Friday, June 4, 2010

SOUNDERS FC: Revolution unbeaten versus Seattle

The Sounders scoreless streak in MLS play is currently at 185 minutes. At Qwest Field, the nets have been empty for even longer: 266 minutes. In four of the last six games, Seattle has failed to score. Yet, there is still hope.

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Seattle will host the New England Revolution at Qwest Field on Saturday at 7:30 pm and the match could be the Sounders' best chance to put the hurt on an opponent since the first game against the Philadelphia Union.

New England’s starting keeper Matt Reis has yet to return from offseason surgery forcing their backup, Preston Burpo, to play the first 11 games of 2010. Burpo was not doing all that well as the Revs were riding a seven-game winless streak until last Saturday Burpo & Co. beat the New York Red Bulls 3-2.

Unfortunately for Burpo, he broke his right leg during the game and will likely miss several, if not all of the remaining games this season. Fortunately for Sounders fans, the Revs are on their last keeper, Bobby Shuttleworth. The second-year keeper did manage two saves against New York, earning his first MLS victory, but he has seen almost no game time so far this season.

Lack of experience in New England’s goal could be the remedy for the Sounder’s scoring woes, if they can keep their shots below the crossbar. Fredy Montero, if played as a starter, could prove unpredictable for Shuttleworth. Seattle added midfielder Michael Seamon to the roster and at 6’1”, the Villanova graduate will provide a large target on corner kicks.

With Jhon Kennedy Hurtado out for the season with a torn ACL, and a loss at Colorado last Saturday, expect head coach Sigi Schmid to continue to fettle with his starting XI. Jeff Parke made his first start last week against Colorado and was bumped around by a physical Rapids offense. Behind Parke, there are four other reserve defenders chomping at the bit to record a clean-sheet.

The pressure will be on Seattle’s forwards. They will be facing the weakest opponent they have seen since the beginning of the season and to earn the points needed to climb out of sixth place in the Western Conference, they must find the net early and often.

With the World Cup break coming up followed by the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open cup and CONCACAF tournaments later in the summer, the Sounders need to win these next two games and start building momentum now to carry them through the busiest portion of their schedule.

Reach Galen Helmgren at