Seattle returns to MLS play Sunday at New York -- their final Eastern Conference opponent of the regular season.
Here are some notes from the club:
With the weekend win, Seattle Sounders FC suddenly finds itself amidst a four-game unbeaten run (three in MLS) and third in the Western Conference standings. The upcoming week brings the opportunity for the club to advance to its fourth straight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final as well as capture another season series with a nationally televised match at New York on Sunday afternoon.
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Wednesday's Open Cup quarterfinal match against Chivas USA will kick off at 7 p.m. PT at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Wash. The match will be streamed live on SoundersFC.com and can be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM with Mark Rogondino and Taylor Graham on the call. Sunday's match against the Red Bulls will be nationally televised on ESPN, and can be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM with Gus Johnson and Kasey Keller calling the action.
Sounders FC (8-5-6, 30 points) captured a much-needed league victory on Saturday night in an emotional match against the Colorado Rapids. Mauro Rosales served two assists as Eddie Johnson headed in his team-high eighth goal of the season and Alvaro Fernandez opened his 2012 account.
The 2-1 victory that snapped Seattle's nine-game winless stretch was overshadowed by the return of winger Steve Zakuani who had missed over 14 months with a broken leg suffered in April 2011 against the Rapids.
Earlier in the week, Sounders FC traveled to Salt Lake and earned a scoreless draw with RSL on July 4. It was the third shutout of the season for Bryan Meredith as Seattle became the first team in league history to earn three consecutive results at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Sounders FC is unbeaten in four of its past five matches across all competitions, and the three-match undefeated run in league play is the fourth-longest active streak.
The Rave Green now turns its attention to the Open Cup semifinals. A rematch of the 2010 semis looms as Chivas USA returns to a sold-out Starfire Stadium on Wednesday evening. Seattle is unbeaten in 17 (16-0-1) Open Cup matches since joining MLS in 2009, and is vying to become the first team in the 99-year history of the tournament to win four consecutive titles.
The stretch of nine games in just under a month will wrap up on Sunday afternoon in New York as Sounders FC takes on the Red Bulls (9-5-4, 31 points) for the lone matchup of the year. New York is currently two points out of first place in East, and had a three-game unbeaten run snapped at New England last weekend.
Sounders FC will then take a two-week break from MLS action but will stay busy with an international friendly against Champions League winners Chelsea on July 18 on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. The team will return to league play on July 28 at Colorado.
Chivas, AgainSounders FC hosts Chivas USA in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals for the second time in four years. The two sides met in the 2010 semis on September 1 with Seattle advancing, 3-1. Nate Jaqua scored twice and Fredy Montero added a third and Jesus Padilla was the lone goal scorer for the Goats. Seattle also recently beat Chivas twice in the third round of the Open Cup as a USL side. In 2007, the Sounders ousted their top-tier opponent, 3-1, and won 2-nil in 2008.
Seattle's Lineup vs. Chivas USA (9/1/10): Kasey Keller; James Riley, Tyrone Marshall, Taylor Graham, Leo Gonzalez; Alvaro Fernandez (Roger Levesque 83), Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis, Steve Zakuani (Jeff Parke 90); Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua.
About Chivas USAChivas' road to the 2012 U.S. Open Cup semifinals has been full of late drama, including two stoppage-time winners. The Goats advanced past Ventura County, 1-0, in the opening round, and then squeaked by the Carolina Railhawks in their fourth-round matchup, 2-1. After conceding the equalizer in the 79th minute, Chivas was awarded a penalty kick for a handball in the box in second-half stoppage time, which Juan Pablo Angel converted for the late win over the Railhawks. In the quarterfinals, the Rojiblancos allowed the equalizer from Charlotte in the 84th minute before Jose Correa - Player of the Round for the quarters - scored his second goal of the match to win in stoppage time. The semifinal appearance will be the second in the club's history.