Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Sounders make some progress
by Ridge Mahoney, March 28th, 2011 1:54AM

TAGS:  mls, seattle sounders


[MLS] It took 260 minutes for Seattle to score its first goal of 2011, and with that Steve Zakuani tally in the 80th minute the Sounders managed a 1-1 tie with Houston Friday night at Qwest Field. The abrupt departure of Designated Player Blaise Nkufo just hours before the season opener March 15 certainly weakened the Seattle front line. Yet in its first two matches – a 2-0 loss to the Galaxy at home and a 1-0 defeat in New York – the Sounders' midfield also sputtered.

Strong midfield work against the Dynamo by Zakuani, Brad Evans, Oswaldo Alonso and Erik Friberg reversed that trend.

Friberg, playing smart and effective soccer despite playing on turf slickened by a downpour, added punch to attack from the right flank and maintained his influence in the middle when recently signed Argentine midfielder Mauro Rosales took over on the right flank. Oswaldo shouldered his usual mountain of work all over the field, and Zakuani – who sat out the Red Bulls game after aggravating a groin strain in the opener – worked the wing effectively and also occasionally knifed towards goal. Evans -- limited by injury to just 12 games last year – came back into the lineup after missing first two matches and contributed 70 solid minutes before Rosales replaced him.

Sitting out the game entirely was Designated Player Alvaro Fernandez, who with the arrival of Rosales faces another challenger, along with Friberg, for playing time on the right side or in the middle. The return of Evans unquestionably boosted Seattle’s midfield, as his range and workrate and experience complements the other players, regardless of their strengths or styles, and Fernandez may benefit from his presence when they get on the field together.

It appears Rosales and Friberg have more quickly accepted the more direct, sometimes hurly-burly style of many MLS matches than Fernandez, who at times has failed to cope with the pressure and pace. Coach Sigi Schmid could of course use Fernandez in certain spots, but not many teams can afford the luxury of a DP who only fits certain opponents or competitions.

The Sounders get another good test this weekend when they travel to San Jose, which lost its opener at home to Real Salt Lake, 1-0, in a monsoon and thumped FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park last weekend with two goals by Chris Wondolowski. How Seattle copes with Wondo will be critical to the game’s outcome, yet the Quakes have also altered their formation and added Tottenham on-loan attacking mid Simon Dawkins, which presents different problems for Schmid and whomever he chooses to play in midfield.

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
MLS Power Rankings: Red Bulls stay on top    
Three weeks to go in the MLS season and only four teams have clinched playoff spots. ...
What They're Saying: Chung Mong Joon    
"The true danger is that they are not only sabotaging my candidacy. They are sabotaging FIFA's ...
Thorns confirm Parsons as coach for 2016 NWSL season    
The Portland Timbers have hired 29-year-old Mark Parsons as their new head coach less than a ...
What They're Saying: Jozy Altidore    
"Just personal issues, and when things aren't right there, it makes it tough to go to ...
NASL: Ottawa accomplishes Mission 1    
Ottawa Fury FC clinched its first-ever NASL postseason berth with a 2-0 win over FC Edmonton ...
TV Report: MLS expands into Latin America    
MLS has reached an agreement with Fox Sports Latin America to televise live league matches in ...
Concacaf Cup at Rose Bowl is sellout    
Saturday's USA-Mexico match at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., for the Concacaf Cup is a ...
Video Pick: Nemeth solo golazo leads best of MLS     
Kansas City's Krisztian Nemeth started in the center circle of his own half before slaloming through ...
Gio dos Santos out of USA-Mexico with muscle strain    
Giovani dos Santos will miss Saturday's USA-Mexico game for the Concacaf Cup as he was injured ...
What They're Saying: David Nakhid    
"Frankly, I think this might be the last time this group gets together for a while. ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives