Thursday, September 30, 2010

SOUNDERS FC: Rookie Fucito stuns CD Marathón

WRITTEN BY: Galen Helmgren     

Being eliminated from the group stage of the 2010 CONCACAF Champions League tournament doesn’t seem to have grasped the Seattle Sounders even 24 hours after the fact. Round four of competition in Group C ended Tuesday with Saprissa (Costa Rica) tying Monterrey (Mexico), mathematically eliminating the Rave Green from any hope of advancing to the quarterfinals, but on a cool, clear Wednesday, Seattle played as if they hadn’t been told yet.

With their regular lineup, the Sounders had been ineffective in their first three Group C matches, scoring a grand total of zero goals. In the last two matches, Seattle have averaged two goals every 90-minutes. The Sounders put up 11 shots, seven on goal, against Club Deportivo Marathón in route to their first victory in the group stage of the tournament.

One player who seems acutely unaware of the Seattle’s predicament is Mike Fucito, who scored two goals against Marathón and all four of Seattle’s goals in the last two CONCACAF matches. The first goal came courtesy of an imprecise series of possession by Marathón.
Fucito read the uncharacteristically relaxed backwards pass, stepped between the ball and defender near the top of the goal box and found the goalie, Orlin Vallencillo, off his line. The 16-yard shot was on target and put Seattle up 1-0 in the 21st minute.

11,768 fans sent a cascade of boos down onto Xbox Pitch when Miguel Montaño was fouled just outside the goal box in the 67th minute. Fucito, who had been practicing this free kick all week in practice, followed Montaño’s dummy run with a perfectly placed shot to earn his second goal of the game in the 68th. The left-footed ball just cleared the defensive wall, curling into the top left corner.
“We were training on that and he's one of the lefties that has so much spin on the ball that he can get it around the wall and he froze the goalkeeper," said Schmid.
"Fucito and [Michael] Seamon were the ones before the game that we said would be on free kicks. Montaño tried to weasel his way in there, but it was Fucito and Seamon that we wanted hitting the ball.”
Minutes after lifting the Sounders 2-0 over the visitors, Fucito was injured while making a tackle. The initial prognosis from team medical staff is that the forward sprained his left ankle during the play, but an x-ray will have to wait until Thursday.
"It happened immediately after the kickoff when I was pressuring the defender,” said Fucito after the game. “He went to clear it and I kind of blocked it and landed and rolled it a little bit."

Injury aside, the match was the cleanest in several months. Seattle was called for 13 fouls while Marathón earned 15. Amazingly, not a single card was awarded to either team, which must be a Sounders’ record of some kind given they are the most fouled franchise in the MLS (314 fouls suffered).

During the shortened week, Seattle will face Toronto at home on Saturday before hosting the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in front of a record-setting crowd at Qwest Field on October 5th. This is a pretty huge game and is positioned as the championship for all amateur and professional leagues associated with U.S. Soccer, putting it technically above the MLS Cup.
"It's exciting,” said Schmid his team’s upcoming schedule.
“For me, when you get opportunities and you get challenges like the one we have to win the US Open Cup on Tuesday and then you have a good game on Saturday against Toronto then at Kansas City. Those two really are the two pursuers from behind. So as a coach and as a player, when you have opportunities like this, you have to just smile. Those are opportunities for you to stand up and step away from the crowd and be special. All of us look for ways to be special. Some teams never get that opportunity.”
The Sounders will have at least two more opportunities to play their “B” squad. On October 15 they host Saprissa in the final match of the CCL group stage. A week later the Sounders will face Chivas de Guadalajara in the third and final international friendly match of the season. Across all competitions, Seattle has seven matches remaining, excluding the MLS playoffs, should they qualify.

Unofficial Box Score:
Scoring Summary:

SEA -- Michael Fucito (unassisted) 21
SEA -- Michael Fucito (unassisted) 68

Marathon -- Orlin Vallencillo, Astor Henriquez, Mariano Acevedo, Erick Norales, Milton Palacios (Rony Flores 72), Mario Berrios, Adolfo Machado, Carlos Palacios, Elder Valladares, Hector Amarilla (Randy Diamond 73), Carlos Mejia.

Substitutes Not Used: Shane Orio, Luis Crisanto, Reiniery Mayorquin, Orvin Paz, Mario Rodriguez.

TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Carlos Mejia 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Erick Norales 1, Mario Berrios 1); FOULS: 15 (Carlos Palacios 4); OFFSIDES: 4 (Mario Berrios 2); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Mario Berrios 4); SAVES: 5 (Orlin Vallencillo 5)

Seattle Sounders -- Terry Boss, Zach Scott, Tyrone Marshall, Taylor Graham, Tyson Wahl, David Estrada, Mike Seamon, Alvaro Fernandez (Peter Vagenas 62), Miguel Montano (Leo Gonzalez 83), Michael Fucito (Sanna Nyassi 71), Roger Levesque.

Substitutes Not Used: Fredy Montero, Jeff Parke, Nathan Sturgis, Kasey Keller.

TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Michael Fucito 3, Miguel Montano 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Michael Fucito 2, Miguel Montano 2); FOULS: 13 (3 tied with 2); OFFSIDES: 2 (Roger Levesque 2); CORNER KICKS: 10 (Michael Fucito 5); SAVES: 1 (Terry Boss 1)
Misconduct Summary:

Referee: Paul Ward
Referee's Assistants: -Hector Vergara; Darren Clark
4th Official: Edvin Jurisevic
Attendance: 11,768
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Clear-and-62-degrees

All Statistics contained in this box score are unofficial

Written by Galen Helmgren: Reach him at: