Friday, September 30, 2011

Seattle Sounders FC preview vs New England Revolution

By Money Mike



The Seattle Sounders kick off the month of October on the East Coast. After traveling a long ways from Guatemala City, the Sounders are now set to do battle in Foxborough as they take on the New England Revolution. The Sounders already clinched a playoff spot last weekend and are now in the drivers seat to clinch home field advantage in the MLS Cup Quarterfinals as they are three points ahead of Real Salt Lake who have suffered a couple of embarrasing defeats, most recently at home, losing 3-0 to the Chicago Fire. I think the priorities for the Sounders are to just keep your starters healthy for the U.S. Open Cup final on Tuesday, maybe rest a couple of key players. You always want your best team out there for a Cup final match. So for this game, health is more important than winning this match.


Injury report:

Seattle Sounders FC - OK, when I say you gotta keep your players healthy, this is not what I mean by it. Even though there's one of the players I don't give a shit about. Terry Boss has a concussion, Zakuani has a broken leg and Mike Seamon has a lateral ankle tendon problem. All of them are out for the rest of the season. O'Brian White, we still don't know for sure whether or not he'll be back this season. He's had two blood clot surgeries on his leg. Mauro Rosales has a right knee MCL sprain and is listed as questionable. In fact, there's a chance they'll get him back for the Open Cup final. James Riley is also listed as questionable with a concussion. I don't want to see him on the pitch Saturday night, rest him. Pat Noonan has an adductor strain and is listed as probable, but who cares, he's not gonna play.

New England Revolution - For the Revs. Rajko Lekic has a sprained left ankle and he is out. Stephen McCarthy is out for the season after having surgery on his left shoulder. Sainey Nyassi, who scored against us in our first meeting with New England back in June, has a strained right hamstring and he is out. A.J. Soares has a left adductor strain and is listed as probable. Lastly, Monsef Zerka is listed as probable as he's dealing with a strained left quad.


Suspensions:

Seattle Sounders FC - NONE

New England Revolution - Franco Coria is suspended for this match after Caution accumulation.


What to keep our eyes on in this game:

I think what we need to focus on is the lineup Sigi Schmid will put out. The Sounders have played so many matches these past couple of months and I think he needs to rest his big time players for this game. Fredy Montero, Ozzie Alonso, Lamar Neagle, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. I think those guys should be either on the bench or left out so they can take some time to refresh and get ready for the U.S. Open Cup final in Seattle on Tuesday, which I will be attending. I want to see guys like Michael Tetteh, David Estrada and Amadou Sanyang on the pitch this weekend. We'll see what Sigi has planned out, but the key players I meantioned, I don't want to see on the field.

Top 5 worst Designated Players in MLS history

By Money Mike



When Major League Soccer began its history in 1996, lots and lots of fans cashed in and bought single game tickets or season tickets or.... whatever, but following the MLS Cup, people started to lose interest in MLS and the league underwent financial problems mainly because the level of play was too damn low. However following the 2006 season, MLS has taken steps to further internationalize the league in an effort to increase the level of play. One of the first moves they made was that they added the Designated Player rule to bring in Big Money players from around the World. Since the rule was formed, we've had a total of 36 designated players, but there have been a few that have been crap so as promised, here are the Top 5 worst Designated Players in MLS since the rule came into place.


We're gonna head up North to Vancouver and start off with Eric Hassli:

Eric Hassli - France
Vancouver Whitecaps (2011-present)
Salary - $900,000

And don't even try to give a bunch of dumbass excuses to back him up. OK, this guy has made 22 appearances and leads the Whitecaps with 10 goals, including one of the goals of the year in Seattle. I don't give a shit if he's the team leader in goals scored, this guy has sent off three times this season, which leads MLS. He must have taken Thomas Gravesen's example from his time with Raal Madrid when he got into a bitch fight with Robinho. Can you think of a striker who's been sent off three times in one season? Thierry Henry, NO. Fernando Torres, NO, however he did get sent off last weekend. Yakubu, NO. Lionel Messi, Not even close. Bottomline is, this guy does bring his A-game, but he sure doesn't know how to stay out of trouble. Will somebody teach him to just kick the ball instead of acting like a bitchass.


Now onto D.C. at #4, Marcelo Gallardo:

Marcelo Gallardo - Argentina
D.C. United (2008)
Salary - $1,874,006

This guy was released by Paris-Saint German and he dicided to take the money, only to just suck. 15 appearances and only 4 goals in one season. I know he was injured in the process, but fact that he did not bring his game at all was the reason he is listed on there. He was just lazy and made D.C. United's offense and midfield look like a bunch of freakin clowns. I don't blame him for taking the money, I blame D.C. for signing him because they won the Supporters Shield the past two seasons prior to 2008 and then they pick him up and they suck.


Moving on, at #3, this guy hasn't found a team has he? Nery Castillo:

Nery Castillo - Mexico
Chicago Fire (2010)
Salary - $1,788,061

This guy should've stayed with Olympiacos in the first place. He had a career year with them during the 2006-2007 season, scoring 12 goals in 25 apparances. The following year, he moves to Shakhtar, and he doesn't do anything with them. He then gives it a shot at Manchester City, it didn't work at all for him. Then with Dnipro, and he's garbage. Then he moves to the Chicago Fire on loan from Shakhtar and becomes their second or maybe their third designated player, and same result, he sucks. Nery Castillo, go back to Olympiacos instead of skimming around for clubs.


Now this guy was absolutely worthless and is pretty much the reason by the entire Toronto FC front office got the boot at #2, I'm talking about Mista:

Mista - Spain
Toronto FC (2010)
Salary - $987,338

This guy joins the club on July 7, 2010, and he just sucks ass. Quite a few designated players have joined MLS in 2010 and a lot of them prooved to be useless, but this was rediculus. Instead of leading Toronto FC to a playoff run, he helps this team go from Bad to worse, and there's a good reason why he's not on a club right now. Mista, you're way past your prime, time to Retire.


And finally at #1, this guy is complete ass on and off the pitch............... David Beckham:

David Beckham - England
Los Angeles Galaxy (2007-present)
Salary - $6,500,000

This guy had a very good season with the LA Galaxy in 2008, but then he gets loaned out to A.C. Milan during the offseason and he ends up losing his head. I mean how stupid can this guy get? He's been like "Keep me at Milan", "I want nothing to do with MLS" and blah blah blah. When he returned from his loan stint with Milan, the LA fans sure gave him a warm welcome back to LA. Booing him in his unofficial home debut in 2009. He then is loaned out to Milan again in the hopes of making the England squad for the 2010 World Cup and guess what he does? He tears his achillies tendon. He could've had around 100 appearances with LA by now, but after all that shit, he only has 71 appearacnes, which is rediculus. This guy must have brain damage. And asside from soccer, next time there's a Royal Wedding, keep this guy away from it. And I know some of you remember what happened the last time there was a Royal Wedding. Oh man, he fucked up real good. This guy has an OBE which has to do with the British Empire. His OBE was supposed to be pinned on the left lapel of his suit and instead, it's pinned on the right label. You may think it's a minor issue, but minor issues sometimes turn out to be an embarrasment, like this one. David Beckham, time to pack your bags and head on out.


Don't tell me:

I know. There were others that didn't make the list that sucked as well. Frank Rost (New York Red Bulls), yeah he's helping this team. And what I mean by that is helping them choke. Luis Angel Landin (Houston Dynamo), lost his way with the team in 2010. Freddie Ljungberg (Seattle Sounders FC, Chicago Fire), this guy did very well in 2009, he's sucked ever since. Milton Caraglio (New England Revolution), ASS!! He only had one good game and that's it.

Washington Huskies take on Utah Utes in key Pac-12 matchup

By Kshell

This saturday the Washington Huskies(3-1,1-0) travel to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Utes(2-1,0-1) in a Pac-12 battle. This will be the Utes first ever home game in the Pac-12 so the crowd could play a factor. The Huskies and Utes don't have much of a history so this matchup should be interesting. For the Huskies this will be a homecoming game for senior captain Cort Dennison who played high school football in the state of Utah. Also for Steve Sarkisian who played college football for two seasons in this state. The Huskies are also hoping this trip to the state of Utah goes better than last years 23-17 loss to the Byu Cougars. For the Huskies their offense continues to be the story led by sophomore quarterback Keith Price who has 14 touchdown passes in only four games while throwing just three interceptions. For the Utes their quarterback has struggled in Jordan Wynn. Wynn has only thrown one interception in 99 pass attempts this year which is a key. The Utes are the type of team who will not make any mistakes which will be a tough battle with the Huskies. The Utes offense isn't explosive but they are a sound team who does the fundamentals really well.


The Utes are favored by 10 points in this game due to the coaching of Kyle Whittingham. Whittingham is 60-21(.741) with the Utes since he took over for Urban Meyer. The Utes don't turn the ball over as they are third in the entire nation in turnover margain. The defense has only allowed one run of over 15 yards meaning they are forcing teams to grind out drives on them. The Utes are led by their running back John White who through three games has ran for 361 yards(5.9 YPC) with five rushing touchdowns. Their quarterback Jordan Wynn has struggled this year completing only 54.5% of his throws for 578 yards(5.8 YPA) with five touchdowns to just one interception. His main receiver is Devonte Christopher who had 16 receptions for 205 yards with two touchdowns. The Utes don't have any explosive players but they make up for it by playing the game right. The Utes won't be turning the ball over, giving up big plays or making stupid penalties. While the Huskies will have to match the Utes intensity to win this game.


For the Huskies to win this game they must see improvement from their defense which was shown last week. The Huskies defense is led by senior captain Cort Dennison who is from Salt Lake City, Utah. Dennison has been playing great ball the last three games and must continue now that Hau'oli Jamora is out for the season. The defense who has been torched all season long had a nice bounce back performance last week. The Huskies began the game allowing a 90 yard touchdown pass only to allow a single touchdown the rest of the game. The Huskies allowed three second half points last week and held the California Golden Bears to just nine points on four trips inside the 10 yard line. The Huskies defense should have some success against an Utes offense which isn't explosive. As always the Huskies offense will be asked to score plenty of points this week.


The Huskies offense is led by sophomore quarterback Keith Price who has surprised everyone this season. For the year Price is completing 67.0% of his passes for 983 yards(8.8 YPA) with 14 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Last week Price connected with true freshman tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins for two touchdowns. Seferian-Jenkins who had celebrated his birthday this week has made a big difference for the Huskies this season. Seferian-Jenkins has nine receptions for 170 yards with three touchdowns on the season. Look for the Huskies to continue to use the big tight end and he'll open up other players. The Huskies also have stud running back Chris Polk who has rushed for 414 yards(4.8 YPC) with three touchdowns. Polk also has seven receptions for 112 yards with a touchdown. Including a career high 85 yards receiving last week. The Huskies offense is averaging 34.8 points per game will be expected to keep playing like they have done so all year long. For Price he may be a sophomore but he is playing like a mature senior quarterback this season so don't look for him to be rattled by the crowd noise. Sarkisian has his offense in year three going in the right direction as the Huskies appear to be loaded with plenty of weapons.

In conclusion, the Huskies face a tough test against an opponent that most think they have no chance against. The Huskies offense can score some points on the Utes while the defense is capable of keeping the score lower than people think. The Utes are a well coached team who simply doesn't make mistakes so the Huskies have to win this game instead of waiting for the Utes to lose the game. The key is turnovers as the Huskies can't afford to be turning the ball over and giving the Utes a short field position all game like they did against Nebraska. This will be a fun Pac-12 game as the winner will most likely jump into the top 25 polls next week. While the loser will still make a bowl game they will be playing in the nobodycares.com bowl instead of a bowl game that can net recruits. We'll find out this Saturday if the Huskies program is ready to take that big step.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ozzie Alonso comes through on the clutch for the Sounders as they clinch a spot in the Champions League Quarterfinals.

By Money Mike




Four days after clinching a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs, the Seattle Sounders had some unfinished business to take care of outside of MLS play. Down 2-1, the Sounders started to have some nervous moments late in the game, knowing that if they lose, they could be in big trouble, but in the 89th minute, it was Ozzie Alonso stepping up and getting a late equalizer to salvage a 2-2 draw with Comunicaciones and clinch a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals with a game to spare.


The home side got on the board first. A defensive miscommunication allowed Transito Montepeque to break clear of the defense and chipped the ball from 18-yards away over Kasey Keller who was well off his line and in the net for the match opener. Montepeque looked offside, but the linesman decided to keep his flag down.


Three minutes later, the Comunicaciones back line got caught and nearly gave one back. The chip by Tyson Wahl flicked off the head of Lamar Neagle right to Fredy Montero who caught it on the volley and forced a huge save from Juan Paredes.


19 minutes in, the Sounders nearly found themselves down 2-0. Another defensive miscue allowed midfielder Carlos Mejia maneuver a bicycle kick which rattled the top of the crossbar.


Mejia had another golden opportunity a few minutes later. Another cross up between the center backs allowed him to slip through the wing, but he pushed his effort wide of Keller's post.


In the 44th minute, the Sounders would get their goal that they had been pushing for. Osvaldo Alonso, who had been trying his luck from long distance on the wet turf, took advantage of a poor clearance and ripped a volley that deflected off a Comunicaciones defender and in.


Most of the Sounders competitive trips south of the United States have resulted in heavy rain and poor field conditions on matchday. The temperatures were expected to be around the 70's with a chance of thunderstorms, but there were none at all. But it started to pour down rain when the Sounders took the pitch to start the second half all square at 1-1.


In the 61st minute, Alvaro Fernandez and Mike Fucito almost pulled off a repeat performance from the first match. Fernandez sent Fucito through with a beautiful ball over the top of the defense. Fucito cracked a left-footed shot right at Paredes, the flag was up anyway so the goal wouldn't have counted because of the fact that Fucito was in an offside position.


Four minutes later, Comunicaciones climbed back ahead. Keller failed to gather in the ball off the corner and the ball fell to Rafael Morales who quickly fired it in.


However in the 89th minute, it was once again Ozzie Alonso's turn to celebrate. Alvaro Fernandez sent in a cross towards Fredy Montero, and the ball broke to the Cuban who drilled a shot home from close range to send the Sounders home with a point that assures them a place in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals which will take place in early March, just before the 2012 MLS season starts. It was the biggest goal of Ozzie Alonso's career for sure and also the biggest goal for the Seattle Sounders in Champions League play. And what a great story, after going 1-5 in the Group Stage last year, the Sounders survived a scare in the Preliminary Round against San Francisco F.C. and have just dominated group play, going 3-1-1 so far with one match to go.



Scoring summary:

Comunicaciones - Transito Montepeque (Carlos Mejia) 7'

Seattle Sounders FC - Osvaldo Alonso (unassisted) 44'

Comunicaciones - Rafael Morales (unassisted) 64'

Seattle Sounders FC - Osvaldo Alonso (unassisted) 89'


Misconduct summary:

Comunicaciones - Erwin Morales (caution; Reckless tackle) 75'

Seattle Sounders FC - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution; Foul) 87'


Lineups:

Seattle Sounders FC - Kasey Keller; Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl; Alvaro Fernandez, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg (Servando Carrasco 74'), Lamar Neagle (Nate Jaqua 92'+), Fredy Montero, Mike Fucito (Sammy Ochoa 66')

Comunicaciones - Juan Paredes; Dagoberto Arriola, Edgar Martinez, Rafael Morales, Edwin Morales, Carlos Mejia; Fredy Thompson, Rigoberto Gomez (Jose Del Aguila 45'), Brayan Ordonez (Abner Tigueros 77'), Carlos Ramirez; Transito Montepeque (Marvin Ceballos 57')


Highlights:

Bradley has 99 problems, but a pitch ain't one.

By InsiderSteve

Does anyone know what it like to have an uncontrollable urge? How about feeling so angry that it sometimes leads you to do or say something that you ultimately regret? I believe these are the problems that consume the every fiber of former Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley's life. These anger issues, which for the most part was kept in the public forum on the baseball field, has now dominated most of his personal life as well.

