I'll have some notes and quotes from today's training session later. For now, here are some notes from the club looking toward that game against the Hoops:
Winners of four straight and unbeaten in an MLS-best five games, Seattle Sounders FC looks to continue the hot streak this week against two Western Conference powers. The Rave Green head south for a showdown with FC Dallas on Wednesday before returning to Seattle to host Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.
Wednesday's match will be televised live on KONG 6/16, and Saturday's match will be shown on KING 5 as well as broadcast live out of market on ROOT Sports. Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller will call the action, and Saturday's match can also be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM. Both matches can be heard in Spanish on La Gran D 99.3 FM.
With three wins in eight days last week, Seattle (6-1-1, 19 points) now holds the second-longest winning streak (four games) in MLS this season, and extended its unbeaten run to five games (4-0-1) - the longest active streak. The bump in points has helped Sounders FC remain among the league's elite as the club now leads MLS in points per match (2.375) and is the only team with just one loss this season.
The best start in franchise history rolls on as Sounders FC has reached 19 points in five fewer games than its previous best start in 2009.
Seattle took all six points last week to improve to 5-1-0 at home this season. The home stand began with a 2-nil victory over the LA Galaxy behind goals from Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero. Three days later, Sounders FC defeated the Philadelphia Union, 1-0, with a second-half winner from Mauro Rosales.
The top defense in MLS with just three goals allowed (0.38 goals against average), Sounders FC held two more teams scoreless to bring the season total to five shutouts in eight matches. Goalkeeper Bryan Meredith, 22, has begun his MLS career with 135 scoreless minutes.
Three games into a stretch of nine in 32 days, Sounders FC hopes to pile up the points. The seven MLS fixtures in May are the most league matches in a single month in club history.
The midweek visit to Texas presents Sounders FC with an opportunity to extend its MLS-best seven game (6-0-1) road unbeaten streak. Seattle is unbeaten (1-0-2) all-time at FC Dallas stadium with Rosales netting the winner in the previous visit. FC Dallas (3-3-3, 12 points) is unbeaten (3-0-2) at home this season.
Seattle will wrap up its second straight two-game week on Saturday night as Real Salt Lake (7-3-1, 22 points) comes to town. In a Western Conference semifinal rematch, Sounders FC will look to beat RSL at home for the first time since 2009. Salt Lake is currently atop the West with 22 points.
Sounders FC will finish out the month with three more MLS matches, including the lone home contest with the Columbus Crew on Wednesday, May 23, and two road trips to Vancouver (May 19) and Chivas USA (May 26).
An additional game will be added at the end of the month as Sounders FC will begin its run to a fourth straight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The opponent and location of the third-round fixture are yet to be determined.
Tickets to home MLS matches are available through www.SoundersFC.com, all Ticketmaster Outlets, CenturyLink Field Box Office or by calling 877-MLS-GOAL.
FC Dallas Series Notes
Sounders FC travels to Frisco, Texas, to take on FC Dallas Wednesday evening at FC Dallas Stadium. Seattle looks to stay unbeaten on the road (1-0-2) against FC Dallas and win their third straight overall across all-competitions.
Seattle has had success against Dallas, going 2-1-3 in MLS play. However, none of those games have been decided by more than one goal, and Sounders FC has outscored Dallas just 7-6. In their last MLS meeting on August 20 of last season, a Mauro Rosales goal in the 16th minute was the difference in a 1-0 win for the Rave Green in Frisco. Break Shea provided the winner in a 1-0 Dallas win at CenturyLink Field earlier in 2011. Fredy Montero leads all players in the series with six points (two goals, two assists).
Seattle and Dallas have met just once outside of MLS play. On August 30, 2011, just ten days after their last MLS meeting, Sounders FC came out on top 1-0 in the 2011 U.S. Open Cup Semifinal. In a game held at Starfire Sports Complex, Montero broke the scoreless tie with the game-winner in the 78th minute.
Coach Schellas Hyndman's 4-4-2 attack is led by U.S. international Brek Shea and Panamanian international Blas Perez. Perez will be unavailable for Wednesday's match after receiving a red card last Sunday against Colorado. Daniel Hernandez also received a red card in the match and will miss Wednesday's meeting, as well. Shea and Perez have three goals apiece, and Perez has added a team-high three assists. Shea led Dallas with 11 goals last season, including the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field last season. Brazilian midfielder Ricardo Villar has scored two goals in just five games this season.
The back line is anchored by Ugo Ihemelu, who plays alongside University of Washington-product George John at center back. Ihemelu (one goal) and right back Zach Lloyd (one goal, one assist) have both contributed offensively while playing every minute so far this season.
Sigi Schmid coached goalkeeper Kevin Hartman at UCLA. They were together again with the L.A. Galaxy, winning the 2001 U.S Open Cup and the 2002 MLS Cup. Dallas defender George John is from Shoreline, Washington, and played for the University of Washington. Eddie Johnson began his career with Dallas, playing five seasons before joining Kansas City. Johnson, who played his first MLS match at age 17, had 24 goals and six assists with Dallas. Servando Carrasco (2007-10) was also a Golden Bear alongside Dallas' Andrew Wiedeman (2007-09).