Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sounders Notes

With another Arizona training camp under their belts, Seattle Sounders FC returns home to rest and recuperate before travelling across the country for nine days of training at IMG Soccer Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

The anticipation for one of the biggest matches in club history builds as the Rave Green continues preparations for the March 7 home contest against Mexico's Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

After opening preseason camp 19 days ago, Sounders FC players are well on their way to developing game fitness and style of play. And with Santos sitting atop the Mexican Clausura after five games, Seattle has stepped up its intensity from years past with hopes to be in season form come March 7.

To Continue...
The preseason schedule has now been confirmed and Sounders FC will play four training games in Florida before heading to Cancun, Mexico for a closed door scrimmage against Atlante FC on February 22. Seattle will play Orlando City SC, Columbus Crew, the U17 U.S. National Team and the University of Gulf Coast while in Florida. The team will return to Seattle on February 23.

Tickets for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal are available at www.SoundersFC.com, by calling 800-745-3000 and the CenturyLink Field Box Office as well as all Ticketmaster outlets.

In This Issue
* ¡Viva Mexico! Seattle to Travel South of the Border
* Fun in the Sun: Arizona Training Camp Recap
* Green Revolution: New FieldTurf at CenturyLink Field
* Los Guerreros Ganan: Santos Continues Hot Streak
* Sounders FC v Vancouver Whitecaps FC Recap
* Academy Update: U18's and U16's Return to League Play
* Fourteen Sounders FC Academy Players Commit to Colleges
* Throw-ins: Schmid, Henderson nominated to HoF, Happy Birthday Sounders

Upcoming Training Schedule (times are Pacific & subject to change)
Tuesday, February 7 - Travel to Seattle
Wednesday, February 8 - No Training
Thursday, February 9 - No Training
Friday, February 10 - 10 a.m. Training, Starfire
Saturday, February 11 - Travel to Bradenton, Florida
Sunday, February 12 - 7 a.m. & 1 p.m. Training, Bradenton
Monday, February 13 - 7 a.m. Training, Bradenton

Sounders FC Preseason Schedule (times are Pacific & subject to change)
Saturday, February 11-Monday, February 20 - Sounders FC Training in Bradenton, Florida
Monday, February 13 - 1 p.m. Training Game v Orlando City SC
Wednesday, February 15 - 8 a.m. Training Game v Columbus Crew
Thursday, February 16 - 7 a.m. Training Game v U17 U.S. National Team
Sunday, February 19 - 1 p.m. Training Game v University of Gulf Coast
Monday, February 20 - Travel to Orlando
Tuesday, February 21 - Travel to Cancun, Mexico
Wednesday, February 22 - 4 p.m. Training Game v Atlante FC, Cancun, Mexico
Thursday, February 23 - Travel to Seattle

Upcoming Competition Schedule (times are Pacific & subject to change)
Wednesday, March 7, 7 p.m. - Sounders FC v Santos Laguna, Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field, Seattle, CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals - first leg
Wednesday, March 14, 5 p.m. - Sounders FC at Santos Laguna, CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals - second leg
Saturday, March 17, 7 p.m. - Sounders FC v Toronto FC, Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field, Seattle

¡Viva Mexico! Seattle to Travel South of the Border
In preparation for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Santos Laguna, Sounders FC will travel to Cancun, Mexico to play Atlante FC on February 22. The style of play and atmosphere are two key factors in Seattle's decision to travel south of the border, where they will return three weeks later for the second leg against Santos on March 14.

Atlante is tied with Tigres for second in the Mexican Clausura, three points behind leaders Santos. Atlante is currently 3-1-1 and is the league's highest scoring team with nine goals through the first five matches.

Seattle has twice travelled to Mexico, both times visiting CF Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage. One of the biggest wins in club history came on August 23, 2011, when Seattle downed Monterrey, 1-0, at Estadio Tecnologico. In the previous trip to Mexico, Seattle lost, 3-2, to Monterrey after building a 2-nil lead.

Fun in the Sun: Arizona Training Camp Recap
The stay was shorter but the progress was rapid in this year's preseason training camp in Casa Grande, Ariz. Seattle held 12 training sessions and played one training game in their eight day trip to the Arizona desert.

Head coach Sigi Schmid had the team on a two-two-one training regimen where they held back-to-back two-a-days with a single session on the third day. The team had only one off day on Super Bowl Sunday. In its lone training game, Seattle tied Vancouver, 1-1, on Monday afternoon.
Other highlights of the camp included the arrival of Swedish defender Adam Johansson and the progression of left winger Steve Zakuani. Brad Evans and Jeff Parke, who missed the first week of preseason camp while playing for the U.S. Men's National Team, also joined Sounders FC for the entire trip. And the regulars, including Fredy Montero, Mauro Rosales and Osvaldo Alonso, as well as newcomers such as Michael Gspurning and Marc Burch, participated in full training.

Green Revolution: New FieldTurf at CenturyLink Field
The new FieldTurf Revolution artificial grass surface will be installed at CenturyLink Field this month. The project started last Friday with the removal of the old surface and FieldTurf plans to recycle the existing stadium field.

The FieldTurf Revolution system is built with the Revolution fiber and is the result of innovative science, engineering and technology that will provide a playing surface that features a soft and strong monofilament fiber. The first competitive match on the new surface will be March 7 when Sounders FC hosts Santos Laguna.

Los Guerreros Ganan: Santos Continues Hot Streak
Santos Laguna maintained their lead at the top of the Mexican Clausura standings with a 2-1 win over Pumas on Sunday. Christian Suarez and Rodolfo Salinas scored for Santos, and Salinas scored an own goal for the 2-1 final score.

Santos is undefeated through the first five matches of the Mexican Clausura with four wins and one draw, and leads the league with a plus five goals differential. They have a three point lead over Atlante, who Seattle will play in Cancun, Mexico on February 22, and Tigres.

Recap: Sounders FC 1 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1 - February 6, 2012
Seattle Sounders FC played the Vancouver Whitecaps FC to a 1-1 draw in a 120-minute preseason training game on Monday night at Grande Sports World.

It was the first training game of the 2012 preseason for Sounders FC. The teams played two 45-minute periods followed by a 30-minute period.

Servando Carrasco scored for Sounders FC and Camilo scored the lone goal for Vancouver.

Vancouver jumped out to an early lead when Camilo scored in the 1st minute. Camilo ran onto a ball on a breakaway down the left side and cut to his right. He fired a shot inside the far post for the 1-nil lead.

Seattle equalized in the 48th minute when David Estrada brought the ball up the right flank and cut to the middle. Estrada found Carrasco in the box who beat the keeper with a shot inside the near post.

Fredy Montero nearly beat the keeper in the 19th minute with a shot from 25-yards that went just wide of the post. Montero also sent a cross into the box in the 37th minute but Roger Levesque's header sailed wide.

Estrada nearly added a tally when he ran onto a misplayed ball in the 54th minute but keeper Brad Knighton was able to tip the ball out of bounds before it crossed the end line.

Seattle's first group consisted of mainly returning starters plus newcomers Michael Gspurning and Adam Johansson. Approximately 100 fans showed up to the match.

There were 10 yellow cards issued and one red card ejection in the match.

Mike Fucito was on the receiving end of a reckless challenge in the 14th minute and was subbed off 15 minutes later.

Academy Update: U18's and U16's Return to League Play
The Sounders FC Academy teams traveled to northern California last weekend to play the Santa Cruz Breakers and DeAnza Force. The U18's lost both contests and the U16's split their matches with a win and loss. It was the first league play since December 18, 2011.

The U18's (8-4-2) opened the weekend Saturday in Santa Cruz with a 4-1 loss. The Breakers built a 2-nil lead before a red card forced Sounders FC to play a man down for the final 60 minutes. Ike Crook scored the lone Seattle goal early in the second half before Santa Cruz tacked on two more.

The U18's dropped their second match, 1-0, to Deanza Force on Sunday. Seattle keeper Keenan Townsend made a couple of highlight saves and U16 defender Jalen Markey stepped up to play with the U18's.

The U16's (9-3-2) continued a strong run in league play with a 6-1 win over the Breakers on Saturday. James Nosack opened up the scoring for Seattle and the Rave Green took a 3-1 lead into halftime. Seattle added another three tallies in the final 45 minutes. The six goals against Santa Cruz made it 20 goals in four games for the Rave Green.

The Force completed their sweep of Sounders FC on Sunday with a 3-0 win against the U16's. All three goals were scored in the first half, including a penalty kick. The loss ended the U16's streak of seven league wins.

Both teams return to action February 25 on the road against the California Development Academy.

Fourteen Sounders FC Academy Players Commit to Colleges
Fourteen members of the Seattle Sounders FC Academy Under-18 team have committed their futures to collegiate soccer programs. Along with developing talent for the Major League Soccer club's senior team, the Sounders FC Academy also strives to develop young men to maximize their educational options.

The National Letter of Intent signing period began on February 1.

Among those that have signed an NLI, Aaron Kovar of Garfield High School will attend Stanford University. He was the 2011 Gatorade Washington State Player of the Year.

Six Sounders FC Academy players will remain in Seattle for college as three players committed to the University of Washington and three committed to Seattle University.

Austin Curtis (Forward, Bonney Lake HS): Western Washington University
Dominique Dismuke (Forward, Decatur HS): University of Washington
Michael Gallagher (Defender, Eastlake HS): University of Washington
Jesse Klug (Forward, Overlake College Prep): Bucknell University
Aaron Kovar (Midfield, Garfield HS): Stanford University
Ian Lange (Defender, Kennedy HS): University of Washington
Joe Mancini (Midfielder, Eastside Catholic): Seattle University
Curtis Pederson (Midfielder/Defender, Bellarmine Prep): Western Washington University
Sawyer Preston (Defender, Eastlake HS): Western Washington University
Nick Raskasky (Defender, Highline CC): University of West Virginia
Jordan Schweitzer (Midfielder, Jackson HS): University of Denver
Justin Solomon (Midfielder, Highline CC): Seattle University
Austin Sweeney (Midfielder, Todd Beamer HS): Seattle University
Keenan Townsend (Goalkeeper, Skyview HS): San Diego State

The Sounders FC Academy will host an Open House in July. It provides an opportunity to learn more about the Sounders FC Academy U15/16 and U17/18 teams as well as other programs offered to enhance the 2012-2013 Youth System for Sounders FC.

Sounders FC Boys High School Prep Camp
Registration is now open for the Boys High School Prep Camp, to be held from February 20-24 at Starfire Sports. The week-long training course is designed for boys ages 14-18 preparing for 2012 high school soccer tryouts and season. All positions are welcome. For more information and to register, visit www.SoundersFC.com for more information.

Sounders FC Academy goalkeeper Paul Christensen, who is currently living in Bradenton, Florida as part of the U17 Residency Program, will have the chance to play his senior team counterparts when the two sides meet on February 16...General Manager Adrian Hanauer celebrates his birthday today, February 7. Steve Zakuani turns 24 on February 9. Andy Rose turns 22 on February 13...Sounders FC Technical Director Chris Henderson has been included in the 2012 National Soccer Hall of Fame Player Ballot. Sigi Schmid has been included in the 2012 National Soccer Hall of Fame Builder Ballot. Builders are nominated by making their mark in the soccer community in a non-playing capacity while sustaining a major and positive impact on U.S. Soccer on a national or professional level for 10 years.

Reach Aaron Weinberg at nextseasonsports@gmail.com