Monday, March 25, 2013

USA gets a huge World Cup Qualifying victory in a blizzard

By Money Mike

Despite all the heavy snow late in the night in Denver, the match went on and it was the USA who came away with the three points they so desperately needed. On Friday night, the U.S. defeated Costa Rica 1-0 in front of a sellout crowd at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. With the win, the U.S. moves up two second place in the hexagonal table. Remember, the top three teams in the group qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the fourth placed team will play New Zealand in a home-and-away playoff for one of the final spots in the World Cup. New Zealand clinched the top spot in the OFC Qualifier with a game to spare after coming away with a 2-1 victory over New Caledonia in their match on Friday. The U.S. have another Qualifying match on Tuesday as they head down to Mexico for a clash against their arch rivals.

In the 15th minute, the U.S. pressured the Costa Rican backline early as the visitors struggled to clear the ball out of their own area. Michael Umana got over Jozy Altidore trying to head the ball clear, but he headed to right to Clint Dempsey who decided to have a go from about 30 yards out, but it was always going high and wide.

A minute later, the Americans took advantage of a poor goal kick from goalkeeper Kaylor Navas and climbed out to an early lead. Graham Zusi picked up the loose ball and fed it to Clint Dempsey, who then turned and found Jozy Altidore from about 19 yards out. Jozy had a go which was blocked by Roy Miller and right there to poke the ball into the empty net was Clint Dempsey to give the United States a 1-0 lead. It was Dempsey's seventh goal of this Qualifying campaign and his fourth in the last three World Cup Qualifying matches. The Costa Rican defenders were claiming offside, but that wasn't even close. Dempsey was well onside on the shot from Altidore so there's no way the linesman would raise his flag on that play.

Five minutes later, the Costa Rican's nearly caught the Americans on the break. Geoff Cameron was looking to feed the ball out wide to Herculez Gomez, but it was cut out by Bryan Oviedo who continued his run and chipped ball toward the back post which took a deflection and bounced off the foot of Christian Bolanos and into the hands of Brad Guzan.

In the 38th minute, Costa Rica had another opportunity to pull level. Bryan Oviedo once again jumped in from the back and worked a 1-2 with Christian Bolanos and looked to square the ball across for Alvaro Saborio, but it took a deflection and once again landed in the arms of Brad Guzan who of course was making his first start in the Klinsmann era, replacing Tim Howard who was out with a back injury.

Now moving on to the 42nd minute, USA should've had a penalty. DaMarcus Beasley curled the ball in the box with his left foot for Jozy Altidore. Kaylor Navas made a dumbass decision coming off his line and try to punch the ball away and he didn't get a finger to it. The ball bounced to Clint Dempsey, who made a cut and was clipped by Roy Miller. The referee was right there and he does not call a penalty. Why? I do not know, but it should've been called.

In the 51st minute of the match, the U.S. had an opportunity to double the lead. Clint Dempsey whipped in a good cross for Herculez Gomez, who flicked the ball to Jozy Altidore, but the momentum carried him away from the goal. Altidore chased the ball down near the end line, cut inside to the top of the penalty area turned and struck the ball near post with his right foot, but it rolls wide of net. It was a nice bit of play though from Altidore. We've seen him do that a couple of times during his early days with the New York Red Bulls. I thought Altidore was lively all game long, making some good runs in the box, getting a couple of good looks at goal.

In the 60th minute, Costa Rica began to push forward and they had another opportunity to pull level. Michael Barrantes played a good long ball for Alvaro Saborio who volleyed it low from a tight angle, but Brad Guzan read it perfectally.

10 minutes later, the Costa Rican's thought they had an equalizer. Not so fast. Michael Barrantes curled the ball out with his left foot and it sailed over everybody in the box. However, Ariel Rodriguez was there to track the ball down and play it back in and the U.S. back stuggled to clear the ball away and Roy Miller poked the ball back to Barrantes who curled the ball to the far post for Joel Campbell who headed the ball off the post and into the back of the net, but the flag was up for offside so the goal did not count. It was the right call as well because when the ball was played in, there were two Costa Rican's in an offside position, including Campbell. If Campbell wasn't in an offside position, then the goal would probably stand, but it wasn't and the U.S. were able to hold on for a big win.

Scoring summary:

United States - Clint Dempsey (Unassisted) 16'

Misconduct summary:

Costa Rica - Roy Miller (caution; foul) 49'

United States - Jermaine Jones (caution; foul) 69'

Costa Rica - Giancarlo Gonzalez (caution; foul) 90'


Costa Rica - Kaylor Navas; Cristian Gamboa (Juan Diego Madrigal 81'), Michael Umana, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Roy Miller, Bryan Oviedo (Diego Calvo 73'); Ariel Rodriguez, Michael Barrantes, Christian Bolanos (Joel Campbell 62'); Bryan Ruiz, Alvaro Saborio

United States - Brad Guzan; Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, DaMarcus Beasley; Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones (Maurice Edu 83'); Graham Zusi (Eddie Johnson 76'), Clint Dempsey, Herculez Gomez (Kyle Beckerman 94'+); Jozy Altidore

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Looking ahead to USA's two upcoming World Cup Qualifying matches

By Money Mike

We're only one match into the Hexagonal Round of the CONCACAF Qualifier for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and already it feels like the United States need to get a result in one of these two matches. The U.S. are coming off a 2-1 defeat down in Honduras in the first match of the Hexagonal round and now for the two upcoming matches tomorrow against Costa Rica at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Colorado and Tuesday at the Estadio Azteca against Mexico, they're going to be without a few key players including their goalkeeper. Tim Howard is out with a back problem, so Brad Guzan will be called upon to fill in for the injured Howard. Now Guzan does have experience playing in big games like these. He's appeared in five WCQ matches and has registered a clean sheet in three of the five. He's done well in goal lately for Aston Villa, so we'll see how he does. Howard's not the only one ruled out, as I just said earlier. Steve Cherundolo is still not fully recovered from his knee injury, Timmy Chandler suffered a hamstring injury during a match last Saturday, Fabian Johnson has been out for two weeks with a hip problem and Danny Williams has been dealing with an illness. Another player that isn't on the squad is their leader Carlos Bocanegra, who was left out due to the fact that he hasn't seen any playing time for his club for over a week and a half now. Other players that haven't been getting any playing time...... the ones that you'd consider as a possible replacement in the back of course. Oguchi Onyewu has made only 1 appearance for Malaga this season (what the hell is going on with this guy?). Michael Parkhurst has lacked playing time since his move to FC Augsburg in the Bundesliga. And here's one that I don't recall anyone mentioning, Eric Lichaj. He's had a good run of form up to December 23 and then he's only appeared in two matches since then. So the inexperience in the back has led to concerns for the entire week now.

Now if you hadn't read anything regarding the critics of this U.S. team, you might want to do that. There was a piece on Sporting News about 11 anonymous players criticizing Jurgen Klinsmann's coaching methods (which were pathetic as of last match), but there criticism was a step too far. Not even Michael Bradley appreciated any of it.....

“It’s shameful, and it’s embarrassing. I think for every guy who has ever played on a team, you give everything you have … and on every team in the world, not every guy is going to be happy. There’s going to be guys who go back to their room and talk with their roommate about things they wish were different. But that’s normal.

…But you cross a line when you take those thoughts and you take your disappointments outside of the team, outside of the inner circle."

And Bradley's 100% right. We hear about shit like this every year. Players not being happy, wondering why they're here, etc. But when you spread this crap outside the system, you're taking it a step too far (I don't know, I can't explain). Here's a look at the squad. You can see the lack of experience in the back. DeMarcus Beasley is back in the side along with Terrence Boyd and of course Brad Guzan will be back in net for the Red, White and Blue.....

U.S. squad by position (caps/goals):


Brad Guzan (Aston Villa; England) - 20/0

Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) - 6/0

Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire) - 3/0


Clarence Goodson (Brondby; Denmark) - 34/3

Geoff Cameron (Stoke City; England) - 12/0

Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy) - 4/0

Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake) - 1/0

Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) - 1/0

Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes) - 1/0


DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla; Mexico) - 97/17

Michael Bradley (AS Roma; Italy) - 73/11

Maurice Edu (Bursaspor; Turkey) - 43/1

Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht; Belgium) - 39/4

Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04; Germany) - 27/2

Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake) - 24/1

Brek Shea (Stoke City; England) - 15/0

Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) - 8/1

Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo) - 6/0

Joe Corona (Tijuana; Mexico) - 3/0


Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur; England) - 92/31

Jozy Altidore (AZ; Netherlands) - 53/13

Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC) - 46/14

Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna; Mexico) - 19/5

Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna; Austria) - 7/0

USA vs Costa Rica prediction:

So for this one, I'm gonna break everything down and go from there. I mentioned that the U.S. lacks experience defensively, Costa Rica brings in a good attacking side with Alvaro Saborio (who last I heard, may not play due to injury). They also have Bryan Ruiz who struck twice against the American's the last time these two teams met in a World Cup Qualifier. Then there's young Joel Campbell and of course Jairo Arrieta. But as good as their attack is, Costa Rica is not that good at defending. I mean, they are not a physical team and when it comes to that. Whether it's from open play or on set pieces, they are just not that good. I mean, the American's are a physical team. Eddie Johnson's an aggressive player, Herculez Gomez, Michael Bradley and Omar Gonzalez are aggressive players. So I kind of draw this to who's the more physical side, and it's definitely the U.S. If they can hold their ground defensively and on put the Costa Rican backline under a ton of pressure, I think they can put in a couple of goals and come away with a result. The U.S. has a 24-match home unbeaten streak in World Cup Qualifying play, and I've been wrong before, but I think they'll get a result and extend it to 25.

USA - 2
Costa Rica - 1

USA vs Mexico prediction:

Last time the U.S. visited Mexico, they defeated them 1-0 on an 80th minute goal by Michael Orozco Fiscal. However this is not going to be the same Mexico side we saw in the last visit. Mexico is off to a slow start themselves after drawing at home to Jamaica in their first match of the Hexagonal round. But again, the El Tri has had their number against the American's in this stage and I don't see why the match on Tuesday would be any different. I just hope I'm wrong with this one, but I have to go with a loss.

USA - 0
Mexico - 2

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sounders FC sign Obafemi Martins as their newest Designated Player

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders have finally signed Nigerian international Obafemi Martins as their newest Designated Player after weeks of speculation. Martins joins the team from La Liga side Levante and could be available for Tomorrow nights rivalry match against the Portland Timbers. Both the Sounders and Levante reportedly agreed to a deal for Martins, but the deal couldn't get done because the there was a $4 million buyout clause that had to be paid in order to allow Martins to join the Sounders immediately. Then about a week ago, it looked like the deal was going to be put on hold until the summer because of the fact that Martins was the team leader in goals and that Levante were still competing in the Europa League. But then on Monday, ESPN FC reported that Martins paid his release clause and now the signing was made official earlier today.

Martins began his career Italy, spending a year in the Reggiana youth system before joining Inter Milan in 2001. In five seasons for Inter, Martins made 136 appearances and scored 49 goals in all competitions and led the squad to a Serie A title in the 2005-06 and Back-to-Back Coppa Italia titles in 2005 and 2006. Following his stint with Inter, Martins joined Premier League club Newcastle United where he made a total of 104 appearances and 35 goals before leaving the Magpies in 2009 after the club was relegated to the Championship. He then joined German Bundesliga club Wolfsburg where he didn't make much of an impact. He made only 25 appearances and scored 6 goals for them. Following his disappointing season he joined Russian Premier League club Rubin Kazan and made 12 appearances and scored two goal in 2010 before returning to England on loan during their offseason, joining Birmingham City till' the end of the season. During his short time there, he scored the game winning goal in the Carling Cup final against Arsenal. Pouncing on a loose ball in the final minute. I did a recap of this match a couple years ago while I was experimenting prior to the Sounders 2011 season. He only made six appearances and scored two goals before suffering a stress fracture on his left tibia. And of course recently played for Levante in La Liga where he made a total of 27 appearances and led the team in goals with nine.

Martins has also represented Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations in 2006, 2008 and 2010 as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Overall he has capped 38 times for his country and scored 18 goals. As a matter of fact, following tomorrows match, he'll hop back on the plane and join Nigeria for their World Cup Qualifying match next Saturday against Kenya.

Here's a look at what we're about to get out of Martins.....

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sounders pull off an incredible comeback and come away with a historic CCL Quarterfinal series win

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders came into this game down 1-0 on aggregate and in need of a two goal victory. And that's exactly what happened. Down 1-0 at the half and 2-0 on aggregate, the Sounders came through with three spectacular goals in the second half to defeat Tigres 3-1 in the second leg and 3-2 on aggregate to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal where they will play Santos Laguna in a rematch of last years Champions League Quarterfinal where Santos punished the Sounders 7-3 on aggregate. Santos defeated the Houston Dynamo 3-1 in their quarterfinal matchup. The Sounders also became the first MLS team to eliminate a Mexican opponent in the knockout stages of the Champions League, which is big for American soccer. Seattle returns to league action this Saturday when they host the Portland Timbers.

The first chance of the game came in the 16th minute when Steve Zakuani fed Eddie Johnson who drifted to the right hand side. Johnson chipped the ball into the penalty area, which took a deflection, but found Sammy Ochoa for a free header that just missed by a yard.

A minute later, Tigres beat the offside trap and nearly made the Sounders pay for it. Jonathan Bornstein, the ex-Chivas USA defender, slid the ball through to Alan Pulido who was kept onside by Djimi Traore. Pulido tried to toe poke the ball into the far corner with the outside of his right foot, but Michael Gspurning got his left hand to it to deflect it wide for a corner. A lot of fans thought Pulido was offside, including myself, but it was actually a good no call by the linesman because he was even with the last defender (Traore) when the ball was played.

In the 23rd minute, the Sounders backline got caught again and this time Tigres capitalized and drew first blood. Bornstein slid the ball forward looking for Alberto Acosta who was battling DeAndre Yedlin for the ball. Acosta brushed Yedlin aside and had time and space to slide the ball across to Elias Hernandez for an easy tap in to put the Liga MX Clausura leaders up 1-0 in the second leg and 2-0 on aggregate. That away goal meant the Sounders would have to score three goals to advance and against a tough Mexican team like Tigres in this stage, coming back with three goals would be a tough task for the Sounders.

Five minutes later, Hernandez nearly made it 3-0 on aggregate. Abraham Stringel chipped the ball forward to Alan Pulido who did very well to hold off Djimi Traore and poke it to Hernandez who gave it a go from outside the area as the momentum carried him away from goal and somehow it nearly snuck in, but Gspurning got a touch on it to deflect off the right post and out for a corner. Off the corner, the ball bounced off the leg of Traore right to Manuel Viniegra from point blank range but he hit it right at Gspurning and the Sounders dodged yet another bullet.

Seattle started to create some chances and in the 35th minute, they came real close to pulling a goal back. Ozzie Alonso fed DeAndre Yedlin on the far side. Yedlin delivered a low ball to the top of the area for Sammy Ochoa who had to reach back with his right foot because cross was behind him. So he reached back to get a foot to it and headed it for Eddie Johnson who turned and quickly struck the ball from 10 yards but the ball drifted just wide of goal. That was a big change right there, and he probably should've scored. But at the same time, it looked like EJ wasn't set as the ball bounced in front of him and it looked more like he struck the ball with a loose foot than his laces.

EJ had another chance in the 35th minute as he fed with a perfectly timed through ball by Zakuani. Johnson looked to slide the ball into the far corner with his left foot, but Tigres goalkeeper Jorge Diaz de Leon got a paw on it to deny him.

In the 45th minute, right on the stroke of halftime, this I believe was the turning point in the match. Referee Elmer Bonilla blew the play dead after Mauro Rosales was fouled. About a couple seconds later, Manuel Viniegra, who was already booked for time wasting, kicks the ball away and the referee doesn't waste anytime showing a second yellow which means he's gone and Tigres had to play the rest of the game with 10 men. The fact that he was already sitting on a yellow card, to do something that would risk getting another yellow like kicking the ball away is just plain stupid. Despite being down a man, Tigres went into the break 1-0 up in the second leg and 2-0 up on aggregate.

The Sounders continued to pour pressure on Tigres in the second half and in the 53rd minute, they got on the board in a big way. Mauro Rosales took the corner kick from the near hash mark, looking near post where Alonso was lurking but it was headed out by Jonathan Espericueta only as far as DeAndre Yedlin who steps up and volleys it low and hard into the right corner from about 30 yards out for his first goal of his professional career and more importantly gave the Sounders some life in the series as they cut the aggregate lead to 2-1.

Seven minutes later, the Sounders found the net again off another beauty from a defender. Mario Martinez, who came on shortly after the goal, was fed by DeAndre Yedlin. Martinez looked to curl the ball in before a Tigres defender came sliding in to cut down the angle, so he cut to his right foot but his touch was too heavy and the ball was cleared by Jonathan Bornstein. However, it wasn't a great clearance as Djimi Traore stepped up and cracked one from 30 yards out and the ball bounced in off the underside of the crossbar for his first Sounders goal and the Sounders leveled it up on aggregate, but Tigres still had the edge on away goals, so Seattle still needed another goal.

They nearly got that third goal two minutes later. DeAndre Yedlin whipped in an early ball for Eddie Johnson, but the ball bounced to Steve Zakuani who settled and fired a shot just over the top of the bar.

Then with 15 minutes to go in the game, the Sounders get that third goal to climb ahead on aggregate. Steve Zakuani found Eddie Johnson making a run down the left and fed him with a perfectly timed through ball. EJ beat the offside trap, raced towards goal and slid the ball underneath Jorge Diaz de Leon and into the far corner from a tight angle to complete the comeback for the Sounders as they rally with three unanswered goals in the second half to defeat Tigres 3-2 on aggragate, making them the first MLS team to eliminate a Mexican opponent in the knockout stages of the CONCACAF Champions League.


It was good to see Eddie Johnson get a goal after a rough start to the season. In the opener, he missed a golden opportunity at an equalizer by hitting the crossbar. In the first leg against Tigres on the road, he was kept quiet most of the game as Seattle didn't really attack much in the game. He even struggled a bit in this game, missing a couple of good opportunities in the first half. So hopefully the that goal will get him going. With Fredy Montero gone, he's had to carry the load up front and may continue to carry the load for another week or two until Obafemi Martins finally lands in the Emerald City. The last thing the fans want to see is EJ sucking in 2013 after an outstanding 2012 season. He's already gone through a difficult spell in Europe, so to see him struggle in 2013 would make people think, "that sums up his career." So again, hopefully that goal gets him going, even though it's early.

Unlucky for this man not to get a goal, but all in all I thought Steve Zakuani's performance last night was excellent. His decision making was good. The timing of his passes were good as well. Again, he was unlucky not to get a goal in the match. His shot just sailing over the bar. I don't know about you guys, but I think he's all but re-discovered his old form that he was in prior to his injury.

On the defensive side, I think we're looking at a new and improved backline for the Sounders with DeAndre Yedlin and Djimi Traore. The backline has done a terrific job in the series. Both Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Djimi Traore seem to be getting along well in the center of defense, I shouldn't have to explain DeAndre Yedlin again, and Leo Gonzalez is in the best form I've seen in the last couple of years. I used to be critical about Gonzalez's one on one defending because it's been terrible, but so far he's done an excellent job, so again I think we're looking at a much improved backline for the Men in Rave Green.

We've just kicked off our fifth season and already we've had a lot of memorable moments, historic moments, etc. From the very first match in 2009, to the away victory in Monterrey in 2011, the three-peat in the U.S. Open Cup, the playoff series win over Real Salt Lake in 2012 and now last night becoming the first MLS team to eliminate a Mexican opponent in the Champions League. I was at this game, I lost my voice, but it was all worth it because I got to see this team make history and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. I think it's gonna be one hell of a ride.

Scoring summary:

Tigres de la UANL - Elias Hernandez (Alberto Acosta, Jonathan Bornstein) 23'

Seattle Sounders FC - DeAndre Yedlin (Unassisted) 53'

Seattle Sounders FC - Djimi Traore (Unassisted) 60'

Seattle Sounders FC - Eddie Johnson (Steve Zakuani) 75'

* Seattle Sounders FC advance 3-2 on aggregate

Misconduct summary:

Seattle Sounders FC - Eddie Johnson (caution; argument) 14'

Tigres de la UANL - Jorge Diaz de Leon (caution; time wasting) 35'

Tigres de la UANL - Manuel Viniegra (caution; time wasting) 37'

Tigres de la UANL - Manuel Viniegra (caution; kicking the ball away) 45'

Tigres de la UANL - Manuel Viniegra (ejection; second yellow) 45'

Seattle Sounders FC - Osvaldo Alonso (caution; foul) 48'

Tigres de la UANL - Elias Hernandez (caution; foul) 81'

Seattle Sounders FC - Steve Zakuani (caution; time wasting) 82'

Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning (caution; time wasting) 86'


Tigres de la UANL - Jorge Diaz de Leon; Abraham Stringel (Josue Aguilar 87'), Hugo Rodriguez, Alonso Zamora, Jose Rivas (Jonathan Espericueta 45'); Alberto Acosta (Taufic Guarch 61'), Manuel Viniegra, Jesus Duenas, Elias Hernandez, Jonathan Bornstein; Alan Pulido

Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning; DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leonardo Gonzalez; Mauro Rosales (Mario Martinez 54'), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Andy Rose 27'), Steve Zakuani (Marc Burch 83'); Sammy Ochoa, Eddie Johnson

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sounders set to take on Tigres in the second leg of the Champions League Quarterfinal

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders have chance to do what no MLS team has done since the Champions League was formed in 2008, and that is eliminate a Mexican opponent in the knockout stages of the Champions League. The Sounders host Tigres in the second leg tomorrow night at 7pm. Tigres won the first leg 1-0 on a 74th minute goal by Alan Pulido. It could've easily ended 3-0 Tigres, or worse, but the Sounders backline led by Djimi Traore did very well to stand their ground and hold them to a single goal. But now there's no excuse here, the Sounders need to win the second leg by multiple goals or at least 1-0 to force overtime if they want any chance of advancing.

Now as many of you heard, Tigres is bringing in a squad full of reserves to SeaTown and I gotta admit, they're nuts. The fact that it's only 1-0 on aggregate, they should've rested their starters last Saturday, but they didn't and now they're tired which means that most of players in the squad will be reserves and I'm pretty sure it includes a bum who goes by the name of Jonathan Bornstein. God that guy sucks. I'm still not over his shit performance for the U.S. in the 2011 Gold Cup. I'm not going to use a reserve squad as an excuse to say the Sounders will win this one easily. I'm not gonna say that. It's still a tough task, and the Sounders need to be equal to it. Speaking of the Sounders, they did have a bye week in League play so they didn't have to worry about shuffling their lineup. One of the guys that was left out last week, Steve Zakuani is expected to be named to the squad tomorrow. David Estrada, Shalrie Joseph and Adam Johansson are a no go. There were also injury concerns for Mario Martinez, but he should be available tomorrow.

Key to the game:

Being on Mexican soil the first leg. The key was to at least try to keep the score at a minimum. Keep it close at least. They did that. Now the Sounders are back on their home turf for the second game. Now it's time to attack. Put pressure on the Tigres backline. Everyone has gotta be on the same page here and not get caught out of position like they did in the opener against the Montreal Impact. No sloppy giveaways, no getting caught out of position, none of that crap. Direct play, get the crosses in. As for Eddie Johnson, he needs to be in the box to get on the end of them. Hopefully they can pull it out and move on to the semifinal. I'm gonna be there to catch every single minute of it and remember, I have a perfect record attending Sounder games, so hopefully that'll help (lol).

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Huskies star TE Seferian-Jenkins stopped for suspicion of DUI

By Kshell

On Saturday Night at approximately 11 p.m. University of Washington star tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was stopped for suspicion of  DUI. He had a bloody nose and had to go to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington (where he has since been released I'm told). He had a female passenger with him at the time. I normally don't do breaking news as I'm not a news member with "inside" sources. However, on this case I was privileged to some information that I figured I'd share to the public.

First of all, Seferian-Jenkins the little I've had encounters with him has always treated me well. I've had good exchanges with him via Facebook and Twitter. He appears to be a good thoughtful kid so I'm not going to bury him until I know all the facts. I also hope for his sake and his passenger that their health is fine and nothing seriously has gone wrong. When the details come out I'll let the beat writers of the team put in their opinion on this.

Remember going into the 2012 season after signing a new deal Seattle Seahawks star running back Marshawn Lynch was arrested for a DUI. Some fans were freaking out thinking he was going to have a bad season due to that. Quite the contrary as Lynch enjoyed his best season as a pro. Lynch ran for a career high 1,590 yards on a career high 5.0 YPC average with 11 touchdowns. He earned his second straight pro bowl appearance and first career first team all-pro selection. He also scored the winning touchdown in the Seahawks first road playoff victory in 29 years when the Seahawks defeated the Washington Redskins 24-14. By the end of the season most fans had forgotten about Lynch's DUI and forgiven him as his play never slowed down.

For Seferian-Jenkins he is entering his junior season at Washington. He is coming off a terrific season where he set records as he caught 69 passes for 850 yards(12.3 YPC) and seven touchdowns. For his two year career he is the all-time leader for Husky tight ends with 110 receptions, 1,394 yards and 13 touchdowns. He will most likely leave for the NFL after his junior season as he'll be the Huskies best NFL prospect heading into the 2013 season.

Hopefully Seferian-Jenkins can learn from his mistake and not repeat it. In the future Seferian-Jenkins hopefully can remember to call a cab or a friend if he is out drinking. He has too much to risk as in 12 months he'll be a very rich man as some lucky NFL franchise will make him a first round pick. Seferian-Jenkins is a young kid as he won't turn 21 until September 29th, 2013.

