cup final at RFK last year was before he was named their new manager (Dec 28, 2009), but that was after KC was taking a nosedive under him that capitulated in a 6-0 loss against Dallas.
I like this guy about as much as he likes Seattle. As much as he likes “that punk” Fredy Montero, as much as he thinks Seattle is a team of “diving cheats”.
When it comes to Onalfo, I’m not afraid to trash talk. His singularly brilliant style of management has flipped the tables. He’s helped to turn the 2007 Supporter’s Shield winners into contenders for last place. But not for lack of trying. Injuries definitely have had a hand in this season’s rough start. But, in the end, Onalfo simply has no idea what he is doing. Oddly enough, most DCU fans will agree.
However, the controversial manager has an array of offensive weapons in front of him, with a lot of young guns waiting to make an impact in MLS. Yet, under his leadership, DC somehow botched the resigning of 2007 MVP and Golden Boot winner Luciano Emilio, who’s been misfiring this season due to his unsettling, along with underperforming forwards Chris Pontius and Jaime Moreno. Capped Santino Quaranta and Clyde Simms have been past DCU stalwarts, but are languishing in inconsistency. Newcomer and former Notts County/Hull City striker Danny Allsopp hasn’t quite had the expected splash Barra Brava have hoped for. Lastly, DC have a lot of bright potential, with 17 year-old World Cup bound Andy Najar and Bill Hamid quietly earning their titles as wunderkids (slightly jealous).
Seattle showed brilliant first half dominance against the New England Revolution, the kind of inspired home performance we’ve all been missing. With the game’s performance still fresh, it’ll be nice to wrap up the first semester of MLS with a good grade. A comfortable spanking of DC would do nicely.
If you’re planning on being at the game, go a little early and grab a delicious bratwurst before the game!
The Johnsonville Big Taste Grill can cook up to 750 brats at a time, or 2,500 per hour. It weighs in at 53,000 pounds and measures 6 feet in diameter, 20 feet tall and 65 feet in length.
The Giant Truck Grill will be there, beginning at 5PM, to serve hungry Sounders fans and help raise funds for the United Nations Nothing But Nets campaign against Malaria. A suggested donation along with your brat would help make this tour and campaign successful in raising funds to fight off Malaria this summer in Africa. The grill alone has helped raise over $3 million for organizations all around the country. But you stopped reading after “750 brats at a time”. It’s OK, I just realized how hungry I am too. And, now I know what I want to drive around when I grow up.
Um yeah, 4-1 Sounders demolition. Can you smell Onalfo cooking already? Yeah, that’s him steaming mad…
The Monday after the World Cup final in 1994 my brother and I were flying home after witnessing Brazil winning their fifth championship on penalties over Italy. Most can remember Roberto Baggio going high over the bar concluding the shootout and giving Brazil the win. But for me it was the feeling of being part of something special…along with 95 thousand others, we were there to witness a World Championship, and history.I had arrived the previous Tuesday and was lucky enough to watch the semi-final between Brazil and Sweden, the consolation match featuring Bulgaria and Sweden, and, of course, the final. Each game and game day produced many memories, but it was a simple statement that my brother, Allen, threw my way on that Monday flight home that produced the most lasting impact.Other details of the flight have faded, but one remains. Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, Allen leaned in while I was asleep and simply said, “Let’s do this every four years.”Needing the sleep and really not wanting to get into a conversation I gazed through bloodshot eyes and mumbled, “OK.”I did not realize that Allen’s simple statement and my one word response would not only shape my appreciation for international and European football but would allow me to travel the world and at the same time appreciate everything that we have here in the States.You sometimes think that time stands still, but there we were four years later on our way to France for the ‘98 Cup. The hosts, big favorites still had to contend with the traditional powers…Brazil, Italy, Germany, and England. Again, as I head to South Africa today for my fifth World Cup, I look forward to a new experience and reflect on the past 16 years of travel. As I prepare for two weeks in Johanesburg, Rustenburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town, I think of the gentleman that we met as we traveled through miles of rice paddies in Korea. We shared our soccer experiences. He revealed that this trip, in 2002, was his 10th World Cup. He told us of how he was at Pele’s first World Cup match…Allen and I were putty in his hands as he wove his stories of soccer adventures through Italy, Mexico, and Argentina. He was not bragging, merely sharing, and Allen and I ate it all up…as we settled in our seats on the speed train, Allen looked at me and said, “That will be us.”After the Final in Pasadena in ‘94 came France, followed by Korea, and Germany.The experience in France led us to take an “extra” trip to London in January ‘99. This was my first glimpse of the highest level of football in England and I was absolutely hooked.One thing that I think that I should mention is that my brother and I have never traveled with tickets secured or hotel rooms booked. Well, we usually have our first and last nights set, but since we really never knew where we would end up day to day, we would just walk the city seeking a room and always succeeded. Also, we would always find tickets outside each stadium and realized that not everyone wanted to see the likes of Tunisia-Columbia in Montpellier. In one incredible stroke of fortune, we saw Carlos Valderrama play one of his last matches ever for 40 American dollars….unbelievable experience.The taste of the trip to England and World Cup travels fostered my love for Champions Leagues games…I witnessed two semi-finals (Arsenal-Man U and Chelsea-Barca) in 2009 and attended the final in Moscow, Russia when Man U and Chelsea faced off the year before, another match decided by penalty kicks.That match concluded seven great days of soccer travel,an experience I’m not sure I’ll ever equal. I had flown to London the Tuesday before, by myself, and immediately jumped a train to Bristol. I was hoping to find a ticket to the Bristol City-Crystal Palace playoff match but was shut out for the first time ever. Bristol played in a small stadium, and other than that shaking, thunderous site, the town was deserted.I got back to the train station in time to head to Manchester that evening where the UEFA Cup final was to be played the following night. Dejected, I was worried that I had made a huge mistake traveling by myself; I wondered if I would make it into the final the next night.In the morning I gathered my things and jumped a bus to the Stadium of Light, a very nice venue, but I learned that in the city of Manchester there is only one stadium…that story in a minute.I met a great gentleman that could not believe that I had travelled from Seattle to watch The Rangers take on Zenit Saint Petersburg. He had stopped me to ask who had helped me produce the sign that I was carrying. It read: “NEED ONE TICKET,” a plea written in both English and Russian. (I was hoping that it made sense because I was a bit rusty with my Russian). Actually, I had a group of young men help me write the sign and I could only imagine what they wrote…and now I’m holding up for everyone to read.After making small talk, he finally asked me the golden words, “How much do you want to spend?” After a little bartering, I found myself on the fifty directly below Zenit’s President. I followed that match up with the FA Cup Final at Wembley on Saturday and the Champions League Final the following Wednesday in Moscow. An unbelievable journey.The following May found us in London for back-to-back semi-finals and the stories continued. All together I have witnessed 27 World Cup games, three English Premier league matches, three Champions League affairs and even a Worthington Cup replay where I fell in love with the home crowd of The West Ham Hammers…If you can get past the fact that those Iron fans might beat you up you are in great shape…I have been a West Ham supporter ever since the 1999 loss to Aston Villa. I do not mention these experiences so I can say, “Hey, look what I have done,” but more so to inspire others to take a trip that you might not think is possible. IT IS!There are tickets available outside every building, it is much more affordable than one might think, and if you plan on taking the trip, purchase your flight in advance and you’ll be amazed at the savings.It is now that I have to say that this trip has a bit of an empty feeling as the coolest brother anyone could have is not able to make the trip…his oldest son graduates from high school and he obviously makes better choices than I. I am flying with two great friends and we actually have a bunch of tickets already purchased so there will definitely be a different feel to this venture.We are going to be flying from Seattle to London, London to Johanesburg. The only flight that I will be able to compare it to is the non-stop from Seattle to Tokyo…that bastard was a long one. South Africa will throw travel challenges our way the likes of which I have never experienced. Train stations, to me, are some of the most exciting parts of any trip…Seoul Station, Tokyo, Moscow, Paris, London, Berlin, Busan, Toulouse, Stutgart. They all are amazing in their own ways but South Africa will be void of them…not only will we be without trains but subways, which the most of the world has perfected, will be something that we’ll be doing without for two weeks.We arrive in Johannesburg on Thursday at 7 am and after finding a hotel room and grabbing a nap, we’ll join 90 thousand others as host country South Africa opens the Finals with Mexico.I am thrilled once again to check out a part of the world that a) I have never toured and b) will probably never come back to…Soccer is just the best excuse to travel the world.I hope you join me throughout my journey, and as the World Cup brings us all together, I hope that you can picture yourself in Rustenburg this Saturday as we take on the mighty English.I’ll talk to you soon, Matt "Stretch" Johnson
So it’s the wee hours of the morning, I have my first final in a few hours, but I had a brilliant idea to put together a guide for where to watch the World Cup in and around Seattle.
I have a few places in mind already that I will give a shout out to, and some very interesting things happening all around town. However, with Seattle arguably one of the biggest Soccer cities in the country, you can bet that everywhere will be showing games in all sorts of atmospheres and environments. And it would be a shame to not catch a game at some of these places. So, my question is for you! Where is your favorite place to watch soccer in Seattle?
And I mean which place has the rowdiest viewers? Where can you watch the game and enjoy some fantastic cuisine? Or best selection of brews to sip? Best ambiance? Best hole in the wall? Maybe a smaller, cozy place where you can relax with a few friends, or an open environment where it’s you and hundreds of fellow Red, White, and Blue’s? What’s the one place you always go back to, or the one place you’ve always wanted to try?
I want to hear it! I’m putting all suggestions into my nifty guide, and hopefully have it up in time by Friday, so leave your World Cup viewing plans open!
SoundersFC.com has selected their squad of 32 World Cup bloggers to represent the 32 nations in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Learn about each blogger with their winning entry to the question: Why will your country win?
SoundersFC.com has selected their squad of 32 World Cup bloggers to represent the 32 nations in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Learn about each blogger with their winning entry to the question: Why will your country win?
Leo Gonzalez was among the least-likely candidates to turn around the Sounders FC's scoring fortunes. His impact went well beyond a fifth minute goal in Seattle's 3-0 win over New England though.
The Sounders grabbed all three points, courtesy of three fantastic first half goals.
Some gorgeous photos of the match over on the official website.
Real fast, my 2nd half notes
sick racing strip on Freddie’s head
Zak with a good chance, it only needed the receiving end of the connection
montero with the half bike
evans and ianni in the middle is how it should be
this is so great, freddie gets swiped at, holds his leg, but he doesn’t flail and swing his arms around in digust at the foul. THEN, the ref runs over at checks to see if Freddie is hurt, almost like he is genuinely concerned. haha
good distribution from the back up the sides
montero ALMOST stepped aside of keeper
Freddie gets a finger in the cookie jar, everyones getting tastes tonight
ORGASMIC pass from freddie to evans, ALMOSTALMOSTALMOST
this has to be said, freddie plays so much better without the pressure of carrying the team
pat got a sniff too
montero with some swfit feet
shots: 15 – 1. yeah, like that.
penalty. needs. to. be. given.
i am so happy. keller just exploded. oh god, i love it.
EVANS, even he got a clear chance at goal.
that one touch combination just gave me a DIRTY dirty smile
levesque with a shot
Freddie with man of the match, much deserved
A couple things to walk away with
1) We finally know how to score at home
Boca was no fluke. We know how to bring the game at home, and the Sounders showed that they have flair, attitude, and actual finishing ability (that’s what she said). On nearly 20 shots to 1, with 7(?) on goal, the Sounders ably converted for 3 goals. Three! 3! Oh, and this season, when the Sounders score, we don’t lose. So I think I’m good making predictions again. At least I got the win and the goals scored right.
2) We finally know how to use Freddie
I’ll say it, Freddie was immaculate tonight, and proved all his haters wrong by doing just what he needed to do. I made a mental note during the game that Freddie was visibly playing with less pressure. He wasn’t afraid to make runs, make passes, and he wasn’t carrying the full weight of the team’s foul complaints. Now, I don’t know if he said to Jorge Gonzalez before the match that if he protected him from blatant attacks, Freddie would deliver a boat full of Swedish models, but whatever deal they agreed upon seemed to work. Freddie didn’t complain about a single call. He might’ve thrown a hand up at a teammate’s play, but that’s not complaining that detracts from the flow of the game. Instead, any time Freddie was fouled, he picked his butt up, and hustled. I saw at least one or two instances of his foul leading to a quick restart that caught NE off-guard. It was reassuring, but also refreshing, to see Freddie go from loud guy everyone expects to play brilliant football to quiet leader who worked hard to set a good example. I think the good attitude rubbed off on everyone else, directly leading to the win.
3) Taylor Graham
Has the same birthday as me! Woot!
4) Pat Noonan is good in my book
So this guy comes from New England, right, only after bouncing around the league from just about every team you know. But he plays in some early season games, doesn’t really impress me much. I thought, blah, he’s just going to bounce his way out of Seattle, just give him til summer and he’ll be traded for a draft pick. Then BAM out of nowhere, the guy stuns me with his striker’s goal against Boca. And tonight, against his old team, he looked spot on. Really, it would’ve been 4-0 if his goal shot had been 0.02mm to the right of the goal post. But it was the spin move, determination, and smart feet that led up to the ping’ed shot that really impressed me. This guy has shown me that he can play backseat poacher to Fredy’s up top antics, and he’s going to catch fire real soon. It’s a shame it wasn’t earlier on, but I see him learning some good things from Blaise in late July.
5) Refs need not be scared of the Emerald City
As long as you give us our calls, or we get the win. Both would be nice once in a modern century, but I’ll take the win for now.
Sorry sorry sorry everyone, I hope you’ll excuse my absence. I promise it won’t be a regular thing. I’ve had a hectic and brutal schedule of finals, woman friend family obligations, my own family flying back from all over the world for just a few short days, and oh, my own birthday. Times like these, I wish time could just stop time, or at least slow it down enough for me to play catch up. If I weren’t such a fat winger, I could stay with the play of the game, eh?
Who: Boys in bright green VERSUS the irrelevant musketeers
What: A game
When: NOW Qwest Field/RBP 7:30
Why?: ARE you reading this, when you could be 1) drinking 2) watching the game 3) silently praying for some sort of home result that won’t make me 4) repeat steps 1 and 2
3-2, Nyassi and Montero fortehwin? Gosh, I get more and more hesitant to call out results these days. Let’s give me some of my confidence back boys.
Here are my notes. Now quickly, reactions of aldehydes and carboxylic acids…
early chance 3 minutes in
how am i watching a rev’s broadcast stream, wtf
zak should have won that goal
noonan with some uneasy service, but he’s doing well to get some revenge
brad evans looks hot
zakuani airlines, sending high above qwest field. good effort
spotted friends, got that over with fast
lol, stevie nicol was so pissed in his “talk to the coach segment” with the rev’s broadcaster. awesome
ZAKKKKKKUAAAAANNNNNNNIIIIII WITH A THRILLER
wow, its working
its actually working
when freddie complains less, they get more calls their way, WHODATHUNK
NOONAN good god son, great spin and way to fight for your shot
MONTERO with some beautiful control YESYESYES
this might be my favorite game evar
mmm delicious, kasey giving tryone some orders
very classy, they show some fans with some signs for preston burpo to get well soon
and revs broadcast misses the fact that burpo was a longtime sounder, trust me we dont all love new england players that much
Leo Gonzalez tallied a goal and an assist to put the Sounders back on track in a 3-0 win over New England at Qwest Field.
The Sounders FC is featured prominently in this week's Time Magazine feature on soccer in America.It is a great snapshot of how soccer has grown - and continues to grow - in this country.One quote that I find interesting is Landon Donovan's line - "Players say it's just like playing in Europe." Really Landon? Do players say that? Or does Landon, who just played in Europe and has played now three times in Seattle with the Galaxy?Read the story here.
"Remember the name."That was Arlo White's call when Michael Seamon scored in the Sounders FC's 3-0 win over Boca Juniors in a friendly last week. This week, the club rewarded him with a contract.For more on the Villanova product's signing, go to http://sndrs.com/p9xz.
Sanna Nyassi has squared off against malaria and won. Facing his twin brother and the New England Revolution on Saturday is hardly a challenge.
It doesn’t happen often that I get a chance to sip some tea and wax poetic about the Sounders (read: watch funny youtube videos), so I’m loving it as I’ve spent all morning and afternoon sleeping in and doing nothing productive (thanks to all who keep us safe, overseas and at home). But it was only because late last night, I swear I had trouble half-sleeping as I was trying to wrap my head around the current state of Sounders season. I stayed up watching highlights of all the league matches from Saturday, and that’s when I started thinking.
You could easily look at just this weekend’s results alone to accurately judge how the MLS season is doing right now. Teams like LA Galaxy, Toronto FC, and Real Salt Lake (NYRB should be on the list, if it weren’t for some ref’s calls) all got wins. San Jose and NYRB have both experienced complete 180’s this season. You could look at each of these clubs to find out how or why, but you wouldn’t have to search for long. In the end, all of it boils down to the play on the field. But that’s just the beginning of it.
The first thing I realized is that the level of play in MLS is still not where we want it to be, and that’s what’s allowed Toronto, San Jose, and New York to be performing much better than they did last year. Most notably, I’m talking new signings. Julian de Guzman and Bobby Convey are not blockbusters or red carpet bombers, not like this guy. But watching the highlights of the matches, both these players had a foot involved in the goals and in the win (Toronto’s win over SJ). Simply by bringing what they have from Deportivo la Coruna and Reading, respectively not high-tier clubs by any standard, they’ve boosted the level of play in their home stadiums. Compare that to the season before, where Toronto’s biggest signing was FC Dallas defender Adrian Serioux. San Jose, meanwhile, was arguably one of the busiest clubs in the offseason, grabbing impact players like Bobby Convey, Eduardo, Javier Robles, and Ike Opara (to name just a few). Of all of the new signings, Convey probably has the biggest name. But Eduardo was a reject from Swiss giants Basel, Robles a good product from Argentina, and Opara a standout draftee who has had an immediate impact. Along with San Jose’s many signings, New York Red Bull is another team that fits in here, with a revamping of their system from the top down. You can also talk about LA Galaxy, who smartly grabbed three players on loan from Sao Paulo and basically got a new and improved Landon Donovan back from his stint at Everton.
So all of the clubs I just listed were busy making moves off the field. And currently, all of those clubs are in the middle of a very fine run of (consistent!) form. So what do their front office’s activities have to do with Seattle?
Well, when Seattle was first announced as an expansion, it was like being handed a blank slate. The possibilities in front of our FO were limitless. Anyone who’s played a new game of Football Manager as Chelsea or Real Madrid knows the giddy feeling of being a kid in a candy shop. That was me, back in 2007, knowing that we could build a team of dynamos and wonderkids to dominate the league. And, with our then incredible Front Office, we did. To everyone’s surprise, we nabbed a European superstar, an American legend, and some shining youth from around the world. Our first season was making CEO’s and administrators at veteran clubs around the league salivate. It was everything any soccer fan in Seattle could dream of, and fans everywhere rejoiced at the example set by Seattle and the promise for the future of MLS.
The thing is, a few smart clubs have learned from the example set by Seattle. And as much as we all prophesied the great potential of MLS’ ability to rise, well, it has. Not by much. It’s still very much the same physical, tactically deficient game it was last year. But Seattle is no longer top dog, with the greatest owners and fanciest sweater. Oddly enough, in one year, the level of MLS has risen past the level that Seattle’s FO had spent two years preparing for, from 2007 to 2009. We all thought we were the genius kids in the class, raising our hands and volunteering, destroying simple arithmetic on the chalkboard that we thought the other kids were too blind to see. We didn’t know about the sly kids in the back of the class, copying our notes.
Either that, or we were too caught up being arrogant, thinking we were the smartest and coolest around. Because that’s definitely the attitude the FO and coaching staff took when they thought we could waltz back into our sophomore year with last year’s outdated fashion, old beat up shoes, and (oh gosh) the same 32 set of crayon nubs we had last year and not the new 64 set with glittery purple.
I’ll quit it with the metaphors if you can understand what I’m saying. The thing is, it wasn’t just the FO, or Sigi, or even Freddie Ljungberg for believing he was better than it all the whole time. We ALL thought like this. We ALL thought that with our second season, we would romp to a Supporter’s Shield off the back of our Lamar Hunt trophy. Fredy would catch fire faster and burn brighter. Freddie would score some goals. Kasey would… stop getting older? No. Urm, scratch that.
So it’s no surprise, no surprise at all I realized late last night, that all of Seattle, from the average fans to the blogopress, are calling for heads, wanting players out in hopes of reducing our chances of finishing second to last (where we are currently sitting), and desperate for something to latch onto before we hit rock bottom. Because that’s what it feels like, when we are expecting it all to be handed to us on a plate and getting sloppy seconds instead. But it’s not that easy, because we did such a good job setting an example, it came back to bite us in the butt. Other teams have out-scouted us, out-financed us, out-coached us, and out-performed us. The only area where we beat every other team is in fan support.
I always have the utmost respect for the Front Office, no matter how stupid they look or act sometimes. Because they have to be the ones with the initiative. They have to use their experience and judgment to make these kinds of decisions. And, bless them, they knew this and saw this coming before all of us. However, it was a little too late. It was only until the season started, when they saw other club’s scouts sneaking around the playground, talking secretively to all the cute girls, and other club’s owners silently studying in the library, doing their homework. It was when we were too busy riding our high horse, hanging out with our fake-posse of journalists who distracted us from the details, that we didn’t realize we had work to do too. OK, sorry, sorry, I’ll stop.
The point is, Blaise Nkufo can’t come soon enough. He was supposed to be our off-season move. He was supposed to be here to help us keep our competitive edge. Had the FO been on their game, they would have signed him earlier, or another impact player all the same. Instead, they thought they could build solely off our first season and still achieve success. It was an honest mistake, and they’ve tried to cover up for it by signing Blaise after the World Cup ends. But, as the internet explodes with anger and frustration, many of us feel it might be too late. Freddie wants out. If he doesn’t want out, WE want him out. Fredy can’t score. Sigi looks lost and helpless, almost listless during games. Our youth is wasting on the sidelines without a chance to shine. No matter if Blaise can come in July and score all of the 20 some goals we should have scored already, he can’t fix these things. Or can he?
I’ve always thought Blaise looked a litte like Tyrese from the Fast and Furious movie series. Yeah, I know they’re cheesey and gimicky, but I had a testosterone teen history where I thought it was cool to like cars. But anyways, in the movie Tyrese was the bad boy. More so, Tyrese screwed the system and did things his way. Now, from the interviews I’ve seen, Blaise looks as harmless as a kitten. But he brings with him a winning way, in a different aspect that Freddie Ljungberg ever had. In his career, Blaise went through years of agony at Twente, scoring bags of goals but never winning silver. Freddie, on the other hand, was a part of an invincible team, the likes of which we’ll probably never see again. Yet, Freddie was merely one unit in an oily team of stars, where other individual performances carried his. No doubt, Freddie played his part in Arsenal’s success. But so did Henry, Pires, Bergkamp, Reyes, Campbell, on and on and on. Blaise on the other hand, he captained his team to their first ever title. EVER.
So though Freddie knows how to win, Blaise knows what to do to get there. And honestly, that’s what I’m hoping he brings, more than just goals. I want Blaise to bring a true players leader attitude, something that every other MLS team has that we don’t have. Donovan, Convey, Angel, and De Rosario, they all have this. You could argue Keller was our inspirational leader for a while, but I don’t see this. If our keeper was our leader, I’d want to see Kasey flipping out like Howard in one of his many bouts. Keller’s lackadaisical performances thus far have been anything but inspiring. All it would take for Blaise to step in and fill the void as team leader would be to score one goal. And that’s it.
What else can he do? What else can we do? Other than hope for another impact transfer to hopefully fill in for Alonso and Hurtado being out injured, the only other option we have is to keep doing what we’re doing. Keep working hard to play hard, and if the soccer gods are kind enough, results will fall into place. There’s no other way we can change that, unless a Russian oil magnate suddenly finds interest in Seattle. Until then, we can’t force it.
I’ve spent the past three years of my life waiting for June 11th, as you may know if you’ve been following the USA World Cup Offside blog, where I’ve joined part-time. The World Cup is the single most exciting thing in my life, next to maybe drugs, sex, and rock and roll, all of which I partake in frequently. Yeah, it’s true. So now you know what I mean when I say, I want Blaise here, and can someone tell me, when does the World Cup end?
This loss is disappointing only because we know we should have at least been on one point with a fighting chance for three. But, we were fought to a standstill, and with some unfortunate calls and non-calls, Colorado got the important home win.
Keller and Co. put in what seemed like a solid defensive outing, returning all that Colorado tried to give. Conor Casey converted the only goal of the match in the 63rd minute. Jeff Parke was unlucky as he got beat and couldn’t recover from the ground quickly enough to prevent Casey’s chipped goal. Keller was helpless to do anything as he watched it sail over him.
There were definitely some good chances spurned by Seattle, as our finishing still hasn’t got the mojo back. After all the talk about whining this week from just about everybody (and me too!), Freddie got his chance to put it all to bed by scoring one. Zakuani led him on a great breakaway against the goalie, but Freddie shot wide off his left foot. There were other chances with freekicks and promising Montero shots.
Seattle worked hard, and looked productive and positive. Yet, despite it all, Colorado were the better team, simply because they were able to convert just one of their chances into a goal. Seattle had 9 attempts and only 1 shot on goal.
We could all sit here and blame ref’s, tactics, and injuries for the lack of results, but at the end of season that would be quite boring. So I am left here sitting in the dark and scratching my brain, because I just can’t figure out what’s causing it. I know what ‘it’ is, of course. It’s the slide into mediocrity and helpless underwhelming that we’re destined for if we can’t right the ship. But how to do this?
One thing is for sure, we have a positive to look forward to in July, that could solve all our potential firing problems. He could literally be the last bolt we need in the machine to get it running smoothly. But, that feels cheap, because we all know with the team we’ve got and the potential and depth on the bench, we should be winning. So there has to be something else. I thought I had it figured it out, in my pregame, thinking that we don’t have our mojo because we’re playing like we lost it. But, now I’m resigned to think that it’s something else. Maybe it’s the Electric Yellow that’s missing? Maybe it’s something in the grass?
Conor Casey scored the only goal and the Rapids outdueled the Sounders FC.
Man, I’ve been busy. I think I’ve watched 5 soccer games this week. Not that that’s a bad thing. Not that it ever could be. But this is good warmup for the World Cup, when I’ll be trying to watch every single match. I’ve never done it before, but like the Sounders right now, I’m warming up.
The Sounders are in Colorado today for another quickie road trip. The game will be on KONG 6 at 6PM, with a Sounders pre-game show at 5:30 perfect for some evening pre-gaming. We could all use a return to fitness.
Official matchday card
And, of course, your cheat sheet
What we need to do to win
Only 18 traveled, too many out injured to list
Goal.com breaks it down nicely
Match to be officiated by Jair Marrufo
More preview goodies below.
So now that everyone’s got back from their break after watching the USMNT beat Turkey, let’s get back to that MLS action we all hate to love. Or love to hate, if your English, and oh, three players from MLS are going to tear you apart.
The Colorado Rapids have two games in hand, and they are sitting only one point ahead of us in the Western Conference standings. It’ll be important to recreate what we did in New York two weeks ago if we’re to climb into a comfortable spot before the World Cup break. After the Rapids, we’ve got two home games before the 2 weeks off, before we leave for a Philly and LA for a road trip.
Here are some of my pre-game thoughts:
1) We remember what it’s like to score goals
Against Boca Juniors, our reserves and rookies found some form scoring some great goals, but our starters didn’t. The game was only three nights ago, so the memory of it will still be fresh for everyone. Hopefully this can trigger some sort of brain wave reaction from our starters to rediscover the scoring form we had last year. It’s OK Fredy, there’s no need for you to feel embarrassed or ashamed that our rookies need to teach you how to score. Just go out and do it, and then come back and say it was reverse psychology on all of us, and you were just messing.
2) Defensive togetherness
Is togetherness a real word? I think so. If it isn’t, we can make it one, after the great defensive showing by everyone against Boca. Hightlighted (literally) were the great netminding performances by Keller and Boss, and the good showing for Jeff Parke. There were a couple instances of the defense being a little uncoordinated, with Parke and Keller clashing a couple times. But it was his first Sounders game, and Keller had to command a rag tag impromptu defensive line. Though we are traveling without Taylor Graham, our lineup across the back will likely be Riley – Marshall – Wahl – Leo, judging from the club’s gameday card. So if we can keep the back door as clean as we did on Wednesday, the least we can hope for is a boring 0-0 draw. Which would be good, considering Connor Casey, Omar Cummings, and Harvard rookie of the year Andre Akpan would like otherwise.
3) Make your heart smile, and your feet will show it
This sounds like something my old high school Spanish teacher would say. I think this is true for anyone playing soccer, but when you’re in a rut it’s one of the most important things to remember. Watching the guys play on the field is not that pretty sometimes, both in terms of watching the ball and the players’ faces. Last week, Sigi has called out his players for getting so easily frustrated on the field and letting it get to their level of performance, particularly when a bad call has a big impact on how the game unfolds. Not that that’s happened recently. Or ever.
But, as I may point out, in a meaningless game against Boca, the Sounders were able to bring it back to the basics without worrying about the scoreline or result. In fact, there was even a slightly bigger emphasis on giving the crowd a good night’s entertainment. Rookies like Estrada and Montano answered this call, and took some risks with swerving shots and daring runs at the defense. However, in Denver, it’s going to be too easy to get tunnel vision and focus only on scoring for the win. When that happens, things like having fun (and consequently taking GOOD risks) can quickly be replaced with frustration. I’ve seen it happen too many times at home, when the pressure was on the deliver a win. Hopefully the freedom of fresh air in Colorado and being away from home can lighten the guys up, both physically and mentally. Kind of like when you sometimes need a break from all the expectations and nagging orders of the people who run the house, that you just need some fresh air to remember why you love the expectations in the first place. I’m convinced that if we can maintain a good head, it can only bring good results.
Umm, let’s go all out with a Fredy brace, 2-1.
The most decorated club team in the world got a handy lesson in the world’s game. The Electric Yellow Seattle Sounders beat Boca 3-0, with goals off of Roger Levesque, Pat Noonan, and Michael Seamon.
Arlo White got it spot on with his keys to the match. The bright yellow boys were all smiles as they relaxed, had some fun, and scored three goals. Though it was their reserves against our reserves, there was entertainment to be had, and a few positives to take away.
Defender Jeff Parke got his glittering debut, with a great chance for a header goal that pinged off the underside of the bar. After a pretty typical MLS showing for most of the starters, Boca’s free flowing play provided the inspiration for the Sounders. Rookies David Estrada and Miguel Montano took two touches to get warmed up, but once they were, they gave the 40,000 fans in attendance some great attacking football. Villanova draftee Michael Seamon has barely had time to store his cap and gown, but he smashed in a long range beauty to cap off the night. Arlo White then provided the rest of the night’s entertainment – “Seamon’s all over the field!”, “Seamon’s on the ball, dribbling”, “Seamon’s everywhere, isn’t he” – for the last 20 minutes of a fantastic game.
The Sounders will definitely be happy with the result. Our defense looked squeaky clean throughout the game (did anyone see Riley’s fantastic sliding tackle? holy smokes). Some rookies got the step up, and showed that they more than deserve some playing time. The only negative was Osvaldo Alonso coming off injured after only 20 minutes. We wish him the best
There’s got to be something in air, because Boca is the most recent of the touring clubs to lose against MLS teams. After Red Bull beat Juve 3-1, and DC United beating Ronaldinho and Pato’s AC Milan 3-2, I think it’s fair to say MLS teams are doing better. I say bring on Celtic. If we can use these games to loosen up a bit and find some form, then I can’t wait until we really hit our stride after Blaise arrives.
Just wondering, if Villareal get to be the Yellow Submarine, can we be the Electric Yellow Submarine? Or the Bio-diesel Powered Electric Yellow Ferryboat? Yeah, I love the new kits THAT much.
Michael Seamon is not yet under contract with the Sounders FC. With his energized performance at Qwest Field in a friendly made a strong case for a contract for the 2010 MLS SuperDraft second round pick.Coming on in the 66th minute, Seamon was another great burst of energy as the Sounders carried a 2-0 lead over Argentina’s Boca Juniors. It was his first time on the field for the Sounders FC and he was excited to run out onto the field in front of the 40,122 in attendance.“You try not to let it get to you too much, but I’m trying to prove something when I get in there,” Seamon said, explaining the emotions of his first appearance. “You try to pace yourself, but I was tired right away because I was just buzzing around right off the bat. The emotions of everything goes away after about 2 seconds. You’re happy - you can’t believe you’re going to play in front of that many fans. Then all of a sudden it’s business and you have to get right down to it.”That momentary burst of emotion was only surpassed in the 70th minute when he lazered a shot into the back of the net to give the Sounders FC a 3-0 lead.“It was 10 seconds of happiness, then I realized that I still had 20 minutes left and I had to be running all over the place,” Seamon beamed. “I did have some fantasies and some dreams over the last few days when I found out I was dressing for the game and I might play. I thought about scoring, but I never thought it would come true. I’m so happy that it did.”After being drafted by the Sounders FC, Seamon trained briefly with the team in training camp before returning to Villanova University to complete his degree in criminal justice. After graduating, he rejoined the team last week and is working to earn a contract.
The Electric Yellow Sounders will take on Club Atlético Boca Juniors at 7:30PM at Qwest Field.
It will be the first of two friendlies this summer, with Celtic slated for later in July. Over 40,000 tickets have been sold for the game, with tickets still available. There was a special package deal released last week that involved hot dogs, which normally would be too good to turn down. But, again, too broke.
In case you don’t know who the Blue and Gold are, I included the short trailer for the documentary Argentina Futbol Club. I’ve been seeing fliers all over for the film, which premiered a private showing last week to the Sounders media in time for the friendly. There will be screenings next month in case you’re curious.
Anyways, the short trailer captures the passion and history that Boca Juniors bring with them. They are the most decorated club in Argentina, if not the world. They’ve won the national championship 23 times, the Copa Libertadores 6 times, and 3 World Club Championships (last in 2003 over AC Milan). And according to FIFA, they’re tied with AC Milan for the most international trophies won (18). They’re no strangers to the world game.
The team will be without stars Juan Roman Riquelme (injury) and Martin Palermo (WC duty). In all honesty, these two players were the main reason I was so excited to see Boca play, but their roster is still with plenty of talent and depth.
Boca’s traveling squad, as reported at the Times.
Goalkeepers: Javier Garcia, Josue Ayala, Sebastian D’Angelo
Defenders: Gaston Sauro, Leandro Aguirre, Hugo Ibarra, Leandro Marin, Luciano Fabian Monzon, Ezequiel Munoz, Breyner Bonilla (Colombia), David Achucarro.
Midfielders: Jesus Mendez, Cristian Erbes, Matias Gimenez, Nicolas Colazo, Gaston Rossi.
Forwards: Pablo Mouche, Lucas Viatri, Nicolas Blandi, Orlando Gaona Lugo (Paraguay), Sergio Araujo.
Manager: Roberto Pompei
A lot of unknown names for me, but Hugo Ibarra is one player I remember well. The defender played a big part in Monaco’s run to the CL final.
Sigi has said that he’s going to give the fringe players a chance for some minutes. Notably, draft pick rookie striker David Estrada was pinpointed by Sigi. Also, expect the Sounders to blood defender Jeff Parke for his first professional Sounders minutes, as he’ll need to get match-fit if he’s to fill in for the injured Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.
With Colorado away this Saturday, most of the starters will see little playing time. However, I’ll be looking for some signs of improvement over the loss to San Jose. We might not get our first Sounders friendly win at Qwest Field, but right now form and rhythm are more important than going all out for a meaningless win. Either way, it should be entertaining to watch the first ever Argentine visitors to Seattle.
Official Sounders Preview for first friendly against Boca Juniors
Who Are Boca Juniors?One of the best-known teams in South America, Boca Juniors is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They have won 23 national championships and a total of 41 official tournaments since their inception in 1905. They have long been a developer of some of the top talent the soccer world has ever seen. In addition to current stars Juan Roman Riquelme and Martin Palermo, Carlos Tevez and Fernando Gago also came up through Boca Juniors. Not to mention Diego Maradona, arguably the greatest player to ever play the game. Maradona, now manager for the Argentina National Team, also maintains a suite at La Bombanera – the club’s famed stadium – and is one of their most ardent supporters.Coach: Claudio Borghi signed on as coach last week, taking over for Alfio Basile, who resigned in January after a subpar return for his second stint with the club. Borghi comes to the club from Argentinos Juniors, where he won the Primera Division Clausura crown this past season.Who To Watch: Boca is captained by defender Hugo Ibarra. The 36-year-old defender has played over 200 career matches for Boca Juniors. He is joined on defense by standout Ezequiel Munoz. 18-year-old striker Sergio Araujo has also turned some heads in Buenos Aires. He has six goals in eight games for Argentina’s U-17 National Team. Playmaking midfielder Riquelme (injury) and fearless striker Palermo (National Team duty) both did not make the US Tour.US Tour: In the last ten years, Boca Juniors is 4-4-5 on US soil and 0-2-2 against MLS clubs. They started their current US tour with a 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy on Sunday. The tour will conclude against the Portland Timbers on Saturday.
ACL injuries are usually a couple of months, depending on if there is surgery or not. Marshall hinted that he was going through surgery soon. Does this mean we might we get our first glimpse at Jeff Parke?
Random, but does everyone else have the same screen shot of the youtube video? What’s going on over on the side?
When you think rivalries, most think Yankees-Red Sox or Duke-North Carolina. Locally, it might be Huskies-Cougars. And of course, there is Sounders-Timbers.However, none hold a candle to Boca-River.Twice every year, Boca Juniors and River Plate, the two gigantic clubs from Buenos Aires, Argentina, meet in the Superclasico.On those two occasions, it’s not just the entire city of Buenos Aires that shuts down, but most of Argentina. And large pockets throughout the rest of South America.On Monday and Tuesday, two local filmmakers will be showing exactly how deep that rivalry runs. Gavin Sullivan and Ben Meyerson bring the stories of the clubs, their supporters and the incredible impact played on the Argentine culture to life with their documentary Argentina Futbol Club.Embedded in the center of the madness, AFC shows all the singing and hysteria, as well as the pain and agony, of one of the great rivalries in all of sports. They show the perspective of supporters from both sides of Buenos Aires and even from players on both sides. Prolific Boca Juniors striker Martin Palermo gives a candid take on the blue and yellow while dynamic young winger Diego Buonanotte tells the tale from the red and white of River Plate.The film takes a wild ride through Buenos Aires as the Superclasico takes over the city. As the Sounders FC prepare to face one side of that rivalry when Boca Juniors takes to the pitch at Qwest Field Wednesday night for a 7:30 kickoff, fans can learn all about the history of the club on Monday and Tuesday at 7 pm at Azzuri Vino Bar in Fremont when Argentina Futbol Club will be shown (with subtitles).Argentina Futbol Club was directed by acclaimed Argentine Director Juan Pablo Roubio, and is a co-production between Argentina-based Indigo Art Media (indigoartmedia.com.ar) and US-based AiO Media (aiomedia.com), which was founded by Sullivan and Meyerson. It’s a great opportunity to learn about Seattle’s opponent on Wednesday and the great soccer history of one of South America’s great cities.
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado suffered a torn left ACL Saturday and will likely miss the rest of the season.
Central defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado has been placed on injured reserve due to a torn left anterior cruciate ligament.
Monday from 2-4 the Sounders FC players, coaches and staff will be at Norhtwest Harvest in Kent. In this month's United We Serve effort, you can help the community by packing and sorting food - and you'll be doing it right along the Sounders FC. The project is open to everyone 12 and over. There will also be free t-shirts there. For more information, visit www.SoundersFC.com/UnitedWeServe.
After sneaking in an offside goal, all San Jose had to do was park the bus and frustrate every single damn person in Qwest Field (except the f*ckers in 203).
I was wandering around helping my womanfriend with her bee research project, so I DVR’d both the CL final and the Sounders game. I sat down to watch both games back to back (well, fast forwarded through the Inter win – congrats Mou), and it was a torturous way to spend a free evening.
Here are my collected-live-as-late blogging of the game, in notepad form.
looks like we got upgraded, fredys got some yellow boots and kasey looks better in white
alro white doesnt know what a geoduck is?
lots of early empty seats
holy shit, i can hear bluest skies from the crowd, one of the best moments in my life
lots of ping pong play for the start
great tifo for sounders legend walt daggatt, very classy
great golly, wondoLOLski smashes us from an offside position. thanks ref.
ref makes dumb call about ball on the sideline
riley is frustrated that nyassi played the ball out. ironic.
montero hassles a guy down onto. moar like this please.
nyassi screws another good buildup straight at cannon
literally grabbed the edge of my seat, great footwork by zak, so slippery
sigi has the scarf on again? suddenly feeling superstitious…
nyassi’s got some tekkers
held my breath again! great buildup through sheer determination
800-745-3000, for boca ticket packages. mmm hotdogs.
great attacking push in the first half, love it. cant even tell we’re down.
nyassi gets driven through, prus with another noncall
freddies keeping numbers, heh
poor finishing is costing us DEARLY
and montero is inches too short
too many chances, its only a matter of time
SJ defense is too watertight, how can they stay this organized
frustrated freddie, thats what ill call him
montano on, can he make the impact on the right?
sigi chewing on his scarf, as am i, not a good sight
sounders starting to unravel
come on sounders score a goal, score a goal
18-3 on shots, are you kidding me
I could write up all of my feelings, but I’d just be grasping at straws, trying to plug the gaping hole with toilet paper and tissues. Really, I loved the effort the entire team put on the field. Frustrated Freddie fought hard, Zak and Nyassi hustled to try and make THE play. Even Montero tried to will the ball in, but in the end he just seemed drained of gas. Not in terms of physical stamina, but he just tired of ideas, and it was glaringly obvious that the whole team was facing a creative brick wall. Our will was sorely tested, and did not bend the right way.
The one thing I noticed was that Sigi seemed off. There were several video shots of him looking very glum, like he couldn’t figure out what was needed to get that click. Watching the game, I think we all felt it was just a matter of time, that eventually one of the EIGHTEEN shots would ping in. No matter how defensive San Jose played, there should have been a way for us to sneak under, or through, the bus. But, instead of throwing their defense off, our finishing lead to frustration.
The Sounders played good attacking ball. They provided gripping entertainment, with great buildup in plays, that in any other city would’ve lead to a rout. But, in a way, this only makes the loss so much worse. Knowing that we lost, at home, giving it our all, throwing in our strongest lineup, and then our secret backup plan, I’m starting to have the helpless feeling that Sigi currently has.
So yes, I think it’s fair to say we are in a sophomore slump.
But, slumps are made to be broken.
The Sounders FC took 18 shots but couldn't find the net in their 1-0 home loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.