Sounders end road trip against MLS-leading Revolution
The soccer journey started with an agonizing loss to the rival Timbers in Portland last Saturday. A gritty 1-nil U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals victory over the Earthquakes brightened the Seattle Sounders’ spirits Tuesday night in San Francisco.
Now the “rave green” try to finish up the long trek by handing the Revolution a rare loss Saturday night at Gillette Stadium. New England boasts a 4-1-2 record on its home turf in Foxboro, Mass.
With the Sounders mired in a June slump, coach Sigi Schmid told me in our Coach’s Corner show that the victory over San Jose was one of the more important results of the season.
“For the character of our team to be able to fight back in a game like that was important,” he said. “For the lack of rest we had, and to be able to play the hottest team in MLS and beat them was very good for our team.”
The Seattle-San Jose match ended with harsh words, pushing and shoving, and punches thrown. Seattle was involved in a similar altercation during the hotly-contested Portland game. Schmid has made sure his players know they have to keep their cool.
“We definitely want to avoid the confrontations,” he said. “It’s not something we want to be known about. We deal with our players internally and will deal with that. It’s not the image we want and try to get into at the end of games.”
Forward Fredy Montero drew a red card for his role in the skirmish with the Timbers. He will miss the Revolution match, leaving Schmid exploring several attacking combinations.
Schmid told me he likes the pairing of Eddie Johnson with Mauro Rosales. Sammy Ochoa has fresh legs and played well in U.S. Open Cup games. Roger Levesque also performed well in the San Jose match.
The Sounders’ defense will have its work cut out covering New England’s leading scorer, Saer Sene. The 25-year-old French striker has seven goals in MLS play.
“He’s a lanky forward with surprisingly good pace,” Schmid said. “They have a mobile midfield that moves around a lot and are improved offensively. Defensively, they have played the same group together for a long time.”
Schmid is impressed with the soccer instincts of the Rev’s 20-year-old rookie midfielder, Kelyn Rowe, who is from Federal Way, Wash. Rowe starred at UCLA and worked out with the Sounders youth camps.
Defender Adam Johansson traveled with the Sounders and could be available for the Revolution match.
Matt Johnson hosts the pregame show at 4 p.m. Saturday. Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller have the play-by-play at 4:30 on 97.3 KIRO FM.