On January 18th of this year, Milton Bradley was arrested for allegedly committing battery against his wife Monique. Most of us just thought this incident was just the icing on the cake of a sad life that was quickly spinning out of control. That's why I think that no one was really surprised to hear that Bradley was again arrested for suspicion of felony battery. According to the LA Times, the incident that led to Bradly's arrest was at the same residence (his), and the same victim, Bradley's wife.

These deep seeded anger issues that consume Bradley's personal life have bled through to consume his professional life as well. Anger has cost him parts of his playing prime, and ultimately his career. There has never been a player that I can recall that had so much promise , and so much a natural affinity to play the game baseball then Bradley. His physically ability to play the field, and natural stroke at the plate, always made him an intriguing player that kept him in lineups over his 10-year MLB career. But unfortunately his anger issues and personal problems always made him a problem with teammates, and managers that tried to accommodate him.

A timeline in Milton Bradley's career:

  • During his sophomore season at Polytechnic High School in southern California, Milton was kicked of the baseball team for a lack of focus, leadership, and discipline.
  • In 2004, Bradley was arrested for confronting an officer during a routine traffic stop in Ohio.
  • In 2005, The Dodgers traded Bradley to Oakland after Bradley threw a water bottle the direction of a fan at Dodger Stadium.
  • In 2007 while a member of the Padres, Bradley tore a ligament in his right knee after being spun to the ground by manager Bud Black in an attempt to keep Bradley from attacking 1st base umpire Mike Winters.
  • In 2008 while playing for the Texas Rangers, Bradley went after Royals television announcer Ryan Lefebvre after Bradley believed Lefebvre made derogatory comments in his direction.
  • In 2010 while playing in Seattle, Bradley publicly blew up at then Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu during a game. Prompting Bradley to ask Mariners management for help with his anger issues.
Most thought Milton Bradley finally had turned the corner when he walked up to Mariners management and asked for help for a problem he no longer could control. His life had spiraled out of control to a point that the one thing he did love, baseball, was quickly slipping out of his fingers. No longer did the game come naturally to him. He found himself struggling to focus. For the first time in Milton Bradley's life, the game wasn't fun for him anymore. Everything in life simply became too much for him to handle. He needed to walk away and get his head right.

For the longest time I always wanted to give Bradley the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately I cannot do that anymore. There is only a certain amount of time you can use urges and impulses as an excuse for your behavior. After awhile you have to be a man, and look at yourself in the mirror and realize that your life has turned into a complete joke. You have to have the want to change. Because the people around you, in this case Bradley's wife, has taken the brunt of this abuse, and that is simply unacceptable. This stopped being about sport awhile ago. This has been about the need to find help for a man who's anger has reached such deep depths, that the next time we will be talking about a loss of a life.

Let's hope for everyone's sake we will never have to read that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Seahawks win home opener vs Cardinals 13-10!


By Kshell


The Seattle Seahawks(1-2) won a very important divisional game at home over the Arizona Cardinals(1-2) 13-10 to keep their hopes of defending their division championship alive. The Seahawks defense didn't allow a single point in the second half as Pete Carroll won his homer opener for his second straight season. The Seahawks also welcome back Sidney Rice who had a big game catching eight passes for 109 yards in his very first game with the Seahawks. He was easily Tarvaris Jackson's favorite target as Jackson was 18-31 passing for 171 yards passing with a rushing touchdown. The Seahawks rushing game wasn't great but was also effective today as Marshawn Lynch ran for 73 yards on 19 carries. The Seahawks were led by their defense though recording three sacks with two interceptions. The Seahawks old friend from 2005 Jay Feely missed two field goals for the Cardinals. For those who don't remember Feely missed three potential game winning kicks against the Seahawks when he played for the Giants in 2005. The Seahawks win was like the weather during the game it wasn't pretty at times but at the end it was more than enough. The Seahawks defense stepped up and the offense did just enough for the Seahawks to earn their first victory of the season and are now just a game back of first place.


The Seahawks began the game with a nine play drive but were forced to punt. The Cardinals then went on an eight play 37 yard drive which ended with Jay Feely missing the field goal. That is when the Seahawks would go on a seven play 47 yard drive which would result in a field goal. The Seahawks would start off on the Cardinals 41 yard line when Tarvaris Jackson would hit Sidney Rice for a five yard pass. After the Cardinals committed a five yard penalty giving the Seahawks a first down, Marshawn Lynch would rush for five yards. That is when Jackson would finally go deep hitting Rice on the fade pass for a gain of 32 yards to the Cardinals 12 yard line. The Seahawks would complete two more passes that gained three yards total and would settle for a Steve Hauschka 30 yard field goal.


The Cardinals would respond with a 10 play 26 yard drive after a 51 yard kickoff return. This time Jay Feely would make the field goal to tie up the game at 3-3. On the following drive the Cardinals would go on an eight play 78 yard touchdown drive. The Cardinals would begin their drive with Kevin Kolb hitting Larry Fitzgerald for a gain of nine yards then would hit a 15 yard pass. Kolb would hit Fitzgerald again for a gain of 15 yards to the Seahawks 36 yard line. Kolb would hit Todd Heap for a gain of eight yards, then hit an 11 yard pass to the Seahawks 17 yard line. After a five yard run to the Seahawks 12 yard line the Cardinals would make the games first big play. Kolb rolling to his left would throw the ball in the back of the endzone in double coverage only for the Seahawks to see Fitzgerald jump up there to make the touchdown catch. The Cardinals would take a 10-3 lead with that catch as the fans were wondering what hit them.

The Seahawks would respond before halftime with good field position. They would only go eight plays for 16 yards. The Seahawks would receive a 52 yard field goal by Hauschka to cut the lead to 10-6. As the Cardinals were driving when Marcus Trufant intercepted the Kolb pass and ran it back 15 yards. The Seahawks had one last chance but Jackson would throw an interception at halftime. For the third straight week the Seahawks found themselves shut out of the end zone at halftime. The Seahawks were trailing 10-6 at halftime in a must win game.


The Seahawks would begin the second half with a 14 play 72 yard touchdown drive that lasted over six minutes. The drive would begin with Lynch having two carries for eight yards setting up a third and two. Jackson would hit Doug Baldwin for a gain of three for a crucial first down. On second down Jackson would hit Golden Tate for a gain of nine yards setting up a third and one. Lynch would record the first down with a three yard run. On third and 15 on their own 46 yard line Jackson would hit Baldwin for a gain of 20 yards to the Cardinals 34 yard line. Jackson would complete back to back six yard passes to the Cardinals 22 yard line. Jackson after a short run by Lynch would hit Rice for a gain of nine yards to the Cardinals 11 yard line. Jackson on the next play would show off his legs as he made several defenders miss as ran for an 11 yard touchdown to give the Seahawks a 13-10 lead over their divisional rivals.



The Seahawks offense would do nothing the rest of the game. The Cardinals would drive down to the Seahawks 31 yard line before settling on a Feely field goal attempt. Like he did in 2005 Feely missed the 49 yard field goal that would have tied the game up. After a Jon Ryan  punt of nine yards the Cardinals had the ball on the 31 yard line with 2:57 left in the game trying to send the game to overtime or win the game outright. Kolb would hit two passes for 21 yards to the Seattle 48 yard line. On fourth and 1 the Seahawks would be called for a defensive holding penalty which gave the Cardinals a first down at the Seahawks 34 yard line. After a Kolb incomplete pass, he would be sacked by Raheem Brock for a loss of two yards as Kolb fumbled the ball. The Cardinals recovered the ball to set up a third down. On third and long Kolb would throw a costly interception to second year player Kam Chancellor to clinch the victory for the Seahawks. The Seahawks offense would grind out some clock making the Cardinals use their timeouts. The Cardinals had one last shot but would fumble the ball after a 16 yard reception. The Seahawks would win the game 13-10. Like the weather the game started off ugly for the Seahawks but ended beautifully for the Seahawks to earn a much important division win.


For the Seahawks they were led by a defense who recorded three sacks and two interceptions.  On offense the Seahawks saw quarterback Tarvaris Jackson go 18-31(58.1%) passing for 171 yards passing with an interception. Jackson also ran for 20 yards with a touchdown which proved to be the game winner. His favorite weapon was his old teammate in Minnesota Sidney Rice. Rice would finish the game with eight receptions for 109 yards(13.6 YPC) with a long of 32 yards. No other Seahawks receiver would have more than two receptions during the game. The Seahawks running game was also better as Marshawn Lynch ran for 73 yards on 19 carries(3.8 YPC) with a long of 23 yards. Lynch would also add a reception as well. His backup Leon Washington had 29 yards rushing on three carries(9.7 YPC) with a long of 21 yards. The Seahawks offense still was struggling but the defense stepped up when they had to. The Seahawks held the Cardinals to 3.2 YPC on 28 rushing attempts and 5.6 YPA on 39 pass attempts.

All in all, for the Seahawks season to even matter this year they needed this win desperately. The Seahawks offense didn't exactly light up the scoreboard but in the NFL that doesn't matter. What does matter is wins and losses. The Seahawks won the game and the "Suck for Luck" chants will have to be silent for at least a week. The Seahawks under Pete Carroll are trying to defend their division title and surprise everyone like they did last year. The Seahawks have reasons to be optimistic since they were 0-2 without Sidney Rice and with Rice they finally have a go to receiver which they haven't had in a while. The Seahawks won the game when many of their own fans thought they would lose. The Seahawks at least made themselves still matter for at least another week.

Observations:


- Lynch is still running east-west way too much but at least today he actually had some productive runs. Lynch ran for 73 yards on 19 carries good for a 3.8 YPC average. Not great numbers but considering he had 19 carries for 44 yards(2.2 YPC) coming into the game the Seahawks will take that. Lynch isn't running behind a very good offensive line either like he needs to. Lynch did run just enough to help out Jackson so the Cardinals couldn't just blitz every play.

I would like to see Lynch be more a part of the passing game. I look at Chris Polk of the Huskies who was shut down running the ball against California but still had 85 yards receiving and think to myself how Lynch would never do that.  Lynch if he is going to be an effective power back needs to run more north-south as he dances way too much. I'd like to see a game where Lynch can score a TD and average over 4.0 YPC with 20 plus carries. Although he ran decent I still expect better from Lynch or his days in Seattle should be numbered after this season.


- The Seahawks finally saw why they signed Sidney Rice. Without Rice the Seahawks would have had no offense. You can tell he was teammates with Jackson as that was the only receiver Jackson appeared to look at. Rice would finish with eight receptions for 109 yards with a long of 32 yards. The Seahawks a franchise who hasn't had a pro bowl wide receiver since Brian Blades in 1989 are hoping Rice can eventually be that guy. Rice is a tall target who is very fast as we saw on that fade pass he caught from Jackson.

With Rice that appears he will be Jackson's go to receiver which every quarterback needs. Hopefully in the future when teams eventually double up on Jackson other receivers will be open for Jackson to hit for big plays. Rice is only 24 years old as well so signing him wasn't a move for this season as that was a move for the future as well. With Rice the Seahawks have a play maker at the wide receiver position that they haven't had in a very long time. Now the key will be for Jackson to distribute the ball out evenly like you see Keith Price of the Huskies doing so well. At least now the Seahawks finally had a chance to see their very talented wide receiver in Sidney Rice.


- In his home opener replacing Matt Hasselbeck and hearing Charlie Whitehurst chants Tarvaris Jackson came out victorious for the Seahawks in his home debut. Jackson finished the game 18-31(58.1%) passing for 171 yards(5.5 YPA) with an interception. He also finished with 20 yards rushing with a touchdown. Jackson was also sacked four times as the line didn't help out but he also hangs onto the ball way too long. Looking at those numbers I don't think that will silent the Jackson bashers including myself. The Seahawks won the game because of their defense not because of the offense. Jackson had a solid debut in Seattle but he must do a better job if he wants fans to forget about Matt Hasselbeck. His YPA and completion percentage are both terrible and must rise or the Seahawks will need to make a quarterback change down the road.


- For Pete Carroll this was a huge win as going 0-3 in the NFL means NFL draft talk for the next 13 weeks. Carroll who took a ton of heat this offseason for letting popular veterans like Matt Hasselbeck and Lofa Tatupu walk will feel better about this win. Carroll saw his Seahawks win the game like he drew up which was good defense and an offense who moved the chains. An offense who played field position all game long but ultimately didn't do much. For Carroll his franchise quarterback isn't on this roster currently but the Seahawks after winning the division title last year at 7-9 know they are capable of repeating as division champs. The Seahawks will have a big game this week at home against the Atlanta Falcons a team who destroyed the Seahawks last year at home. For Carroll he is now 2-0 in home openers with the Seahawks. Now Carroll has to find a way to keep this season important or the fans will lose interest fast. This was a big victory for the Seahawks as they couldn't afford to be 0-3 and more importantly 0-2 in division.

In conclusion, the Seahawks had to win this game or else their season would be over. Starting off 0-3 in the NFL would be like starting off 0-30 in major league baseball, and 0-15 in the NBA. The Seahawks had to win this game and the defense came through all game long.  The offense still needs to do more if the Seahawks are to be taken seriously for the season. Scoring 10 points per game which is what the offense is currently doing won't get the job done. The Seahawks scored only 13 points today but thankfully the defense bailed them out. The Seahawks behind the 12th man recorded a much important victory. Now we'll find out this week against the Falcons if the Seahawks are ready to repeat as division champs or if the "Suck for Luck" chants will be creeping back up as the Seahawks have a tough next two games. For now it was nice for the Seahawks to record their first victory of the season and third straight win over the Cardinals.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Seattle Sounders FC preview vs Comunicaciones

By Money Mike



The Seattle Sounders head over to the Central American continent yet again. This time to Guatemala for matchday 5 of the CONCACAF Champions League against Comunicaciones. Kickoff time is 7pm and will be televised on FOX Soccer and streamed live online at concacaf.com. The Sounders with a point in this match will book their place in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals next March. A win would put them closer to clinching the top spot in the group stage which would mean that they would get a much needed home field advantage in the 2nd leg of the Quarterfinal stage.


Last meeting (August 16, 2011):
CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
Seattle Sounders FC 4 - 1 Comunicaciones

Scoring summary:

Comunicaciones - Jairo Arreola (Bryan Ordonez) 2'

Seattle Sounders FC - Brad Evans (Michael Fucito) 35'

Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Fucito (Fredy Montero, Alvaro Fernandez) 61'

Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Fucito (Alvaro Fernandez, Brad Evans) 67'

Seattle Sounders FC - Own Goal (Alvaro Fernandez) 87'


Misconduct summary:

Comunicaciones - Jairo Arreloa (caution; Dissent) 9'

Seattle Sounders FC - Patrick Ianni (caution; Tactical foul) 16'

Seattle Sounders FC - James Riley (caution; Reckless tackle) 47'+

Comunicaciones - Carlos Castrillo (caution; Reckless tackle) 50'

Seattle Sounders FC - Leonardo Gonzalez (caution; Tactical foul) 54'

Seattle Sounders FC - Lamar Neagle (ejection; Violent conduct) 55'

Comunicaciones - Adolfo Machado (caution; Reckless tackle) 60'

Comunicaciones - Carlos Ramirez (caution; Unsporting behavior) 69'

Seattle Sounders FC - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution; Unsporting behavior) 69'

Comunicaciones - Edgard Martinez (ejection; Abusive Language) 80'

Comunicaciones - Fredy Thompson (caution; Reckless tackle) 91'+


Lineups:

Comunicaciones - Juan Jose Peredas; Adolfo Machado, Edgard Martinez, Carlos Castrillo, Erwin Morales; Carlos Ramirez, Juan Marquez (Rigoberto Gomez 77'), Fredy Thompson, Jairo Arreloa, Bryan Ordonez (Carlos Mejia 70'); Transito Montepeque (Hernan Sandoval 78')

Seattle Sounders FC - Terry Boss; James Riley, Patrick Ianni (Roger Levesque 84'), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leonardo Gonzalez (Zach Scott 75'); Lamar Neagle, Servando Carrasco, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez; Fredy Montero (Mauro Rosales 63'), Michael Fucito


What to keep our eyes on for this game:

- The big focus is who will head coach Sigi Schmid partner up front this time. Last week against Herediano, Sigi decided to start Pat Noonan along side Nate Jaqua. That didn't come close to working. Fredy Montero has made big plays for the Sounders, I'd start him, and I also want to see Josh Ford make his debut in goal.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fredy Montero weaves his magic with two second half goals. Sounders win 3-1.

By Money Mike




The Seattle Sounders sent their 1,500 traveling fans home happy after deafeating the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 in the final game at Empire Field. The final game drew 21,000 people total for the game, and if my memory isn't screwed up with this one, the first goal at Empire Field was scored by Eric Hassli and the last goal was scored by one of our own, Fredy Montero who came away with his second brace of the season and is now sitting at 9 goals to go with his 8 assists. With the win, Seattle re-takes second place in the Western Conference over Real Salt Lake who still have another game in hand between them and the Sounders.


Vancouver got off to a good start in the first half. In the 12th minute, Camilo sent in a low left foot ball into the middle of the area and found Mustapha Jarju making a run into the area. Jarju got a touch on it with the outside of his right boot, but just wide of Kasey Kellers goal. Jarju was signed during the midseason point as Vancouver's second Designated Player. He has still yet to score his first goal for the club, and he came close about 3 or 4 times on my count, but he's looked dangerous all game.


In the 18th minute, Kasey Keller came off his line and punched the ball out of the penalty area off a corner kick and collided with Michael Boxall in the process. The attack wasn't over though, Davide Chiumiento got the ball back into the box and ball somehow fell to Boxall, but he was denied on a one on one opportunity as Keller got down very well and made a huge stop on what was a sure goal.


Four minutes later, the home side broke through. Eric Hassli's no look ball found Davide Chiumiento, who just dodged the offside trap by about an inch before cutting the ball back for Camilo to tap the ball past Keller for the opening goal. There were a couple appeals for offside when the ball was played through to Chiumiento, but he looked even. I think either Jeff Parke or Jhon Kennedy Hurtado who played him onside. Camilo was offside when the ball was played to his teammate and when Chiumiento played the ball back to him, he was still offside. I think I need to look at the FIFA laws of the game because I don't know how Camilo wasn't offside on this part of the play.


Vancouver nearly doubled their advantage in the 25th minute. Former Sounder Peter Vagenas showed his guide by hitting a penetrating ball to send Jarju through on goal but the angle prooved to be too acute for the Gambian striker as he dragged his shot wide of the far post.


That's around the time when the Sounders woke up, and it wasn't long until they came back and equalized. In the 32nd minute, the Sounders launched a counterattack. Fredy Montero, after receiving a pass from Nate Jaqua, took the initial shot on goal that was parried away by Joe Cannon. The ball fell to Alvaro Fernandez who found himself with a clear shot on goal in the 18-yard box. Jay DeMerit slid in to block the shot, but the ball his hands and referee Jair Marrufo pointed to the penalty spot. I was expecting DeMerit to be sent off as well, but he was only shown a yellow card. None the less, Brad Evans who was 2 for 2 on PK's this season and just as he did the first two times, he sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and converted with ease.



In the second half, the Sounders got off to a fast start. Ozzie Alonso hit a low drive that forced a save from Joe Cannon. A minute later, Lamar Neagle hit a thunderus shot from outside the box that cannoned off the crossbar.


Mustapha Jarju came close to opening up his account a couple of times, first getting the ball caught in his feet after finding himself through on goal, then about a minute later he could only manage a weak shot on Keller after a nice piece of buildup play.


In the 63rd minute, it was Fredy Montero stealing the show. The Colombian took advantage of a poor cross from Jay DeMerit before taking a clever touch to fool his marker and floating one into the top left corner. That was one of the best goals I've seen from him in his Sounders career. It was surely the best goal I've seen from him this season. He was not done yet, four minutes later he made the captain look like an idiot again. Montero had a go from well out of the area which took a slight deflection off Jay DeMerit, and the Jabulani ball dipped over Joe Cannon and into the back of the net.


It was nice to see this guy finally make his MLS debut. Sammy Ochoa came on as a substitute for Nate Jaqua and I thought he did very well out there. He nearly got his first for the Rave Green after his header was denied by the post. The Sounders have been denied about 3 or 4 times by the post in this game. He's right now at the point where he's not 100% just yet, but at a point where he can come off the bench for the last 20-30 minutes of the match like he did last night. The fact is, Estudiantes Tecos didn't even give him a chance to show what he could do. And with the poor depth we have up front, with O'Brian White injured and both Nate Jaqua and Pat Noonan sucking ass again, I hope that he is 100% by the start of the playoffs, and the Sounders for sure will have a bye week in the playoffs, which would give them plenty of time.


The Sounders will once again step out of MLS play and into the Champions League. Tuesday night, they head to Guatemala to face Comunicaciones where they can book their place in the Quarterfinal with at least a draw.



Scoring summary:


Vancouver Whitecaps - Camilo 9 (Davide Chiumiento 9, Eric Hassli 2) 22'


Seattle Sounders FC - Brad Evans 5 (penalty kick) 32'


Seattle Sounders FC - Fredy Montero 8 (unassisted) 64'


Seattle Sounders FC - Fredy Montero 9 (Brad Evans 3, Leonardo Gonzalez 2) 67'



Misconduct summary:


Seattle Sounders FC - Brad Evans (caution; Dissent) 31'


Vancouver Whitecaps - Jay DeMerit (caution; Handball) 32'


Vancouver Whitecaps - Eric Hassli (caution; Unsporting behavior) 70'


Vancouver Whitecaps - Jeff Parke (caution; Unsporting behavior) 77'



Lineups:


Seattle Sounders FC - Kasey Keller; Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leonardo Gonzalez; Alvaro Fernandez (David Estrada 79'), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle; Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua (Sammy Ochoa 66')


Vancouver Whitecaps - Joe Cannon; Jonothan Leathers (Jeb Brovsky 46'), Jay DeMerit, Michael Boxall, Jordan Harvey; Davide Chiumiento, Peter Vagenas, Gershon Koffie, Camilo; Eric Hassli (Long Tan 81'), Mustapha Jarju (Shea Salinas 58')

Price throws for three touchdowns as Huskies hang on over Cal 31-23

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(3-1,1-0) defeated the California Golden Bears(3-1,0-1) 31-23 in a much important Pac-12 opener. The game ended like last year with the Huskies winning on the goal line only this year it was the defense who came up big. The Bears had the ball on the one yard line and couldn't score the touchdown in three tries. The Huskies ahead due to the play of Keith Price who threw for 292 yards with three touchdowns. The Huskies were once again led by their offense despite the rushing game being stopped. Steve Sarkisian took over a program that was 12-47 previous five seasons then started off 3-7 has found himself winning 12 of his last 19 games. The Huskies offense has scored over 30 points all four games this season led by Price who has thrown 14 touchdowns in his first four games this year. The Huskies just like they did last week were victimized by the first play of the game which is something that needs to be improved next week.


The game didn't start off the way the Huskies wanted as their offense was forced to punt on their first drive. The Huskies special teams which was terrific all game long pinned the Bears on their own nine yard line. The Bears after an 11 yard rush would then have a bad snap for a loss of 14 yards back to their own six yard line. After a run of four yards the Bears were facing a third and 20 from their own 10 yard line. That is when Zach Maynard found standout wide receiver Keenan Allen down the middle who was wide open. Allen then made a move on Desmond Trufant and it appeared he was going to be tackled from behind by Quinton Richardson instead Richardson went for the strip. Allen would score on a 90 yard touchdown pass to give the Bears a quick 7-0 lead. The Huskies fans who saw their defense give up 36.6 points per game the previous three weeks couldn't believe the start their defense had.


The Huskies offense like they have all season long would respond with a scoring drive of their own. Jesse Callier would return the kickoff 30 yards to their own 34 yard line when the Huskies offense would take over. After a short two yard run by Chris Polk the Huskies offense decided to open up the playbook. Price was flushed out of the pocket and looked like he was going to run instead he hit Devin Aguilar for a 44 yard pass to the Bears 20 yard line. Price on the next play again scrambling to find freshman sensation Austin Seferian-Jenkins who made a nice spin move on the California defender to score the touchdown. The Huskies only needed three plays to tie up the score at 7-7. For Price that would be his 12th touchdown pass of the season. California was trying to stop the Huskies running game while Price made them pay with the big pass plays to Aguilar and then to Seferian-Jenkins. The big pass plays would help the Huskies offense later in the game set up other big plays. For the offense like they did last week when they gave up a touchdown on their first defensive possession responded with a touchdown of their own. Then on defense after the Huskies tied it up at 7-7 the Huskies would force a three and out where they would take over possession on their own 35 yard line.


The Huskies offense would then go on an eight play 65 yard drive to take the lead. The drive started off with a five yard penalty backing the Huskies up on their 30 yard line. Facing a first and 15 Price would hit Kasen Williams for a gain of four yards, Polk would rush for zero yards so the Huskies were facing a third and 11 from their own 34 yard line. Price who isn't known for his rushing would run for 13 yards for the first down as he faked he was going to pitch to Polk after he had an eight yard run for the first down. Polk had a run of nine yards, Callier a run for five yards to the California 39 yard line. After back to back offsides penalties the Huskies had the ball on the California 29 yard line. Chris Polk had a run of 14 yards to the California 15 yard line. Price had a pass intended for Jermaine Kearse but California committed a 13 yard pass interference penalty. Polk would finish off the drive with a two yard touchdown run to give the Huskies a 14-7 lead.


The Bears would respond with a 13 play 68 yard drive that ate up over five minutes off the clock. The Huskies defense did get tough in the red zone holding the Bears to a 29 yard field goal cutting the score to 14-10. The Huskies would once again respond with a nine play 78 yard drive. Price would hit Kearse for a gain of 10 yards to their own 32 yard line. Callier then would had two runs for nine yards setting up a third and one. After stopping Chris Polk on a play the Huskies were called for holding Jeff Tedford decided to take the penalty instead of having the Huskies face a fourth and inches. The Huskies then faced a third and 11 from the 31 yard line when Price hit Kevin Smith for a gain of 12 yards for a first down. On second down Price would hit James Johnson for a 21 yard gain to the left for a first down to the California 36 yard line. Freshman running back Bishop Sankey would rush for 16 yards on his two carries including a 13 yard run to the California 20 yard line. Sarkisian would call a beautiful play call where Price would roll to his right then throw to his left to Seferian-Jenkins who was helped by a great blocked by Senio Kelemente for the 20 yard touchdown. For Seferian-Jenkins that was his second touchdown reception of the game and third of his career. The Huskies would take a 21-10 lead which would be their biggest lead of the game that would immediately get cut down.


The California Bears would respond going on a 10 play 53 yard drive. Maynard would hit Allen for a key 18 yard gain on a third and 10 on their own 44 yard line. The Bears offense down in the red zone area would struggle once again having to settle for a 36 yard field goal cutting the lead to 21-13. The Huskies having the ball on their own 33 would see Price bust a 10 yard run but would fumble the ball as the Bears receoverd on the Huskies 43 yard line. Facing a fourth and four from the Huskies 37 yard line Maynard would hit Allen for a gain of 17 yards to the Huskies 20 yard line. Maynard would then hit a 15 yard pass, rush for three yards to the Huskies two yard line. C.J.Anderson would finish the drive off with a one yard touchdown run to cut the Huskies lead to 21-20. The Huskies would have some time to go down to score. The Huskies offense would come up just short as Erik Folk missed a 52 yard field goal into the wind by just two yards as the Huskies had some shaky play calling. The Huskies failed to blow the game open and found themselves in a dog fight up 21-20 at halftime. The Huskies were led by Price who was 12-16 passing for 179 yards with two touchdowns and 23 yards rushing with a fumble.  His favorite targets were Aguilar with two receptions for 72 yards and Seferian-Jenkins who had three receptions for 48 yards with two touchdowns. Polk had 37 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown plus a reception for 12 yards. Maynard for the Bears was 11-19 passing for 217 yards with a touchdown. His main weapons were Allen who had three receptions for 125 yards with the long touchdown. He also was hitting Marvin Jones who had five receptions for 65 yards. The Huskies led 21-20 and only outgained the Bears 267-261. The game was fast scoring in the first half but would slow down in the second half.

The Bears would begin the second half with a 13 play 80 yard drive after starting off on their own 10 yard line. The Bears would eat up over seven minutes on that drive as well. Maynard was five for five passing on the drive for 44 yards. Once again though the Bears had to settle for a short field goal from 25 yards out to give the Bears the lead 23-21 over the Huskies. Just like they have done all season long the Huskies would answer right back. Kevin Smith would take the kickoff 53 yards to the California 44 yard line. On second and 11 Price would hit Williams on a short pass which Williams turned into a gain of 10 to set up third and one. Polk was then stopped short of the first down setting up a fourth and one play from the California 35 yard line. Polk was lined up at fullback and everyone assumed Polk was going to take the handoff instead Price pitched the ball to his tailback in that formation which was Kearse who ran for seven yards. Third and 12 from the Bears 30 yard line Price would hit Johnson for a gain of 13 yards to extend the chains. The Huskies would then have a bad penalty and would have to settle for a Folk 40 yard field goal to give the Huskies the lead for good at 24-23 entering the fourth quarter.


The Huskies defense would come up with a stop setting up the offense. The Huskies would have a holding penalty which would put the ball on their own one yard line. After a short run by Polk, Price would hit Polk for a gain of five yards. Price was then hit in the head for an automatic first down to their own 32 yard line. Price would then be sacked for a loss of eight with Polk gaining six of it back to set up the biggest play of the game. The Huskies were facing a third and 12 from their own 30 yard line. The Huskies had Seferian-Jenkins in the slot who already had two touchdowns. The Bears doubled him which allowed Polk to go up the seam as Price would hit him with a perfect pass that would go 70 yards for a touchdown. The Huskies would have a 31-23 lead as Polk had his longest reception of his career. Polk when he came to the Huskies was a wide receiver his senior year in high school and showed off that Reggie Bush ability. For Price this would be the fourth straight game he would throw for at least three touchdown passes giving him 14 on the season.


The Huskies offense failed to put the game away so the Bears had one final chance. With 4:28 left in the game and two timeouts the Bears would start from their own 13 yard line needing a touchdown and a two point conversation. After a penalty and a pass to Allen for 12 yards the Bears were facing a fourth and three from their own 20 with 3:54 left. Having no faith in his defense Jeff Tedford decided to go for it. Maynard would hit Allen for a gain of 17 yards to give the Bears hopes of winning this game alive. On third and nine from their own 38 yard line Maynard would hit Allen for a gain of 12 yards to the 50 yard line. On third and three from the Huskies 43 yard line Maynard would hit Allen for a gain of seven yards. Then after a pass interference penalty Maynard would hit Allen for a gain of 19 yards giving the Bears first and goal from the two yard line with under a minute to go. Maynard would throw an incomplete pass defended well by Jamaal Kearse. On second and goal the Bears would have a one yard gain to the one yard line. On third and goal from the one the Bears would run the ball again only Alameda Ta'amu would blow the play up as Justin Glenn would make the tackle for a one yard loss. Just like last year it came down to a fourth and goal play where Maynard would throw an incomplete pass on a fade route as the Huskies would win 31-23.


For the Huskies they were led by their promising sophomore quarterback Keith Price.  Price was 19 for 25(76.0%) passing for 292 yards with three touchdowns to zero interceptions. Price also added 21 yards on the ground. Like he has done all season long he spread the ball around hitting seven different Huskies with a pass. The Huskies were also led by Chris Polk who had a tough day running with only 60 yards(3.0 YPC) on 20 carries with a touchdown. Polk did have four receptions for 85 yards with a touchdown as well showing even when he is slowed down he is still a major factor. The Huskies also saw Aguilar with two receptions for 72 yards, Seferian-Jenkins with four receptions for 54 yards with two touchdowns, Johnson with two receptions for 34 yards, Kearse had three for 23 yards with a run of seven yards as well, Smith with a reception of 12 yards and Williams had a career high three receptions for 12 yards. The Huskies also saw Sankey rush for 16 yards(8.0 YPC) and Callier rush for 14 yards(4.7 YPC). The Huskies offense once again showed up while the defense held strong in the redzone.

All in all, the Huskies are finding ways to win which wasn't the case for so many years. The Huskies defense has done exactly what I asked them to do which was bend but don't break. I would rather have a dominant defense but with this offense I'll take allowing only 23 points. The offense led by Price is pretty explosive this season as they have already scored 17 touchdowns in four games led by Price with his 14 touchdown passes through four games. On a day when they couldn't get the running game going or when they allowed Maynard to throw for 349 yards the Huskies once again came out on top. The Huskies improve to 3-1 which most fans expected them to be at this point in the season and next week they take on the Utah Utes. The offense behind Keith Price appears to be dangerous this season as they are averaging 34.8 points per game. The Huskies had to win this game at home and they found a way which was the key.

Observations:

- The sign of a good football player is when he is slowed down in one area of his game he still makes an impact anyways. Chris Polk had his string of five straight games rushing for over 100 yards snapped(Cal was the last team to prevent him from 100 last time). Polk was held to 60 yards on 20 carries good for just 3.0 YPC with a touchdown. It was a tough day for Polk who had to work hard for every rushing yards. After four games Polk now has 417 yards on 87 carries(4.8 YPC) with three rushing touchdowns. Polk though did something today he rarely does which was make an impact in the passing game.

For his career Polk has 51 receptions for 378 yards with zero touchdowns coming into today. Today Polk had four receptions for 85 yards including a 70 yard touchdown. That was Polk's longest reception and only touchdown receiving of his career. Polk in a game in which he was shut down still had 145 total yards with two touchdowns. This is why Polk is an all-american candidate because he can beat you with power most of the time. He also can beat you with his speed as he is faster than most people give him credit for.

- I have to give the defense credit for being tough in the redzone. The defense who is led by Cort Dennison made some big plays today. Dennison had his best game as a Husky in my opinion as he was stopping the run on key short yardage situations then was breaking up passes as well. The Bears had four possessions inside the Huskies 15 yard line where they walked away with a total of nine points instead of the maximum 28 points. Score a touchdown on two of those drive and the Bears walk away with the win. The defense showed heart today and remember last two years the defense improved as the season went along. Led by their captain Dennison the defense was just as part of this victory as the offense was by being tough when it mattered most.


- The Huskies are sure glad they landed five star recruit Austin Seferian-Jenkins who came up big today. Seferian-Jenkins had a career high four receptions today for 54 yards with a career high two touchdowns. Seferian-Jenkins will be a big weapon for the Huskies in the redzone as he caught two 20 yard touchdown passes. The Huskies with the threat of the tight end can use him as a decoy which they did on their 70 yard touchdown pass to Polk. Seferian-Jenkins has the size of a lineman but moves like a wide receiver which in a year or two will make him an impossible matchup. Seferian-Jenkins is already developing into a very difficult matchup for opposing teams. For the season Seferian-Jenkins has nine receptions for 170 yards(18.9 YPC) with three touchdowns on the season. Seferian-Jenkins is only a true freshman so look for the season to get older look for him to make even more big plays in the passing game.


- Keith Price continues to silence his doubters with another strong performance. Price was 19-25(76.0%) passing for 292 yards with three touchdowns today. Price who still doesn't have his #17 jersey on sale at UW but his backup quarterback has his jersey being sold is showing everyone why Sarkisian picked him as the starting quarterback. Price unlike a Jake Locker doesn't have the "wow" factor or impress you with his build. Instead Price is just accurate with his passes while making big plays with his arm instead of his legs.

For the season Price is 75-112(66.9%) of his passes for 983 yards(8.8 YPA) with 14 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions. Price is running this offense better than Jake Locker ever did. Of the 14 touchdown passes that Price has thrown he has connected with seven different receivers showing that you can't just focus on one receiver. Price who is only a sophomore will continue to grow under Sarkisian for two more seasons which should have the rest of the Pac-12 worried. Price you would think will only improve and Sarkisian will trust him even more so.


-  Sarkisian has his offense playing better than it ever did during his first two years at Washington. Sarkisian finally has a balance offense with a good running game in Polk and an accurate passer in Price. Sarkisian has plenty of weapons in the passing game for Price to distribute the ball to. Sarkisian even has the offensive line playing better(still not quite there yet) and his play calling seems to have improved. Whenever the Huskies need to respond after allowing a score they seem to always rise up with the score. After inheriting a program who had just gone 12-47 the previous five seasons Sarkisian began his career at Washington going 3-7 after a promising 3-3 start. Since going 3-7 Sarkisian is now 12-7 as a head coach putting him at 15-14 in his career. The Huskies took a risk on Sarkisian much like Sarkisian took a risk by naming Price the starting quarterback over the guy with the famous last name Nick Montana.

Unlike the previous failed coach Tyrone Willingham it appears the players actually like Sarkisian. The players want to play for this guy as he is a players coach but will discipline you if you cross the line. Take how he handled young freshman Bishop Sankey. Sankey as you know fumbled last week on the one yard line which caused the Nebraska game to get away from the Huskies. Sarkisian told Sankey how Chris Polk did the same thing last year and how Polk would on to have a fine season. Then Sankey responded with his best week of practice while Sarkisian rewarded him with two carries this week and Sankey rewarded his coaches faith with 16 yards rushing. When Price does make a mistake the Huskies move onto the next play or if a receiver drops a pass often Sarkisian will go right back to that receiver. Sarkisian coaches his players for success not for failure and his players aren't afraid to fail. Sarkisian was a risky hire and at times it looked like this marriage wasn't going to work. Well Sarkisian has proved his doubters including myself wrong.

In conclusion, the Huskies did what good teams do which is win at home against middle of the conference competition. In a game which vegas had as a pick em the Huskies won at home to improve to 3-1 and under Sarkisian begin conference play 1-0. For the Huskies to miss a bowl game they would have to go 2-6 the rest of the way which I can't see this team doing. The Huskies goal isn't just to make a bowl though like year. If this team goes 6-6 I'll be very disappointed as I predicted 8-4 before I knew the capabilities of Keith Price. Sarkisian is showing why he is the quarterback coach on the west coast as every quarterback he puts his hands on turns to gold. The Huskies defense who had been bashed on all week came up huge when the game mattered most when Cal had four chances from two yards out and couldn't deliver. The Huskies are a winning team which is why they win these type of games. The type of games that Willingham could never win because those teams were losing teams. Sarkisian changed the attitude of his players and you can tell that this team is very confident. When the Huskies offense faces a third and long Price seems to always deliver with a key first down. The Huskies program is going in the right direction and I'm excited to see what the Sarkisian/Price combo can do in their three years together.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Seattle Sounders FC preview vs Vancouver Whitecaps

By Money Mike



The Seattle Sounders head north of the border to Vancouver, B.C. as they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps at Empire Field tonight at 7:30pm on KING 5. The Sounders have already locked up their playoff spot after the Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City drew 1-1 last night and are now playing for at least a 2nd place finish in the West, trying to keep up with Real Salt Lake who are ahead of them on goal difference and also have a game in hand. This will be the final match played at Empire Field for the Whitecaps before they move to BC Place to finish their inaugural season.


Injury report:

Seattle Sounders FC - For the Seattle Sounders. Terry Boss, Mike Seamon, Steve Zakuani and O'Brian White are all out. Mauro Rosales will miss 2-4 weeks with an MCL Sprain. Erik Friberg has a strained hip flexor and is listed as questionable. And lastly, James Riley has a concussion and is also listed as questionable.

Vancouver Whitecaps - For the Caps, Atiba Harris doesn't look like he'll play again this season after having right knee surgery earlier in the season. Bryan Sylvestre is out with left knee surgery, but that doesn't really matter because he's their #3 goalkeeper. Russell Teibert has a right toe laceration and he is out. John Thorrington is listed as probable with a left groin strain. And last but not least, Michael Nanchoff is listed as probable with a right IT band syndrome.


Suspensions:

Seattle Sounders FC - One player suspended for the Sounders and that is Tyson Wahl after caution accumulation. Picking up too many yellow cards.

Vancouver Whitecaps - Same for Vancouver, one player suspended for caution accumulation. That man would be Alain Rochat.


What to keep our eyes on in tonights game:

- With a few players missing for the Sounders, including Mauro Rosales, there is always a question of who the hell is gonna step up and make plays for the team. And they are stacked up with options.

- Some of the folks didn't get the news earlier that the Seattle Sounders have clinched a playoff spot after the Philadelphia Union drew 1-1 with Sporting Kansas City, but I don't see that changing Sigi Schmid's tactics. He's gonna continue to play the attacking game, it's just a question if the guys will follow it, if they don't, well, it'll be a problem.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Seahawks Still Looking for That First Win

(Photo Courtesy of @RGray525)

By Wyatt Lyles


Another weekend, another chance for the Seahawks to finally get a win this season. I know that it's only been two weeks, but it just seems to have lasted a lot longer than that. Hopefully, that feeling will end tomorrow with a win in their home opener against the Arizona Cardinals. 

If there was ever a time for the Seahawks to finally get things going, now would be the time. With all those fans in the CLink cheering on our guys, I would hope that they wouldn't want to let everyone down. Even though they haven't exactly inspired much confidence thus far in the season, I believe that the Seahawks will indeed win tomorrow. For that to happen, though, some things are going to have to change. 

First and foremost, the offense needs to find its groove. After being shut out by the Steelers last week, the Seahawks have now been shut out of 6 quarters from a possible 8. That is not good at all. There is no way you can expect to win games with those kinds of numbers. Now is the time for Tarvaris Jackson to stake his claim on the starting QB position on this team. Now is the time for him to show everyone why Pete Carroll named him starter before he even took a snap in practice. 

Luckily, he will have his #1 receiver back this week. Sidney Rice will finally make his regular season Seahawks debut tomorrow after sitting out the first two games with a shoulder injury. It is very clear from Jackson's words, and his actions, that he is much more comfortable when Rice is on the field. In practice, he often looks Rice's way frequently. This is understandable since they spent a considerable amount of time together in Minnesota. So hopefully with him back on the field, the offense can finally get going. 

It will take more than just Rice coming back, however. Jackson needs to start making better decisions on the field. Too often he stands around in the pocket way too long, and doesn't go through all his progressions like he should. And he can't blame the offensive line on him not having time anymore either. They did a much better job last week on giving him time. He just hardly ever looks down field. Right now, his yards per completion is average is sitting pretty at a whopping 5.4 yards. This has got to change if there is any hope of winning games. Having Rice back should help, but Jackson still needs to work with the other options he's got. Mike Williams is another 6 foot 5 guy out there who can catch most balls thrown his way. Jackson needs to use him. There's also the big tight end Zach Miller. Give this guy a chance to earn his $34 million salary and throw him the ball. 

The running game has also got to get things going. They've just been completely underwhelming at this point. Marshawn Lynch was supposed to be a breakout player this year, but that hasn't happened. So far, he's got 44 yards on 19 attempts, which is good for 2.3 yards per attempt. Tarvaris Jackson, the QB, is right behind him with 25 yards on 7 scrambles. That just can't happen. Last week, the Seahawks only had 31 net rushing yards, and Jackson had 12 of them. This run game is just ridiculous. They really need to step to up if they want to help this team win. 

Looking lastly at the defense, I'm hoping to see a much better overall showing from them this week. In week one, they looked phenomenal. In week two, not so much. Granted, it was against the Steelers, but still. There were times that they just look out of it. From Aaron Curry's dropped potential pick 6 to Brandon Browner just getting beat left and right by Pittsburgh receiver Mike Wallace, it just didn't look to hot. Now, they did do well in the red zone, and in goal line situations, but that's not enough in my eyes. They've got to stop the other team from even getting to the red zone. Furthermore, they haven't forced a turnover yet in the season. I'm hoping that one will finally come this week to give some help to the offense. 

I realize that this post may sound a bit melancholy, but like I said, they haven't exactly inspired confidence. That being said, though, I think this game is the perfect one for the Seahawks to finally get that first win and get their own confidence back. The Cardinals are a team that while, yes, they do look good, I think the Seahawks can beat them. I really do believe that. While it will actually happen, that remains to be seen. But I'm still going to predict a win for tomorrow. Look for the Seahawks to finally get some swagger after tomorrow. 

Seahawks 17 - Cardinals 14

Huskies look to win three in a row against Cal

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(2-1) open up Pac-12 play this Saturday at home against the California Golden Bears(3-0). The Huskies after struggling against California for a short period have won three out of four games against the Bears. Last year I talked about the series between these two schools while featuring the 2009 game which saw Sarkisian win on senior night. Last year the Huskies played a must win game for both schools to keep their bowl hopes alive. The game ended when Chris Polk scored on fourth and goal from the one yard line with no time left for the Huskies to win 16-13 after trailing 13-10. The Cal Bears haven't forgotten those two horrible losses to the Huskies and will be looking for some revenge. The Bears come into this game 3-0 although haven't played a tough schedule. While the Huskies are coming into this game with their six game winning streak snapped as they lost to Nebraska last week 51-38 in a game which has fans questioning Nick Holt's job. The Huskies are playing in a very important game as California is a conference game but now a divisional game. The Huskies are also at home which makes this game even more critical going forward.


The California Golden Bears enter this game 3-0 with wins over Fresno State 36-21, on the road in overtime against Colorado 36-33 and then again at home against Presbyterian 63-12. The Bears have had to do a face lift as they lost their quarterback and running back from last season. This year the Bears are led by lefty quarterback Zach Maynard who is 49-95(51.6%) passing for 724 yards(7.6 YPA) with nine touchdowns to three interceptions. Maynard not much of a threat to run but has busted a 43 yard run this year. His main receiver is Keenan Allen who has 20 receptions for 301 yards(15.0 YPC) with two touchdowns and Marvin Jones who has 17 receptions for 296 yards(17.4 YPC) with three touchdowns. When the Bears decide to run the ball they'll hand the ball off to Isi Sofele who has ran for 260 yards(4.2 YPC) with four touchdowns. The Bears will be looking to exploit a Huskies defense that is allowing 36.6 points per game. The Huskies defense so far has shown they can't stop the pass or stop the run which has to make Bears fans happy about this matchup. Despite losing three of the last four meetings Jeff Tedford is 6-3 all-time against the Huskies.


The Huskies enter this contest with as explosive offense as anyone in the conference not named Oregon. The Huskies put up 38 points on the road in Nebraska even though Nebraska has three projected first round picks on defense. The Huskies are led by sophomore quarterback Keith Price who is 56-87(64.4%) for 691 yards passing(7.9 YPA) with a nation leading 11 touchdown passes to three interceptions. Price likes to spread the ball around to his receivers. The Huskies have five guys who are capable of making a big play in the passing game. The Huskies are led by Jermaine Kearse who had the big 43 yard catch in last year's game winning drive. Kearse on the season has 8 receptions for 107 yards(13.4 YPC) with four touchdowns. The Huskies leading receiver though is Devin Augilar who has 11 receptions for 181 yards(16.5 YPC) with a touchdown. James Johnson has returned from last year's disappointing season with 12 receptions for 155 yards(12.9 YPC) with three touchdowns. The Huskies also have tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins who has five receptions for 116 yards(23.2 YPC) with a touchdown. The Huskies are licking their chops in the passing game after seeing Colorado throw for over 400 yards against California. The Huskies still have a great rushing game in Chris Polk who has ran for 357 yards(5.3 YPC) with two touchdowns. The Huskies should be able to score points on the California defense and the Huskies defense has held the Bears to just one combined touchdown the last two meetings. This is a big game though with some tough games left on the schedule the Huskies can't afford to drop this game.

In conclusion, from here on out these are all big games for the Huskies. The Huskies are playing a team in which they should beat at home. This won't be a cakewalk like some fans may think because California doesn't quit in September they wait until November to do that. California will always have talented players on their roster as well and Tedford is still a quality offensive mind. The Huskies defense was lit up by Nebraska but they were also lit up to Eastern Washington and Hawaii two schools who are combined 1-5 on the season. We all know the Huskies offense can score with the best of them but that won't matter if the defense continues to allow the other team to score points. This should be a fun contest this Saturday in a game which the Huskies should win. California has already shown they struggle against the pass so look for Keith Price to have a big day. Look for the Huskies defense to play a little bit better as well. The Huskies are looking to beat California for the third straight year as Sarkisian hasn't lost to California since 2003.