Sunday, July 11, 2010

SOUNDERS FC: Sounders back at Qwest after month-long road trip

After eliminating the L.A. Galaxy from the U.S. Open Cup, Seattle now must turn their attention to the remainder of the MLS season. Despite a poor record (4-8-3, 15 points) now is the time to fix the mistakes made during the first 15 games.

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The Sounders will open the second half of their season facing FC Dallas Sunday at Qwest Field. Dallas currently sits in fifth place in the Western Conference while Seattle is somehow keeping themselves ahead of last place Chivas USA.

Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid explained that a victory against Dallas is the first step to turning Seattle’s season around.

“We have got to come out with that desire and that fight this weekend. These three points are very crucial to our needs and our success for the rest of the year.”

To reach Schmid’s target, the team needs to start scoring goals. Seattle has found the net fewer times than nine of the 16 MLS teams. Oddly, despite only scoring 16 goals, the Sounders have out shot all but two teams, the New York Red Bulls and the Galaxy (SEA 174, NY 175, L.A. 180). Additionally, of those 174 shots, only 59 have been on goal (tied for 13th in the league with the Colorado Rapids).

Nate Jaqua, who scored both goals in Seattle’s 2-0 Open Cup defeat of L.A., could alleviate some of the pressure and the arrival of Blaise Nkufo will certainly help, but the goals need to come from the rest of the team. Players like Freddie Ljungberg, Leo Gonzalez and Fredy Montero need to step up, or risk losing their position to a reserve player.

Sounders’ General Manager Chris Henderson believes that several of the reserve players are close to earning spots on the starting roster. With injuries to key players such as Ljungberg and Osvaldo Alonso, Sunday’s game might be that opportunity.

Miguel Montano assisted both goals in Wednesday’s Open Cup match and is likely to start against Dallas while Michael Seamon could come on as a substitute.

The game begins at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time and will be televised on KING 5.

Reach Galen Helmgren at