At the end of the day Seferian-Jenkins made a mistake. Not everyone is perfect even if at times on the football field he appears to be perfect. Husky fans will rally behind Seferian-Jenkins while rival fans will troll him on twitter and facebook. More importantly is Seferian-Jenkins learns a lesson from this which is don't drink and drive. I'm a big fan of Seferian-Jenkins and I hope everything turns out okay for him and his passenger. I just wish Seferian-Jenkins had taken his own advice which he tweeted out at 9 p.m. "Young Uce @Aesj88; All friends have a fun and safe night." If only Seferian-Jenkins had taken his own advice March 9th, 2013 wouldn't have ended so poorly for him.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Montreal Impact steal one in Seattle

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders came into the season opener without a few key players. Adam Johansson, David Estrada and Patrick Ianni were out injured. Lamar Neagle was left out of the lineup. Djimi Traore was left on the bench. And Ozzie Alonso and Marc Burch were suspended. So I expected play to be a little sloppy on the part of the Sounders, but I did not expect a result like this. On Saturday, the Montreal Impact came to CenturyLink Field and stunned the crowd of 38,998 in attendance as they defeated the Seattle Sounders 1-0. The Sounders had some chances in this game, but they couldn't deliver and with the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal on the road at Tigres coming up a couple days from now, Seattle needs to correct their mistakes and correct them fast. Since both legs of the Champions League are this Wednesday and next Tuesday, the Sounders next match in league play won't be until March 16 at home and their opponent happens to be the Portland Timbers.

In the 18th minute, Montreal had a chance to go up 1-0 and probably should've gone up 1-0. Andrea Pisanu spotted the run of Marco Di Vaio and fed him with a perfectly timed through ball in the box. Di Vaio got in behind Zach Scott and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado but he put a little too much under the ball and shot it over the bar.

In the 24th minute, the Sounders had an opportunity of their own to break the deadlock. Again, the passing was sloppy on both ends of the pitch and teams struggling to clear the ball out of their own area. Felipe Martins looked to clear the ball from danger but Jhon Kennedy Hurtado stepped in to head the ball to Andy Rose whose touch was a little heavy. Felipe slid in to win the ball back, but Rose fed the ball to the near side for Mario Martinez who looked and curled the ball to the near post for Eddie Johnson who got past Matteo Ferrari, but he flicked the ball wide of Troy Perkins's right hand side.

Five minutes later, EJ had another opportunity. Justin Mapp's misplaced pass gave Mauro Rosales a chance to catch Montreal on the counter. Rosales rolled the ball to Johnson on the right side of the box. Johnson waited for support before cutting inside and trying to curl his shot into the corner, but it was too far central and easily gathered by Troy Perkins.

In the 35th minute, the Sounders get caught on the counter and the Impact take full advantage of it and open the scoring. Marco Di Vaio found Felipe who had time and space to look up and he lifted the ball up for Davy Arnaud who settled the ball in front of him and chipped it over the head of Michael Gspurning and in the back of the net to put the Impact ahead 1-0. Just poor play on that one from Andy Rose, Zach Scott and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. Hurtado was late trying to get back, Scott overcommits by pushing up and closing down Felipe and nobody picks up Arnaud. Just shocking defending on that play.

Just over four minutes into the second half, Montreal had a big chance to go up by two. Patrice Bernier sent Sanna Nyassi in behind the defense with the great through ball. Just as Nyassi was getting ready to strike, he starts to lose control. However, the Sounders still couldn't get it away as Zach Scott and Michael Gspurning collide in the box. Marco Di Vaio stepped in with the net empty trying to make it 2-0, but DeAndre Yedlin got back to get in the way of that shot to keep it a one score game.

In the 64th minute, the Sounders dodged another bullet. Sanna Nyassi worked a give and go with Marco Di Vaio on the near side. Nyassi made a good run forward and whipped in a very good cross for a diving header from Davy Arnaud, but the ball bounced back into play from the crossbar and the score remained 1-0.

A minute later, Seattle were denied by the frame. Mario Martinez slid the ball to Eddie Johnson at the top of the area, who poked the ball back to Brad Evans for a first timed shot that beat Troy Perkins, but the left post comes to Montreal's rescue this time.

With just under 10 minutes to go in normal time, Seattle had a golden opportunity to level the match. Eddie Johnson fed Leo Gonzalez who made an overlapping run from his left back position. Gonzalez chipped the ball to the near post for Alex Caskey who flicked the ball for Eddie Johnson who strikes the ball off the crossbar from point blank range. I'm still having difficulty figuring out how he couldn't score from that position, but that's what the outcome of that chance was and Seattle come away empty handed in the opening match of the 2013 season.


DeAndre Yedlin impressive in his debut with the Sounders.
I was a little surprised to see this kid in the lineup for this match, but DeAndre Yedlin got the start and I gotta say I was really impressed with his performance. Yedlin remember played a year in the Sounders FC Youth academy and was signed back in January as the first homegrown player in club history after two seasons at Akron. Normally at 19-years old when you make your debut for your hometown club, you end up feeling a lot of pressure and struggle to handle it. But he didn't feel any pressure, he took his debut like it's another game. His passing was good. One on One defending, excellent. Despite all that, I'm still not quite satisfied that he should be an everyday starter at right back because on the attacking end, his crosses weren't great and on the defensive side of the ball, there were times when Sanna Nyassi beat him especially the first couple of minutes where Nyassi got in behind him and both were pulling eachothers jerseys. If Nyassi went down under that, I think the referee would've called a foul and Yedlin probably would've been sent off. But based on what I've seen out of him, he'll only get better as he gains more minutes and he will be a future starter on this team for sure.

Asside from DeAndre's performance, the Sounders attacking game was, ya know...... not good. First of all, someone on Seattle Times called Zakuani a One Trick Pony. I don't know who said that, and I don't care, but that's got to be the most bullshit comment I've ever heard or read or whatever. The wide play however, was very poor, the crosses were weak, and the guys are just getting caught out of position. Rosales needs to move back to the right side of midfield where he's most effective and they need to push Zakuani up front with EJ and move Martinez to the left side of midfield. They need to change something attacking wise until they finally get another striker.

Ya know.... first game, they lost. Big deal. Look, I'm not happy with the defeat myself, but there's absolutely no reason to panic. These guys off and on have hit a brick wall, but they find ways to bounce back and win games. So this team will bounce back from this loss, no doubt. We've got a long long way to go this season. 34 games. This was the first game, so now we have 33 games to go.

Scoring summary:

Montreal Impact - Davy Arnaud 1 (Felipe Martins 1) 35'

Misconduct summary:

Seattle Sounders FC - Brad Evans (caution; foul) 17'

Montreal Impact - Andrea Pisanu (caution; foul) 64'


Montreal Impact - Troy Perkins; Hassoun Camara (Dennis Iapichino 84'), Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Jeb Brovsky; Andrea Pisanu (Calum Mallace 69'), Patrice Bernier, Felipe Martins, Justin Mapp (Sanna Nyassi 45'); Davy Arnaud, Marco Di Vaio

Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning; DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leonardo Gonzalez (Servando Carrasco 84'); Mario Martinez, Andy Rose (Alex Caskey 62'), Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani (Sammy Ochoa 69'); Mauro Rosales, Eddie Johnson

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sounders get set to open up 2013 against the Montreal Impact

By Money Mike

After a month in a half of preparation, it's time to get back to business. The Seattle Sounders get set to take the pitch once again in front of their hometown crowd as they kick off the 2013 season against the Montreal Impact. Last time these two teams met was last season in Montreal on June 16th where the Impact have the Sounders a major beating as they came away 4-1. This is the first trip to Seattle for the MLS edition of Montreal. The last time we've seen a matchup between the Sounders and the Impact in Seattle was a half decade ago in the first leg of the 2008 USL Quarterfinal which Seattle won 2-1, but would eventually lose the second leg in Montreal 3-1 and losing 4-3 on aggregate thus closing the book on the Sounders USL franchise. Montreal begins their second season in Major League Soccer, while Seattle kicks off their fifth season.

Injury report:

Montreal Impact - Alright for the Montreal Imapact, three players are a no go for this game and I'm not gonna speculate how long these guys will be out for their club. Sinisa Ubiparipovic has been struggling with a calf injury. Maxim Tissot is out with a shoulder injury. And lastly, Nelson Rivas has a bad knee.

Seattle Sounders FC - For the Seattle Sounders, two are out and two are questionable. Patrick Ianni suffered a fractured right foot at the beginning of training camp so he'll be out for a while. Andrew Duran was given the all clear my the doctors after suffering a torn ACL during his loan stint with the Atlanta Silverbacks, but he's gonna need to work his way back into gametime form before he can make his debut for the Sounders. Speaking of that, Shalrie Joseph has a right calf strain and I don't think he'll make his debut tomorrow. He's listed as questionable. Last but not least, Adam Johansson is a gametime decision for tomorrow. He's been sidelined most of the preseason after suffering a right knee sprain during one of the preseason matches in Tucson.


Montreal Impact - None to report

Seattle Sounders FC - Unfortunately we do have a couple to report. Marc Burch is surving the last game of his three game suspension for an inappropriate gesture directed at one of the Real Salt Lake players during the playoffs. And of course, Ozzie Alonso is suspended for the opener because of the red card he picked up at the end of the 2nd leg of the Western Conference Final against the LA Galaxy. It actually occured following the final whistle of the game.

Key matchups:

Eddie Johnson vs Alessandro Nesta - Montero may be out, but Seattle still has another goalscoring threat and his name is Eddie Johnson. Coming off a 14 goal season, EJ comes into his second season with the Sounders with high expectations. Asside from that, I expect the three-time World Cup veteran to mark him throughout the match.

Felipe Martins vs Andy Rose - With Alonso suspended, it looks like Andy Rose will fill in as a holding midfielder, just like last time when these two teams met in Montreal. Felipe is a crafty individual, coming off a fantastic year where he scored four goals and led the Impact with 10 assists in 30 appearances for the Impact. As a holding midfielder, Rose can't let him create any easy opportunties. This could be a big matchup right here.


It's definitely not going to end 4-1 Montreal like it did in Montreal last year. I don't think Alonso being suspended will hurt the Sounders that much. I think the Sounders are well prepared for the opener and are ready to come at them in full force. Like I said earlier, the Sounders had a month and a half to prepare and I don't see how they're not prepared and again I don't think the missing presence of Alonso will hurt the team. So now as I've said that, I think the Sounders will come out here and walk away with three points in front of their fans to kick off 2013.

Seattle Sounders FC - 2
Montreal Impact - 0

2013 Seattle Sounders FC season preview

By Money Mike

It has been a long offseason for the Seattle Sounders with players leaving and new faces arriving, which of course happens every year. But with their leading goalscorer gone, how will the Sounders fare in the year 2013? I'll talk a little bit about that as I preview the Seattle Sounders 2013 season. The Sounders are coming off their first trophyless season since joining MLS in 2009. Last season, they reached their fourth straight U.S. Open Cup final only to lose to Sporting Kansas City on penalties and they also reached the Western Conference final for the first time but that was the farthest they would go in 2012 as they would lose to the LA Galaxy 4-2 on aggregate. Also because they didn't win a trophy in 2012, they won't be competing in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League. So, since there's no Champions League for the Sounders this season (other than the 2012-13 Champions League Quarterfinal and beyond, should they advance), head coach Sigi Schmid won't have to shuffle the lineup around as much as last year because of depth and long travel. He won't have to deal with that.

As far as the offseason is concerned, the Sounders have brought in some veteran guys, a couple of draft picks, a homegrown player and also a local favorite made his return to the Emerald City. At the same time, they lost a couple of key players. Defender Jeff Parke was traded to the Philadelphia Union back in early December, and Fredy Montero was loaned out to Millonarios for the entire season but he signed a contract extension with the Sounders prior to the move so he should be back in 2014. Earlier this offseason, the Sounders were expected to sign Honduran defender Wilmer Crisanto. However, for some reason the deal fell through. Somebody reported that the deal for Crisanto fell through because there weren't any international roster spots available, which was bullshit because the Sounders had four international slots available at the time. Now another slot has been occupied and another was traded to the Montreal Impact as part of the deal that brought Lamar Neagle back to Seattle. The Sounders also brought in former Mali international defender Djimi Traore, was part of Liverpool's UEFA Champions League winning side in 2005, former New England Revolution captain Shalrie Josphn, defenders Eriq Zavaleta and Dylan Remick and they also signed DeAndre Yedlin as their first homegrown player. Of course, we're expecting Nigerian forward Obafemi Martins to be signed as a designated player at some point but one designated player would have to go in order for that to happen and after much speculation, it looks like it'll be Christian Tiffert. Now it's a question of how strong this years team is compared to last years? Will year five be the year the Sounders bring an MLS Cup to Seattle?

Sounders 2013 roster:

1. GK - Michael Gspurning
2. DF - DeAndre Yedlin (HGP)
3. MF - Brad Evans
4. DF - Patrick Ianni
5. DF - Adam Johansson
6. MF - Osvaldo Alonso
7. FW - Eddie Johnson
8. DF - Marc Burch
10. MF - Mauro Rosales (DP; Captain)
11. FW - Steve Zakuani
12. DF - Leonardo Gonzalez
13. MF - Christian Tiffert (DP)^
14. MF - Alex Caskey
15. MF - Mario Martinez
16. FW - David Estrada
20. DF - Zach Scott
21. MF - Shalrie Joseph (DP)
22. DF - Eriq Zavaleta (GA)
23. MF - Servando Carrasco
24. GK - Marcus Hahnemann
25. MF - Andy Rose
26. FW - Sammy Ochoa
27. MF - Lamar Neagle
29. GK - Josh Ford
30. DF - Andrew Duran
33. DF - Dylan Remick
34. DF - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado
50. DF - Djimi Traore

^ - Could be gone before the start of the season

HGP - Homegrown Player
DP - Designated Player
GA - Generation Adidas

Offseason moves:


January 11, 2013 - DeAndre Yedlin (University of Akron; Sounders U23) - Homegrown player
January 17, 2013 - Eriq Zavaleta (Indiana University) - MLS SuperDraft 1st rd. (10th overall)
January 17, 2013 - Dylan Remick (Brown University; Worcester Hydra) - MLS SuperDraft 2nd rd. (35th overall)
January 27, 2013 - Lamar Neagle (Montreal Impact) - Trade
February 19, 2013 - Shalrie Joseph (Chivas USA) - Trade
February 23, 2013 - Djimi Traore (Olympique de Marseille) - Free transfer


December 3, 2012 - Mike Seamon (Pittsburgh Riverhounds) - Option Declined
December 3, 2012 - Andrew Weber (Phoenix FC Wolves) - Option Declined
December 3, 2012 - O'Brian White - Option Declined
December 7, 2012 - Jeff Parke (Philadelphia Union) - Trade
December 14, 2012 - Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes) - Option Declined (traded to San Jose on March 1, 2013)
December 14, 2012 - Bryan Meredith (IK Brage) - Option Declined
December 14, 2012 - Daniel Steres (Ventura County Fusion) - Option Declined
December 14, 2012 - Michael Tetteh - Option Declined
February 26, 2013 - Babayele Sodade - Released

I'm just ready for the season to start. Even though Montero is gone, I still think Seattle is one of the teams to beat in MLS this year. They've had a great preseason, winning the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson. The new guys have come in and worked their asses off all preseason. Not that it matters heading into the regular season because that's where it really counts. I really don't have much to explain here. I'm just sick and tired of waiting for the season to start. Will 2013 be the year? We'll have to find out.