Sounders Insider

Sounders in Toronto, meet Reds at 4 p.m. Saturday

toronto_100The Sounders are in Toronto today. With no media availability scheduled, I'll pass along these previews provided by the club:

Coming off one of the most historic weeks in Major League Soccer history, Seattle Sounders FC visits Toronto FC on Saturday in the first of two road games against Eastern Conference opposition. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. PT at BMO Field.

Saturday's match will be broadcast on KONG 6/16 with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller calling the action, and can also be heard on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. The Spanish broadcast is available on Univision Deportes Network and on La Gran D 99.3 FM.

Saturday's match could be the first appearance for newest Sounders FC Designated Player Clint Dempsey. The U.S. National Team captain signed with Seattle on Saturday.

Sounders FC (9-7-4, 31 points) earned its second straight victory last Saturday against FC Dallas, capturing the season series and catapulting to third in the West on points per game. Seattle sits seven points from Supporters' Shield-leaders Salt Lake and New York with three games in hand on both teams.

The excitement from the Dempsey announcement sparked the Seattle attack last Saturday as Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson tallied in the first 25 minutes. Brad Evans added a late penalty kick as Sounders FC extended its home unbeaten streak to a club record nine games (6-0-3). The excitement carried over to the box office as Sounders FC sold 6,000 tickets to the August 25 match against the Portland Timbers since the announcement.

Seattle now hits the road for two straight games against East foes, beginning Saturday evening at Toronto FC (4-10-8, 20 points). Similar to Seattle, Toronto is riding a three-game unbeaten run, including two straight wins. The Reds currently sit ninth in the East, 13 points out of playoff position.

The match will be the lone meeting of the season between the two sides, and Seattle enters the match with four straight wins against Toronto.

Following Saturday's match, the Sounders FC reserves will visit Orlando City on Sunday, August 11. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

Sounders FC will then return to Seattle before departing for Houston to take on the Dynamo on August 17. It will be Seattle's first match at Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium. Seattle will conclude the month with a trip to the Columbus Crew on August 31.

Seattle's next home match is Sunday, August 25 against the Portland Timbers. The full stadium is open for the match, and the attendance is expected to be one of the largest in league history.

About Toronto FCLed by first-year manager Ryan Nelson, Toronto is currently eighth in the Eastern Conference with 20 points (4-10-8). Winners of two straight games, the Reds are looking to rebound from a slow start when the team won just once (1-7-5) in the first 13 games. Toronto has struggled at home, going 2-3-6 with a -1 goal differential (14/15), but is unbeaten in the past three games (1-0-2) at BMO Field.

Despite the addition of English Premier League veteran Robert Earnshaw, the club has struggled offensively, ranking near the bottom of the league in goals (17th), assists (18th), shots (19th) and shots on goal (17th). Earnshaw leads the way with six goals - despite not played the last three games because of injury - while Bobby Convey and Jeremy Brockie have three assists apiece. Goalkeeper Joseph Bendik has played all 22 games this season and is just outside the top 10 with a 1.32 goals against average. The Reds have yet to win a game against a Western Conference side (0-5-2) this season.

Series NotesSounders FC has dominated the all-time series against Toronto FC, going 5-1-1 in league play. Seattle will enter the match on a four-game winning streak against Toronto, having scored three goals in three of those four wins. The last two meetings have provided memorable highlights as David Estrada netted a hat trick in the season opener last season and Fredy Montero scored a late winner while down a man in 2011. Overall, Seattle has outscored Toronto, 12-5.

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