Wednesday, July 14, 2010

SOUNDERS FC: Seattle travels 4,658 miles to face D.C. United

After topping D.C. United the 2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, RFK Stadium should be almost as cozy to the Seattle Sounders as Qwest Field. Seattle has historically done well in D.C. and look to add three precious points as they face the second worst team in the MLS East.

To Continue...

Seattle (4-8-4, 16 points) has averaged one point per game in 2010, and needs to average two per game from here on out to hit the 45-point total Head Coach Sigi Schmid predicted would be needed to make the playoffs.

D.C. (3-9-3, 12 points) will present an easy opportunity for Seattle to secure a few points. In the three games since the two teams last met, D.C. is 0-1-2, scoring only one goal over the three-game stretch. The two teams have played to a 1-1-2 series record since Seattle entered the league last season.

United's goal differential of minus-14 ranks last in MLS and the 11 goals scored is tied with Kansas City for the fewest in the league. The key to defeating D.C. is to cut off attacks early, before they can advance past midfield. This bodes well for the Sounders who have played with more intensity in the midfield and back line in the last few matches.

Expect Seattle to field more of their regular starters (Montero, Jaqua etc.) compared to Sunday’s game, but don’t plan on seeing Miguel MontaƱo (red card) or Michael Seamon (ankle injury). Star midfielder Freddie Ljungberg will not be traveling with the team to D.C. after the ankle injury that kept him out of the Dallas game flaired up again.

Blaise Nkufo, fresh off his trip to the World Cup with the Swiss national team, will be available for Thursday’s match, but again, don’t be surprised if his debut is July 25 at Qwest Field versus the Colorado Rapids.

First kick is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. and the match will be broadcast on ESPN2 as well as on the radio at 97.3 FM.

Reach Galen Helmgren at