Sounders Insider

Sounders notes heading into bye week

LogoSoundersThe Sounders have an unusual evening training session today, so no real news expected out of the club until then.

Meanwhile, here are some notes put out by the club:

Riding the momentum of the season's first win, Seattle Sounders FC heads into the bye week with sights set on returning to league action with a two-game road trip, beginning in Philadelphia on May 4 and concluding in Kansas City on May 8.

Sounders FC (1-3-2, 5 points) got back to winning ways last Saturday with a 1-0 victory at Colorado. Nigerian forward Obafemi Martins scored his first goal for Seattle as Michael Gspurning recorded his second straight shutout.

Sitting at the bottom of the West, Sounders FC will look to use its games in hand to climb back into the top five. When Seattle visits Philadelphia on May 4, the team will have played at least two fewer games than every conference opponent. The bye weekend is the third of the season for Sounders FC after receiving breaks during CONCACAF Champions League play.

Seattle is the lone team with a bye this weekend as a full slate of nine games are scheduled across the league, including Chicago at Montreal on NBC Sports Network on Saturday at 1 p.m. PT. There are also three Western Conference matchups on Saturday as Vancouver hosts first-place Dallas, LA Galaxy visits Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA hosts San Jose.

The break in play will not only allow Sounders FC rest and recovery time, but also time to prepare for a busy May slate that features six matches, including the opening round to the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Before the first team returns to action, Sounders FC will host the San Jose Earthquakes in an MLS Reserve League match on Tuesday night at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Wash. The match is the third of the season for Seattle reserves (0-1-1). A live audio stream will be available on www.SoundersFC.com with Thom Beuning calling the action. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.Two regional tournaments have games on Wednesday as the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Finals between Monterrey and Santos Laguna kicks off at 7 p.m. PT on FOX Soccer. The Canadian Championship begins on Wednesday as Toronto FC hosts the Montreal Impact and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC visits FC Edmonton. The winner of the tournament will earn a berth to the 2013/14 CONCACAF Champions League.

The next home match for Sounders FC is May 11 against the San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. Single-match tickets to Sounders FC home matches are available through SoundersFC.com, all Ticketmaster Outlets, CenturyLink Field Box Office or by calling 800-745-3000.

Sounders FC 4-Match ticket package are available by phone at 1-877-MLS-GOAL or online at www.SoundersFC.com. The package includes Sounders FC home matches versus the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on June 8, Portland Timbers on August 25, Real Salt Lake on September 13 and the Los Angeles Galaxy on October 27.

First of Many: Seattle Takes Three PointsSaturday's win at Colorado brought some relief to a hungry Seattle side as the three points were the first of many steps for Sounders FC to re-enter the MLS Cup Playoffs picture. With five points through six games, Sounders FC is ahead of DC United (4 points) and even with New England. And while still at the bottom of the West, Seattle has games in hand on every conference opponent.

Upward Trend: Results Come, Players ReturnThe momentum is beginning to shift in Seattle's favor. After a disappointing start to the 2013 season, Sounders FC has strung together a series of strong performances over the past three matches, including draws at Santos Laguna and versus New England, and Saturday's win at Colorado. Elimination from the CONCACAF Champions League may end up as the turning point as the team's effort in the second leg at Santos resulted in just the second time a road team has earned points at Estadio Corona in CCL play. Not only has the play improved, but with the return of injured players like Brad Evans, Patrick Ianni and Obafemi Martins, head coach Sigi Schmid may soon have his full arsenal to select from. The upcoming two-week break will allow the team further recovery after opening the season with 10 games in seven weeks.

Coming Up: Week 9 PreviewWeek 9 marks the third time in the opening two months of the season that Sounders FC has had a bye week. The previous two were a result of CONCACAF Champions League play while this weekend Seattle is the only team out of action. With all 18 teams playing on Saturday and Sunday, Sounders FC will return to play on May 5 having played two fewer games than every team but New England, and will have three games in hand on six sides.

A Look Ahead: Five May MatchesSeattle will play five league matches plus the opening round of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup next month. Just two of the five May matches are at home as Sounders FC hosts West rivals San Jose (May 11) and Dallas (May 18). Seattle will play its first Sunday game of the season at Los Angeles on May 26; a total of six Sunday matches are currently on the team's MLS schedule. Sounders FC will also play its first of four midweek league contests this season at Kansas City on Wednesday, May 8. Seattle will also begin its run for a fifth-straight appearance in the U.S. Open Cup Final with a third-round match on May 28.

Scoring First: League's Longest Unbeaten Streak ExtendedWith the win at Colorado, Sounders FC extended its unbeaten streak when scoring first to 33 games (26-0-7), the longest active streak in MLS. Seattle went 14-0-3 last season when scoring first, and is 1-0-1 so far in 2013. The all-time record for longest unbeaten streak when scoring first belongs to the New York Red Bulls, whose 58-game streak was snapped earlier this season.

Unbeaten in April: Seattle Extends Streak to 10Sounders FC is unbeaten in April over the past three seasons. Seattle beat Colorado on the road last Saturday and held New England to a scoreless draw earlier this month to extend its April unbeaten run to 10 games (6-0-4). The club has come up empty just four times in 19 April outings (9-4-6), with the last loss on April 25, 2010, at Toronto FC.

Backflips for Goals: Martins Scores First as SounderObafemi Martins' backflip on Saturday evening was a welcomed sight for the Sounders FC faithful. After just 116 minutes of action with his new club, Martins slotted a rebound into the far corner for his first goal in a Rave Green kit, followed by his signature celebratory backflip. The goal marked Martins' first, and only, shot on goal for Seattle.

No Goals Allowed: Seattle Record Second Straight ShutoutMichael Gspurning and the Seattle defense recorded its second straight shutout Saturday night at Colorado. Sounders FC is currently tied with Kansas City and Montreal for second with five goals allowed as Los Angeles leads the league, conceding just four goals. Three of Seattle's five goals allowed have been scored in the final 10 minutes of the first half, and the team is 0-3-0 when conceding first. Gspurning has continued his strong start to the season, and now holds the third-longest shutout streak in MLS this season. A clean sheet in Philadelphia would move Gspurning into the second spot.

Zakuani Surpasses 2011-12 TotalsSteve Zakuani has played more minutes in the first six games of the season than either of the past two years. Seattle's speedy winger has already logged 468 minutes of league action, surpassing his 2011 (453 minutes) and 2012 totals (320). Zakuani is one of just four Sounders FC players to start every league match, and has only missed 72 minutes this season.

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